MN medical cannabis businesses see jump in pain patients

Minnesota’s struggling medical marijuana market could be poised for dramatic improvement thanks to a surge in new chronic pain patients, who have become the second-largest group of enrollees in the state after becoming eligible for the program on Aug. 1.

According to figures released by Minnesota’s Office of Medical Cannabis, roughly one-third of the state’s patients, or 847 people, are registered based on recommendations for chronic pain, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The newspaper added there are more pain patients than those with cancer, epilepsy and terminal illnesses combined.

But the paper noted that despite the surge in pain patients, Minnesota’s program is still struggling one year after MMJ legalization because of high prices and low enrollment.

The two licensed MMJ companies in Minnesota – Minnesota Medical Solutions and LeafLine Labs, which both operate cultivation sites and dispensaries – have lost millions of dollars since the program launched about one year ago. For example, Minnesota Medical invested about $5 million in its operations in 2015, but lost about $3 million, according to the Star Tribune.

But more relief could be on the way. Minnesota’s Health Department is reportedly considering adding nine new conditions to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, including autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, arthritis, diabetes, amputated limbs, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, insomnia, schizophrenia and treatment-resistant depression.