OH: Menorah Park Eyes New Building For Medical Marijuana Treatment

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The Menorah Park Center for Senior Living in Beachwood plans to build an alternative therapy center offering medical marijuana as one of its treatment modes. If it can, however, Menorah Park will offer that form of treatment before that center is built.

Now that the medical use of marijuana is legal in Ohio, Menorah Park plans to use it for therapy as soon as possible, according to Steve Raichilson, Menorah Park’s executive director and CEO.

Not only that, Menorah Park wants to add medical marijuana to an arsenal of treatments it aims to deploy at an alternative therapy center that is a “very popular component” of its long-range plans, Raichilson said Sept. 13.

While plans for that center are in the embryonic stage, Raichilson said they call for a one- or two-story building to be constructed over a parking lot to the immediate east of the Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center on Cedar Road.

For now, Menorah Park is working to finance a 10-story, 100-unit assisted living facility in front of its nursing home complex. This would be built on top of a deck above the parking structure.

The alternative therapy center is three to five years out, Raichilson said.

In the meantime, Menorah Park is eager to use medical marijuana to help treat elderly patients with pain issues, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, anger management issues and ones who need relief from symptoms of other illnesses, Raichilson said.

In June, Gov. John R. Kasich made Ohio the 25th state to legalize the medical use of marijuana. The law took effect Sept. 8. While it authorizes use of the plant to treat conditions including hepatitis C, AIDS, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease and cancer, there is no mechanism to execute it. The state is committed to making the program fully operational by September 2018.

The next step is for the state to appoint a special commission of 13 people – Raichilson said he’s been nominated to that panel but isn’t sure he’ll be picked – that will then supervise all the procedures necessary for the start of actual dispensing.

In a letter he wrote to the Menorah Park residential community, Raichilson said, “The new law is very clear regarding the limited types of medical marijuana allowed for use in Ohio. Combustibles, for example are completely prohibited. Options for medical marijuana treatments include vaporizers, aerosols, edibles, oils, and patches, all of which are feasible for supervised use at Menorah Park.”

“There are four areas where as caregivers we’re very excited about the use of medical marijuana,” Raichilson said, noting marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. Research into use of medical marijuana in Israel, where there’s been an active program for years, suggests it would be effective in pain control, for clients with Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia, for weight maintenance and appetite strengthening, and for temporary suppression of symptoms.

“Many people who are seniors have adverse reactions to regular drugs for pain,” Raichilson said, noting they “lead to constipation, to different sorts of anxiety and stress.” The focus in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients is treatment for “agitation and belligerency control,” he said, noting Israeli success with medical marijuana vapors and aerosols. Medical marijuana also could be used to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia patients for “a very acute problem with appetite suppression.”

Because marijuana is an “appetite stimulant,” he said, it could get people to eat more and “maintain good body weight and nutrition.”

The fourth area Menorah Park wants to use medical marijuana for is symptom suppression, such as temporarily reducing the tremors that accompany Parkinson’s disease, he said.

Menorah Park’s planned alternative therapy center would offer medical marijuana along with several other alternative therapies. Specialists in each field would staff it, effectively offering one-stop alternative therapy shopping.

“We are a ways out, but our goal is to be one of the first senior living organizations in the state to actively embrace its use,” Raichilson said of medical marijuana. “We feel, based on the research, that it’s a wonderful option for people who want to try it. Our long-range plan calls for developing an alternative therapy center to offer seniors nontraditional treatments like acupuncture, aromatherapy, medical marijuana, massage therapy and Reiki, with all these areas under one roof.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Menorah Park Eyes New Building For Medical Marijuana Treatment
Author: Carlo Wolff
Contact: 216-454-8300
Photo Credit: Urospoteko
Website: Cleveland Jewish News