by Karen G. Meshkov
The rollout of PA’s medical cannabis program has not been without its hiccups: it’s taken longer than anticipated to go into effect; the Department of Health has been criticized for lacking the budget to do a proper marketing and education campaign; the ratio of doctors registered in the program to patients registered for care is woefully lopsided. The concern is that despite the landmark ruling of Act 16, people that suffer from the 17 “serious medical conditions” included in the initiative will also suffer from an inability to access services.
Enter The Green Remedy, a medical marijuana advocacy center and clinic on the outskirts of Northwest Philadelphia whose efforts are all about easing suffering. The clinic, which opened its doors in October, helps people that want to get into the medical cannabis program connect with a certified doctor so they can get their card and access the dispensaries. “The program was officially in place as of November 1,” says the company’s founder, Chanel Rousseau, her eyes sparkling.
Rousseau, a former Chicago resident, knows what it can be like when traditional medicine isn’t doing the job for a chronic, debilitating condition. She was diagnosed with stage four endometriosis at age 22 and was in chronic pain. “I tried everything. With the last medication I took, my hair literally was falling out.” When she finally tried cannabis as a last resort—she was not a recreational user—her pain dissipated. “I got my life back; it was amazing.”
MMJ became legal in Illinois in 2011, and Rousseau began working in an Illinois cannabis clinic. Rousseau’s husband relocated to PA for work shortly after Act 16 passed. Rousseau then realized that her industry knowledge and experience could help many Pennsylvanians navigate a complex system and receive the care they need. They founded The Green Remedy, uniting both committed doctors and patient advocates.
“We know that finding a doctor can be tricky for many people,” explains Rousseau. “Others may find navigating the PA Department of Health website difficult, or may be intimidated at the amount of paperwork. When people are sick, the last thing they want to deal with is a bunch of red tape. We navigate that system for them to help ensure a successful application.”
Beyond helping with program access, the team at The Green Remedy stresses patient education. “Besides medical cannabis certification assistance, we offer integrative care and nutrition therapy. There are specific foods that trigger inflammation or hasten the progression of certain conditions. We give every certified patient a full lifestyle revision program that discusses changes they should make for their condition, including natural, integrative options.”
The new year will offer relief to many Pennsylvanians that may have been suffering for years. The Green Remedy’s efforts are to make sure that the process to that relief is painless, as well.
Connect with Karen G. Meshkov at KMeshkov@gmail.com.