St. John’s Medical Marijuana Clinic Gets the Green Light

"We’re out to decrease stigma and increase awareness. Some physicians are simply not comfortable with cannabinoid therapy.”

It’s not a dispensary, but it’s in the neighbourhood — a new St. John’s medical marijuana clinic will soon be helping patients with the often-tangly medical and legal matters surrounding cannabis-based treatments. 

Cannabinoid Medical Clinic will be opening officially on February 29th and kicking it off with a medical education session with healthcare practitioners in St. John’s.

“We’re out to decrease stigma and increase awareness,” says Dr. Danial Schecter, Executive Director and co-founder of Cannabinoid Medical Clinic, as well as a practicing family physician. “Some physicians are simply not comfortable with cannabinoid therapy.”

Since opening their first clinic in Toronto in 2014, Dr. Schecter and his colleagues have worked with Canadian physicians, as many are uncertain how to talk with their patients about marijuana, including the legal implications, and the process of obtaining it. “It’s one of the occasions where the patient may be more knowledgeable on a topic than the physician.”

As a referral-only clinic, the clinic only accepts patients who have been referred by a physician or medical specialist. From there, the clinic assesses whether a patient can be helped with cannabis-based medications or medical marijuana.

“We talk to people who are just at the end of their rope,” says Schecter. “They’ve seen a few different specialists, they’re experiencing chronic conditions, and they’re looking for other options.”

After the referral process, if a patient qualifies for medical marijuana, the clinic’s physician will provide a prescription, which can be sent to any Licensed Producer (LP) approved by Health Canada, who will then send the prescribed medication by mail or courier, which is still the only legal way to obtain medical marijuana.

Along with medical marijuana, CMClinic can also prescribe cannabinoids, a prescription which can be filled at your local pharmacy. Prescriptive cannabinoids are synthetic and mimic the action of THC, and have different applications than the herbal variety.

Schecter says that there are many benefits of moving to legitimate pot sources, aside from the obvious (legal) ones, and the fact that many patients find the arrangement more affordable. It’s also a tax write-off, as it’s a medical expense.

“Also, on the street, you may find a strain that’s particularly effective for you one week, but then next week, what you get may be the same, or maybe it’s different and you could experience negative effects… [Licensed Producers] grow it standardized… the medical ingredients are right there on the package.”

As they prepare for their kick-off, Schecter is hoping that the community supports their move to St. John’s. “It’s important for us to have community buy-in. We don’t work in isolation. We want to work with physicians as well as patients. If you’re working in a silo, patients receive no benefit.”

The clinic’s lead physician for the area will be Dr. Leonard Phair, who specializes in internal medicine. CMClinic plans to announce their St. John’s location in February.

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35 Comments

  • my son has severe Autism.
    He is on several drugs that have very bad sode effects, and he is veryy agressive.
    He is non verbal and has no quality of life.
    he self injures
    he attacks us on a daily basis.
    Hes been on so many medications, and its doing very little to help.
    How can you guys help him?
    I know there is alot od research around autism and cannabis, Im just wondering if there is any way we can see you?
    We live in St. Johns Newfoundland.

  • I’m a medicinal marijuana user and have been for about ten years or so. My GP had no problem writing me a prescription for it. It works in conjunction with my other drugs, and it works very well together! My problem is access to it. Here in St. John’s, there’s no licensed producer to dispense the product, so right off the top I have to pay as much as $50 for overnight shipping, or $30 for what they call a two day delivery (that depends what part of the city you dwell in, could be as much as four days). You’ll also be pleased to know that the gov is now taxing this at both the federal and provincial level.

  • hi christine. many studies say it may not be effective for anxiety but can help with depressive symptoms.

  • hi i got MS and my fam DR wount do anything for me only give me PILLS anyone know a DR i can see to get a referrall in nfld thanks

  • dont bother with these people they dont give a flying fuck about you only about billing mcp as much as they can while you foot the bill for hundreds of dollars of inefficient disgusting offensive cannabis they limit you to. They dont care about helping people just making money off an emerging market.

    • I have same problem if anyone has a phone number to the clinic in Saint Johns can u please forward it to me at wlundy05@gmail.com or text me at 709-424-9453 Thank you william lundy

  • Thanks so much DB I appreciate the help. This is really going to help me recover. I have been suffering and trying to get help for years and finally having a great therapist and she strongly supports this clinic. Way to go.

  • I would also imagine that kids access to opiate killers will be greatly reduced if less people are sucked into using them. These terrifying pharma parties that we hear about….. I would much rather my child ( I have 2) be at a good old fashioned weed party that mixing pharmaceuticals with alcohol… that’s more terrifying than just about anything I can imagine. Even drinking alone is much more dangerous and leads to many more deaths and hospital visits then marijuana ever could and has!

  • Additionally I would like to add that I have had six hernia repairs and have been taking painkillers for going on 2 years now and pain is only getting worse, cause that’s what opiate pain relievers do, they destroy your ability to cope with pain gradually forcing you to become more dependent over time and then viola you have yourself a nice little addition happening. When you have been in pain for over ten years being pain free is buzz in and of itself. Therein lies the insidious and cleverly laid trap of opiate painkiller addiction laid by big pharmacy! Supported by doctors sadly who won’t support a natural remedy that some say is not tested…. to which I say “how is it we have neuro-receptors which have evolved over thousands of years specific to cannabis? I’d say that evolution is a pretty decent medical testing criteria”. As we all are well aware Marijuana is not a poison reaction like say alcohol or prescribed narcotics. Two mega industries btw.

    • it is referral only clinic….any of your specialists can give u the referal. my family doctor gave me my referal. u can download the referal sheet for the clinic on http://www.cmclinic.ca . there is a green button top right corner that says referal form…..click and print and bring with u to your docter appointment. best of luck to u.

  • Hi I have several chronic pain issues along with a number of anxiety based disorders that are diagnosed and I require medical Marijuana according to my psychologist with over 30 years of experience. Will a registered professional psychologist be able to refer or does I require a medical doctor? What about a chiropractic doctors will they be able to refer? What is meant exactly by the term “medical specialist” in the above article???

  • well its about time. I went to my family doc….having the extensive med history i have….he had NOOOOOOO problem what so ever giving me the referal ..im am so lucky to have the family doc i have….he lets u speak….and he actually really listens….4 days after i left my family doc office……they called me back with my appt for dr phair in march…that was alotttt quicker than i expected. (and def not where i expected it to be located lol)

    it saddens me that there are people out there with chronic conditions and are getting no support from their doctors about marijuana…..what i dont understand is….a doctor will easily prescribe morephine or other dreadful narvotics for pain…..but wont give a referal to a clinic…..really ????

    MORPHINE VS MARIJUANA !!!! (ive had both…sure morephine helps the pain……but it also makes u violently ill….marijuana definitely helps the pain…..and its will only give u the munchies…never makes u sick)

    So can somebody please tell me, which is safer marijuana or morphine ????

    • You have your appointment booked already? I cant get a hold of the clinic my papers have been in for weeks now waiting for them to open last i heard i was at the top of the waiting list ….where is my appointment lol.

      • yes i already have my appt booked with dr phair…have my referal and med files to tske to the appt with me…late march

        • “Thank you for your e-mail. We have received your referral, but we do not have a set date of opening. You are on our list and will be contacted to schedule an appointment as soon as we find out the available dates.”

          Thats what they emailed me this morning, my referral has been in since early february and when i called 2-3 weks into february to confirm they said they had it and i would be like one of the first if not the first called with an appointment. This doesent make much sense to me to be honest.

      • I have same problem trying to find a number for the clinic to see how long before I can get a apointment to get in . If any one has a number to the clinic please email me at wlundy05@gmail.com or text me at 709-424-9453 Thank You William Lundy

  • My gp wanted to give it to me for my severe rheumatoid. But he couldn’t because his malpractice insurance would not cover him. Now he can refer me to this clinic. This is a good idea. I will ask him about this when I see him again. Some relief would be so great.

    • I have same problem trying to find a number for the clinic to see how long before I can get a apointment to get in . If any one has a number to the clinic please email me at wlundy05@gmail.com or text me at 709-424-9453 Thank You William Lundy

  • Wonderful news .Perhaps now, the long-standing stigma will vanish. Chronic back pain is no laughing matter … neither is the lack of sleep associated with it. I’ll be watching developments very closely. Good luck!

  • The biggest problem I see here is the fact I would still need a referral. My doctors dont believe in cannabis as medicine. Ive been to several and have 4 separate conditions that would qualify me for cannabis use one of which causes constant crippling pain. If my doctors dont take it serious as medicine then they will not refer me, if they did believe in it I would have it all ready. So I fail to see how this helps patients, doctors here have their minds made up from what I can tell, Ive asked several If cannabis would be right for me and been laughed at. This is just one more thing that people who need it wont have access to because its referral only…

    • Hi CANNABISPATIENT:
      We certainly understand the unfortunate situation you are in. Our team works within each community to educate healthcare practitioners on the benefits of cannabinoid therapy, with the goal of reducing hesitations when it comes to referring. We work in partnership with your doctor, and they receive a transcript of your visit and what was prescribed so that they can remain an integral part of your treatment. We are always available to answer any questions, either from you to help you understand how to speak to your doctor, or to provide more information to your doctor directly. We hope to see you in our St. John’s clinic soon so we can get you feeling better!

      • I have same problem trying to find a number for the clinic to see how long before I can get a apointment to get in . If any one has a number to the clinic please email me at wlundy05@gmail.com or text me at 709-424-9453 Thank You William Lundy

    • I started using cannabis to get rid of oxycodon and its really helps me. I’m in montreal and perhaps, im lucky but my doctor is very open about it. but there was thing id like to know is, last time Ive went to see him, I noticed that he received some document from canntrust I think. thats another part, Producers must educate doctors so they will be confident. and also knowing a bit more. Because theres a lack of education. Most of people. even politician dont even know whats CBD is. and most people around me think im high. I’m not at all. I use less than 1% THC. It is not a fail at all, its just the beginning. The more we talk about it, the more we open clinic, and doctor get educated, the more will have access and I strongly believe that one day it will be covered by insurrance and RAMQ, as an advocate, its what I wish. as long as legalization. I would suggest that you change doctors, its in your rights. I know its complicated. but we have to stand up for our rights! its rights to choose a doctor you feel confident with. It took me 10 years to be taken ‘a bit seriously’ because im 30 years old and I was 20yo when I started having back problem, even with a spinal fusion, people discriminate me, and keep telling me ‘i dont look sick’ or I cant have a bed at the hospital because im not enough older. stay positive! it does help patients, without santecannabis in montreal, I would have never started cannabis. 🙂

    • Hi CANNABISPATIENT,
      I am in Ontario and it has taken me years to get my dr to give me the referral. I think it was because I had my husband come with me and reiterate my complaints. Do we have any kind of group that can act as your advocate for this kind of situation? I think this would be very helpful. I wish you the very best and be direct with your dr and tell him he is not taking your health and welfare seriously. Tell him you want the referral, it is no longer his decision.

  • Finally, Newfoundland physicians and the College of Newfoundland physician will be hauled out of their neanderthal mind-stay regarding medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is a safe alternative and works wonders for many chronic illnesses when and where pharmaceutical drugs do not. Alleluia – perhaps in the near future Newfoundland’s veterans and civilian exodus for medical relief will cease.

  • Thanks for the great coverage Lauren, our team is looking forward to putting down roots in St. John’s and working with patients and healthcare practitioners in the area. It’s a great community and we’re eager to be a part of it. Anyone looking for more information on what we do can visit http://www.cmclinic.ca.

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