The cannabis industry continues to grow at a remarkable pace. At present, over two-thirds of states have voted to implement a medical marijuana program. However, not every one of these states has the MMJ program fully in place. Therefore, you need to check your state’s laws to see if medical cannabis is now legal.
There are also several states that permit adult-use marijuana, at least in theory. Once again, some of these locations have yet to allow recreational sales formally. Consequently, for most Americans, getting a medical marijuana card is their only avenue.
Each state has varying laws regarding its specific MMJ programs, including qualifying conditions. However, most of them are closely aligned when it comes to several specific medical issues. In this article, we outline five medical conditions likely to qualify you for MMJ.
A Medical Marijuana Card: What Is It?
A medical marijuana (MMJ) card is a state-issued identification card. In states with MMJ programs, you can only purchase, possess, and consume cannabis with this card. In most locations, it comes in the form of a physical card, which contains some personal information. However, some programs permit the temporary use of an online version.
You can only get the card after receiving written approval from a physician licensed in your state. This process involves undergoing a consultation, where the doctor will ask you some questions about your medical condition. They will also decide whether you will potentially benefit from cannabis.
One of the most important determinations relates to a patient’s qualifying condition. What is acceptable under one state’s MMJ program is not under another. Please review your state’s rules before proceeding with your consultation. However, in most states, the following five medical conditions will qualify you for the card.
Research into the efficacy of cannabinoids on cancer itself is ongoing. However, marijuana is often used to help with cancer’s side effects and its treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Some of the most common reasons why cancer patients take cannabis are to:
Cannabis strains that possess both CBD and THC are possibly the best to help with certain cancer symptoms. Such marijuana strains may also prove useful for aiding with the side effects of treatment. A majority of states have included it among their lists of qualifying conditions, including:
Glaucoma is a common eye condition that affects around three million Americans. Approximately 90% of people with glaucoma are aged 40+. It occurs when there is a build-up of intraocular pressure causing damage if left untreated. Glaucoma can cause permanent blindness in some cases but also has a host of other symptoms, such as:
- Pain behind the eyes
- Sudden loss of vision or disturbed/blurred vision
- Red eyes
When consumed sublingually, cannabis can reduce intraocular eye pressure significantly. This has resulted in several states allowing glaucoma to qualify as a condition for medical marijuana.
This study, published in the Journal of Glaucoma in 2006, offered evidence of cannabis’ efficacy on glaucoma. Six patients received doses of THC and CBD. Researchers found that those who consumed THC benefited from a reduction in intraocular pressure (IOP). Interestingly, CBD didn’t produce the same effect.
3. Epilepsy & Seizure Disorders
The most recent CDC data on epilepsy prevalence in the United States comes from 2015. It found that approximately 3.4 million Americans have the condition. There is a growing trend towards people with epilepsy using CBD. Indeed, the FDA has approved a CBD-based product, Epidiolex, for certain conditions that have seizures as a symptom.
A significant number of states also include epilepsy as a qualifying condition for MMJ.
However, a significant number of states also include epilepsy as a qualifying condition for MMJ. Nevertheless, most research seems to focus on the benefits of CBD on epilepsy and subsequent seizures. A review of studies published in Cureus in 2018 looked at cannabis’ effect on epilepsy.
The study authors found that recent studies with over 100 participants showed that CBD use led to a major seizure frequency reduction. Some data suggests THC is also potentially useful. However, when choosing MMJ for epilepsy, it is worth considering strains with a high CBD level.
4. Alzheimer’s Disease
Research into marijuana’s antioxidant properties goes back decades. A study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2000 found that cannabis’ compounds, such as THC and CBD, acted as potent antioxidants.
A significant body of evidence suggests oxidative damage to the brain is an early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) event. The brains of people with this condition seem to have a higher degree of natural antioxidants, which try to remove excess free radicals.
As a result, the antioxidant properties of marijuana can prove beneficial to Alzheimer’s patients. For example, it could improve cognitive thoughts and reduce physical symptoms such as mobility issues and muscle spasticity.
A 2019 review of studies published in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture looked at the effects of cannabis on Alzheimer’s. The researchers determined that CBD potentially suppressed the causal factors of AD. However, a combination of CBD and THC was arguably even more effective.
Many states have approved Alzheimer’s as a qualifying condition, along with many other common degenerative diseases.
5. Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease affects the intestines, causing inflammation, leading to ulcers, and debilitating side effects. Some of the symptoms of Crohn’s include:
- Bloody stools
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
There is plenty of literature that outlines the anti-inflammatory powers of marijuana. A 2009 study published in Future Medicinal Chemistry looked at how cannabinoids could work as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.
As a result, marijuana could potentially alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s that occur due to excess inflammation. The result is possibly an increased quality of life and less pain.
Have You Got Your MMJ Card Yet?
If you are reading this and realize you may qualify for medical marijuana, check your state’s MMJ laws and go from there. The list of qualifying conditions varies according to the state program. However, most states include one of the five we have mentioned in this guide. Check out our guides on how to get a medical marijuana card in every state where it is possible to do so.