Most patients who use medical marijuana in Minnesota believe their treatments are highly beneficial, according to a new state-conducted survey.
According to a new study conducted by Minnesota’s Health Department, patients are receiving significant benefits from their medical marijuana treatments.
The study, utilizing patient surveys and other data, investigated the reported benefits during the first full year of Minnesota’s medical marijuana program. The state-regulated program launched on July 1, 2015. The data used for the study ran through June 31, 2016.
“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,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger, in a statement.
Using a scale from 1 (no benefit) to 7 (great deal of benefit), patients were asked to rate how much benefit they believe they receive from medical marijuana treatments. Sixty-four percent of registered medical marijuana patients provided a rating of six or seven. Just 9 percent provided a score of 1, 2 or 3, indicating they had received little to no benefit from cannabis.
Among those using medicinal cannabis to reduce symptoms such as seizures, muscle spasms, nausea, and tics, patients reported at least a 30 percent reduction in symptoms from medical marijuana use. Between half and two-thirds of those that had reported clinically meaningful improvement reported that they had retained that level of improvement for over four months.
“We are not at all surprised by these extremely positive results,” said Dr. Andrew Bachman, CEO and co-founder of medical cannabis producing company LeafLine Labs. “We have the privilege of seeing patients every day that have benefited from our life-changing medicine and care, whether through symptomatic treatment, cure, or just a better quality of life in general. It’s been very humbling, we are honored to be part of that experience, and we will never take lightly our responsibility to all qualifying patients who have entrusted their health and well-being to us.”
Less than 25 percent of patients reported any negative side effects, and none of those adverse effects were serious enough to require hospitalization. The survey also found that patients consider affordability of medicinal cannabis, which isn’t covered by insurance, to be an issue. With a score of 1 being “very affordable” and a score of 7 being “very prohibitive,” more than half of respondents provided a score of 6 or 7.
Minnesota was the 22nd of now 29 U.S. states that have legalized and created a medical cannabis program. As of May 18, Minnesota’s medical marijuana program, which is considered among the most restrictive of all medical marijuana states, had 5,726 active registered patients and 874 health care practitioners authorized to certify patients. The state’s program has struggled to get off the ground, but has seen a significant influx over the past year thanks to the health department adding intractable pain as a qualifying condition.
You can access the study’s executive summary by visiting the Minnesota Department of Health’s medical cannabis data and statistics page. A more extensive study is expected from the department sometime this summer.