CORNWALL – A new medical cannabis clinic, connecting patients with various illnesses to medical marijuana producers, has opened a Cornwall location.
Bodystream Medical Marijuana Services – based in Barrie, Ont. – held an opening for its office at 220 Pitt Street this morning (Wednesday).
Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy, Coun. Justin Towndale and representatives for MP Guy Lauzon and the Cornwall Business Enterprise Center were there for the ribbon cutting.
“Because of our opioid epidemic…this is really catching on because our patients are telling us it’s a great substitute for opiates,” said Erika Calhoun, marketing coordinator for Bodystream.
“Cannabis is a natural medicine. It’s not what you tried in college. I think there’s still a stigma around it. We’ve been able to fight that stigma especially in places like Peterborough and northern clinics like Thunder Bay,” she said.
Calhoun says the majority of their patients are senior citizens dealing with some kind of pain.
“They’ve tried everything else. They’ve done the harsh pharmaceuticals – it didn’t work or they caused more problems than the initial problem. So we’ve seen some really great progress with a lot of our seniors.”
Patients will either get a doctor’s referral or documentation of their ailment. Bodystream will also help them obtain a referral. Then the person will meet with a physician at the Pitt Street office through videoconferencing on the Ontario Telemedicine Network.
“They’re going to get a real educational process from start to finish. It’s very important the patients know what to take, how much and the dosing. We make sure that the patient feels comfortable before they leave,” Calhoun said.
She said the family doctors have specialized training from Bodystream for prescribing marijuana – there’s about 30 of them who work for the company on a part-time basis while having their own medical practices.
Bodystream then sets the patient up with one of Canada’s 88 Health Canada approved, licenced producers. “That company will ship the product to the patient’s door, which is at present time, the only legal way in Canada to get medical cannabis. If you can walk into a store and purchase it over the counter, right now, it’s not legal yet,” she told Cornwall Newswatch.
The Pitt Street clinic has no medical marijuana or cannabis products on site.
As for the eventual legalization of marijuana, Calhoun believes it will help remove the stigma but won’t have much of an affect on their operations. “I think there’s going to be a real benefit to staying with a clinic and seeing a physician to get your prescription for many reasons,” she told CNW. “Those recreational users are going to know what they’re looking for when they go into those stores. Maybe not a senior citizen who’s dealing with chronic pain. It’s nice to have the education behind it. They’re a market for the medicinal and a market for the recreational.”
The office has one staff member right now – clinic supervisor Christine Thauvette. It has had one clinic day with a physician and a second clinic day is coming up on Feb. 15. It’s open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With the rapid development of the marijuana market, so too has Bodystream, with 19 locations across Ontario, including Cornwall. Roughly a dozen of those have opened in the last year.
The clinic’s Barrie location, which has been open for four years, sees about 40-50 patients a week and Calhoun envisions Cornwall becoming just as busy.
This is the second medical marijuana clinic to open in the city after Natures Decision opened on Eleventh Street East in April 2016.