The Lead

In one month, 3,000 Pennsylvanians with anxiety certified for medical marijuana

By: - August 14, 2019 11:44 am

In the month since the Pennsylvania Department of Health added anxiety as a qualifying medical marijuana condition, 3,000 people have been certified to receive product for that disorder.

John Collins, director of the Office of Medical Marijuana, said at a Wednesday meeting of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board that, in just the first few days, 212 people were certified for medical marijuana because of anxiety.

That number has been growing by about 1,000 people a week since certifications began July 20.

In July, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced that anxiety and Tourette syndrome would be added to a list of more than 20 qualifying medical marijuana conditions. Pennsylvania’s program formally began on Feb. 15, 2018.

At the moment, Collins said, 180,000 patients and 20,000 caregivers are registered in the system. Roughly 121,000 patients are actively purchasing product.

That’s translated into about $200 million in sales by dispensaries to patients, Collins said. Sales from medical marijuana grower/processors to dispensaries total $150 million.

Levine said Wednesday she offered guidance to physicians and dispensaries about the type of marijuana that has been shown to be therapeutic for anxiety disorder: product with low THC and high CBD. She also stressed that patients should continue with therapy and counseling.

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Sarah Anne Hughes
Sarah Anne Hughes

Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes covers the governor and Pennsylvania's agencies. Before joining the Capital-Star, she was the state capitol reporter for Billy Penn and The Incline, and a 2018 corps member for Report for America. She was previously managing editor of Washington City Paper, editor-in-chief of DCist, and a national blogger for The Washington Post.