Medical cannabis was legalized in the state of Pennsylvania on April 6th, 2016 and became available to patients on February 18th, 2018. The state has since continued to add to the list of qualifying conditions to be granted access to medical cannabis. The list currently sits at 23 qualifying ailments including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and a number of other conditions. Earlier in the summer of 2019, the state of Pennsylvania added anxiety disorders to that list, making it legal for those with anxiety to legally seek access to medical cannabis.
Anxiety As A Qualifying Condition
The number of people suffering with anxiety continues to rise to frighteningly high levels in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “An estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.”
The addition of a condition like anxiety, that clearly affects a massive number of Americans is huge for potential medical cannabis patients. Speaking to the Pennsylvania Observer-Reporter, Dr. Bryan Doner, co-founder of Compassionate Certification Centers says, “I feel that the addition of anxiety to the qualifying conditions in Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program has the potential to help a tremendous amount of patients.”
Cannabis as a treatment for mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD has been the subject of a number of studies in recent years. CBD has been focused on by a few studies as having massive potential as a non-psychoactive treatment for depression and other mental health disorders.
Making Medical Cannabis Available to Patients
Making medical cannabis available to patients with anxiety and other mental health conditions has been difficult in some states as there is skepticism as to whether or not using cannabis, especially THC-heavy strains can have a negative impact on overall health outcomes.
Since there is some paranoia over how THC-laden cannabis can affect mental health problems, CBD is often preferred by lawmakers, medical professionals, and patients to treat mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. It is likely that CBD use will see an increase in Pennsylvania now that anxiety is a qualifying condition for medical cannabis access.
As states have moved to legalize medical cannabis, the group of acceptable qualifying conditions has grown larger as well. By doing this, legal states are making medical cannabis available to many more potential patients. While each state constructs its own list, there are a number of conditions that qualify in most or all states. Making cannabis available to those with anxiety is the next logical step for a state like Pennsylvania that is attempting to liberalize its cannabis laws.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.