Medical marijuana clinic sets up shop on Richmond Row

Dr. Mike Hart and Adam Saperia cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Ready to Go Clinic on Richmond Row on March 31, 2017.
Dr. Mike Hart and Adam Saperia cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Ready to Go Clinic on Richmond Row on March 31, 2017. AM980/Carl Garnich

Richmond Row welcomed a new neighbour interested in consultation and treatment involving medical cannabis.

The Ready to Go Clinic opened its doors on Friday afternoon, joined by partner GrowWise Health to cut the ribbon for its grand opening at 642 Richmond St. around 12:30 p.m.

According to Dr. Michael Hart, medical director for the clinic, his team will consult with potential patients to identify if treatment involving medical marijuana would effectively address their symptoms.

“[Medical cannabis] is largely used for chronic pain [and] also for insomnia and various mental health disorders, [such as] Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Hart said.
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Following a detailed treatment form and consultations, patients are directed to GrowWise Health for education on treatment.

“We have health care professionals that help counsel on the medication, counsel them on strains and modes of administration,” GrowWise president Adam Saperia said. “[We] ultimately help them place their order through one of the Health Canada licensed producers.”

As the federal government determines regulations in order to legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use, the new clinic is confident it can help provide support to patients, Hart said.

READ MORE: Canada to legalize pot by July 1, 2018: report

“Life-insurance policies have now deemed that medical marijuana does not affect any [policies],” Hart said. “We see that in the future, that there will be coverage likely for medical cannabis as there is for prescription drugs in Canada.”

Hart clarified that the treatment being offered by his clinic’s team will not have any psychoactive effects.

“It doesn’t get you high,” Hart said. “It’s mind-boggling [that it] would not be covered under certain health care plans [while] other drugs that can be potentially more harmful are covered.”
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According to Saperia, federal regulations will help de-stigmatize marijuana and help Canadians understand the benefits of medical cannabis.

READ MORE: Police identify 8 charged in marijuana dispensary raids

“We would be happy to see the HST removed from [medical marijuana],” Saperia said. “It is great to see the government taking interest in the medical cannabis space and the fact that Health Canada is overseeing the licensed producers can give us some assurance over the quality of the product that patients are receiving.”

Hart decided to set up shop in London after finishing his residency at Western University.

According to Saperia, the team has received a lot of positive feedback from local residents.

“People are eager to get access to medical cannabis – and get it in a legal way,” Saperia said. “[I believe] that giving this to the people of London [is] an incredible service.”
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The Ready to Go Clinic and GrowWise Health are looking to expand operations to the Greater Toronto Area while looking into new treatments to better address the needs of their patients.

Hart said the clinic is also looking into gaining access to IV vitamin drips and hopes to set up discussion sessions to help those dealing with mental health issues.