ARIZONA: Arizona health officials are looking to root out physicians who are improperly recommending medical marijuana for patients who claim to suffer from chronic pain.
As part of the effort, the state Department of Health Services wants to collect more nuanced information about those patients with chronic pain, The Arizona Republic reported in a story published Saturday.
Patients seeking permission to use medical marijuana cited chronic pain as a debilitating condition about 26,500 times from July 2012 through June 2013. Officials say that represents about 73 percent of Arizonans who qualified to use the drug.
In addition to gathering more information, Health Services Director Will Humble said he wants to continue intensive training for doctors who recommend marijuana in high volumes.
A report released Friday by the health department analyzed the second year of the state’s medical marijuana program and found that a small number of physicians write a big share of the pot recommendations.
The report stated that 472 physicians certified 36,346 patients from July 2012 through June 2013. Three-quarters of patient certifications were issued by naturopathic physicians, who combine traditional medicine and natural approaches in treating patients.
The review also found that medical doctors certified 6,434 patients while osteopaths certified 2,587 patients. Three homeopathic physicians certified 50 patients.
Humble said he was troubled that so few physicians were writing so many marijuana recommendations.