My purpose in writing this blog post is to encourage all parties involved in Medical Cannabis to be patient with one another. Whether any of us agrees with it or not, it is a fact in Arizona.
This blog reaches thousands of Arizonans every day through at least 16 social
networking sites. Hopefully, it will inspire a State-wide sentiment of tolerance and love. My prayer is that Arizonans will be unified in their love for this glorious State. In my mind that means getting the facts before jumping to conclusions. Do we always have to dump the “baby out with the bath water?” Medical Cannabis serves a purpose in the medical arena because some patients actually get relief.
We doctors are doing the best we can to follow the rules, love and treat our patients, and “do no harm” … while navigating somewhat unfamiliar territory.
Likewise, the AZ Department of Health (and its Head) is doing everything in its power to check and double-check that there are no renegades infiltrating our ranks.
I cannot presume to know the problems faced by Will Humble and the AZ Department of Health. Sometimes it feels like a pressure cooker of emotions around the clinic. Patients who need the drug feel passionately about preserving their right to access it. Those who oppose the drug feel passionately about preventing “casual users ” from attaining it.
My colleagues (oseopathic, allopathic, and naturopathic) –as far as I know–all practice medicine with patient safety in mind. It is my responsibility (and mandated by the State of AZ) to stay abreast of updates in pharmacology and to use the utmost caution when recommending medical cannabis. No frivolous requests get past our gatekeeping.
I work for CPEC, a national company whose moral and ethical compass demands the responsible practice of medicine from each of its doctors. To that end, the corporate legal department and owners ensure that Arizona rules are being followed explicitly.
Since December, 2010, I personally have seen an average of ten patients per day. And, each patient spends, on average, about 45 minutes to an hour in the clinic. I know because I had my support team run the numbers. I’m assuming that other physicians who began pre-evaluating patients in December, 2010, show about the same numbers.
At our clinic, at this point, we are already seeing patients for their six-month follow up. Most of them are ecstatic to report that they have been able to reduce or eliminate their prescription analgesics. They also report that their sleep has improved and their pain has been significantly minimized. As compassionate citizens (and fellow human beings) we should all be happy to hear that those who suffer in silence, finally see some light in their lives.
We would never allow our innocent pets to suffer for even one minute without help. Why would we not have the same compassion for our sisters and brothers who suffer unimaginable pain on a daily basis.
I am always available to converse with patients (and others). Leave me a message at the clinic. I will call you back. If you have questions about whether or not you qualify for medical cannabis, go to the AZDHS website or call our office to schedule an evaluation.
Dr. Christine Strong