What's the skinny on medical marijuana in AZ?
July 16, 2013 8:51 PM   Subscribe

I moved to Arizona a while back and get prescription for medical marijuana. I am unfamiliar with the process as I moved from a state without medical marijuana. I've read the FAQs on the AZDHS website and I know that any doctor is available to prescribe this to me. However- how do you go about finding a doctor when there are so many to choose from?

My questions are:
1) What do I need to know going in? Don't worry, I have an Arizona ID.
2) How do I find a doctor? I don't have a general practitioner here yet. The AZDHS has no list of available doctors. I want to go with someone reputable and I know my medical condition meets the criteria listed.
3) What are your experiences with medical marijuana in Arizona for better or worse that can help educate me?

Thanks, any other info can be sent here: medicalmjaz@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, so let me ask you this - why do you want medical marijuana before you've talked it over with your doctor? You're putting the cart before the horse.

Pick a general practitioner (a "GP"). This is the person that is your main point of contact for ongoing medical care. The person you visit when you have minor medical issues, need annual physicals, etc. Pick your GP based on their interests/specialities (for example, specialization in mental health issues, or sports medicine).

Then bring up medical marijuana as a possible course of treatment for your issues. Discuss it like any other possible option, and advocate for yourself as necessary. If you and your doctor agree that marijuana is a good choice for you, he or she will be able to guide you through the rest of the process.

Unless, of course, you want medical marijuana for reasons that aren't medical, or you want to medicate with marijuana outside of the recommendation of a doctor you trust and with his/her concurrence. In that case, I can't help you.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:19 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Okay, so let me ask you this - why do you want medical marijuana before you've talked it over with your doctor?

Why is this germane? Maybe the OP has used non-prescription marijuana to self-medicate for a condition like glaucoma or for the effects of chemo. Regardless, it's a legal drug in AZ and it's perfectly legitimate to say "I have qualifying condition X and I'm looking prescription for medical marijuana."
posted by DarlingBri at 9:34 PM on July 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

Mod note: Please just give info about how the process works in AZ, folks. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:36 PM on July 16, 2013

In California there are thousands of doctors who make livings more or less prescribing medical marijuana, and they advertise all over the back of the local alt weekly. You make an appointment, go in and fill out some forms, then see the doctor. "I get these headaches..." you say, and two minutes later you're walking out with a medical marijuana card and $75 less in your wallet. Or so I hear (really). The only people I know who've been denied prescriptions are people who went through GPs. Make of all that what you will. YMMV (Arizona is not California), but regardless of the medical legitimacy of your need for pot, I'd go through a back-page doctor to avoid having to jump through complicated hoops or be perceived as a drug addict by an outdated GP. Of course if you take drugs that are contraindicated with weed then you should absolutely have a physician monitoring the drug interactions, but that's common sense (and very important).
posted by tapir-whorf at 10:53 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's not super helpful to say what the laws are in California, as AZ seems stricter than CA on this:

"If you suffer from any of the illnesses mentioned above and are looking to become a registered medical marijuana qualifying patient, you need to speak with a physician. To be considered as an eligible medical marijuana patient you must provide medical records dated within the past 12 months that confirm your debilitating illness has been documented and existed for over one year to the physician you are seeking to obtain the medical marijuana recommendation."

Qualifying illnesses: AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Alzheimer's Disease, Cancer, Chronic Pain, Crohn's Disease, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscle Spasms, Nausea

This site seems to list doctors who will prescribe it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:48 AM on July 17, 2013

Okay, if you are in Phoenix, you are in luck. The guy you want is:

Richard P Bruce, D.O.
6502 N 35th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85017
(602) 841-8264

He worked with my Dad in a Methadone Clinic in the '70's. And he was our family doctor while we lived in Phoenix. He's seen it all and if he can, he'll discuss all of your options.

He's a D.O. not an M.D. so he's more broadminded about alternative therapies, but he will prescribe appropriate stuff.

MeMail me and I'll tell you our family name, so you can go in there referred by old friends.

Also, beware the Valley Fever!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:58 AM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

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