What Conditions Can Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Help With?

Below is a list of the main conditions marijuana can help with and what sorts of illnesses, injuries, impairments, handicaps and disabilities can potentially get you a Medical Marijuana Card (MMIC) and Physician’s Statement. For contemporary peer-reviewed research on many of the below conditions, see here. The NORML library is also a very good resource.

Please remember that not all states in the US will recommend marijuana for the below, and some doctors may not recommend marijuana if they feel it clashes with other treatments, therapies or medications. In some instances, having one condition will be connected to one or more other conditions listed below. Prefer something visual? Scroll to the bottom for our infographic.

Condition Strains Patients Report Using Effects of Strain How Strain Helps
Addiction Medicine Man; White Widow; Blue Moonshine; Afghani-based strains; high-THC sativa strains. Sleepy, relaxed, uplifted, tingly. Afghani-based strains are particularly good for addiction to painkillers, alcohol and benzodiazepines. Strength can be overwhelming for some, and White Widow can sometimes induce paranoia. The high THC content of these strains can produce intense euphoria and help ward off cravings. The anti-emetic, anti-convulsive and hunger these strains produce can also be helpful for withdrawal. High THC may help beat pain and cravings.
AIDS/HIV; Autoimmune / Retroviral Conditions (e.g. Lupus, Hepatitis C) Lemon Bubble, Jasmine, Jock Horror, Sexxpot, Velvet Bud. Happy, energetic, uplifted, focused, euphoric. (Generally speaking.) Dry mouth is a possibility with these strains, too. Probably better to avoid smoking these strains, as smoking may increase the possibility of infection. Vape or eat instead. These strains are best for fatigue, which is common in those taking antiretroviral medications. Chronic exhaustion, physical weakness, anxiety, appetite loss and becoming too ill to take usual medications are all side-effects of retroviral treatments, for which marijuana can provide relief.
Alzheimer’s Disease Canna-Tsu, Lemon Haze, Donna OG, Critical Kush, Afghan x Skunk Uplifted and euphoric or sleepy and relaxed; pain-free. Negatives depends on strain. Avoid lemon haze if you are prone to anxiety. Dry eyes and mouth are also common with this strain. These are CBD-heavy strains, which is an antispasmodic. THC also slows the buildup of neural plaques, and other cannabinoids help cell growth. Marijuana can help stave off other Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Anxiety G-13 Haze, Amnesia Haze, Blue Satellite, Lavender, Blue Dream Focused, relaxed, euphoric, uplifted. It may seem unusual for haze- and sativa- based strains for anxiety, but their balanced THC:CBD ratio makes anxiety less likely. Lots of overlap with strains for depression, but there are some differences between strains and some that should be avoided for those suffering from either condition. Terpene-rich strains are excellent anxiety-busters, especially linalool and limonene. THC also helps relieve stress (which is linked to the endocannabinoid system), but it is important to have a balanced amount with other cannabinoids in order to beat the dreaded “panic attack”.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Romulan, God Bud, Platinum Girl Scout Cookies, Laughing Buddha, $100 OG. A mixture of indicas and sativas, all helping to keep pain-free, happy and giggly. Romulan is great for sleep. Marijuana can help combat pain, spasticity, depression, appetite loss and drooling in those with ALS. Cannabis oils may help slow the progression of ALS.
Asthma White Russian, Cheese, Super Skunk, White Fire OG, Strawberry Diesel, Ice. Ice is very much a sleepy indica, but the others generally produce a balanced indica-sativa effect, with lots of euphoria and an uplifted effect, with sleepiness in some towards the tail-end of the high. Effects can be anxiety-inducing for novices due to the speed of their effect, although this can be reduced by controlling usage. Asthma has many links to anxiety, hypertension and allergies. Reducing stress and heart rate is important to prevent attacks, and the right strain can potentially stop one from happening in its tracks.
Arthritis Burmese Kush, Cannatonic, Grand Daddy Purple, Jack Herer, Girl Scout Cookies. A broad range of effects, ranging from the sleepy and relaxed (Burmese Kush) to the clear-headed and euphoric (Jack Herer). Cannabinoid- and terpene-rich strains with anti-inflammatory and bone-healing properties are best for those with arthritis.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Sour Diesel, Green Crack, Harle-Tsu, 8 Miles High, Cinex. Energetic, clear-headed, focused, creative. Some of these strains are high in THC, though, so may induce anxiety and paranoia in some. Some report dry eyes, mouth and headaches, too. Finding the right strain is important to get the most out of marijuana for ADD/ADHD, as some strains may do the opposite. Most of these are sativas with a decent amount of CBG and THCv in them – both excellent cannabinoids for energetic, focused effects. CBD-heavy strains can sometimes be helpful (e.g. Harle-Tsu), but not necessarily so.
Cancer & Chemotherapy Side-Effects Medicine Man aka White Rhino, Harlequin, ACDC, Pre-98 Bubba Kush, Chocolope Haze Some focused and energetic, others sleepy and relaxed. CBD-heavy strains are great for daytime use and keeping pain-free over the day. All of these strains are known for their extremely rich cannabinoid profile. Anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, hunger-inducing and stress-busting.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) NL5 x Haze, Mango Haze/Super Silver Haze, Jack Herer, Congo Haze, Strawberry Cough. Energetic, focused, chatty, buzzy, sociable. Some strains may prove to be overwhelmingly euphoric for those not used to them. These strains can help keep people pain-free and help prevent them from “lacking energy”. They also have neuroprotective qualities.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Harlequin, ACDC, Cannatonic, Dieseltonic, Harle-Tsu, CBD Mango Haze. CBD-heavy strains, generally with a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio. CBD-heavy strains may induce headaches in some, so they may want to look for a strain closer to 2:1 THC:CBD ratio. CBD has been shown to help reduce the effects of post-concussion problems common amongst boxers & martial artists, American footballers, wrestlers and anyone likely to suffer from concussions. CBD may also help produce a “protective layer” around the brain, preventing further damage.
Crohn’s Disease; Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS) / Gastrointestinal Disorders Jean Guy, Hog’s Breath, Medicine Man aka White Rhino, Hash Plant, Willie Nelson. Generally energetic, euphoric, focussed and pain-free. Some of these strains can be overwhelming for novices, so be careful! It is the mixture of THC and CBD is what makes these strains great for gastrointestinal disorders thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects.
Diabetes Durban Poison, Green Crack, Swazi Gold, Critical Skunk, Crimea Blue. Energetic, focused, creative. These are African-based strains, and so they may cause anxiety and paranoia in some. The THCv present in these strains is what makes them effective for diabetes, as it helps regulate blood-sugar levels and improves the processing of insulin.
Depression Blue Dream, Sweet Tooth, Lamb’s Bread, Mango/Super Silver Haze, Cheese. Broad range of effects, but generally well-balanced between indica and sativa. Choose strains which balance out the THC with CBD for depression, as high THC:low CBD strains may induce anxiety. Many overlaps with anxiety disorders, although those with depression may seek higher THC strains for their uplifting, sociable and “buzzy” effects.
Eating Disorders (e.g. anorexia) / Cachexia Island Sweet Skunk, Willy’s Wonder, Deadhead OG, Pot of Gold, Jet Fue These are all high THC strains with high amounts of CBD as well. Effects are generally euphoric, uplifting and hunger-inducing, followed by sleepy after-effects. Some report anxiety, headaches, dry eyes, dry mouth and dizziness. Those suffering from eating disorders have an underactive marijuana-like neurotransmitter system. Marijuana may help regulate the endocannabinoid system and promote the joy of eating. CBD will likely reduce anxiety and stress.
Epilepsy Harlequin, Cannatonic, Dieseltonic, ACDC, Charlotte’s Web. CBD-heavy strains, with little psychoactive effect. CBD has been known to cause headaches and dizziness in some, whilst others have reported tiredness, reduced appetite and diarrhea. CBD treatment has reduced fits for many people suffering from epilepsy including rare forms such as Dravet Syndrome and and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. Some reported negative effects or worsening conditions, so not everyone with epilepsy may react well to marijuana.
Glaucoma / Intraocular Eye Pressure Cataract Kush, Purple Haze, Grapefruit, Strawberry Haze, Kong. A mixture of effects, from the relaxed and sleepy (Cataract Kush, Kong) to the uplifted and energetic (Strawberry Haze). Most of the studies conforming marijuana’s effectiveness come from the 70s, when other glaucoma medications weren’t as effective. Marijuana’s stress- and inflammation- killing properties help lower eye pressure. Nowadays, MMJ is used as an adjunct to other eye pressure treatments, or for those who have not responded well to surgery and eye drops.
Fibromyalgia Tahoe OG, Critical Mass, Bubba Kush, Headband, Blue Dream. These are all generally high THC:high CBD strains. They will all likely leave you pain-free, sleepy and hungry. Blue Dream is a balanced indica suitable for daytime use. The sleepy effects will not necessarily suit everyone, though. Many report tiredness, although this can be combated against by choosing the right strains. Those looking for pain management without the need for strong painkillers ought to look into these strains. All have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and stress-busting properties thanks to their cannabinoid profiles.
Headaches/Migraine Shishkaberry, Girl Scout Cookies, Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Sensi Star. With the exception of Sensi Star, all of these are hybrids with balanced indica-sativa effects, with energetic, uplifting effects followed by sleepy effects (or vice-versa). Sensi Star is best used for nighttime use. Those suffering from cluster headaches ought to be careful in choosing strains, as they can induce headaches. Smoking should also be avoided by those prone to headaches – tinctures and vapes are usually best. Stress- and tension- based headaches could find relief from the mixture of CBD and THC, as both are stress-busters. Myrcene also helps.
Hypertension/ Hypotension Moby Dick, Critical Kush, Chemdawg, Cannalope Haze, AK-48. Generally balanced indica-sativa effects, although many are more sativa-based. Therefore, expect energetic, focused effects. Some strains may induce anxiety. Cannabinoids are unique antihypertensive agents, and can help reduce hypotension as well. Cannabinoids effectively “regulate” the cardiovascular system and pressure to some extent.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS); Parkinson’s Disease; other conditions causing painful spasms. Bubba OG, Purple Sour Diesel, 3 Kings, Raspberry Cough, Santa Maria, Kali Mist, Satori. Broad range of effects, from the relaxed and sleepy to the creative and uplifting. Some dizziness, dry mouth and paranoia is possible in some strains. Those looking to reduce spasms and pain ought to look for cannabinoid- and terpene- rich strains to beat lack of appetite, dyskinesia and depression. These cannabinoids also have neuroprotective properties.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Girl Scout Cookies, Canna Tsu, Pineapple Express, Master Kush, Golden Goat. Both indica and sativa effects, depending upon strain. Everything from energetic and sociable to sleep-inducing and euphoric. All high in CBD, so lots of anxiety-busting. Terpene-rich (e.g. pinene, caryophyllene, lavender) strains are also great for PTSD and other anxiety-induced conditions.
Regional Pain Syndrome or Chronic Pain Medicine Man aka White Rhino, ACDC, Blackberry Kush, Harlequin, White Widow. Mostly indica-based strains, or hybrids with high amounts of CBD. Effects tend to be hunger-inducing, sleepy, relaxed and euphoric, although THC:CBD ratios of 1:1 can help with daytime pain. CBD- and terpene- rich (e.g. myrcene, linalool) strains are best. For nighttime use and difficulties in sleeping, a high THC:high CBD ratio can help manage pain and induce sleep.
Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs) ACDC, Cherry Kush, Banana OG, Californian Orange Bud, Big Bud/Critical Mass. These strains are mostly sativa-indica hybrids with high amounts of both THC and CBD. Some have 3:1, 2:1 and 1:1 THC:CBD ratios (e.g. Critical Mass), so the right phenotype can help with all sorts of conditions. Both THC and CBD can help with motor control and posture problems, as well as beat pain.Sleep is improved, as well as providing pain relief and relief from muscle spasms.

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