What Symptoms Qualify Me?

Many people are nervous about getting an evaluation. They wonder what symptoms they have to have, to qualify them for medical marijuana. They also wonder how they will be diagnosed.

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 a trauma, or a perception of trauma. This 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 trouble sleeping, jumpiness, difficulty with crowds and loud noises, and a general dislike of going out and being fully involved in life.

If this might describe you, you may qualify for a card. PTSD is very common. It often goes unrecognized. 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 again helpful, but if you don’t, that’s ok, because Dr. Cook is a specialist in PTSD, and he can diagnose you on his own.

2. Chronic Pain: This is not just a sprained ankle, or occasional headache, or pain from high heels, but a persistent, severe, and debilitating pain. By definition, for it to be debilitating and severe, it has not responded to traditional treatments. Traditional treatment includes ice, stretching, motrin, physical therapy, injections, pain meds, or surgery. You do not have to have injections or surgery, or even most of the rest, to qualify. However, you must have tried at least some of them, since Hawaii views medical marijuana as a “last-ditch effort” medicine.  You merely have to have had some of those recommended, and then attest that they didn’t work well for your pain.

Some patients have had addicting opioid pain meds or anti-inflammatory meds (Motrin) recommended to them, but for some reason cannot tolerate those meds. For example, Motrin can cause stomach ulcers, and opioids such as tramadol, vicodin, etc. are obviously addicting.

If you are applying for your chronic pain, it helps if you have some sort of past medical records.  Dr. Cook can also examine your pain on his own.

We hope that answers some of your questions.

Before you Apply, please read our page on How To Get a Card so you understand the application process.