New Mexico expands list for medical cannabis treatment
Patient enrolment expected to exceed 80,000 by end of 2019
The New Mexico Department of Health has added new disorders to the list approved for medical cannabis treatment. New Mexicans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, opioid use disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Friedreich’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease and Spinal Muscular Atrophy were added to a growing list of medical conditions that were broadened under Senate Bill 406, which Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law this year.
The New Mexico Department of Health also added “We need to explore and pursue every available means of responding to the health and wellness needs of our neighbours here in New Mexico,” Grisham said in a New Mexico Department of Health press release. “Compassion must guide our decision-making. Today marks an important and long-overdue step forward after too many years of status quo.”
The medical conditions added this month mark the first expansion to the list in six years, bringing the total list of qualifying conditions to 28, according to a press release from Ultra Health, the largest producer and seller of medical marijuana in New Mexico.
While cannabis has not yet been the subject of rigorous clinical testing to determine long-term effects, preliminary studies have shown the plant can reduce nausea, dull chronic pain and increase of appetite.
As of May 31, a total of 73,350 patients were enrolled in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program, a 37 percent increase since 2018. After this month’s expansion, estimates indicate enrolment will likely surpass 80 thousand patients by year’s end.
New Mexicans who have been diagnosed with opioid use disorder and Alzheimer’s disease are expected to comprise a significant portion of new patients.