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Minnesota adds chronic pain, macular degeneration to medical cannabis program

The new qualifying conditions will take effect next year.

ST PAUL, Minnesota — The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will add chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as qualifying conditions under the state's medical cannabis program, starting in August 2020.

"The generally positive experience patients have had using medical cannabis to treat intractable pain prompted us to add chronic pain as a qualifying condition," Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement. "Meanwhile, the decision to add age-related macular degeneration was due to a lack of good treatment options for managing symptoms."

Two new delivery methods will also be allowed starting next year, including "water-soluble cannabinoid multi-particulates" (things like powders and sprinkes) and orally-dissolvable products like lozenges, mints, and gum.

"We hope the addition of new delivery methods will provide a potential alternative to vaping for some patients and that the additional centers will provide more convenient access," Commissioner Malcolm said.

RELATED: Renewed push to expand medical marijuana

Minnesota's two legal medical cannabis manufacturers will double their number of cannabis treatment centers next year as well, under a law passed by the legislature last session. According to an MDH press release, Leafline Labs has proposed centers in Willmar, Mankato, Golden Valley and Rogers; Minnesota Medical Solutions has proposed centers in Woodbury, Blaine, Duluth and Burnsville.

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