Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

The Medical Marijuana Act allows any Rhode Islander with a qualifying medical condition to obtain a medical marijuana card. As a qualifying patient, you can purchase cannabis flower and other medical marijuana products to manage the symptoms of your debilitating medical condition(s).

For many people, conventional treatments either fail to control the symptoms of the condition they are used to treat or lead to adverse side effects that compromise patients’ quality of life. Marijuana for medical use is a widely accepted alternative that helps with many physical and psychological symptoms that adversely impact functional ability.

In many cases, medical marijuana patients can participate in day-to-day activities to a greater extent. The following discussion covers some of the more common qualifying conditions delineated by the Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Program and ways in which cannabis can help treat them.

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1: Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is debilitating, limiting one's ability to ambulate and function. Commonly prescribed opioid medications carry a high addiction risk and numerous detrimental side effects.

Rhode Island doctors can recommend cannabis for chronic pain resulting from any condition. Common reasons include, but are not limited to, cancer, multiple sclerosis, chronic neck or back injury, sickle cell anemia, and arthritis.

The THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in medical marijuana enter the bloodstream, rapidly relieving pain by disrupting nerve signals without significant cognitive or physical side effects that can limit function.

2: Cancer

Patients with cancer often experience severe pain, appetite loss, nerve damage, nausea, depression, and anxiety from their disease and its treatment. Medical cannabis is widely embraced as a low-risk pain manager that disrupts nerve signals that lead to persistent and neuropathic pain.

In addition, marijuana raises appetite while quelling nausea. These effects help many patients maintain body weight and vitamin levels to keep them strong through treatment. The uplifting effects of marijuana can help balance mood and combat depression symptoms for patients coping with their diagnosis and the rigors of treatment.

3: Seizures

Seizure disorders, including epilepsy, are characterized by neurological episodes that feature convulsions, muscle contractions, and potentially harmful movement. As doctors learn more about the condition, studies on medical marijuana are promising.

Researchers have seen reductions in overall seizure occurrence and intensity among patients using cannabis. Further study is needed, but one leading hypothesis proposes that the neuroprotective properties of marijuana may shield the brain.

Researchers are also investigating cannabis' ability to rewire faulty communication channels that lead to seizures through the endocannabinoid system.

4: Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a virus that leads to chronic liver disease and requires broad antiviral treatment to manage. Medical marijuana effectively controls many of the detrimental side effects of conventional hepatitis treatment.

Cannabis reduces both nausea and pain, elevating patients' tolerance for activity while making it easier to comply with their antiviral protocols. Patients often experience improved appetites thanks to the use of marijuana. In addition, studies have reported no impact on liver function or adverse effects on medication from marijuana.

5: Alzheimer’s Disease

The neurodegeneration responsible for Alzheimer's disease causes confusion, cognitive difficulty, and memory problems. As a result, many individuals undergo mood changes, including agitation that leads to verbal and physical aggression.

Medical cannabis' psychological effects can calm patients while easing anxiety and depression that alter their quality of life. Controlling symptoms of agitation can make it easier for Alzheimer's patients to comply with treatment and cooperate with caregivers.

Research is in its earliest stages, but physicians are exploring adult-use medical marijuana's ability to slow the progression of Alzheimer's symptoms.

Full List of Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Card Qualifying Conditions

The following diagnoses qualify a patient for a medical cannabis card in Rhode Island:

  • Agitation related to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (patients must be 18 years or older)

Medical marijuana doctors may also issue recommendations for any chronic or debilitating condition if the disease or its treatment causes one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Agitation related to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and debilitating chronic pain
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those resulting from multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease
  • Severe nausea

Don’t Have A Qualifying Condition on This List

If you have a chronic medical condition that is not on the state’s list of qualifying diagnoses, the Sanctuary can help.

Our team can explain the rules of the Rhode Island Department of Health’s medical marijuana program and connect you with a compassionate medical marijuana doctor. That provider will conduct a comprehensive consultation and issue a practitioner written certification form if your symptoms qualify you for one.

We can then advise you about the patient application form you must submit to become an MMJ cardholder so you can start visiting Rhode Island dispensaries (also known as “compassion centers”) as soon as possible. Note that, as part of the application process, you’ll need to submit proof of residency to prove that you live in the state of rhode island, such as a voter registration card, car insurance bill, Rhode Island Driver’s license, or a similar type of official identification card. You’ll also have to submit an application fee.

Contact us today to learn more.