Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Medical Marijuana Adventure

Well. I\m back from another adventure, this time to the clinic where a specially certified doctor prescribed legal medical marijuana for me. I find it fascinating that any doctor in the country can prescribe powerful opiods, psychotropics which can generate suicidal thoughts, hypnotic and depressive sleeping aids that can put down a horse, but I need to go to a specially certified doctor to get a prescription of a naturally occurring plant. It speaks to the power of the pharmaceutical industry, and the hypocrisy of government in handling something as simple as cannabis.

Now, down to business. I need to start by saying that my arrival at the clinic engendered no squad cars or SWAT teams or CSIS spies lurking around the parking lot. There were no brightly lit signs with junkies shooting up underneath, nor dodgy people hanging about the door. It was a plain, simple, ordinary medical clinic, with patients coming in to get help with anything from a hangnail to, well, cannabis.

The doctor himself was terrific. He put me at ease almost the minute he entered the room. I did not feel like I was doing anything criminal, or even bad. He was very open about the process, the medication, the risks. He answered my every question, including questions about interactions with my other medications and a bunch of other miscellany. He listened to my story, making the appropriate compassionate sounds at the appropriate times. Then he wrote out a prescription for the largest legal dosage available on a monthly basis. He said it was the single largest amount he had ever prescribed. Apparently ALS is a pretty serious deal, what with the muscle loss, the fasiculations, the constant low grade pain, the tremors, the spasticity, the loss of emotional control, the depression... I think that about covers it.

The next step was the "cannabis education specialist". This was a nice young lady in the next room who seemed to have a lot of personal experience with the subject matter at hand. She was, I must say, very professional about the whole process, identifying which products would likely be best for me, how much I should order at a time when I went online; that's one of the interesting things, that the doctor prescribes a monthly amount but I order as much as I want up to that limit. It's not like other prescriptions, where they will pile the pills up as high as the hilltops, sending you home with months worth of your necessary drugs. No, this drug has to be prescribed by the physician, but ordered by the patient. It is worthy to note that the "Cannabis Education Specialist" also commented on the amount prescribed, saying it was the largest she had ever seen too. I believe the word "Wow" crept out of her mouth a couple of times.

After being completely educated, she suggested I ask for help from one of my more knowledgeable friends, or perhaps my children, about making cookies and getting the quantities correct. I think that ground is well covered. She then told me the bad news; my medical insurance will not cover this prescription medication. I would get a 20% discount as "compassionate pricing", but the same insurance company which would pay thousands of dollars for a chemical from a big pharmaceutical company will not pay for this naturally occurring plant.

So, the next thing will be an email from the suppliers asking me to register. I'll also get a medical marijuana card in the mail, allowing me to carry the stuff about if I wish. Except not across any international, or perhaps even provincial, borders. Then, I go online and spend my money. That's going to be the difficult part. The value of my monthly prescription, if fully filled, is about $600. I suspect I will go lightly on this path. As a side note, one of the recommended suppliers is a company owned by Snoop Dog, the famous rapper and pothead.

On the plus side, I have asked AISH if they will help pay for this. I suspect they won't. After all, if AISH started paying for my drugs, who knows what might happen. Oh. Wait. They already do. Except for this naturally occurring plant. The big pharmaceutical companies can't make any money off of it, so it must be illegal.