Medical-marijuana Patients Star In Effort To Counter Pot Stigma –

Jess Blake, left, and her parents, Rick and Kathleen Blake, are working together as a family to get medical marijuana treatment for Jess as she battles a Blake, Wellington, Dailey and other patients sang medical marijuana’s praises at Minnesota Medical Solution’s Minneapolis patient center Monday, and touched on troubles, like the hurdles to get signed up and high costs for a month’s supply. Blake lived in a fog as she battled a cancerous brain tumor, unable to think clearly or care for herself. She calls the days before getting medical marijuana this summer her “dark days.” Now, she’s aiming to return to work as middle school teacher — once an impractical thought. Friends now visit her in Duluth to spend time together, not to take care of her. “She said, ‘You have your Jess-ness back,’ ” Blake recounted one friend telling her. Blake is far from the only patient who struggled to get certified for medical marijuana by doctors, many of whom have expressed concern about the lack of clear research on the drug’s efficacy, side effects and proper dosages. Bultman and others have pegged wary physicians as a factor behind lackluster enrollment: Fewer than 850 were enrolled as of Sunday. The Minnesota Medical Association, the state’s trade group for physicians, referenced some of that skepticism when they expressed reservations about the state’s decision earlier this month to add intractable pain as a qualifying condition. “Significant questions about the efficacy of medical cannabis remain and we continue to call for additional well-controlled studies,” the group said in a statement. It’s unclear how that number will grow with the expansion of the program scheduled for August.

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