Board recommends medical marijuana for anxiety, Tourette syndrome

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Pennsylvanians suffering from anxiety may soon have the option to treat the disorder with medical marijuana.

The state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board on Friday recommended adding anxiety and Tourette syndrome as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. If approved, the number of qualifying conditions would increase to 23.

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine will decide whether to implement the board’s recommendations.

“As there’s more research about the utility for medical marijuana for serious medical conditions, I do see the list expanding in the future, but we’re going to do it very, very carefully,” Levine said.

The panel also recommended the Legislature update the state’s medical marijuana law to include edibles as a permitted form of the medicine, as long as there are certain regulations.

“It’s extremely important to make sure that any edible is not attractive for infants and children, to perhaps eat and have a poisoning,” Levine said.

One thing Levine isn’t worried about is the impact recreational marijuana could have on the medical program. 

Gov. Tom Wolf has said he thinks it’s time for Pennsylvania to take a serious and honest look at recreational marijuana. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announced last month that he will go on a listening tour, beginning this month, to see if Pennsylvanians are onboard with the idea.

“I’m interested to see what evidence comes out of the listening tour,” Levine said. “That’s the purpose of a listening tour, but my mission now is clear. It is to advocate and support and expand the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania.”

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