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  • D.H. Reilly

When Will You be Able to Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Anxiety in Minnesota?

Anxiety Could be Added to Minnesota's List of Qualifying Conditions

“When will Minnesota recognize anxiety as a qualifying condition?” is the second most frequently asked question that we hear from our visitors (it comes right after “How do I get a Minnesota Marijuana Card?”).

And while we’ve heard this tune before, it looks like the day may soon be coming when patients with generalized anxiety disorder will qualify for a Minnesota Marijuana Card.

Medical Marijuana for Anxiety has Long Been Overlooked in Minnesota

According to the Department of Health, there have been petitions sent to the department requesting the addition of generalized anxiety disorder to the list of qualifying conditions the state recognizes every year since 2016, the year the Office of Medical Cannabis was created.

But 2021 was different in at least one regard. While the Department of Health considers public petitions to add qualifying conditions every June and July, this time it was Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm herself who

requested that the Office of Medical Cannabis submit a new petition for anxiety disorder as a qualifying medical condition for the 2021 petition cycle.

Petitions Have Been too Numerous to Ignore

“Last year we were in the position where we got hundreds of comments from layfolks that said, ‘Yes, please add anxiety,’ and one letter from a psychiatrist that said, ‘Don’t do that,’” Chris Tholkes, director of the Office of Medical Cannabis, told MinnPost. “It left us with no real answers about what the medical community feels.”

Tholkes explained that the volumes of comments received from Minnesotans prompted Commissioner Malcolm to pay particular attention to the issue this year. According to the Department of Health, “Malcolm requested that the Office of Medical Cannabis submit a new petition for anxiety disorder as a qualifying medical condition for the 2021 petition cycle, after staff completed a more in-depth review of the issue earlier in the year.”

And so at the direction of Malcolm, Director Tholkes assembled a working group of seven mental health and addiction professionals to review the literature, to compile an official report for her office.

The professionals consulted by the Office of Medical Cannabis were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of adding anxiety to the list of qualifying conditions, so Malcolm may indeed once again dash the hopes of Minnesotans who are suffering from anxiety. However, there has been a hint that she has perhaps softened her stance on the issue.

“Last year, the commissioner said she would decline (the anxiety petition),” Tholkes told MinnPost. “But she (has now) said she doesn’t want to keep leaving people in the position that they have to keep petitioning us each year.”

Medical Marijuana Can be a Safe, Effective Treatment for Anxiety

Beyond just being a feeling of nervousness, anxiety can be impair your physical and mental wellbeing in a number of ways. From muscle aches to hypertension to digestion issues, anxiety can throw your entire physical and mental wellbeing into disarray.

Fortunately, this is yet another aspect of your health that marijuana can improve. And although Minnesota does not yet include anxiety as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use, many states do, and for some good reasons.

According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, studies have shown that patients “who used cannabis to treat a range of medical problems including anxiety, had largely improved cognitive performance, reduced clinical symptoms and anxiety-related symptoms as well as a reduced use of conventional medications, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and other mood stabilizers and antidepressants.”

December 1, 2021, is the Date to Watch

According to Tholkes, Malcolm has said she is likely to issue a ruling by December 1, meaning Minnesotans currently suffering from anxiety won’t have to wait long to find out if relief is finally coming to them.

And if things don’t go in favor of suffering Minnesotans and anxiety isn’t added to the list of qualifying conditions? Well as they say in sports, there is always next year, and fortunately Minnesota law allows concerned residents to petition the Department of Health. The Department considers new petitions every June and July, so bookmark the Department’s Petition Process page. If you don’t like the news you get on December 1, make sure to visit that page on June 1, 2022, and let the Department know you think they made a mistake.

And don’t forget to let your state legislators know that they also goofed when they left anxiety off of the list of qualifying conditions. The state provides a handy page where you can find out who your representatives are and how to contact them.

You Might Have to Wait Until December 1 or Beyond to Treat Your Anxiety with Medical Marijuana, but Don’t Delay if You Have Another Qualifying Condition!

Yes, you may have to wait until December 1 before you can treat your anxiety with medical marijuana. And unfortunately, you may have to wait even longer than that.

But if you have any of the other qualifying conditions, you’re eligible to get a Minnesota Marijuana Card today!

Reserve a medical marijuana evaluation today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors today and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as possible.

You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together you’ll discuss your qualifying condition and what medical marijuana can do for you, all without even leaving your home. And you’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!

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