Full-service medicinal marijana clinic opening in London
Published Thursday, April 10, 2014 6:14PM EDT
It's the first of its kind in Canada - a 'full service' medicinal marijuana clinic - and it's setting up shop in London.
Options Health Care specializes in treating pain with pot and will open in just over a week.
It's a truly unique concept. Patients with chronic pain, anxiety, cancer and a whole host of ailments can get assessed by a physician and get a prescription for marijuana.
And what's more, they can actually have their pot stored there, pick it up there and eventually even use it at the facility.
Dr. John Craven has spent 12 years treating people addicted to prescription painkillers.
"This community has been grossly misinformed about the safety of prescription painkiller drugs and the way they are prescribed in this region."
He says they just aren't safe - and are over-prescribed - leading to lifelong addictions. Craven says a safer solution can be found in pot - and legislative changes that made medicinal marijuana easier to access fueled his latest venture.
"The benefit of medicinal marijuana is that it does not create the same degree, severity or intractable brain dependency that's caused by opiate pain killers,' Craven says. "I will do a comprehensive assessment and we will have a drop-in clinic, but we will not be charging patients."
Craven doesn't know how much will be locked away at the facility, but he expects there will be a lot of it, and the clinic will have significant security in place.
He says "No one is going to access this building that we don't want to access this building."
Even if someone gets into the building, patients' marijuana will be stored in a secure room, in heavy duty, locked metal cabinets behind windows coated with 7 mm reinforced security film.
The facility is set up with a high-tech ventilation system, so patients may eventually be able to use their prescribed marijuana on site, but those who use marijuana to ease their pain are already excited about the clinic.
Marissa Dalton had to wait two years before she could get a licence for medicinal marijuana and she now helps other patients get theirs.
The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons recommends against doctors prescribing pot, so very few doctors in the province do.
"I think it's a great leap forward," Dalton says. "I think it's awesome, I love it. It's about time and I hope more doctors will get on board with this."
Craven is taking it a step further and is trying to create a whole culture of acceptance with a pot accessory store and art gallery with many pieces celebrating cannabis culture.
"I believe there is a huge pent-up demand for a facility like this," he adds.
Culture Rising, the store and art gallery open Friday and the clinic is scheduled to open in about 10 days.