Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is smaller than most and is sometimes overlooked due to limitations on qualifying medical conditions and permitted product options. Nevertheless, patients in need are happy to participate and reporting very positive health outcomes. Recent survey data collected by the Minnesota Department of Health provides helpful evidence that patients are finding medical marijuana to be a safe and effective treatment option:
“Based on this evidence from the first year, Minnesota’s approach is providing many people with substantial benefits, minimal side effects and no serious adverse events,” Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a statement.
Patients were asked how much benefit they believe they received from using medical cannabis on a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 meaning no benefit and 7 meaning a great deal of benefit. Across all patients, 64 percent indicated a benefit rating of 6 or 7. Nine percent indicated little or no benefit. Most patients also reported clinically meaningful reductions in symptoms for conditions including seizures, Tourette syndrome, Crohn’s disease and muscle spasms. [TwinCities.com]
The full report is available here and includes a range of interesting data and insights generated by surveying participating patients and recommending physicians. Particularly moving are the direct comments from patients and caregivers themselves:
- “Almost all muscle spasm and pain associated with spasms are gone. I used to have constant nerve triggered pain that is minimal now. Results were almost immediate. I am sleeping way better now also.”
- “[NAME] has passed away. I am her daughter and was her care giver. She was open to trying medical cannabis and we got the liquid form. It was a saving grace. She was in a lot of pain and when prescribed medications did NOT work – we started this and it kept her calm and relaxed. I am very thankful that we were able to have this option available. It helped to make her last months more bearable and truly it would have been miserable without it.”
- “I am getting enough sleep for the first time since about 2011. My absence seizures have gone from 3-4 a day to almost 0. It also has lessened the severity of grand mal seizures. The recovery time after has gone from around 12 hours to around 4.”
Personal testimonials like these are an important reminder of how regulated medical marijuana programs impact the lives of the people they were established to serve. Furthermore, the survey data itself provides critical insights to providers, policymakers and other stakeholders working to ensure that medical marijuana programs are managed safely and responsibly. For that very reason, we’ve long been committed to tracking health outcomes through our own data collection efforts and partnering with the scientific community to better understand the role of cannabis medicine in promoting public health.
As a growing number of states work to implement regulated medical marijuana programs, we’re faced with an important opportunity to document outcomes and collect empirical data that can inform public policy. Columbia Care Illinois – Chicago strongly supports such efforts and we immensely appreciate the participation of patients who’ve completed our surveys and shared their experiences with us.