By Anthony Martinelli

Those in Minnesota with autism spectrum disorder or obstructive sleep apnea can now become legal medical cannabis patients if they receive a physician recommendation.

Approved by Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger in November, the addition of autism and sleep apnea to the state’s medical cannabis program officially took effect on July 1. They join 11 other qualifying conditions including HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

[T]here is increasing evidence for potential benefits of medical cannabis for those with severe autism and obstructive sleep apnea”, Dr. Ehlinger said in November when announcing the two additions. Unfortunately Dr. Ehlinger rejected adding several other conditions including dementia, liver disease and anxiety disorders.

Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by sustained social impairments in communication and interactions, and repetitive behaviors, interests or activities. Autism patients wanting to become medical cannabis consumers must meet the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th edition) for autism.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder involving repeated episodes of reduced airflow caused by a complete or partial collapse of the upper airway during sleep.

Although those with autism and sleep apnea can enroll in the Minnesota medical cannabis program as of July 1, they must wait until August 1 to purchase the medicine from a dispensary.

More information on becoming a medical cannabis patient in Minnesota can be found by clicking here.

Other qualifying conditions include:

  • Cancer associated with severe/chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
  • Glaucoma
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
  • Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year
  • Intractable pain
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

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