We’re so glad you landed on this blog post! It means you’ve got a question about obtaining a medical marijuana card—and we’ve got answers. Right now you’re wondering, “Do I even qualify for a medical marijuana card?” Arizona is one of several states that allows its residents to apply for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card as a “qualifying patient” for a debilitating medical condition as diagnosed by a physician. Below, we’ve broken out seven major qualifying conditions, highlighting the benefits of cannabis for each condition, and at the end of this post, we’ve also provided the full list of qualifying reasons to get an MMJ card in Arizona.
1. Chronic Pain of the Neck, Back, or Spine
Crunch, zing, ouch! Nearly 80% of Americans are estimated to experience chronic neck, back, or spine pain on a regular basis—yikes! Oftentimes, treatment for chronic pain involves opioid painkillers, abuse of which is an epidemic, and/or spinal injections. Medical marijuana is an alternative to these treatments and the effectiveness of medical marijuana for back pain varies based on the type of strain used, as THC-heavy strains are known to relieve pain while strains high in CBD reduce inflammation. Many patients find it beneficial to switch it up and use different strains at different times of the day. For instance, a patient may opt for a strain with lower THC and high CBD during the day and one with higher THC at night.
Migraines are just the pits and, quite often, they are debilitating. During a migraine, sufferers do just that: suffer. It can be a struggle to focus, think, and even just live a normal life. According to a study by the Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, more than 85% of patients had reduced the number of migraines by over half, or eliminated migraines, after using medical marijuana. The study also found that inhalation provided the fastest form of relief. Sorry Bill, but these patients do inhale!
3. Hepatitis C (HCV)
Hepatitis C is a virus transmitted via blood or sexual intercourse that causes liver inflammation. The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and it works tirelessly to detoxify . HCV can be an acute (short-term) or chronic condition, with some people experiencing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, joint pain, and jaundice. To make things worse, some HCV medications cause nausea or vomiting (in addition to the nausea and vomiting caused by the condition itself). Luckily, research findings show that CBD tames these symptoms, helping patients stay on their treatment, while also alleviating their other symptoms. Other studies have also shown that CBD and THC reduce inflammation of the liver and cannabis has the potential to be developed into a drug for the treatment of HCV.
4. Crohn’s and Gastrointestinal Disorders
If you have a healthy GI system, you might take it for granted (hello, entire pizza to yourself). But if you suffer from Crohn’s disease or any other GI disorder, you know how precious that system is and how it affects everything in your life. Unfortunately, options for treating these conditions are often limited to medication or surgery. The upside is that preliminary research shows promise in treating a variety of gastrointestinal disorders with medical marijuana, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Patients have reported an improved quality of life (we love this!), positive weight gain, and relief from symptoms like diarrhea and abdominal pain. Strains of cannabis that are high in CBD (4% or more) help reduce the oftentimes severe inflammation and discomfort associated with GI disorders.
The 1970s was a cultural explosion in America, and coming out of that decade was the treatment of glaucoma with medical marijuana. The only known treatment for glaucoma is to reduce IOP (intraocular pressure), which, over time, can cause optic nerve damage and possibly blindness. Research supported by the National Eye Institute showed that medical marijuana was effective in reducing IOP levels for about four hours after smoking or ingesting medical marijuana.
6. Immune Disorders: AIDS, HIV, and Epilepsy
Due to a strong rotation of medication (sometimes called a “cocktail”), HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune patients often experience a loss of appetite. It’s now commonly recognized that marijuana can help stimulate appetite (i.e., the munchies), which is great news for those dealing with symptoms of their condition(s) or medication making them nauseous.
For those who suffer from epilepsy, there is significant research demonstrating a reduction in seizures for those who use the plant. All you have to do is search for “epilepsy and cannabis”—the results are piling up in a very positive way. Avoid products high in THC and instead opt for high CBD strains, including CBD oil, or use a vaporizer.
7. Cancer & Terminal Illnesses
To say “cancer sucks” is an understatement. Not only does the horrible disease suck, so do the treatment options. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, as well as those suffering from similar terminal illnesses, often experience fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and/or chronic pain. Fantastically, there are enough studies showing the benefits of cannabis for these patients. Look for strains high in CBD, which is shown to reduce inflammation, stimulate appetite, improve wellbeing and improve sleep.
The Full List of Qualifying Conditions in AZ:
- Positive status for HIV
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that produces any of the following:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures (including those characteristic of epilepsy) or
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms (including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis)
Now, the next step is getting an MMJ card. If you already have a qualifying medical condition and your MMJ patient card, stop by any Swell Farmacy location and ask one of our amazingly awesome and knowledgable budtenders for suggestions on what products would work best for you. We’d love to hear how well you’re doing so please contact us, and have a Swell day!