Because cannabis is illegal under federal law, medical marijuana laws in the United States vary state-to-state. Some are more restrictive than others in terms of who is qualified to use medical marijuana, while others make it easy for those seeking cannabis for their conditions to access it. We are going to look at some of the qualifying conditions for a medical card in Missouri.
“Any chronic medical condition that causes severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette syndrome; a chronic medical condition that is normally treated with a prescription medication that could lead to psychological dependence, when a physician determines that medical use of marijuana could be effective in treating that condition and would serve as a safer alternative to the prescription medication; any terminal illness; or in the professional judgement of a physician, any other chronic, debilitating or other medical condition, including, but not limited to, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism, neuropathies, sickle cell anemia, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, and wasting syndrome.”
In other words – qualifying conditions for a medical card in Missouri can be any condition your doctor deems trying medical marijuana appropriate for. This makes Missouri one of the most lenient medical marijuana laws in the country, allowing patients to access the medicine they need easily. This is also good news for the opioid epidemic – which is steadily rising in Missouri every year. Medical marijuana has been shown to be a less addictive and damaging alternative for pain than opioids.
Aside from the general qualifying conditions, there are explicitly listed qualifying conditions for a medical card in Missouri.
Cancer is the first condition listed in the Missouri constitution as a qualifying condition. Cancer patients may choose to use medical marijuana for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is to combat nausea from chemotherapy. Medical marijuana can also build an appetite, which chemotherapy kills off quickly. It can even help with other symptoms a cancer patient might be battling like anxiety or neuropathy.
Some cancer patients use medical marijuana because they believe it is curing their cancer. Though we do not claim medical marijuana can treat or cure any disease, some studies show that cannabis may have the potential to fight cancer cells and inhibit their growth. This study, for example, showed cannabidiol (aka CBD) to be effective in “preventing cell growth and induce cell death in cervical cancer cell lines.”
Epilepsy is listed as one of the qualifying conditions for a medical card in Missouri and is one of the most widely studied conditions exploring medical marijuana for treatment. There is even an FDA-approved drug, Epidiolex, that is a synthetic form of cannabidiol prescribed to patients over the age of two with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The FDA’s approval of Epidiolex signals great potential for cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy. Marinol and Cesamet have also been approved for human use by the FDA; however, they are inspired by THC.
According to sources, cannabis has been seen as a treatment for epilepsy since the 19th century, backed by the experiences and research of William O’Shaughnessy, a well-known physician of the 1800s.
Research has shown that CBD is effective as an alternative to common seizure medications, even in children. Epilepsy is one of the most common reasons that children use CBD or have a medical marijuana card. This study says, “CBD trials reporting over the last two years have successfully transitioned the position of the drug from ‘anecdotal and promising’ to ‘proven to be effective’.”
Glaucoma is one of the oldest conditions that have been studied questioning medical marijuana’s potential for treating pain – with studies going back to the 1970s. It is also one of the most frequently cited reasons that people use medical marijuana. Glaucoma is a condition that impacts the optic nerve in the eye. The optic nerve is essential for healthy vision. The condition causes pain in the eye and ultimately can lead to vision loss. This condition affects millions of people and is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. This study from 1971 showed cannabis to relieve intraocular pressure (IOP) by 25-30%. Glaucoma is thought to be a neurodegenerative disorder, so cannabis being a neuroprotector is another reason why it may be beneficial for treating glaucoma.