COTTAGE GROVE, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LeafLine Labs, a physician-founded and patient-led organization built to cultivate, process and distribute medical cannabis in Minnesota, is marking a successful first year, opening two new Care Centers in St. Paul and Hibbing, and preparing for new patients as intractable pain is added to the state’s list of health conditions approved for treatment with medical cannabis.
The St. Paul dispensary, located at 550 Vandalia Street, and the Hibbing location, at 302 East Howard Street, will both open July 1. The two new Care Centers join LeafLine Labs Care Centers in St. Cloud and Eagan as resources for patients seeking safe, precisely formulated medical cannabis for a limited list of health conditions, which will be expanded on July 1 to include intractable pain.
“By putting patients first, always, LeafLine Labs has come so far in just one year. As the nation’s first truly medicinal medical cannabis program, we’ve found our model is being emulated across the country,” said LeafLine Labs co-founder Dr. Andrew Bachman. “Now LeafLine Labs has an opportunity to serve more people, to be part of the solution to our state’s growing opioid crisis — by offering a safe complementary or alternative therapy to sufferers of intractable pain.”
The outlook is positive for caregivers and patients who seek alternatives to opioids: a 2014 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found states with medical cannabis access saw 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdose than those without. “From cultivation through chemistry to caregiving, LeafLine Labs is committed to patients first and always. Our two new dispensaries will allow us to help even more Minnesotans find the relief they seek. That includes the opportunity to be free from a pattern of chronic pain, escalating opioid tolerance, and unwanted opioid dependence,” added Dr. Bachman.
“Building upon thousands of years of empirical data, mounting evidence shows how effective medical cannabis can be, providing pain relief without putting patients at risk for opioid dependence or death due to respiratory arrest,” said Dr. Bachman. “The Minnesota Department of Health acknowledged this when it added ‘intractable pain’ to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. Starting July 1, health care practitioners will finally be able to have this crucial, potentially lifesaving conversation with patients living with chronic pain. And on August 1, they will be able to begin treatment. We hope that, given the desperate state of prescription opiate overuse and abuse, which has skyrocketed in the last decade, we can save thousands of Minnesotans from accidental dependency, incarceration or death.”
Since medical cannabis became legal in July of 2015, 1500 Minnesotans, including more than 150 children, have been treated. According to a survey by the Minnesota Department of Health, which administers the program, 90 percent of patients reported mild to significant benefit.
One of those who chose a LeafLine Labs Care Center for her provider is Charlotte, a mother and wife with terminal Stage 4 breast cancer. Once plagued by so much anxiety that insomnia limited her to just a few hours of sleep a night, Charlotte used medical cannabis to regain a full night's sleep, giving her a stronger physical and mental foundation to battle her cancer. “The medical cannabis treatments have improved my outlook,” she says, “and at my support group meetings now, I encourage others to explore its benefits.”
John, another LeafLine Labs patient, suffered debilitating muscle spasms and pain after recovering from a motorcycle accident. With a job that required him to climb tall ladders, he couldn’t risk ongoing muscle spasms. After consulting with LeafLine Labs, he found a formula that gave him relief from spasms but didn’t dull the focus he needed at work. He also found that he could completely eliminate his opioid painkiller use by using medical cannabis. “I’m more functional; it’s a very clean product that works better than the opiates that were prescribed to me before,” he said.
At Leafline Labs Care Centers, patients who have received certification from their health care practitioners of a qualifying condition and registered with the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis can consult with pharmacists and certified pharmacy technicians to determine specific products, formulations and recommended dosages and purchase medical cannabis.
LeafLine Labs is one of two Minnesota organizations licensed to cultivate, process and distribute medical cannabis as part of the state’s medical cannabis program, which launched in the summer of 2015. Physician-founded and patient-focused, LeafLine Labs strives to deliver safe, reliable, sustainable and accessible medical cannabis formulations of the greatest quality. We’re dedicated to providing knowledgeable, compassionate, authentic and dignified care to Minnesotans in need.