Medical Cannabis Continues to Work its Magic, Especially on Seniors
The Delta 9 Lifestyle Cannabis Clinic opened its doors at 478 River Ave. in Winnipeg for medical patients on July 1, 2017 and demand for clinic services increased substantially when cannabis was legalized for recreational use in late 2018. The clinic has now served over 2,500 patients, and cannabis continues to prove what many appear to have known all along – it can help with a variety of ailments from arthritis to insomnia.
“We got swamped when cannabis was legalized,” said Clinic Manager Jonathan Doherty. “We could barely keep up. We were flabbergasted. We definitely appreciated it though. People felt more comfortable walking into a store, but some didn’t have the experience to just walk in and buy something. They wanted to talk to someone with specific knowledge.”
Staff at the Delta 9 retail stores couldn’t legally answer questions or make recommendations regarding pain relief, sleep issues etc. but the doctors at the Delta 9 Lifestyle Cannabis Clinic could, and they filled a gap that still exists today.
“The vast majority of our patients are seniors that have no experience with cannabis,” said Doherty. “So it’s brand new to them and it’s often a last resort. They’ve been on a handful of different medications, things are often spiraling out of control and looking worse, and they’re being put on more meds to cover for the side effects of the other meds. Cannabis is generally considered safe to take with other medications on the advice of a physician, so they find their way to us.”
Physicians at the Delta 9 clinic now have extensive experience dealing with seniors who are looking for a change but who are also nervous -- they don’t want to get high. There are now options that solve that problem, and they don’t have to worry about smoking anything. They can simply drop some oil in their mouth or take a capsule, and the results can sometimes be dramatic.
“One new patient couldn’t fill out his application because his tremors were so bad from Parkinson’s,” said Doherty. “He had to bring his son in to help him. A few months later he came for a follow-up appointment and was able to fill out the paperwork himself. He couldn’t believe how well things were going for him. We had another lady who couldn’t walk up the stairs for her first appointment, but she can now. We’ve seen some pretty drastic turnarounds.”
A common ailment among new patients is arthritis, and the clinic has had a number of related success stories that range from bus drivers to professional athletes.
“We had a bus driver that had back and knee pain caused by arthritis,” said Doherty. “Cannabis helped her with the arthritis that was causing the pain and she was able to become more active, which led to more health benefits. She lost weight, she was happier, and in her own words, she was able to ‘be myself again.’
“We’ve had former pro athletes come in who are dealing with arthritis in their hands, shoulders or knees, and they’ve found relief with cannabis. The majority are using high CBD products, usually oils, but occasionally some will also use products with THC.
“We had one patient with arthritis in his hands -- and this is not a unique situation -- he went to the retail store and asked them about a CBD product. They couldn’t answer any medical questions, but they gave him some CBD oil to start. He was doubtful, but his wife had heard that it worked and she kind of pushed him into it. He was blown away by the results. In his words ‘it was a miracle.’ From there he learned about the clinic, met with one of our doctors and became a patient. This happens regularly.”
Sleeplessness is another common reason people come to the clinic. Some have insomnia and others just can’t sleep because they’re in too much pain.
“People are using all sorts of different things for sleep issues,” said Doherty. “Their doctors are recommending that they start taking prescription medications, but the people are aware of the side effects and addiction issues and they don’t want that, which leads them to us.
“In some cases it’s just a matter of taking care of the pain and the sleep will follow. In others you have to directly address the no-sleep issues. Typically they try THC in small amounts, which can be excellent for sleeping. Not enough to become stoned, just enough to get them relaxed and ready for bed. My mother-in-law and mother both use it for sleep. If you had told me my mother would be using cannabis a few years ago, I would have said you were off your rocker.”
If you’re thinking about trying cannabis for medical issues, Doherty says it’s worth doing some research on websites like Leafly.ca and Lift.co, before you call or visit the clinic. There are two doctors at the clinic that each work one day a week and consult with patients on what they should be looking for or trying, different doses, things to stay away from etc. And you don’t have to be patient to call for advice.
“We pride ourselves on our patient services and our customer service,” said Doherty. “Sometimes a person’s doctor will prescribe them cannabis, but they still have questions about dosing, how to order products and what to order. We’re absolutely here to help them.”
Need your cannabis questions answered? Call Delta 9 Lifestyle Cannabis Clinic at (204) 410-3424 or book an appointment online at Delta9Life.com
Benefits of Becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient
“A lot of pain relief,” said Doherty. “I thought I had a good idea of what cannabis could and couldn’t do before I started here, but it’s been a real eye opener to me as to how effective it can potentially be for so many different ailments. It really is an incredible plant. Cannabis works differently for everyone, but we’ve seen it help with pain and sleep issues, PTSD, neurological disorders, anxiety, tremors, fibromyalgia, MS, Epilepsy, HIV and more.”
Wider Selection of Cannabis Products
Medical cannabis patients have access to a much larger variety of products than do recreational users, with over 100 Licensed Producers (LPs) across Canada to choose from. They also have additional cannabis rights and freedoms not available to recreational consumers.
Additional Rights and Freedoms
Medical cannabis patients can legally use cannabis in most public places, and as a medicine, cannabis is protected in the workplace. Companies are legally bound to provide medical cannabis patients with reasonable accommodations for its use. CBD-only products will not make you high, and you can use them throughout the day and still do your job properly. Dangerous jobs, however, can still have restrictions.
There are often discounts for seniors, and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces can get all of their medical cannabis purchases paid for, except for appointments. First Responders also generally get a price break of between 20-40 percent. Additionally, compassionate pricing is available depending on your level of income. Some private health insurance plans may also cover medical cannabis. And all medical cannabis patients can claim their cannabis expenses on their taxes.
Ability to Grow Your Own
As a medical cannabis patient you can apply to grow your own cannabis by making an appointment with a physician and filling out an 11-page form, which is then mailed to Health Canada.
“We can help with the form,” said Doherty. “The tricky part is learning how to grow. There is a learning curve, but there are lots of resources to learn from including YouTube videos, books and online social groups. It’s not something we teach right now at Delta 9, but it could be something we do in the future.
“As much as we are part of Delta 9, the care of our patients is a core concern for us. If a patient wants to grow their own, that’s 100 percent fine with us. The amount you can grow depends on your prescription and Health Canada. The physician has to fill out the gram amount per day on your prescription, and we’re seeing growth allowances along the lines of five plants per gram per day.”
Becoming a Medical Cannabis Patient. What You Need to Know.
- Schedule an initial consultation appointment by calling the Delta 9 Lifestyle Cannabis Clinic at (204) 410-3424 or booking online at Delta9Life.com. The initial consultation is $25.00 plus tax, which also gets you 10 percent off products sold at the clinic.
- Attend the initial consultation and fill out the medical intake form. Discuss what you’re hoping cannabis can do for you, learn about the different types of products and how the medical cannabis system works. Book an appointment to see one of our two physicians.
- Meet with a physician at the clinic to discuss your specific needs and decide on a prescription. The physician will recommend a combination of cannabinoids (including THC and CBD) that might work best for you and can also help you select products and strains. The first physician appointment is $75.00 plus tax. Each appointment after that is either free or $33.60, depending on the type of appointment.
- Select an LP to fill your prescription. There are over 100 LPs in Canada and medical cannabis can be shipped throughout the country. Delta 9 will FAX the required medical document to your choice of LP.
- The first prescription will last for three months, after which a follow-up appointment is required with a physician. Subsequent prescriptions can last up to a maximum of 12 months.
- Your selected LP will contact you directly with a welcome message, information about their company and products, along with instructions on how to make your first order for medical cannabis.
- When your prescription arrives, keep your receipt, as it can be claimed on your taxes. Additionally, there will be a document that provides proof that you are a medical patient. This document is important. It allows you certain rights not afforded to recreational users, including those related to work, consuming cannabis in public and growing your own cannabis.