Dr. Gina Berman | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Dr. Gina Berman


North Scottsdale-based Blue Door Therapeutics combines the use of medical marijuana with traditional medicine and alternative and naturopathic therapeutics as an exit strategy for dependence on pain pills – opioid use disorder. It maintains that it is the first treatment center to combine the use of medical cannabis along with traditional medicine as an exit strategy for opioid use disorder.

The Mistake:

The biggest mistake in my career wasn’t a single incident; it was a series of events. 

When I was an emergency room physician, I was treating patients in greater and greater numbers for opioid use disorder and dependence. I was part of a cycle that was very dysfunctional.

It was a lose-lose proposition for me as a physician and for the patient in that we didn’t have a lot of options. I was either going to prescribe them more opioids and continue the cycle, or say no and send them to another facility or – even worse – send them out on the street. 

Instead of being part of the problem, I felt like I could be part of the solution.

The Lesson:

That became too much for me. I eventually had an opportunity to leave the emergency room and become the medical director of a medical marijuana dispensary. In that dispensary, I was able to pivot and instead of being part of the problem, I felt like I could be part of the solution. I was able to treat patients with something that was less habit-forming, less dangerous, had fewer side effects and helped patients have a lot of success.

That led me to open Blue Door Therapeutics, which is a clinic that’s run by physicians to specifically treat opioid use disorder in a humane and evidence-based manner. These evidence-based practices can come from a naturopathic perspective, or an alternative-medicine perspective, or a traditional allopathic perspective, including the use of cannabis, which is evidence-based for treating opioid use disorder.

My mistake was being part of a system that was dysfunctional, but my trajectory was finding my way out of it. By following my instincts and my passion, I was able to develop an innovative and disruptive industry that will ultimately accomplish my goal of helping patients.

Follow Blue Door Therapeutics on Twitter at @bluedooraz.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Gina Berman

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