Many people are nervous about getting an evaluation. They wonder whether their symptoms would qualify them for medical marijuana. They also wonder how they will be diagnosed.
Ultimately, Dr. Cook will base his decision on his own diagnosis, not on a set of symptoms. However, some people like to know before they come in whether they “might” qualify. Thus, we want to help you by giving you a rough picture of what a medical marijuana patient looks like.
Dr. Cook usually certifies for PTSD, or Chronic Pain.
He can also certify for other debilitating conditions, including: epilepsy, lupus, inflammatory bowel disorders, glaucoma, malignant cancer, muscle spasms, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and more. Here is a full list of the conditions that Hawaii allows.
- PTSD and 2. Chronic Pain are summarized below.
1. PTSD: This is a chronic stress disorder, caused by a trauma, or a perception of a trauma. It results in a long period of anxiety. The trauma can be emotional in nature- you do not have to be a combat veteran. For example, physical or emotional abuse can result in a longstanding pattern of feeling endangered, having trouble sleeping, jumpiness, difficulty with crowds and loud noises, and a dislike of going out and being fully involved in your life.
If this might describe you, you may qualify for a card. Keep in mind that PTSD is very common! It probably effects up to 10% of the population… It often goes unrecognized, and undiagnosed. See our page on PTSD for more info.
Dr. Cook diagnoses PTSD with a simple interview, by observing you in person, and by having you fill out a questionnaire that is used by researchers to screen for, and measure, PTSD.
If you are applying for PTSD, past records are helpful, but if you don’t have them, that’s OK- Dr. Cook is a specialist in PTSD, and he can diagnose you on his own, without the help of other doctors.
2. Chronic Pain: This is not just a sprained ankle, or an occasional headache, but a persistent, severe, and debilitating pain.
First, you must report that the pain is severe. That part is subjective, and based on what you report. Next, it must be debilitating. In other words, it has not responded to ordinary treatment, or is still a big problem despite ordinary treatment. Ordinary treatment includes doctors visits, ice, stretching, Motrin, Tylenol, opioid pain medicine, physical therapy, injections, surgery, etc. You do not have to try all of these, or even most of these, to qualify for medical marijuana. All that Dr. Cook requires is that you must have tried (and failed) at least some of these ordinary methods, and report that to him when you come in.
Some patients have had addicting opioid pain meds or anti-inflammatory meds (Motrin) recommended to them, but for some reason, they cannot tolerate those medications. For instance, Motrin can cause stomach ulcers in many people, and cannabis is a superior (safer) anti-inflammatory. Opioid pain medication such as tramadol, vicodin, etc., are very addicting, and for most people, cannabis is not.
If you are applying due to Chronic Pain, it helps Dr. Cook if you have some sort of past medical records. If you do not, it prolongs your visit by a little, but Dr. Cook can examine the location of your pain on his own.
We hope that answers some of your questions.
Before you go ahead and Apply, please read our page on How To Get a Card so you understand the application process.