Iowa Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

To obtain an Iowa medical marijuana card, you must have a qualifying condition as defined by the Iowa Department of Public Health, or IDPH. Since the passage of HB 524 and HF 2589 in 2017 and 2019, respectively, this list of conditions has been expanded.

If you are a resident of Iowa and at least 18 years of age, then you‘re eligible to submit a patient application to the Iowa medical marijuana program. In order to get accepted into Iowa‘s medical cannabidiol program, though, you must provide an official diagnosis of one of the state‘s qualifying conditions.

Here are five of the most common conditions on the state‘s list and how medical marijuana can help treat them.

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1: Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can stem from numerous ailments, including cancer and neuropathy. If you experience this condition, medical marijuana may be able to help.

THC modulates the body's endocannabinoid system and alters its pain perception. As a result, it can be effective when other medications have failed to bring about relief.

Pain is a complex phenomenon, and it can be debilitating for some. Fortunately, medical marijuana does not involve the same serious risk profile as opioid compounds. Therefore, it can be a safe alternative to opioids and even help people reduce their opioid dependency.

2: Cancer

Cannabis cannot cure cancer, but it can alleviate many of its symptoms. According to the American Cancer Society, medical marijuana can address:

  • Neuropathic pain
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Reliance on opioid painkillers

When combined with traditional treatment, medical cannabis can benefit Iowa cancer patients. Namely, it can help patients cope with chemotherapy-induced nausea. By minimizing this nausea, it can help patients avoid weight loss.


Despite researchers‘ difficulties with pinpointing the neurological origins of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), medical marijuana has been shown to help treat those with this condition. It contains CBD and THC--two compounds that can relieve many of this disorder's symptoms.

PTSD usually emerges after significant spikes in norepinephrine, which can change people‘s core brain structures. The cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana can disinhibit the release of these catecholamines. In layman's terms, medical marijuana calms the sympathetic nervous system and attenuates anxiety.

An overactive sympathetic nervous system can generate many symptoms, from panic to nervous tics. Luckily, many PTSD patients report symptom relief after using medical marijuana. Still, it is important to consult with a licensed doctor and follow a comprehensive treatment regimen if you decide to go that route.

4: Seizures

Although it may not be effective for all types of seizures, medical marijuana can treat many of them. In particular, CBD-rich strains can reduce seizure frequency in drug-resistant individuals.

The results that the Epilepsy Foundation has reported from recent lab studies and clinical trials is promising. Nevertheless, medical marijuana may not be effective for every patient, and some may not respond to it at all.

CBD-rich strains usually elicit the most powerful seizure-reducing effects, so choose your strains accordingly.

5: Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson‘s is typically treated with traditional pharmaceuticals, which may cause side effects. Medical marijuana may not treat Parkinson's directly, but it can help address symptoms of the condition.

Medical marijuana can make Parkinson‘s symptoms more tolerable. In particular, it can reduce nausea and pain. Also, PD patients may notice reductions in their anxiety and sleep disturbances thanks to medical marijuana use. Plus, medical cannabis can improve patients‘ appetite and make it easier for them to maintain a healthy weight.

Full List of Iowa Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

The Iowa Department of Public Health lists the following medical conditions as official qualifying conditions:

  • Chronic pain or untreatable pain
  • Crohn's disease
  • PTSD
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Nausea or severe vomiting
  • Cachexia or severe wasting syndrome
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Corticobasal degeneration
  • Multiple sclerosis with severe and persistent muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Any terminal illness
  • Intractable autism with aggressive behaviors
  • Cancer

Don’t Have a Qualifying Condition on This List

If you do not have a condition on this list, do not worry. The state of Iowa may approve other qualifying conditions based on your specific circumstances. If you are unable to apply for an Iowa MMJ registration card yourself, you can appoint a designated caregiver to do so on your behalf.

Contact the Sanctuary Wellness Institute today to get connected with an Iowa physician who can help you navigate the process of obtaining medical marijuana.