Can You Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Depression in Arizona?

More than 7% of U.S. adults struggle with depression in any given year, and a growing number are turning to medical marijuana as an alternative to traditional antidepressants. If you live in Arizona and are seeking medical marijuana for depression, options may be available.

There are still a number of excellent reasons to get a medical card in Arizona (including lower prices and access to better medical-grade products), but your eligibility for the medical marijuana program will depend on your specific condition.

Can You Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Depression in Arizona?

Depression is not presently recognized as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Arizona, nor is it recognized in any of the other 34 U.S. states and territories that have medical marijuana programs in place. However, it may still be possible to obtain a medical marijuana card for depression in Arizona if your depression is linked to a comorbidity.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act recognizes more than a dozen qualifying conditions, several of which are sometimes present with or contributing factors to depression. These include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Perhaps the most common qualifying condition to exist concurrently with depression, PTSD is a powerful anxiety disorder experienced by people who have lived through a tragic event. About 3.5% of the population lives with PTSD.

  • Severe and chronic pain. Chronic pain can diminish your quality of life, and scientists have found that physical pain and depression are closely correlated in the brain. The former often triggers the latter.

  • Cancer. A cancer diagnosis can be devastating. And although treatment options are more sophisticated than ever, many patients still struggle with excessive anxiety and depression when undergoing treatment. Medical marijuana may help to get these sensations under control.

Other qualifying conditions that may trigger depression include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C, severe nausea, and seizures.

If your depression is related to one of these or any other qualifying condition in Arizona, or if it exists concurrently with one of these conditions, you may qualify for an Arizona medical marijuana card.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Depression in Arizona

If you have a qualifying condition and would like to get certified as a medical marijuana patient, follow these steps to obtain your Arizona medical marijuana card:

  • Gather any medical records related to your qualifying condition (this isn’t always essential if your certifying physician is authorized to perform assessments and diagnoses).

  • Visit a state-licensed physician who is certified to provide medical marijuana recommendations. At Green Leaf, we employ some of the best medical marijuana doctors in Arizona. We not only provide the certifications, but we handle all of the paperwork and processing on your behalf.

  • Register with the Arizona Department of Health Services. Once your certification is approved, you’ll receive your AZ medical marijuana card and can enjoy all of the perks that go along with it.

How to Take Medical Marijuana for Depression

The research into marijuana for depression is still in its early stages, but it shows promise. One University of Buffalo study in particular concluded that cannabis may be effective for reducing depressive symptoms in certain individuals. Other studies have yielded similar results. But it’s not enough to simply smoke a joint and call it a day. Different strains and doses have different effects, so it’s important to understand how to get the maximum benefit.

Based on what we know from existing research:

  • Strains with higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD) may be more effective, as the antidepressant effects have been measured in both THC and CBD.

  • It’s important to monitor dosages carefully. Researchers have observed antidepressant effects at THC concentrations as low as 2.5mg. But because cannabis has biphasic properties, you may actually experience increased depression and anxiety if the dosage is too high.

You should always seek the advice of a knowledgeable physician when trying to decide on the optimal strain, dosage, and delivery system. They can help you to make an informed decision.

If you struggle with depression and you’re considering a medical marijuana card in Arizona, options are available. Reach out to the knowledgeable doctors at Arizona Green Leaf if you have questions or need assistance.

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