ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Patrick McClellan’s first batch of medical marijuana, via vaporizer, worked like a charm, curbing the pain and muscle spasms that come with his muscular dystrophy and supplanting a combination of prescription medications that doctors say could kill him.
But the first and second rounds of cannabis oil missed the mark for treating 18-year-old Scott Rapp’s seizures. With the high costs and the hoops the Rapp family had to jump through just to get signed up, mother Shelly Rapp said they’re eyeing a move back to California, where the medicine was cheaper and worked better.
The story of Minnesota’s first month of medical marijuana is one of triumphs, disappointments and everything in between — a trial-and-error process that manufacturers expected and many patients hoped to avoid. For some in both camps, it’s breaking the bank.
Officials from the two companies cultivating and selling the cannabis pills and oils said they cautioned patients from the start: It’s a matter of finding the right dosage and strain to nail down an effective treatment. The state hopes to build off that learning curve by tracking patient results, filling a void of research for which cannabis-based medications work best for different ailments.
Minnesota Medical Solutions sent the first customers home with just a week’s supply —not the monthly maximum allowed by law — as an initial trial.
“We’re very clear that cannabis is not a cure-all,” CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley said. “We tell people not to lose hope if it doesn’t work right away.”
Even after three misfires, Jonathan Holmgren is optimistic he’ll find something to treat his Crohn’s disease and muscle spasms. A chemical additive in a vaporizer burned his gums the first time, as did a liquid from a second try. Some pills from a third visit provided just a sliver of relief — nothing compared to immediate effect from the buds his caretakers buy for him on the black market.
The 33-year-old Spring Lake Park resident said he hasn’t given up and is encouraged by Minnesota Medical Solutions’ willingness to keep trying, too — they’re working to concoct a new mix of compounds he thinks may do the trick, he said.
“I know what it’s like to have to do the trial and error with medicine,” Holmgren said. “I’m kind of used to it. It’s part of the routine.”
Kinglsey said they’ve seen some of most …Read More