Montreal's first medical marijuana clinic opens for business
Published Tuesday, November 11, 2014 5:32PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 11, 2014 7:09PM EST
Montreal's first medical marijuana clinic is open for business.
Sante Cannabis is working with a team of physicians to help patients who are eligible get access to medical marijuana.
Though they have five doctors behind the clinic, the College of Physicians isn’t convinced it’s a good idea.
Located at 1239 Amherst St., patients began dropping by the shop Tuesday as the phone rang off the hook.
Tristan Williams is one of those people.
At 24, Williams is a cancer survivor, MS patient, and medical marijuana user.
“I deal with a lot of chronic pain, a lot of chronic depression. But with the medical marijuana it helps to relieve that it puts me at a balance without having my mind go out of there,” he said.
Williams said marijuana gave him back his quality of life, because he felt his regular medications were making him sicker.
“The things I was taking, I can honestly say felt like poison to my body,” he said.
Sante Cannabis doesn't sell marijuana.
Would-be buyers require a doctor's referral, and for a $250 annual fee, are then met with one of the clinic’s doctors to see if cannabis can help them with a condition.
They will advise on the compound, as well as where to buy it.
One of the doctors at Sante Cannabis is Marcia Gillman, a palliative care and pain management specialist who found many patients were having bad side effects from prescription drugs.
“Half the time I'm giving the medication and then I'm giving another medication to combat the side effect of the medication they are already taking,” she said.
She found vaporizing marijuana to be more effective.
Many compounds won't get users high, either.
“I find cannabis interesting because if I can take one medication that could potentially target the pain and nausea, the anxiety, the appetite issues, the sleep issues, I need be able to necessarily get rid of everything else they are on but limit the doses,” she said.
Sante Cannabis is the brainchild of marijuana activist Adam Greenblatt, who says in spite of it being legal to purchase medical marijuana, the process can be complicated.
“Despite the fact that there are 20 companies licenced, not all of them are taking patients,” he said. “Some of them are having stock ruptures every game. They can't grow enough of the stuff to meet demand.”
Quebec's College of Physicians, however, warns there should be more study before doctors prescribe cannabis widely.
“We have no safety data, depending on each product available, and no data on cannabis reactions with other drugs patients may use,” said Dr. Yves Robert, secretary of the College of Physicians.
As a patient, Williams said he has no doubt about the efficacy of medical marijuana.
“It will change lives,” he said.