If you didn’t know better, you might think you walked into an Apple store because of the state-of-the-art, modern, clean and sleek environment. If you look around, you may find your neighbor, co-worker or maybe even your grandmother. But if you have been following the topic of medical marijuana and how it has been helping patients in ways that conventional medicine can’t, you wouldn’t be surprised to find yourself at Curaleaf’s flagship dispensary in the Dadeland area.
Curaleaf provides medical marijuana as ordered by licensed physicians for patients that are suffering from qualifying conditions. The company was one of the first five medical marijuana providers in the state of Florida to receive a license and the first and only company in the state to earn their Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level II certification with a score of “Excellent,” which is a regulatory requirement in the state. The company controls the product from seed to sale to ensure patients are receiving the best quality medicine that is safe.
“I have seen quite a few people who are coming to us that would have never thought they’d ever use cannabis in their lifetime, but they have been living with a debilitating condition and medical marijuana is providing relief where conventional medicine has not,” said Dr. Eddy Blanco, Director of Product Research and Development for Curaleaf. “Patients are finding relief and not experiencing side effects sometimes found with conventional medicine.”
The company prides itself in taking the lead in education. They spend much time and energy creating materials and educating patients and doctors. As part of their commitment to customer service, they also have a team of physician liaisons to help educate certified physicians and patients. “Our focus is to create a great customer experience and educate our patients,” said Michael Costa, Director of Training and Dispensary Support for Curaleaf.
“Our team hosts multiple in-house medical cannabis educational events at our dispensaries’ community meeting rooms to support patients and community groups. In addition, we provide private consultation rooms where patients can consult with staff in a comfortable environment.”
Medical cannabis has been found to have a good safety profile with very few negative reactions. It has proven helpful for a wide range of patients from pediatrics to geriatrics. There is a very low addiction risk, especially when compared to opioids. Also, cannabis does not affect the area of the brain that controls respiration so the likelihood of death is minimal unlike opioids that have a high risk of both addiction and death. Cannabis has proven so promising that it is being looked at as a possible solution to the opioid epidemic in the country.
“Our patients are traditional everyday people who view our medicine as an alternative that allows them to decrease the use of other medications that may have harmful side effects, such as opiates,” states Dr. Blanco. “Medical cannabis has been associated with a decrease in opiate use while still controlling symptoms, which means less side effects. I see it being integrated as an additional tool in a physician’s toolbox.”
The company uses laboratory- grade extraction and purification techniques to create two classes of safe medical marijuana that have been proven beneficial for certain conditions. Curaleaf products include oral oils, capsules, topical creams, vaporization oils and ground dry herb pods of varying tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD) levels. Both THC and CBD medical marijuana have been found to help with several conditions, and licensed physicians are qualified to order medical marijuana medicines to treat patients according to their condition.
“We are regulated by the Florida Department of Health and everything we do is controlled from seed to sale, so it is tested for safety every step of the way, including microbial tests,” said Mr. Costa. “Everything is heavily documented and recorded. We have a product that is scientifically precise. Our job is to produce premium quality, clean products for the patients.”
Curaleaf produces top quality, lab-grade tested medication for patients and has a rigorous quality assurance program in place. They control the product every step of the way, including growing, manufacturing and sale of the medicine. During processing, products are tested at several stages for potency and any contamination. Final products also undergo third party product testing to ensure that it is safe for human consumption and free of contaminates. The company is also responsible for any transportation during this process, including delivering the product to patients. This tight control over the chain of custody ensures safety and security.
“Our team at Curaleaf is dedicated to making this life-changing treatment available and accessible to all, so suffering patients can find the relief they need in a caring and compassionate environment,” shared Lindsay Jones, President of Curaleaf Florida. “Our goal is to be the preferred medical marijuana provider in the state.”
For patients to receive an order for medical marijuana a licensed physician must have diagnosed them with a qualifying condition. Some of the qualifying conditions include:
- Positive status for HIV AIDS
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above
- A terminal condition diagnosed by a physician
- Chronic nonmalignant pain caused by or originating from a qualifying medical condition
Curaleaf is based in South Florida with their cultivation headquarters located in the Redlands. They currently have dispensaries in Miami, Lake Worth, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Palm Harbor and Palm Bay with plans for 20 dispensaries throughout the state by end of year. In addition, they currently offer delivery to 33 counties. For more information and to find Curaleaf locations, visit www.curaleaf.com.