Just a few short years ago, the New Jersey Legislature recognized the benefits of medical marijuana, thereby passing laws that now allow patients to use the drug to treat a variety of illnesses, some of which qualify as disabling conditions under the Social Security Administration's definition of a disability.
Unfortunately, the list of qualifying conditions in which medical marijuana may be prescribed in our state is relatively small. Some believe this has to do with the fact that marijuana is still federally regulated as a Schedule I drug, making research on the drug carefully regulated as well. Without research though, doctors have a difficult time prescribing the drug to patients who may benefit from the drug but do not have a condition approved by the state.
This creates a major problem for patients, though. Take for example those living with post-traumatic stress disorder. According to some anecdotal evidence, medical marijuana has been known to work better than existing medications to treat the symptoms of PTSD. Unfortunately for patients here in New Jersey, PTSD is not considered a qualifying condition for medical marijuana, meaning patients in our state may not be able to benefit from the drug as others would at this time.
Though the list of approved conditions in which medical marijuana may be prescribed in New Jersey is small for now, changing sentiments on the benefits of medical marijuana could lead to new research that may support the use of the drug for other conditions. This means, down the road, that the list of qualifying conditions could grow, giving patients with disabling conditions in our state access to more beneficial treatments that could help improve their quality of life.
Sources: CNN, "10 diseases where medical marijuana could have impact," Jen Christensen, April 16, 2015
Norml.org, "New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law," Accessed Jan. 19, 2016