Minnesota OKs medical marijuana for autism, apnea

Starting in July, autism spectrum disorders and obstructive sleep apnea will qualify as conditions eligible to be treated in Minnesota with medical cannabis, the state Health Department said Thursday.

The two conditions were chosen as part of the department's regular review of requests to expand the use of medical cannabis. Petitioners sought authority for 10 conditions this year, including anxiety disorders, dementia, liver disease, Parkinson's disease, apnea and autism.

State health officials backed cannabis for autism after their review found a "lack of effective drug treatments, the potentially severe side effects of current drug treatments and anecdotal evidence of Minnesota children with autism already receiving benefits from medical cannabis taken for other qualifying conditions," the Health Department said in a statement.

"Any policy decisions about cannabis are difficult due to the relative lack of published scientific evidence. However, there is increasing evidence for potential benefits of medical cannabis for those...

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