Marijuana for Trauma Inc. initially opened as a support centre for veterans who qualify for medical cannabis treatment, but the Cape Breton operation is now serving about 80 people, including civilians.
Since opening in June, volunteer Joe MacGillivray said the patient list has grown beyond veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and included those without a military background looking for ways to relieve chronic pain.
Centre staff and volunteers offer assistance to patients in choosing medication and dosage based on their needs, and navigating the licensed cannabis producer systems.
“We have cancer patients that are coming through,” said MacGillivray. “They’re finding the marijuana’s more of a soothing pain reliever and not like the medication a doctor would give that you’re in a fog.”
Despite her doctors not supporting the use of medical cannabis, Liz Phillips has been taking cannabis oil through the centre to deal with her stage-four breast cancer. Philips said, unlike the mainstream medical system, cannabis treatment has given her hope.
“My oncologist can’t understand why I’m in no pain. Don’t have any. I feel great,” she said.
Marijuana for Trauma Inc. centre president Vince Rigby said only about 60 per cent of their patients are now veterans, with a waiting list for the centre in place due to interest from the community.