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Minnesotans Petition State to Include Anxiety, Sickle Cell Disease, and Tic Disorder as Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis

Vireo Health of Minnesota, LLC announced that the Company is joining a growing coalition of patients, advocates, and physicians to petition the Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH”) to expand the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. The MDH is currently accepting public written comment on the addition of three new qualifying medical conditions – anxiety, sickle cell disease, and tic disorder.

Vireo is helping Minnesotans to take action through a digital advocacy campaign that allows people to pledge their support for adding anxiety, sickle cell disease, and tic disorder as qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use. Adding these conditions will allow certified physicians to prescribe medical cannabis to patients who are diagnosed with any of these ailments.

“Our goal is to make medical cannabis accessible for those in Minnesota who suffer from anxiety, sickle cell disease, and tic disorder,” said Vireo’s Chief Medical Officer Stephen Dahmer, M.D. “Now more than ever, adjunct therapies are needed to address the issues and challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic – such as anxiety. It is equally important to include conditions, such as Sickle Cell Disease, which disproportionately impact communities of color. We ask the MDH to review the available research and data which supports the benefit of offering Minnesotans impacted by these conditions access to medical cannabis in the safety of a closely monitored program.”

Support for Each Proposed Qualifying Condition

Anxiety – Research has shown that medical cannabis can reduce anxiety in patients being treated for other qualifying conditions, such as chronic pain and cancer. A majority of older patients when surveyed report cannabis to be extremely or somewhat helpful for anxiety and additional research supports the reduction of benzodiazepine use in medical cannabis patients.

Sickle Cell Disease – Recent research supports the ability of medical cannabis to not only reduce pain associated with Sickle Cell Disease, but also to be a cost-effective alternative that could reduce hospital admissions.

Tic Disease – Both research and Vireo’s own anecdotal evidence of treating Minnesota patients with the State-approved qualifying condition, Tourette Syndrome, support the ability of cannabis to safely decrease the intensity of tics, as well as slow the tic urge, among other positive benefits.

“These three conditions merit consideration from the Minnesota Department of Health. We remain hopeful that Minnesota will expand its list of qualifying conditions,” said Dr. Sujit Varma, MD, a Minneapolis-based physician certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. “Research has shown that medical cannabis can provide ample relief and serves as a safer alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals.”