New conditions approved for treatment by medical marijuana

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(WBRE/WYOU) — Some Pennsylvania officials want the commonwealth to become a leader in medical marijuana research.

A research summit for medical marijuana was held Thursday and as part of that summit, two new conditions were added to the list of those approved in the medical marijuana program.

On Thursday, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced anxiety disorders and Tourette syndrome are being approved as serious medical conditions in the state’s medical marijuana program.

“I do not take this decision lightly,” Dr. Levine said.

The approval came with recommendations for doctors, pharmacists, and patients. She says medical marijuana should not be first-line treatment for anxiety disorders and should be used alongside counseling and therapy.

“Patients with anxiety disorders should continue to pursue counseling and therapy to manage their condition,” Dr. Levine said.

She also says medical marijuana with low THC and high CBD levels would work best for treating anxiety disorders.

“A key component to approving conditions is to stimulate research on medical marijuana,” Dr. Levine said.

On Thursday, researchers from eight universities and three clinical registrants were on hand for a research summit on medical marijuana.

“Despite the growing interest in medical use of cannabis, data with strong clinical evidence remains limited,” Dr. Wei Du of Drexel University College of Medicine said.

Moving forward, those experts will be conducting research in hopes of answering questions like correct dosing, safety, and how effective marijuana is in treating each condition.

“I believe this puts us, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, at the forefront of supporting research into the potential benefits of medical marijuana,” Dr. Kent Vrana of Penn State said.

Tourette syndrome and anxiety disorders will be approved conditions effective July 20.

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