New methods of consuming cannabis are changing society's perception that weed is something you roll in a joint or smoke from a bong. And one of the companies that grows Minnesota's medical marijuana is busy developing new, innovative products.
In a news release earlier this week, Leafline Labs announced it's launching a topical medicated cream for patients suffering from pain and inflammation. The topical format will provide "more discreet and localized relief for patients," Leafline says.
Topical forms of medical marijuana are non-psychoactive, Leafly says, so they're often chosen by patients who want the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without "getting high."
The Minnesota Department of Health approved the medication after Leafline submitted studies involving the safety and efficacy of transdermal applications. The cream will be available to patients this month.
The company is one of two Minnesota organizations registered to cultivate, process and distribute medical cannabis as part of the state’s medical cannabis program. They have locations in Eagan, St. Cloud, St. Paul, and Hibbing.
The other provider is Minnesota Medical Solutions, aka MinnMed.
Other product innovations
The topical cream is just one of Leafline's new developments in cannabis consumption.
The company will also increase its production of oral capsules, which are designed for patients who prefer the "convenience and sustained therapeutic effect," the release says. Patients were able to try the capsules during a soft-launch back in May, and Leafline says it received "exceptional" feedback.
Transdermal patches are also in the development stages. Leafline says its patches are one of the most convenient forms of medical marijuana, because they provide medication that lasts multiple days. They're anticipated to be available by the end of the year.
Minnesota's medical marijuana program
Medicinal use of marijuana became legal in Minnesota in July 2015. Though only 14 patients made up the initial registry, the number of authorized patients has been climbing pretty steadily ever since.
As of June 30, 2017, there were 6,184 patients actively enrolled in the patient registry, according to an update on the program from the Minnesota Department of Health. That's an increase of 1,047 from the 5,137 enrolled on March 31, 2017.
Since PTSD is most often associated with the military, advocates believe medical marijuana could alleviate the negative side effects of medications many veterans currently take.
But Green Rush Daily says many doctors associated with the Veterans Affairs program cannot license patients due to the federal prohibition of the drug, so it may not be easily accessible for many veterans who rely on the VA for medical care.
Patients must pay a $200 enrollment fee before they are eligible to legally purchase and possess medical cannabis, the department of health says, but there are discounts for low-income patients.