When you think of qualifying medical conditions, you probably think of something like cancer, chronic pain, or another debilitating illness that would make it impossible for an individual to get through their day without the help of medical marijuana. However, what most people don’t know is that Pennsylvania’s list of qualifying conditions isn’t just about serious diseases; some of them are very broad and open-ended. What does this mean for potential patients who live in the state? It means there are a few different ways you can use cannabis to help manage your symptoms if you meet eligibility requirements. Here’s a breakdown of what the qualifying conditions in Pennsylvania mean for you as a potential user.


Autism is a serious developmental disorder that affects people of all ages but is often diagnosed in childhood. It is characterized by social communication and developmental challenges, which can include repetitive behaviors. There are a few ways THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, can help a person with autism. First, it can help with social anxiety, which is often a problem for people who have autism. It can also help them focus better, which can make study and work environments easier for them. Some research has even shown that cannabinoids might actually reverse the symptoms of autism in young children. But it’s important to note that Pennsylvania’s law allows for the use of cannabis to treat autism and other related disorders, but it doesn’t outline any specific conditions. That means you have to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, not a specific diagnosis.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is the most common qualifying condition in the state of Pennsylvania. However, the exact definition is open-ended, so it could be just about anything that causes you to have chronic pain. You can have a wide range of diagnoses and still qualify for medical cannabis if you have chronic pain as a symptom. Cannabis can be an effective treatment for chronic pain because it works on the Central Nervous System to inhibit pain. It can help with a wide range of symptoms including muscle spasms, cramping, and more. It can also help with sleep, which is important for chronic pain patients who often feel exhausted. While chronic pain is often associated with diseases like cancer, it can also be caused by an injury or surgery. This means that a lot of people who suffer from chronic pain could potentially benefit from medical cannabis.

Crohn's Disease and Colitis

People with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s Disease and Colitis have chronic symptoms of pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. They also have an increased risk of colon cancer and a shortened life expectancy. There are a few ways that cannabis can help people with inflammatory bowel diseases. First, cannabis can help to decrease inflammation in the gut. It can also act as an anti-inflammatory and help to soothe symptoms of pain and discomfort associated with the disease. While the qualifying condition states that cannabis can help with the treatment of diseases, it doesn’t outline specific symptoms that would be addressed. This means that if you have inflammatory bowel disease and a few of the symptoms above, you could potentially benefit from cannabis treatment.


Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that causes seizures. Epilepsy can be caused by a wide range of factors including injury to the brain, tumors, and infections. It’s also one of the most researched medical conditions that can be treated with cannabis. Epilepsy is often treated with anti-seizure medications that come with serious side effects. Cannabis can be a great alternative to these medications, and it’s been proven to be more effective than anti-seizure medications in some cases. Epilepsy has specific conditions listed as qualifying for cannabis in Pennsylvania’s law, so you need to have one of them to be eligible.

Food Desert — The Discretionary Conditions

Pennsylvania’s law includes a few conditions that are considered “discretionary.” What this means is that they aren’t specifically listed in the law, but a doctor can decide if they would qualify. Those who suffer from the following conditions could be eligible to use medical cannabis under the discretion of their doctor: – Asthma – Anxiety – Depression – Fatigue – Gout – Hepatitis C – HIV/AIDS  – Painful Neuropathy – PTSD – Seizures – Sleep Disorders – Substance Abuse

Muscular Dystrophy and Other Musculoskeletal Disorders

Muscular dystrophy is a rare degenerative condition that affects a person’s ability to walk. There are a few ways that cannabis can help people with musculoskeletal disorders including pain reduction and increased appetite. Cannabis can help people with this condition by decreasing muscle spasms and managing pain. It can also help to facilitate weight gain and increase appetite in those who have difficulty getting enough calories.


Pennsylvania’s qualifying conditions are pretty broad. They allow for the use of cannabis to treat many different health issues, many of which aren’t as serious as you might think. With that said, cannabis has been proven to be an effective treatment for many conditions and can be a great alternative to traditional medications. If you live in Pennsylvania, you could benefit from medical cannabis.

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