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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Natural Healing Care Center: Demystifying Medical Marijuana in Arizona

May 01, 2019 03:09PM ● By Michelle Bense

It seems everyone is talking about medical marijuana these days. Gaining momentum in Arizona by the day, it is becoming abundantly clear that this plant can be beneficial to so many suffering from pain and illness. David Yrigoyen, owner and consultant at Natural Healing Care Center (NHCC), is passionate about helping people learn more about how natural medicine—and cannabis in particular—can help change their lives.

Since 2012, NHCC has been providing Tucson with its holistic wellness center and access to countless resources for natural health care, preventive health care and education. “We’re a well-rounded wellness center that not only practices naturopathic and alternative medicine, but also cannabis. We use cannabis as an introduction to alternative medicine and holistic healing,” says Yrigoyen, a Tucson native.

One of the main concentrations of the center is helping patients get Medical Marijuana certification cards. NHCC staff provide medical cannabis education and recommendations for patients, depending on their particular needs. “While we focus a lot of our time on medical cannabis, we incorporate other services as well,” says Yrigoyen. Often, he says, patients come in seeking assistance with medical cannabis, and end up learning about other services for wellness, coming back later to take advantage of massage therapy, acupuncture, holistic medicine, homeopathy and more. They’re paying more attention to the ways natural medicine can benefit all aspects of their health.

So, how does the medical cannabis certification process work? If a person has any of the 15 qualifying conditions according to the state of Arizona, they can be eligible for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program. Some of those conditions include: chronic or severe pain, PTSD, severe nausea, seizures, ALS, Crohn’s disease, cancer and arthritis. Patients who have any of these conditions and are interested in medical marijuana as a means of natural medicine can visit NHCC for help through the next steps in the process.

In order to obtain a Medical Marijuana card in Arizona, the patient needs to have medical records from within the last 12 months, showing that they have one or more of these qualifying conditions. NHCC helps with this process by obtaining that documentation from the patient’s existing provider, if needed, then evaluating the patient in person. If they qualify, the doctor at NHCC will fill out the State-provided certification form to send with the patient’s application. They’ll then submit all paperwork to the Arizona Department of Health Services for processing, and the State will issue the card.

After a patient receives their Medical Marijuana card in the mail, they are free to begin purchasing from dispensaries as they wish. However, NHCC goes one step further and invites patients back for a complimentary follow-up visit, where a Cannabis Specialist will make sure the patient has all necessary information regarding the purchase and uses of cannabis for medical concerns. “At Natural Healing Care Center, we are all about education and the patient. We feel like when you have the most information, you can utilize it anywhere in the world—with medical or legal cannabis,” says Yrigoyen.

NHCC is currently staffed by three naturopathic doctors, all of which see patients for cannabis consultations, education and recommendations, as well as providing other services and modalities. Dr. Jasmine May, NMD is a full practicing naturopathic physician who uses homeopathy as well as acupuncture, bodywork and hydrotherapy. Dr. Aiyana Brown, NMD focuses on herbal medicine and cannabis recommendations. Dr. Sonya Johnson, NMD focuses on cannabis education and using cannabis as alternative medicine. Johnson also has a practice in Phoenix, where she offers IV therapy, vitamin B12 injections and herbal medicine.

Overwhelmingly, Yrigoyen says, NHCC sees women, more than men, coming in seeking the benefits of natural medicine. “I see a lot of women who are more conscious of their health than many men. They seem to be more consistent with medical appointments and they go seek out medical advice when something happens,” says Yrigoyen. “Men, like myself, unfortunately tend to seek medical advice once they’re already suffering.” Yrigoyen knows firsthand, as he suffered from a back injury that left him barely able to walk in 2010—the catalyst for his foray into alternative care.

The great news is that there are many cannabis products that can benefit more women-specific conditions. “We see a lot of women come in interested in cannabis for lower back pain, pelvic pain, sciatica, arthritis and menstrual pain. Topicals can be helpful for pain relief from cramps and aches, and some markets have cannabis-infused feminine hygiene products,” Yrigoyen says. “Additionally, mind-body medicine offered by Dr. May is beneficial for the overthinking mind, helping find clarity and peace and tools to go home and do self-meditation.”

While anyone can call or go online to make an appointment with one of NHCC’s doctors, they also regularly offer classes and events to educate the public in a more casual setting. On May 11, and every Second Saturday for the month, they’re hosting a Cannabis Infusion class, where attendees will learn how to infuse their own oils or butters with cannabis. They also host a recurring session called “Is Cannabis For Me?” on the third Thursday of the month. At this free, open seating event, held on May 16, people can learn if cannabis may help them, schedule an appointment with a provider or simply get information to take home and research further.

“We’re just here to help the community and help them understand there are alternatives in health care. By finding balance, incorporating science and natural medicine, you’ll find optimal relief. We should be able to use what we have to find the best solution,” enthuses Yrigoyen. “Cannabis is a big part of that.”

Natural Healing Care Center is located at 2230 E. Speedway Blvd., Ste. 140, Tucson. Connect at 520-323-0069 or Call to register for events. See ad, page 37.

Michelle Bense is a freelance writer and editor for Natural Awakenings magazines, currently living and exploring in New Mexico. Connect with her at
[email protected].

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