What Symptoms Will Qualify Me for Medical Marijuana?

Many people wonder if their symptoms might 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.

  1. PTSD and 2. Chronic Pain are summarized below.

1. PTSD:  This is a chronic stress disorder, caused by some sort of trauma, or the perception of 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, longstanding physical or emotional abuse can result in a pattern of feeling endangered, having trouble sleeping, jumpiness, difficulty with crowds, loud noises, and a dislike of going out and being fully involved in the world.

If this might describe you, you may qualify for a card.

Keep in mind that PTSD is very common. It effects up to 10% of the population… and often goes unrecognized, 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 used by researchers to screen for and measure PTSD.

If you are applying for PTSD, past records are helpful, but Dr. Cook does not require them since he is a specialist in PTSD and can diagnose this condition without other doctors.

2. Chronic Pain: This is not just a sprained ankle or occasional headache, but a persistent, severe, and debilitating pain.

First, the pain must severe and debilitating. Pain in your feet from walking the mall does not count, neither does pain from wearing heels, neither does pain from typing. In other words, the pain has been addressed usually by other clinicians, it hasn’t responded to ordinary treatment, and is still a problem despite failure to respond to ordinary treatment. This means failure to get better with ordinary treatment such as, failure to get better with ice, stretching, Motrin, Tylenol, anti-inflammatories, doctor’s visits, intolerance to or avoidance of narcotic 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 a reasonable amount of these ordinary methods, and tell him about it 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, mild to moderate use of 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.