Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

We are willing and able to complete the evaluation for medical marijuana certification in this office; not all doctors will do that, but our experience shows it to be the right choice for some patients.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana law has been interpreted by the medical board so as to require recent (past 12 months) of medical records from a physician pertaining to the “qualifying condition.”  If you have been to see a physician, but don’t have copies of the records we can request them with a signed Request for Medical Records form.  If you have not been to see a physician, you will need to establish care at our office (at normal rates and fees) and allow us to evaluate your condition, if we are able.

Some of the qualifying conditions can only be diagnosed by a specialist in the field, such as glaucoma, cancer, and PTSD.  Other conditions require lab results to prove the diagnosis, such as Hepatitis C and HIV.  We are able to refer you to a specialist if needed.

There are only a few “qualifying conditions” in Arizona, which include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Agitation in Alzheimer’s Disease(AD)
    • ​This is NOT merely a diagnosis of AD; this is a unique complication of AD
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • ​PTSD (requires ongoing treatment)

In addition, Arizona also allows some persons with other chronic and debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana:

  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome – such as the unintended and untreatable loss of more than 10% of body weight in the past 6 months
  • Severe Nausea – such as from chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Muscle spasms – such as from MS
  • Seizures – such as from Epilepsy
  • Severe and Chronic Pain​ – to us, this means a pain level which is at least “7” on a 10-point scale, which has persisted for at least three months.

Our Fees For Medical Marijuana

There are two fee for Medical Marijuana:

– The fee for the State of Arizona

  • The State fee is $150.00 per year, and must be paid on a debit or credit card.
  • Patients receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance (Food Stamps) have a reduced fee of $75.00.  However, it is required that the patient have, one of the following:
  1. A SNAP debit card with their name embossed on the card; or
  2. A copy of the award letter for the current fiscal year.

– The doctor’s office fee

  • In our office, the normal fee is $135.00.  We take cash, credit or debit.  With that, you get:
  1. A review of your medical condition with a medical assessment of your qualifying status;
  2. A thorough physical examination;
  3. The upload of documentation to the state.

What Do You Need to Do?

  1. Review the list of Qualifying Conditions to see if you qualify.  If you have a question, or are just uncertain, call us for a free consultation.
  2. Collect copies of your medical records for the qualifying condition for the past 12 months.  We don’t need every record, just those that are related to the qualifying condition.
  3. Make an appointment to be seen in the office by calling or texting 602-566-2015.  The appointment takes about an hour.  Be sure to bring Identification and a big smile – because we take your picture!
  • If you do not have copies of your records, but have been to see a doctor, we have a Medical Release Form posted on this page. Simply download the form, complete it, and send or deliver it to the doctor or clinic.  When we receive it, we’ll let you know.
  • If you do not have records because you haven’t seen a physician about the qualifying condition in more than a year, you will need to go back and be seen again, or establish care here for a period of time. Then we can rely on our own evaluation and testing – which is much preferred.

What Happens Next?

Your MMJ card comes in the mail in about 2 weeks.  Take your card to the Dispensary of choice, and let them help you determine which form of marijuana is best for you.

The Qualifying Conditions in Arizona and how each is determined:

Condition Diagnosis Typical Records
AIDS This is diagnosed by a physician, based on extensive testing and a medical history. Chart notes

Lab reports

Agitation in Alzheimer’s Disease This is NOT merely a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  Some of these individuals will experience a form of anxiety.  This is the agitation in Alzheimer’s Disease Chart Notes – usually from a specialist.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) This is diagnosed by a physician, based on extensive testing and a medical history. Chart notes

Lab reports

Cancer Cancer may only be diagnosed based on specialized tests performed in a pathology lab; the diagnosis cannot be made by a primary care doctor.

If a patient had cancer, was treated for it, such as surgery, and has been in remission for more than five years, it is not a qualifying condition – Great news!

Chart notes

Lab reports

Crohn’s Disease This is one of several diseases that comprised the category of Irritable Bowel Disease (which is different from Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

The other most common is Ulcerative Colitis – which is not a qualifying condition.

This usually is diagnosed based on imaging studies of the bowel (Duodenum, Jejunum, Ileum, and large intestine).
Glaucoma Glaucoma results from an increase in pressure in the eye, usually caused by a blockage in one or both of two structures in the eye that are supposed to allow the pressure in the front of the eye to match the pressure in the back of the eye. Eye testing for glaucoma.
Hepatitis C There are several viruses that cause in infection in the liver.  These are creatively named A, B, C, etc.  Only Hepatitis C is a qualifying condition.

The newer treatments for Hep C are very good, and should be considered.

A blood test for the presence of the virus (an antibody test) is essential.  The lab report will show “anti-HCV IgG +”.
HIV This is the infection with the virus that can cause AIDS. A blood test showing the presence of the antibody (anti-HIV +”) confirmed by Western Blot or ELISA
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD is diagnosed by a qualified mental health practitioner, such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Arizona law required documentation of the diagnosis and on-going treatment.  Please bring some evidence of continuing treatment, such as an appointment reminder.

In addition, Arizona law recognizes certain chronic or debilitating diseases (or treatment for diseases) as qualifying for medical marijuana.  These are a bit more ambiguous, causing many doctors to avoid certifying patients with these conditions.  When the medical boards investigate doctors for certification errors, they usually focus on these conditions:

Condition Diagnosis Typical Records
Cachexia or Wasting There are no recognized diagnostic criteria for this. Chart notes showing an unintended and uncorrectable loss of significant body weight.
Severe and Chronic Pain There are three elements required:

  1. Severe – a pain scale is used to assess the pain
  2. Chronic – Some doctors require a minimum of 3 months, some 6 months
  3. An underlying cause for the pain.
Chart notes

Lab Tests

Imaging studies

Severe Nausea There are no recognized diagnostic criteria for this. Chart notes showing repeated visits for nausea, with no effect from medication.
Seizures, such as epilepsy Diagnosis by a neurologist Chart notes – usually by a neurologist.

Brain recordings

Severe or persistent muscle spasm, such as multiple sclerosis Diagnosis by a neurologist Chart notes

Muscle evaluations – usually by a neurologist.