AB: New Medical Marijuana Clinic With A Different Approach Open In Downtown Calgary


Operators of a new clinic in downtown Calgary say the facility will provide more capacity for patients seeking access to medical marijuana.

Curious locals got a glimpse of the Lift Resource Centre at an open house Tuesday. The clinic is in the larger Imagine Health Centres, where some physicians and nurses are being trained to give consultations about medical cannabis. Patients will be given information and will receive a medical document if they qualify for one. They’ll also be provided with a treatment plan and scheduled for regular follow-up appointments with a nurse.

Dr. Jonathan Chan, the co-founder of Imagine Health Centres, said some patients at the clinic are interested in looking at medical cannabis as a way to treat conditions or chronic disease.

“We recognize that within our own physician groups, our own health teams, that there was a lack of experience, comfort level, knowledge with that area,” said Chan. “So we wanted to bring in a group that had a lot of that experience and was quite diligent at ensuring that the right type of patients were being chosen to use it and being appropriately supervised and managed as well.”

Pradyum Sekar, the COO and co-founder of Lift, said a current challenge for many clinics is that doctors are only paid for a limited amount of time with each patient. Through Lift’s model, which charges an annual membership fee of $95, nurses are able to spend an hour with patients to help them understand and navigate the process.

Patients who get a medical document from the centre can register with a licensed producer approved by Health Canada and order cannabis directly from the producer. Health Canada also has a list of specific conditions and symptoms that medical marijuana can be used for, including Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression, arthritis, chronic pain, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A challenge for medical marijuana users can be finding a doctor who is willing to provide a medical document, Sekar said.

“While there are other centres out there, there may be certain capacity limitations, so we hope to add to the capacity and support of physicians in the Calgary and Alberta region so patients can have another place to go in case they’re not able to go to one of the existing centres,” said Sekar.

Gord Haze, who attended the open house Tuesday, said such facilities are needed in Calgary.

“There are a few here in the city but it’s not something that’s advertised all over the place,” he said. “People aren’t seeing the doctors when they need to see them. They don’t know where they can go.”

Chan said some of the strongest research around the use of medical marijuana focuses on chronic pain. He added that an uptake in medical cannabis use will likely lead to more results for future studies that can help guide the profession.

Jonathan Zaid, the founder and executive director of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, said access to medical cannabis has been increasing, largely stemming from various court cases. But he added that patients continue to struggle with access and with the affordability of medical cannabis, with many arguing that regulated on-site distribution would be better than centres where patients can select and receive information about a product.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: New Medical Marijuana Clinic With A Different Approach Open In Downtown Calgary
Author: Yolande Cole
Contact: 403-235-7100
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Website: Calgary Herald