'A lot of people need our help here': P.E.I. medical marijuana wellness centre growing rapidly
Marijuana for Trauma Inc. says number of Charlottetown clients has doubled since January
A company that helps people access and use medical marijuana says the demand for its services in Charlottetown is steadily increasing.
Since January, Marijuana for Trauma's operations manager Eldon Bennett says the number of clients at the Charlottetown office has doubled, from 300 to 600.
"A lot of people need our help here," said Bennett.
"We've been able to keep up with the demand, but I think in the near future we'll be hiring another employee to help out. It's getting very busy here."
More doctors referring patients
The Charlottetown branch of Marijuana for Trauma opened a year ago, initially to offer military veterans advice and assistance in legally obtaining the right medical marijuana to help them deal with PTSD or chronic pain.
Since that time, Bennett said more and more non-veterans have come looking for help.
He also said at least six P.E.I. family doctors have started referring patients to Marijuana for Trauma.
"Doctors are seeing what cannabis can actually do for patients," he said. "But a lot of the doctors don't have the education and the background in cannabis therapy, and they're so busy that it's hard to get the training they need."
Doctors are seeing what cannabis can actually do for patients.- Eldon Bennett, Marijuana for Trauma Operations Manager
Kim Sheridan said her doctor referred her to Marijuana for Trauma six months ago. She's been regularly using its services ever since.
"[My doctor] didn't know what to give me, or how much to give me, or how I should use it or take it," said Sheridan, who has suffered from pain and mobility issues since a workplace injury nearly twenty years ago.
"I was smoking it at first. That was the only way I knew. And since I've come here, I've learned that there are oils, and all the different strains and how they help for different issues. It's really been helpful."
New, bigger office
In response to the increased demand, the Charlottetown branch expanded to a bigger office on Allen Street in January.
Office manager Tracy Lynn Ellsworth said with the added space, it's able to offer more services.
"We have peer support groups where people can come and meet who are in [similar] situations … we're starting yoga classes," she said. "So we're not just about education. We're about providing a family organization and a community."
Ellsworth expects the demand will continue to increase, especially if more health benefit plans start covering the cost of medical marijuana, which has been a major topic of discussion in the insurance industry.
"I think that's going to have a huge impact if insurance companies start covering this. We'll have more and more clients," she said.
Marijuana for Trauma is a division of Canada House, a publicly-traded company.
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- A previous version of this story said Marijuana for Trauma is a non-profit. In fact, it was previously a non-profit, but is now a division of Canada House, a publicly-traded company.Aug 30, 2017 8:26 AM AT