Back in May, I blogged about a recommendation from the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board to add Anxiety and Tourette Syndrome as “serious medical conditions” covered under the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act. At the time, the Department of Health (DOH) stated a decision on whether to formally approve this recommendation would be made by this Summer, and the Department kept this deadline. On July 11, 2019, the Secretary of DOH, Dr. Rachel Levine, announced that the two will be approved as qualifying conditions effective July 20, 2019.

The PA Medical Marijuana Act originally identified 17 “Serious Medical Conditions,” and in 2018, the Advisory Board expanded that list to include four additional conditions. This announcement brings the total number of qualifying conditions to 23 (which can be found here).

Medical marijuana in jar lying on prescription form

In May, Dr. Levine noted that she wanted to review medical research in anticipation of making a final decision. The official press release from the DOH stated that the medical literature supported the decision to approve these conditions, but added a few caveats from Dr. Levine regarding the use of medical marijuana to treat Anxiety and Tourette Syndrome:

  • “marijuana is not first line treatment and should not replace traditional therapies [like counseling and therapy] but should be used in conjunction with them, when recommended by a physician”
  • “medical marijuana with low THC and high CBD content are more effective for treatment of anxiety disorders and is recommended for short-term use”
  • “medical marijuana is not recommended to treat children and adolescents with anxiety disorders, as their brains are still developing”
  • “pregnant women with any of the approved serious medical conditions should not use medical marijuana as the impacts on the fetus are unknown”

Dr. Levine provided additional information about the announcement and her decision via her Twitter account:

As always, patients, caregivers, doctors, and other members of the public can find out more about Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program through the PA DOH website.

Joseph McNelis works in Fox Rothschild’s Blue Bell, PA office. He focuses his practice on labor and employment matters, and also tracks legal developments in the cannabis industry in Pennsylvania and nationwide. Joe can be contacted at 610-397-2332 or