A new clinic has opened in Sarnia to make it easier to obtain medical marijuana.
“It’s no different than your regular family doctor referring you to a specialist,” said Joe Benoit of the Bodystream clinic, which has been open for a month.
“We’re just a different kind of specialist.”
Bodystream Medical Marijuana Services has operated in Canada since 2001 and the Sarnia office is its 20th location. The goal is to simplify the process, Benoit said.
New patients can be referred by their own doctor or complete a private assessment at the clinic using the Ontario Telehealth Network.
Assessments are done in a room with the patient speaking directly to a doctor on video conference call, which is similar to Skype or FaceTime.
“It’s the new age of medicine,” Benoit said.
If approved, access is provided to Canada’s 38 licensed medical marijuana producers, as well as education and guidance on specific strains and products in plant form, drops or tablets.
“The vast majority of our patients have very, very little knowledge about the process and about the product,” he said. “We’re not in the business of just getting people prescriptions.”
Medicinal marijuana is often taken as a treatment for pain, as well as nausea from cancer treatment. But Benoit said it is also used by people suffering from asthma, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions.
“One of the side effects of medical marijuana is a great night’s sleep,” said Benoit.
“Really, the sky’s the limit in what it can help with.”
The cannabis plant contains more than 400 individual chemicals, and strains are produced to emphasize higher or lower levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
The sense of being ‘high’ comes from the THC while CBD is hailed for pain relief. Benoit said with the clinic’s help and a physician’s guidance, patients select a product that suits their condition.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is you don’t have to get high to get pain relief,” he said.
The clinic bills OHIP so there is no direct cost to the patient for its services. The patient buys from and is billed by the producer for the medical marijuana.
Benoit said Bodystream has a “weeding-out” process to determine whether someone truly needs medicinal help or is just seeking recreational pot.
Many of the company’s clientele are over 40, he added.
“We have a patient … who is 91 years old and who was on 11 prescribed pills per day,” he said. “There are nine pills that she no longer takes.”
Bodystream is located in the plaza at 836 Upper Canada Dr. The phone number is 226-313-4245.