Minnesota Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

Minnesota residents have been able to purchase medical marijuana from state dispensaries to treat certain medical conditions approved by the Office of Medical Cannabis since 2015, when the state passed the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Law. The law—which the Minnesota Department of Health used to establish Minnesota's Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP)—grants qualifying patients the ability to manage symptoms from such debilitating conditions as chronic pain, cancer, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The process for MMMP eligibility starts with a written certification from a licensed health care practitioner stating that treatment with medical marijuana would be beneficial for their condition.

The following is a list of five of the most common conditions suffered by patients applying to Minnesota's medical cannabis program.

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1: Terminal Illness

Medical cannabis is often used to help alleviate symptoms in patients diagnosed with a terminal illness. For many patients, medical cannabis can help improve a patient's quality of life by easing pain, reducing nausea or vomiting, and improving appetite.

Cannabis also has anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for patients with a terminal illness. In some cases, medical cannabis may be the only treatment that helps alleviate symptoms from a terminal illness.

To qualify for a medical marijuana card in Minnesota, patients must first obtain a written certification from a licensed physician. The physician must certify that the patient has a qualifying condition and that medical cannabis would be an effective treatment for the patient’s condition.

2: Chronic or Intractable Pain

Chronic pain is one of the most common reasons people seek out medical marijuana cards in Minnesota . Patients suffering from chronic pain often find that cannabis is a more effective and safer treatment than prescription painkillers. There are many ways to treat chronic pain with medical cannabis, including topical applications, smoking, or ingesting it in edible form. Some patients find that a combination of methods works best for them.

Medical cannabis has been shown to be effective at treating chronic pain, as well as other conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It is an all-natural alternative to prescription medications, which can often have harsh side effects. Cannabis is also non-addictive, which is another reason why it is becoming a popular treatment for chronic pain.

3: Cancer

Patients with cancer who are undergoing treatments suffer from side effects as nausea, vomiting, and pain. Medical marijuana is used by many to bring some relief from these side effects. Cannabis is also effective in helping therapy-induced cachexia, or severe wasting, by stimulating patients' appetites following rounds of radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

4: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can develop after exposure to a traumatic event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and avoidance of anything that might remind the person of the traumatic event.

There is evidence that cannabinoids may be helpful in treating PTSD. The two main cannabinoids in cannabis—CBD and THC—are both known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. They may also help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Animal studies have shown that cannabinoids can reduce symptoms of PTSD, and there is anecdotal evidence from people with PTSD that cannabis helps them to cope with their symptom.

If you think that medical cannabis products could help you manage your PTSD symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether this treatment could be right for you.

5: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are many ways that those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea can treat their condition with medical cannabis. Some people find that using cannabis before bed helps them to sleep more soundly, without the interruption of airway obstruction. Others find that smoking or vaping cannabis throughout the day helps to open up their airways and improve their breathing. Additionally, cannabis can be used to treat other symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea, such as anxiety and depression.

Full List of Minnesota Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

Only patients who are legal Minnesota residents and have been diagnosed with and certified for at least one of the following qualifying conditions are eligible to receive medical cannabis in Minnesota:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (must meet DSM-5)
  • Cancer (if illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain; nausea or severe vomiting; or cachexia or severe wasting)
  • Chronic motor or vocal tic disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
  • Intractable pain
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of less than one year (if illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain; nausea or severe vomiting; or cachexia or severe wasting)
  • Tourette's syndrome

Don’t Have A Qualifying Condition on This List

If you are a resident of Minnesota and feel as though your medical condition should be listed among those already on the Department of Health's qualifying medical condition list, you may still be able to apply for a medical marijuana card.

Under Minnesota state law, prospective patients with chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and cancer are likely to be approved, but other conditions may also qualify you for medical cannabis use.

Even if your medical condition is not on the state's list of qualifying conditions, you can still contact the Sanctuary to learn more about medical marijuana, connect with a local healthcare provider or medical marijuana doctor, and learn about how to become a medical cannabis patient in the state of Minnesota.