The Pennsylvania Department of Health has added anxiety disorders and Tourette syndrome to the list of medical conditions approved for receiving medical marijuana.
Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said she made the decision based on the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board's recommendation as well as a review of medical research. It's a decision she didn't make lightly, she said.
"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.
Patients with anxiety disorders should pursue counseling and therapy to manage their illness, Levine noted. Research indicates medical marijuana with low THC and high CBD content are more effective for treatment of anxiety disorders than other forms of medical marijuana. Levine noted it is recommended for short-term use.
Medical marijuana is not recommended for children, adolescents or pregnant women.
The approvals, which will take effect later this month, bring the total number of qualifying medical conditions to 23.
At a press conference, Dr. Levine also outlined plans to work with eight academic research centers to conduct medical marijuana research.
Those research centers are:
- Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia
- Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Philadelphia
- Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey
- Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
- The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
- University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Erie (LECOM)
- Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia