Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced that effective July 20, anxiety disorders and Tourette syndrome will be approved serious medical conditions in the medical marijuana program based on the recommendation of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and a review of medical research on the use of marijuana to treat these conditions.
“After a careful review of the medical literature available about these conditions, I have decided to approve this recommendation,” Dr. Levine said. “Patients should consult with their health care provider to see if medical marijuana will be beneficial for them. I do not take this decision lightly and do have recommendations for physicians, dispensary pharmacists and patients in terms of the use of medical marijuana to treat these conditions. 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.”
Dr. Levine advised that patients with anxiety disorders should continue to pursue counseling and therapy to manage their illness. She said that research indicates medical marijuana with low THC and high CBD content are more effective for the treatment of anxiety disorders and is recommended for short-term use.
“In addition, medical marijuana is not recommended to treat children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, as their brains are still developing,” Dr. Levine said.
Dr. Levine also warned that pregnant women with any of the approved serious medical conditions should not use medical marijuana as the impacts on the fetus are unknown.