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Medical Marijuana Clinic Friday: How Does it Work?

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GAYLORD – Dr. Robert "Bob" Townsend, DO, said about 95 percent of the prospective medical marijuana patients he sees at his traveling clinics have past experience with cannabis or currently use it.

After the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act passed in 2008, Townsend realized people who were managing their pain or other aliments through the illegal use of cannabis had been granted a means to do so legally. His goal is to make sure they do it right and follow a legitimate process.

"My average patient is a middle-aged, blue-collar worker with a bad back who has been using (marijuana) for 15 years illegally, has gotten some relief and wants to do it legally," he said.

For Townsend, who holds upwards of 25 clinics monthly throughout the state, being legitimate in his practice means he follows three steps: Verify patients' qualifying conditions through records; determine if medical marijuana is the right course of action; and follow up with his patients by phone or e-mail.
He compares the process to that adhered to by any other physician.

"When you go to the doctor there's certain things you're going to expect. He will make a recommendation based on evidence of what is best, then follow up with them," he said. "That's the way I do it and that's the way medicine dictates it be done."

Before seeing a patient, Townsend insists he or she provide medical records as evidence they have a qualifying condition (see story below). By doing so, he not only determines whether the person can be a legal marijuana patient but also decides whether marijuana will help them. Should the legitimacy of a patient's medical marijuana certification ever come into question, he will have copies of the patient's records to support his recommendation and the patient's qualifications.

Townsend referred to clinics that do not require patient records as "signature mills," where patients are "basically purchasing a signature." He said the affidavits patients receive from these clinics will not hold up should the cardholder be questioned in a court of law and only serve to protect the doctor and his/her clinic.

Once Townsend determines marijuana will help a patient, he writes his certification and refers the patient to a local compassionate care club to either find a care provider to grow their medicine or learn how to do it themselves (see story in Saturday's Herald Times).

He also recommends certain strains of marijuana – which have varying levels of tetra----------binol (THC) and other active compounds – to treat specific aliments. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound determined to decrease inflammation and treat pain.

Finally, he provides patients with his personal phone number so they can call him anytime with questions.
"That again is part of the education process," he said. "It's ongoing."

After receiving their certification, patients must submit their paperwork to the Department of Community Health to receive their card.

Townsend is holding a clinic Friday, March 25, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Alpine Lodge in Gaylord. Call 989-619-6312 for an appointment. For more information about Dr. Townsend visit Welcome to Dr. Bob and the Certification Crew.
Contact Chris Engle at 732-1111 or cengle@gaylordheraldtimes.com.

What conditions qualify for medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana patients must suffer from a debilitating medical condition, defined by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008 as:
- Cancer, glaucoma, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease or nail patella.
- A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures (including but not limited to those caused by epilepsy), severe or persistent muscle spasms (including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis), or any other medical condition adopted by the Michigan Department of Community Heath (none added yet).

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: petoskeynews.com
Author: Chris Engle
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Gaylord Herald Times
Website: Medical marijuana clinic Friday: How does it work?
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