NY MMJ Qualifying Conditions

Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in New York

  • Although New York State allows adults age 21+ to buy marijuana legally, under that age a New York medical marijuana card is required.
  • List of qualifying medical conditions for a New York medical marijuana card.
  • List of additional potential qualifying medical conditions.
  • New York medical marijuana program links, guides, and resources.

The state of New York officially legalized the sale, use, manufacture, delivery, transport, and possession of medical marijuana under the Compassionate Care Act of 2014. Under the auspices of the Department of Health, Qualifying patients were required to obtain a prescription from a certified health practitioner in order to purchase cannabis products from a medical marijuana dispensary. Once the qualifying patients were registered in New York State Medical Marijuana Program they were allowed to purchase a limited supply of medical marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries. The MMP also manages the registry, certification, and regulation of dispensaries and medical practitioners.

When the law was first implemented, qualifying patients were able to purchase and possess a 30-day supply of cannabis-infused products. Initially, New York’s medical marijuana program only allowed patients access to pills or liquids that could be taken orally or vaporized. Smokable and edible marijuana products were illegal in the state.

In 2017, the Department of Health eventually allowed qualifying patients to purchase topicals such as lotions, ointments, and patches, as well as solid and semi-solid products including chewable and effervescent tablets and lozenges. Certain non-smokable forms of ground plant material were also available. Smokable cannabis was still prohibited.

New York’s recent legalization of adult recreational use of marijuana

New York State recently passed a bill that effectively legalized the use of recreational marijuana for anyone twenty-one years of age or older. 

However, this long-overdue policy shift doesn’t completely eradicate the need for a medical marijuana card for all patients in New York. For example, minors and patients under the age of 21 are unable to purchase marijuana legally without a doctor’s approval. 

Also, many recreational users prefer potent strains of marijuana containing high levels of a cannabinoid compound called THC which produces intoxicating effects. Conversely, for therapeutic purposes, medical marijuana patients benefit more from cannabis with lower THC and higher CBD levels. CBD is similar to THC but does not cause intoxication. 

Qualifying medical conditions for a New York medical marijuana card

The list of qualifying medical conditions in New York was originally limited. Only patients diagnosed with ALS, MS, HIV/AIDS, or cancer were able to receive a New York medical marijuana card.

In March of 2017, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker approved chronic pain, or any debilitating pain determined to undermine health and functional capabilities as a qualifying condition. To fully qualify the patients’ pain symptoms must be expected to last for three months.

These conditions were added to the standard qualifying conditions for receiving a medical marijuana card in New York State:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • autism
  • cancer
  • dystonia
  • epilepsy
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Huntington’s disease
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • muscular dystrophy
  • neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • pain that degrades health and functional capability
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • rheumatoid arthritis 
  • spinal cord injury with spasticity
  • substance-use disorder
  • any other condition certified by the medical practitioner
  • cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • severe nausea
  • seizures
  • severe or persistent muscle spasms
  • severe or chronic pain
  • or such conditions as added by the commissioner

Here are some of the additional medical conditions that have since been added to the list:

  • anxiety and depression
  • chronic pain, muscle spasms, inflammation
  • migraine
  • nausea
  • insomnia and poor sleep
  • agoraphobia
  • ADHD/ADD

Additional qualifying medical conditions for a New York medical marijuana card

An important amendment was made recently to medical marijuana regulations in New York State. Physicians and nurse practitioners now have the ability to use their own discretion when certifying patients rather than defaulting to the list of qualifying conditions.

Here are some medical conditions that are not on the above list that might qualify patients for a New York medical marijuana card.

  • acute gastritis
  • anorexia nervosa
  • bipolar disorder 
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • drug and alcohol dependence
  • tobacco dependence
  • gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • insomnia
  • myofascial pain syndrome
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • ulcerative colitis
  • sleep apnea
  • tremors and other involuntary movements
  • arthritis
  • Asberger’s
  • asthma
  • ataxia
  • bell’s palsy
  • bipolar disorder
  • brain fog
  • bulging disc
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • cystic fibrosis
  • diabetes
  • dystonia
  • eczema
  • encephalopathy
  • erectile dysfunction
  • herpes
  • glaucoma
  • headaches
  • hepatitis 
  • herniated disc
  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Lyme disease
  • lupus
  • menopause
  • migraine
  • motion sickness
  • muscular dystrophy
  • nightmares
  • obesity
  • opioid abuse
  • osteoarthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • psoriasis
  • sciatica
  • shingles (herpes zoster)
  • sickle cell anemia
  • sleep apnea
  • stress
  • traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • ulcerative colitis
  • viral hepatitis

As marijuana laws evolve across the U.S., more doctors and legislators will fully understand the benefits of the healing herb. Eventually, every state in the union will embrace medical cannabis in one form or another, one qualifying condition at a time.

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