In many ways, obtaining medical marijuana is like receiving the prescription medicine. You can’t simply walk into a dispensary (or pharmacy) and pick up a treatment. Instead, a medical professional has to confirm that you’ll benefit from a particular remedy.
Specifically, to get medical marijuana in Arizona, you’ll need a patient card from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). This proves you have a “debilitating medical condition” that can be managed, alleviated and treated with medical cannabis.
Let’s look at how to get a medical cannabis card, also known as an mmj card—and what to do if your condition isn’t on the list.
What conditions qualify for a medical marijuana card?
If you have one of the following qualifying medical conditions, mmj can be used as part of your treatment.
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Multiple sclerosis
- Seizures and epilepsy
- Severe nausea
Chronic pain is the most common condition that qualifies patients for mmj.
There are many conditions that count as chronic pain. Arthritis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, recurring migraines and back problems are just a few examples. If you’re not sure if your condition qualifies as chronic pain, talk to your primary care physician (PCP) or medical marijuana evaluator.
Once you have an official diagnosis, you can ask your doctor for an mmj recommendation. This is necessary for receiving a patient card.
Otherwise, you will need to consult your doctor for an evaluation and official diagnosis.
What if my condition isn’t on the list?
According to Arizona state law, you can ask that a medical condition is added to the list.
The ADHS accepts written requests every January and July. Each request must explain the symptoms of your condition and how they interfere with daily activities. It should also include the availability of traditional treatments, how marijuana can help and peer-reviewed research that supports these claims.
It may take a little extra work on your part, but the effort is certainly worth it.
How do I talk to my doctor about using MMJ?
Your doctor can’t write a prescription for medical marijuana. Instead, they’ll have to submit a recommendation that shows they approve mmj for treating your condition.
You may feel hesitant to ask your doctor about medical marijuana. This is normal, so try not to stress.
First, do your research. Learn how medical marijuana can benefit your condition. Look into the pros, cons and potential side effects, if applicable, and bring your findings to the appointment. Bringing in your research will help the process go smoothly and your Dr. will feel better knowing you are educated on medical cannabis.
If your physician won’t accommodate your request, be respectful. This is especially important if you already have a good patient-doctor relationship. As an alternative, you can consult a different physician or state-approved medical marijuana evaluator. Desert Rose offers a doctor referral program to simplify your search.
Here’s how to apply for a medical marijuana card in Arizona.
Your doctor will need to fill out the Medical Marijuana Physician Certification form. This is official proof that they recommend medical marijuana as treatment.
Another option is to bring documentation of your diagnosis to a medical marijuana evaluation center.
Once your recommendation is submitted, you’ll need to register with the ADHS and complete the Medical Marijuana Program Application. You’ll also need the following paperwork:
- Electronic copy of photo identification (state ID or driver’s license)
- Current digital photograph
- Electronic copy of completed and signed Physician Certification form
- Electronic copy of completed and signed Qualifying Patient Attestation Form
- Visa or Mastercard for payment
- SNAP documentation, if applicable
The annual state fee for a medical card in Arizona is $150. If you’re on SNAP, the cost drops to $75; however, there will also be a doctor’s fee that can be anywhere from $50-$150 for your appointment.
Desert Rose can help you choose the best medical marijuana for your condition.
Now that you know how to get an mmj card, it’s a matter of gathering the paperwork and completing the application. When you receive your card, visit us at Desert Rose for special first-time patient deals.
Your visit will be similar to a doctor’s appointment. After a short wait, our knowledgeable staff will get to know your specific needs. They’ll explain your options and help you design a treatment plan that works best for you.
It’s common to feel nervous during your first trip to a dispensary. However, our friendly specialists at Desert Rose Dispensary are ready to provide you with personalized attention. Call us at 623-516-7881 or come say hello today.