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Anxiety disorders now qualify for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania

Starting July 20, anxiety disorders and Tourette syndrome will be qualifying medical conditions under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Thursday that her decision was based on the recommendation of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and a review of medical research.

“For both conditions, medical marijuana is not first line treatment and should not replace traditional therapies, but should be used in conjunction with them, when recommended by a physician,” Levine said.

She advised that patients with anxiety disorders should continue to pursue counseling and therapy to manage their illness, and that medical marijuana with low THC and high CBD content are more effective for treatment of anxiety disorders and is recommended for short-term use.

“In addition, medical marijuana is not recommended to treat children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, as their brains are still developing,” said Levine.

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. There are close to 111,000 active patient certifications as part of the medical marijuana program, and more than 1,600 physicians have registered for the program.

Medical conditions currently qualifying for treatment with marijuana include cancer, Crohn’s disease, HIV, epilepsy, glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, opioid use disorder, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe chronic or intractable pain.

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