U.S. States with Medical Marijuana Programs: Which Medical Conditions and/or Diseases Qualify Under These Programs?
In the United States alone, each year, roughly 564,800 Americans are expected to die of cancer,
which equates to more than 1,500 people a day. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in
the U.S., right behind heart disease, and it has been found that one of every four deaths in the
United States is from cancer. Furthermore, according to the National Cancer Institute,
“Approximately 38.5 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer of any site at
some point during their lifetime”, which is based on 2012-2014 data. These statistics may be
shocking to some and appalling to many because too many people are losing their lives to
cancer. However, a lifesaving and extraordinary natural medicine has the potential to
significantly improve a person’s life in more ways than they could have ever imagined.
Cannabis—a miraculous plant that has been used for thousands of years contains a surplus of
medicinal benefits and properties that provide suffering individuals with an overwhelming
amount of relief and an improved quality of life.
In addition, cannabis or marijuana (as the government likes to refer to it as) remains federally
illegal on a national level, however, as time goes on, more and more U.S. states are
implementing their own medical cannabis programs, which allows for individuals suffering from
various medical conditions and diseases like cancer and many others to treat themselves with a
natural form of medicine—cannabis.
By the 2016 year mark, half of America’s fifty states moved towards the legalization of medical
cannabis, and a few additional states since then have approved medical cannabis programs, but
have not put them into action yet. The current U.S. states that have medical cannabis programs
in place include the following: Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, New
Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., New York, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware,
Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Florida, and Georgia (which allows for the use of only low THC oil at less than five percent THC by weight).
Furthermore, the following states have approved medical cannabis programs recently, but have not put them into action yet: Montana, North Dakota, Louisiana, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, and Florida.
Regarding qualifying medical conditions, diseases, and other debilitating illnesses that people
suffer from, all states with medical cannabis programs in place approve patients for a medical
cannabis card if they have cancer. Whereas, most states approve patients for medical cannabis
cards with any of the following medical conditions and/or diseases: glaucoma, HIV/AIDS,
Crohn’s Disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), severe or persistent muscle spasms
including those under the category of Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy and seizure disorders, a
chronic, debilitating disease(s) and/or medical condition(s) that produce one or more of the
following: Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome), severe nausea/vomiting, seizures including those
characteristic of epilepsy, and severe muscle spasms (including Multiple Sclerosis and other
diseases causing severe and persistent muscle spasms).
Furthermore, in order to qualify for a medical cannabis card, patients must have a medical
condition and/or disease that is on their state’s list of qualifying conditions, however, these
individual lists vary from state to state. Over the course of the past few years, more states are
putting medical cannabis programs in place in addition to adding more medical conditions
and/or diseases onto the list so that suffering patients can have access to this natural form of
Moreover, although each state has their own list of qualifying conditions, diseases, and/or
illnesses, the medical issues below are not approved under all state’s medical cannabis
programs, but they are approved under many state medical cannabis programs:
- Hepatitis C: Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New
Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire,
North Dakota, Ohio, and Rhode Island
- Parkinson’s Disease: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS): Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New
York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
- Arthritis: Arkansas, Connecticut, California, Illinois, and New Mexico
- Muscular Dystrophy: Illinois, New Hampshire, and New Jersey
- Huntington’s Disease: New York, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
- Autism: Delaware and Pennsylvania
- Anorexia: California, Maryland, New Mexico, and Washington
- Sickle Cell Anemia/Disease: Connecticut, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
- Severe Nausea/vomiting from cancer or other medical conditions/diseases: Arizona , Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington
- Tourette’s Syndrome: Minnesota, Arkansas, and Ohio
- Fibromyalgia: Arkansas, Illinois, North Dakota, and Ohio
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York
- Spasticity Disorders: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia
- Intractable pain: Arkansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington
- Neuropathies: New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
- Spinal cord injury, disease, and/or damage: Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
- Terminal Illness: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, and West Virginia
- Migraines: California and Connecticut
- Ulcerative Colitis: New Hampshire, New Mexico, Arkansas, Connecticut, and Ohio
- Severe and/or chronic pain OR a chronic debilitating disease that produces pain: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota (Chronic back pain only), Ohio, Pennsylvania (Chronic Neuropathic pain), Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington (Chronic renal failure only), and West Virginia (Chronic pain of Neuropathic origin)
There are many other medical conditions and diseases that qualify under certain state cannabis
programs, however, the most common ones that qualify under most medical cannabis
programs are listed above.
For more information on which specific medical conditions/diseases/illnesses your state’s
medical cannabis program approves of, check out the links below:
Approved Medical Conditions for Medical Marijuana Programs
Qualifying Medical Marijuana Conditions
As of 2017, half of the U.S. states have implemented medical cannabis programs and laws so
that people can choose which form of treatment and medicine they would like to use rather
than being forced to take pharmaceutical drugs and prescriptions that often times make them
feel worse. Cannabis has the ability to save lives and significantly improve a person’s well-being
on a physical, mental, and emotional level.
Countless doctors, scientists, and researchers around the world support the use of cannabis as
a form of treatment for many different debilitating medical conditions and diseases. An ending
quote comes from Lester Grinspoon, a MD and professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical
School, “Cannabis is remarkably safe. Although not harmless, it is surely less toxic than most of
the conventional medicines it could replace if it were legally available. Despite its use by millions
of people over thousands of years, cannabis has never cause an overdose death.”
“Cancer Stat Facts: Cancer of Any Site.” Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.
National Cancer Institute, n.d. Web. 20 July 2017.
McBride, Angus. “General Quotes On Medical Use of Cannabis and Prohibition.” Medical
Cannabis Report. Medical Cannabis Report, n.d. Web. 20 July 2017.
<http://medicalcannabisreport.com/general-quotes- on-medical- use-of- cannabis-and-
Staff, Leafly. “Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana by State.” Leafly. N.p., 17 July 2017.
Web. 20 July 2017. <https://www.leafly.com/news/health/qualifying-conditions- for-
“Working to Reform Marijuana Laws.” The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws. NORML and the NORML Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2017.
“Working to Reform Marijuana Laws.” The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana
Laws. NORML and the NORML Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2017. <http://norml.org/>.