5 Less Common Legal Medical Marijuana Uses

States are moving to legalize medical marijuana use for a greater range of conditions.

States are moving to legalize medical marijuana use for a greater range of conditions.

Lawmakers in New Jersey recently introduced a bill to add menstrual cramps to the state’s list of legal indications for medical marijuana.

“For many women, the response to pain so severe that it causes them to vomit or faint is either ‘just deal with it’ or a prescription drug that may not even alleviate their symptoms,” said bill-cosponsor Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen/Passaic), in a press release. “We’re talking about expanding our activity in one of the nation's fastest-growing industries—and garnering the economic benefit that comes with that— while simultaneously expanding women’s options when it comes to doing what’s best for their health.”

If the legislation is enacted, New Jersey would become the first US state to include dysmenorrhea on its list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Meanwhile, nearly all states that permit medical marijuana include 1 or more of the following qualifying conditions:

  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Glaucoma
  • Cachexia

Some states, however, are beginning to include less conventional conditions on their qualifying lists based on either the pain reduction potential or the stress-relieving properties of medical cannabis.

Here are some other less commonly covered conditions included under certain state medical marijuana laws:

1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

States: Arizona, Connecticut, and Delaware

PTSD patients can benefit from the indica cannabis strains because they help with sleep while sativa reduces depression.

Before receiving medical marijuana to treat PTSD in Arizona, a certifying physician must attest that the patient is currently undergoing conventional treatment for PTSD before signing the marijuana certification.

This is a higher standard than it is for other qualifying ailments under Arizona’s 2010 cannabis law.

2. Anorexia Nervosa

States: California, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington

Medical marijuana has been deemed effective in treating anorexia nervosa because of the appetitive effect of cannabis and its synthetic derivates, but it can’t relieve the patient of body dysmorphia, overall concern about weight, and the fear of food that all characterize an eating disorder.

No states include bulimia or unspecified eating disorders.

3. Sickle Cell Disease

States: Connecticut and Georgia

Medical marijuana can be used to manage pain among sickle cell patients.

It can also act as an anti-inflammatory without the risks or side effects related to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which can include gastrointestinal complications.

4. Nail-Patella Syndrome

States: Illinois, Maine, Michigan

Nail-patella syndrome is a rare condition in which an individual’s nails are absent, underdeveloped and discolored, ridged, pitted, or split. It can also affect the knees, elbows, and pelvis.

Medical marijuana can reduce the pain associated with the joint malformations and stability caused by nail-patella syndrome. It can also lower the risk and progression of glaucoma by lowering intra-ocular pressure and also kidney disease—both of which are associated with it.

5. Hospice Patients

States: Montana and New Mexico

Patients in either of these states that have been moved into hospice care can obtain medical marijuana to relieve any pain or suffering they may otherwise experience during their final months of life.