A select few states in the U.S. allow medical marijuana to be dispensed for certain medical conditions. Pennsylvania has now added specific anxiety disorders and Tourette Syndrome to its list.
Cannabis is now approved to treat 23 different conditions.
The State's Department of Health announced on Thursday that starting from July 20, those suffering from serious anxiety conditions and Tourette Syndrome will be able to purchase medical marijuana.
Not the 'first line of treatment'
Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said in her statement on Thursday that "I do not take this decision lightly, and do have recommendations for physicians, dispensary pharmacists and patients in terms of the use of medical marijuana to treat these conditions."
Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announces anxiety disorders and Tourette Syndrome will be added as approved medical conditions for medical marijuana. @fox43 pic.twitter.com/TP6seJbpUN— Chelsea Koerbler (@ChelseaKoerbler) July 11, 2019
The program will not consider medical marijuana as the 'first line of treatment,' according to Levine. Marijuana is to be dispensed alongside traditional therapy treatments.
Moreover, the use of medical marijuana will not be recommended to children or adolescents with anxiety disorders because their brains are still developing at that stage. Nor should it be recommended for pregnant women, as the effects of marijuana on a fetus are still unknown.
Medical marijuana and Pennsylvania
The medical marijuana program was launched in Pennsylvania in April 2016, and was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.
165,000 Pennsylvania patients have registered onto the medical marijuana program since 2016.
According to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who went around all 67 counties of the state to ask people what they thought about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, two-thirds of them supported the decision if it were to pass.
In a state such as Pennsylvania, where the use of cannabis is not federally legalized, qualified patients can, with the recommendation from a trained local physician, obtain a medical marijuana card in order to purchase medical marijuana products.
Here's a list of which states authorize medical marijuana, and for what conditions.