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The Faces of MMJ | Health


In the Spirit of Halloween this month, I thought that I would talk about the emotions expressed on some of the faces of patients that I see before me at All Greens Clinic in Surprise, Arizona. Patients come to the clinic to get certified for their Medical Marijuana (MMJ) card. The main three emotions that I see are: Happy, Scared and Surprised.

Happy

Many of these patients have experience using Cannabis and are relieved and grateful that the MMJ program exists in AZ. These patients may also have no stigma associated with the plant and may have been using the plant in their own families for years, especially in the form of topical ointments/rubs for sore muscles, bones and joints.  Many patients, however, have never tried marijuana in any of its forms until recently and they have seen its benefits. So, here they are in the office – beaming with happiness because they have a qualifying medical condition and are eligible to get their MMJ card. There are people who now live in Arizona, having lived in other states where marijuana is recreational, or they have traveled to California, Colorado or Nevada – all recreational states close by – and they have experience with using marijuana to relieve their pain, help their sleep, mood, digestion and other benefits. Returning MMJ patients who come back to the clinic to get re-evaluated and renew their MMJ card after having it for one-year, express awe as to how the plant has helped them. It has helped people get off their pain medications, has helped people exercise more with less pain so that they lose weight which helps their health conditions, and MMJ provided a better alternative to taking large amounts of over-the-counter pain relievers which is healthier for the liver and kidneys. In addition to helping with pain, patients also report that MMJ is better than their previously prescribed antidepressants, medications for anxiety and mood stabilizing drugs, as well as sleeping pills which caused negative side effects.

Scared

These patients usually have a fast heart rate; their eyes are open wide, and they are uncomfortable. Once knowing that they have a qualifying medical condition, they can begin to relax a little. Some patients are scared because they have been taking pain medications for many years and they have not had the conversation with their doctor who prescribes the pain meds about getting a marijuana card and now they are terrified of their doctor’s reaction and possibly no longer being prescribed the pain meds and they see the uncomfortable drug withdrawal road in front of them. There are scared patients because they worry that their employer will find out that they will be a MMJ patient and there are patients who ask, “where is this going to be reported?” I direct them toward the Arizona Department of Health Services website for all of their Medical Marijuana Program questions: www.azdhs.gov

Many patients are scared because of their recent diagnosis with diseases such as: cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures/epilepsy, HIV, Hepatitis C, Crohn’s, Glaucoma, Alzheimer’s or PTSD (all of which qualify a patient in AZ to get their MMJ card). Many patients are scared because they have been against marijuana all their lives – and then – here they are getting a MMJ card. For these patients, they have had a whole turn around in how they have perceived marijuana. Many patients are scared, because for them, getting a MMJ card means they are at the “end of their rope” with their health condition and now they have to pull out the “big guns” and use marijuana which is something that they thought they would never do. There are also patients that just don’t like going to the doctor and they are at the clinic with a history of bad experiences and fear of even being in a medical office.

Surprised

Many new patients to the MMJ program are surprised to learn of their choices of MMJ products that the state of Arizona offers for MMJ patients as well as the other benefits of the plant.  Many cancer patients want their MMJ card to treat their nausea, pain, anxiety and insomnia associated with cancer and the side effects from the standard treatments of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.  But then the patient learns that Cannabis actually helps the cancer cells… to die. (The cannabinoids in Cannabis, especially THC, actually STOP the cancer cells from continuously making more of themselves. The extra bonus is that the cancer cells die without the killing of healthy non-cancerous cells. RSO is a great product for cancer patients.) When a patient comes in to the clinic to get certified due to his/her chronic pain and they then learn that the MMJ can also help with their glaucoma or help lower their blood sugar if they are a diabetic – then, they are overjoyed, and their eyes open wide out of surprise. The MMJ ointments rubbed onto the body for nerve pain are also an option for MMJ patients and one that many do not know is available to them. Returning MMJ patients who come back to the clinic to get re-evaluated and renew their MMJ card after having it for one-year express awe as how the plant has helped them. It has helped people to stop taking their pain medications, has helped people exercise with less pain so that they lose weight which in turn helps their health conditions. The benefit that Cannabis provides for better sleep is a welcome to many; especially as we enter the hibernating, colder months.

To read more articles from Dr. Landino, click here.


Kimberly Landino is currently practicing at

All Greens Clinic in Surprise, AZ where she certifies qualifying patients to receive their Medical Marijuana card and experience the therapeutic benefit from using medical marijuana to treat their health conditions. Before this, she practiced family medicine for 16 years in Phoenix, Tempe, Flagstaff and in Tuba City on the Navajo reservation. 

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