Who says you’re not qualified to use medical cannabis? Well, a doctor might. So, if you are not sure you qualify for any of the conditions in your state’s MMJ program … What can you do? If you’re looking for a good excuse to get a medical card, we feel you.
Presently, over two-thirds of these United States have a medical marijuana program of some kind. Some states have a pretty crusty, unbending list of qualifying conditions for patients, but many leave some wiggle room for medical marijuana card approval. And this they leave to the discernment of the physician signing off on your MMJ certification.
In this article, we’ll help you increase your odds of qualifying for an MMJ card in your state if you don’t fall squarely into a condition listed by your state’s health department or cannabis authority. With a little knowledge in your noggin, a strategy for approach, and some polish on your communication skills, you’ll be representing yourself as a qualifying patient in no time.
Consider the Qualifying Conditions
Know before you go. It’s a good idea to brush up on the medical cannabis rules and restrictions for your state before you sprint in for your physician certification. A major part of this will be knowing what your home state’s MMJ program qualifying conditions are.
States tend to adopt similar programs, so a lot of these condition lists will look similar. Here’s a typical list of MMJ qualifying conditions. Remember: the list for your state likely varies to some degree.
List of Common Qualifying Conditions for MMJ Card
● Chronic Pain
● Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.)
Sample of Qualifying Conditions by State
To illustrate the point of common conditions and how state lists vary, here are the qualifying conditions for some of the states Elevate serves. Most of the above conditions are found on these lists, in some way:
● Cachexia/wasting syndrome
● Severe pain
● Severe nausea
● Severe or persistent muscle spasms
● Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
● Chronic pain
● Another chronic medical condition which is severe and for which other treatments have been ineffective
● Intractable migraines
● Chronic pain or persistent muscle spasms (including those associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette syndrome)
● Debilitating psychiatric disorders (including but not limited to PTSD)
● A medical condition typically treated with prescription drugs that could lead to physical or psychological dependence
● Any terminal illness
*Any other chronic debilitating medical condition, including but not limited to:
● Hepatitis C
● Irritable Bowel Syndrome
● Crohn’s disease
● Huntington’s disease
● Sickle cell anemia
● Alzheimer’s disease
● Wasting syndrome
Application and recommendation must be submitted by a licensed Oklahoma physician. There are currently no specific qualifying conditions (recommendations are left up to the discretion of the physician).
● Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
● Anxiety disorder
● Cancer, including remission therapy
● Crohn’s disease
● Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies
● Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
● Huntington’s disease
● Inflammatory bowel disease
● Intractable seizures
● Multiple sclerosis
● Neurodegenerative diseases
● Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions
● Parkinson’s disease
● Post-traumatic stress disorder
● Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain
● Sickle cell anemia
● Terminal illness
● Tourette Syndrome
This is an excellent sample of state lists; Oklahoma is obviously the least restrictive about qualifying (not an excuse for going in unprepared — doctors will still take their role in certification seriously); Missouri gives the doctors a nice margin for interpretation; Maryland’s list is punctuated with a sliver of interpretation; Pennsylvania has a lengthy but very specific list with seemingly little chance for loopholes — but they are there, e.g., anxiety disorders.
Shades of Qualifying
It’s likely that in most states, we’re all qualifying to some degree. But a licensed physician like our compassionate cannabis doctors at Elevate Holistics, is going to need something substantial enough to base a medical record upon. If you’re going to a family practitioner who has little-to-no experience with cannabis medicine, they’e likely to be even more rigorous in their questioning.
Remember, you have every right to ask your doctor about medical marijuana. If they don’t seem onboard, there are many services like Elevate that specialize in medical marijuana patients. Just be sure you choose an online clinic that has licensed doctors and practices safety and security.
Many of us suffer from anxiety or sleep disorders to some degree. Are these good excuses for getting a medical card? If they disrupt your life, we say yes. Some of the conditions that fall into the gray area of qualifying but could be a good excuse to go for that MMJ card might include:
● Anxiety and depression
● Chronic pain, muscle spasms, inflammation
● Insomnia and poor sleep
Now, how to turn those shades of gray into certain certification? It’s all about approach and communication. You don’t have to be an Ocean’s Eleven member, just be able to have a regular conversation about your condition.
Approach for Your MMJ Certification Appointment
● Gather medical records or proof of prior treatment. This is evidence that will strengthen your chances. You don’t have to have a previous diagnosis, but if you do have a record of your condition, it may certainly seal the deal.
● Do some legwork on the condition. If you want to qualify because of anxiety, research how MMJ may help.
● Prepare talking points. People who regularly suffer from a condition are usually well-versed in explaining it. Don’t look like you’ve never talked about it before, or Doc might interpret it as “seeking” behavior.
What Your Certifying Physician Likely Needs to Hear
Does your condition affect your lifestyle, an activity, or your ability to function? In what way is your condition debilitating or disruptive to your life? If you are wanting MMJ to treat anxiety, insomnia, or chronic pain, this should be fairly easy to explain. But be ready to say how it’s affecting your work, your family dynamic, your overall sense of well-being. Don’t look like you don’t know what it’s like to live with the qualifying condition.
Mention how you’ve tried treatments that did not work. For example, how sleep aids made you feel groggy the next day; anxiety meds caused you to feel sluggish and slurred your speech; depression medication put the kibosh your sex drive.
Show that you’ve done some at least some preliminary research on the subject. (Feel free to check out the Elevate blog for how medical marijuana can help a variety of conditions.) Talk about someone you know that MMJ has helped.
Furthermore, ask the doctor questions about medical marijuana and how it might help you. If you are naturally engaging, like you would be if you were there for an antibiotic, the doc will likely not suspect you of just being there to get weed to get high.
Elevate Holistics — Compassionate and Hassle-Free
Our compassionate cannabis doctors are ready to hear your need for a medical weed card. You can book a same-day appointment and have a telehealth visit right from your own home. Book your safe and secure appointment today!