Minnesota residents with chronic pain can now purchase medical marijuana with ease now that the state has opened its doors to those with pain that is not alleviated by traditional drugs or therapies. Starting Aug. 1 those who have been ailing from intractable pain and approved by official physicians will be allowed to purchase marijuana oil, pills, vaporized liquid or oil and any other method (excluding smoking) approved by the commissioner.

The year-old medical marijuana program is one of the strictest in the country and opening the program to those with pain as an alternative to prescription medication is making a lot of Minnesota residents happy. Take 3-year-old Elisa McCann, who was born with a rare genetic condition, epidermolysis bullosa, which causes her skin to blister and tear. Her mother has been fed up with the morphine she has been given at this point and would like medical marijuana as an alternative to it.

“If you put a child on morphine when they’re 3, what are you going to do by the time they’re 6?” Gabriella McCann told the Star Tribune.

The 32 surgeries and painkillers have taken a toll on Elisa’s body at such a young age that her mother was desperate for an alternative but didn’t get approved until today. Cannabis oil is one of the alternatives to her taxing pain and can be used to swallow in drops or rubbed on her skin to speed up the healing process.

Some patients have had a hard time qualifying due to doctors, clinics or health systems opting not to certify even with some of the nine serious medical conditions, which includes Cancer and HIV/AIDS. This all changed when Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger kicked the doors open after hearing about the gut-wrenching stories from those with pain.   

The medical marijuana program for Minnesotans has only approved 1,827 patients so far and by opening up the program state officials believe it will help bring prices down and relieve prescription opioid usage and overdoses, which killed 336 in Minnesota last year not to mention musical legend Prince earlier this year.

Now that Elisa has been approved her mother mentioned that she can finally discuss proper dosages with Elisa’s doctors in hopes of alleviating the pain. “It’s hurting right here,” she said, patting a spot just above her knee. Her mother rubbed the spot gently.