History of Medical Marijuana Legalization in Arizona

As represented on this timeline, the History of Marijuana as Medicine started back in 2900 BC

The federal government in the United States continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule 1 Substance, meaning it has no accepted medical value and it has a high potential for abuse

This federal law has not stopped states from legalizing marijuana.  In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana.  Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in 8 states and the District of Columbia, and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia

1996 – Proposition 200

  • Arizona was one of the leaders in the fight to legalize marijuana.
  • In 1996, voters approved Proposition 200 (65% – 35%).
  • Proposition 200 was a drug policy reform initiative; however, it also contained a provision allowing the use of marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.

1998 – Proposition 300

  • A technicality in terminology caused repeal of the medical marijuana portion of proposition 200 a few months after its approval by voters in 1996.
  • Proposition 200 allowed doctors to prescribe marijuana; however, a prescription was prohibited by federal law.
  • Future propositions corrected the language to avoid conflict with federal law by replacing the term prescription with recommendation.
  • The revision of Proposition 200, named Promposition300, was rejected by voters in 1998.

2002 – Proposition 203

  • Arizona voters failed to legalize medical marijuana (42.7% – 57.3%).

2010 – Proposition 203

  • With a narrow majority, Arizona approves medical marijuana (50.1% – 49.9%).

2016 – Proposition 205

  • Recreational marijuana failed to win a majority of the voter’s support (48.7% – 51.3%)
  • The proposed legislation would have legalized recreational marijuana use for adults of 21, with regulation similar to alcohol, including a 15 percent tax on retail sales.

2018 – In Progress 

  • Recreational marijuana may get on the November 2018 ballot.
  • Initial paperwork filed allows the committee until July 2018, to obtain 156,042 signatures to qualify to get on the ballot.

As of September 2016, Arizona has about 100,000 medical marijuana patients and about 100 operating state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) regulates the Arizona medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).

 

Who can purchase medical marijuana?

  • An Arizona medical marijuana card is needed to purchase it:
    • Recommendation required from a state-licensed doctor.
    • Patient must have at least once qualifying condition.
    • Allows for the purchase and possession of up to 2.5 ounces from a state-licensed dispensary every two weeks.
    • Special qualifications can permit patient to grow up to 12 pants or find a caregiver to grow for them.
  • Patients under 18 years old must apply with their custodial parent or legal guardian.
  • The qualifying patient may designate a caregiver.

 

What medical conditions qualify? 

  • Qualifying medical conditions:
    • Cancer
    • Glaucoma
    • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
    • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
    • Hepatitis C
    • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
    • Crohn’s Disease
    • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
    • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or the treatment for a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition that causes:
      • Cachexia or wasting syndrome;
      • Severe and chronic pain;
      • Severe nausea;
      • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy;
      • Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
      • If your medical condition is missing from the list of qualifying medical conditions, Arizona permits individuals to request additions to the list.

 

Who can write a medical marijuana certification in Arizona? 

  • Physicians with a valid Arizona license may who have a physician-patient relationship with the patient may write a medical marijuana certification on the specified ADHS form for a patient with a qualifying condition. These physicians include Allopathic (MD), Osteopathic (DO), Homeopathic [MD(H) or DO(H)], and Naturopathic [NMD or ND].
  • The law does not require a physician to write medical marijuana certifications for a patient with a qualifying condition.
  • If the diagnosing physician chooses not to write the certificate, a patient can consult with another physician to obtain the written certification. The new physical must certify that he has made or confirmed the patient’s qualifying medical condition, and the physician declares he has undertaken specific activities to establish a physician-patient relationship.
  • Annually, the patient needs to obtain certification from a physician that the qualifying condition still exists.

Click here to learn the steps involved in obtaining your medical marijuana card in Arizona. 

 

Microdosing with Cannabis

When it comes to most medicine, taking more isn’t always the best course of action, and cannabis is no exception to this rule. Modern marijuana patients are beginning to experiment with less.

Microdosing, which involves taking the minimum amount of a substance to reap the maximum benefits, is not a new concept. For decades, it has been associated with hallucinogens like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD. Patients who microdose note a wealth of benefits, both medicinally and financially, but how do you know if it’s the right regimen for your needs? This article will cover why patients should microdose and how to effectively microdose.

 

Three Reasons You Should Microdose

    1. Marijuana causes anxiety. While cannabis is an excellent aid for ailments such as chronic pain and PTSD, normal to high amounts of THC are known to exacerbate pre-existing anxiety. Through microdosing, you’re able to yield the positive benefits of the cannabinoid without experiencing its psychoactive effects.
    2. Marijuana makes you hazy. It’s no lie that a common side effect of marijuana is a general absentmindedness. Microdosing allows you to stay under a threshold where you would normally get “high”, so you can remain alert and energized.

 

  • You want to save money. Even though marijuana is much less expensive than comparative pharmaceuticals, you still want to make the most of your valuable. Medicating with oil pens and edibles allows you to accurately microdose. This makes it easy to measure your medicine while stretching your dispensary budget.

 

How Do I Microdose?

Microdosing is very easy to do, but it’s worth noting one size does not fill all. The “minimal effective dose” will vary vastly from patient to patient, depending on factors like metabolism and tolerance. These 5 simple steps provide you a guideline to begin the microdosing journey:

 

  • Take a 48-hour break. Studies show that 48 hours is oftentimes enough to give your body a break and bring your tolerance down to a beginner’s level. If you want to begin microdosing, give your endocannabinoid system a couple days to relax and reboot.
  • Be self-aware. To get the best results from microdosing, you need to really listen to your body. Recognize how cannabinoids affects your mood and energy levels, amongst other things. This is the most important factor in an effective regimen.
  • Start with 1:1. Experts recommend beginning with a one-to-one ratio of THC and CBD, preferably with a tincture for the most-accurate dosing. (To note: one puff of a joint is approximately 10mg of THC).
  • Keep a journal. Without a dedicated log, you have nothing to reference for the future and make the most out of microdosing. Note emotions like calmness, physical effects like hunger, and any other factors you believe are worth documenting.
  • Find your minimal effective dose. If 1:1 produces no psychoactive effects after 45 minutes to an hour – increase by 1mg. Continue to increase until you feel a noticeable difference after consuming, which establishes your dosage.

 

Once you’ve found your minimal dosage, repeat the process of gradually increasing the amount to establish your “therapeutic range” (the minimum to maximum effective amounts for you microdose). Then, you will be able to take the minimum amount on a daily basis, and you are officially microdosing!

We hope this article was an effective aid to teach you about the benefits of microdosing, as well as how to begin the process. If you have any further questions regarding microdosing, please do not hesitate to visit the dispensary and meet with one of our patient consultants.

 

Top Products Sold in Dispensaries

With the proliferation and the legalization of cannabis dispensaries, today’s marijuana users can choose from a wide variety of options and product specialties. So, with all these options available, what are the most popular products and how do they do in the market? The most profitable products include edibles in the form of chocolates, gummies, and cakes, as well as pre-rolls, concentrates, tinctures, and vape cartridges.

Here is a list of the top products sold in marijuana dispensaries:

Flowers

The traditional marijuana buds or flowers remain the most popular product among cannabis users. Accounting for almost half of all purchases, Flowers remain an undeniable favorite. However, a widespread introduction of new products can cause a shift in the market. The potency of the bud ranges from 10% to 20%, which is often less powerful when compared to other marijuana products available on the market. However, flower products are often the first choice for inexperienced users and their sales help grow dispensaries new-customer base.

Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates or “dabs” including wax, shatter and oils are also a popular consumption method. However, a lot of people feel intimidated by concentrates because of the incredibly high potency levels. Most people prefer sticking to the flower because of the more complicated consumption methods associated with concentrates. Most concentrates are extracted using butane, CO2, hydrocarbons, alcohol, heat, propane and water. The potency of concentrate typically falls from 50% to 80% and can sometimes be pushed to 90%. As the potency increases, dosing gets trickier – this is why some people are reluctant to break into the concentrates market.

Edibles

Up to 13.1% of all marijuana-related transactions involve THC-infused edible products. This makes them the second most popular type of cannabis product sold in the US. While dosing can be a challenge, many people prefer edibles over any other forms of medical marijuana because of the large numbers of options available. You can opt for marijuana-infused cakes, chocolates, gummies, brownies and other sweet options. For added convenience, you can buy products infused with specific doses, to remove the need for guesswork and portion control. However, effects from the consumption of edible marijuana products can take up to an hour or more before setting in. Additionally, edibles do not always offer a constant experience, though some people claim it provides them longer pain relief.

Live Resin

Live Resin is a concentrate like shatter or wax. This type of marijuana product is higher in terpenes than any other cannabis material. If you are wondering what terpenes are, they are oils secreted by the cannabis plant that contribute to its distinct flavor and aroma. Live resin typically has a much higher THC concentration than products like edibles or flowers.  It is considered to be a premium product in the marijuana market and has a higher price tag.

Vape Pens

Vapes pens have also become a typical method for ingestion of cannabis concentrates, making up approximately 8.2% of all industry transactions. You can buy a generic vape pen in almost any dispensary for around $45, whereas some of the brand name options can run close to $90. For comparison, a high-quality vaporizer might set you back more than $200. One of the most notable advantages of “vaping” is that it takes effect within 5 to 30 minutes and offers accurate dosing levels.

Beverages

Cannabis-infused drinks make up to 3.7% of total market transactions. Many patients prefer these beverages over other options for ease of consumption and lower dietary fat than their edible dessert counterparts. The booming business has an impressive growth rate. At present, patients can choose a multitude of products including coffee, fruit juices, carbonated drinks, and more. Some of the best -known brands include Keef Kola, Newton’s, and Jane’s Brew.

Pre-Rolls

Pre-rolled joints are ranked as the third most popular type of medical marijuana. Most people prefer pre-rolls because the product is discreet, moderately inexpensive and disposable. Despite popular belief, pre-rolled options contain the same high-quality cannabis that most dispensaries sell in flower form, making them a smart purchase for all types of users.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with some valuable information that sheds light on current and up-and-coming marijuana products. For more information, consider paying a visit to your local dispensary.

Top 3 Benefits of Medical Marijuana That Can Save Your Life

Did you know that the top 3 benefits of medical marijuana are linked to diseases that are leading causes of death?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Cancer (#2), Stroke (#5), and Alzheimer’s disease (#6) are on their list of leading causes of death. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

The benefits of medical marijuana are only starting to be identified, and these will continue to increase once it becomes easier to conduct research.  While many states have legalized it; marijuana continues to be classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 Substance, meaning it has no accepted medical value and it has a high potential for abuse http://www.businessinsider.com/difficulty-of-study-medical-marijuana-2013-8

This federal classification as a Schedule 1 Substance https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml

creates a significant obstacle for scientific research into the potential medical benefits of marijuana.  However, early medical marijuana research has already identified two beneficial active chemicals:  cannabidiol (CBD) impacts the brain, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) relieves pain.

 

#1 BENEFIT – STOPS THE SPREAD OF CANCER

Cancer, as the second leading cause of death, has touched the lives of most people   https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

Active chemicals in medical marijuana stop the spread of cancer. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/marijuana-and-cancer_n_1898208.html

Research conducted at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco discovered CBD may turn off a gene called Id-1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025276

Cancer cells make more copies of the Id-1 gene than non-cancerous cells, and it helps the cancer cells spread throughout the body.  However, the use of CBD found in marijuana turns off the Id-1 gene and thereby stops cancer from spreading.

In addition, significant research also indicates THC found in marijuana has anti-tumor effects http://www.jbc.org/content/early/2014/06/18/jbc.M114.561761

Furthermore, medical marijuana helps relieve the side effects of chemotherapy, pain and nausea.  Researchers from Harvard Medical School indicate these benefits may be linked to the drug’s ability to reduce anxiety.  https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/medical-marijuana-and-the-mind

 

#2 BENEFIT – PROTECTS THE BRAIN FROM STROKE

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death.  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

Research done on animals by the University of Nottingham indicates that marijuana may protect the brain from stroke damage by reducing the size of the impacted area of the brain.  http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/12/03/cannabis-may-help-stroke-recovery_n_4376100.html?just_reloaded=1

Additional research provides evidence that marijuana has the ability to not only protect the brain during a stroke but even help heal the brain after other traumatic events like concussions.  https://academic.oup.com/cercor/article/25/1/35/365149/CB1-and-CB2-Cannabinoid-Receptor-Antagonists

 

#3 BENEFIT – SLOWS THE PROGRESSION OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death.  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

The Scripps Research Institute found the active chemical of THC in medical marijuana is linked to slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15145917/ns/health-alzheimers_disease/t/marijuana-may-help-stave-alzheimers/#.WbLYbLKGPIW

The research study from 2006 was published in the Journal of Molecular Pharmaceutics.  http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/mp060066m?journalCode=mpohbp   THC was found to block the enzyme in the brain that makes amyloid plaques, thereby slowing the formation of these plaques that kill brain cells and causes Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona

Proposition 203 or the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was passed in November 2010, allowing patients suffering from certain painful and debilitating conditions, access to marijuana. The Arizona Department of Health Services ADHS is responsible for governing the matters regarding the medical marijuana law and issuing the Medical Marijuana Card or the Cannabis Card in Arizona.

What Qualifies as Medical Purposes?

If you are suffering from any of the following conditions, you get legal state protection and convenient access to marijuana in Arizona:

  • Cancer
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
  • Severe and Chronic Pain
  • Severe Nausea
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Seizures and Epilepsy
  • Hepatitis C
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Crohn’s Disease

The important thing to note here is that in addition to the diseases and conditions mentioned in the Act, the Severe and Chronic Pain category might include pain resulting from any condition or treatment of a condition. Extremely painful conditions like Sickle Cell Anemia may not be listed; however, since it may cause excruciating pain, you may be able to qualify for a medical marijuana card. Similarly, painful rehabilitation programs may be a basis to qualify.

How and Where to Get the Medical Marijuana Card?

If you have already been diagnosed with one or more conditions listed above, and have medical records of the past 12 months showing you have been treated for the said conditions, you can apply for a medical marijuana card. You will need a recommendation from a doctor licensed to dispense medical marijuana in AZ, as your application must accompany a signed Medical Marijuana Physician Certification Form along with documents proving your identification.

You can submit your application online; however, it is best to schedule an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor who can submit your application for you along with the required documents to the ADHS. This allows you hassle free access to your Medical Marijuana Card that will likely be mailed to you within 10 days of your doctor’s visit.

What to Bring When You Go?

When you visit a state-approved medical marijuana physician for your certification, you must bring following things with you:

  • A copy of a valid Arizona ID like Arizona’s Driver License or Arizona Identification Card
  • A current photograph
  • A valid and current credit card, debit card or a pre-paid card
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) documentation

Your doctor will provide and submit following forms in addition to your marijuana card application:

  • Signed and dated Medical Marijuana Patient Attestation
  • Medical Marijuana Physician Certification Program

If you are under 18 years old, you must also provide information about the legal guardian or caregiver

How Much Does It Cost?

Even though you are receiving access to marijuana for medical purposes, the insurance companies do not cover the state’s medical marijuana application fee or medical marijuana physician consultations. You will need to pay following fees to get your medical marijuana card:

  • $150 dollar state fee, if you participate in SNAP program (food stamps) you have to pay $75
  • Around $100-$150 for your medical marijuana doctor’s consultation and recommendation fee

You can expect to pay anywhere around $300, if you are looking to get most of the documentation and process sorted out by your physician’s office.

How to Renew Your Card?

Your medical marijuana card will expire one year after the issue date. The expiry date is clearly mentioned on the right side of your card. It is important that you apply for the renewal at least 30 days before the expiry date. You cannot apply more than 90 days prior to the expiration. The renewal process is similar to the initial application for your card, requiring you to submit same yet updated documents and costing you the same amount of money.

How to Get Your Medical Marijuana 

There are about 100 state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona. It is important to access a quality dispensary near you, when looking to buy legal medical marijuana. You need to bring your marijuana card as well as a government issued ID to get the amount and kind of marijuana you need to help you with your medical condition.