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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Local Medical Practice Provides Recommendations for Legal Cannabis Products

Nov 30, 2016 04:26PM

A Spotlight on Takoma Park Alternative Care

Dr. Patricia Frye thought that she was retiring from a successful medical career in pediatrics, in southern California, when she returned to her roots, in D.C., a few years ago. Today, she has a growing global reputation as a medical professional that helps patients with a wide variety of chronic conditions find healing and relief with the use of legal cannabis products. She opened Takoma Park Alternative Care, in Maryland, last December and is now preparing for a new location in the same building, which is bigger to accommodate her thriving practice.

Frye evaluates patients and offers recommendations for those who have symptoms of chronic pain, seizure disorders and many other conditions that respond well to cannabis. Depending on the location of the patient, she is able to make recommendations to obtain products, and for some, she can provide access to the products. The laws of the District and the states dictate a patient’s ability to get specific products.

For example, D.C. patients, with a doctor’s recommendation, can go to a dispensary for medical cannabis. For all other patients, including those from Maryland, Virginia and beyond, Frye is able to make recommendations for cannabis-based medicines that are available legally, without a dispensary. The state of Maryland is currently setting up its dispensary network and will offer many higher quality medical cannabis products at that time. The laws in Maryland also were drafted with no residency requirement, meaning that patients need not live in the state. Without that restriction, Frye has a thriving consultation practice with patients from as far away as Australia. Closer to home, patients come to her from Pennsylvania to Florida, and everywhere in between.

Even without Maryland dispensaries, Frye is able to provide highly effective hemp oils with cannabidiol (CBD) that have no psychoactive component. CBD has more medicinal properties than THC and enables the opportunity for healing without the high. For patients with severe chronic pain or conditions that don’t respond well to CBD alone, she is able to write a prescription for synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has been legal in the United States since 1986.

The list of conditions for which cannabis products are effective is long and growing, as more solid research is done to confirm its usage. Many patients come in to find pain management when they have a diagnosis of arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic lower back pain from spinal stenosis or a degenerative disc disease. Frye also works with pediatric patients with seizures. For others, they are seeking relief from chronic pain due to fibro-myalgia or dysautonomia connective tissue diseases and others, for inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease. Cannabis has potent anti-inflammatory properties that support the GI tract.

She also gets referrals from psychiatrists as cannabis has a tremendous ability to help with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and insomnia. The use of cannabis is particularly pronounced for those with a lot of pain syndromes and being treated with methadone and oxycodone. She notes, “I have a patient who, before seeing me, was taking a very high dosage of both methadone and oxycodone. Since putting her on the hemp oil and the synthetic THC, her methadone dose has been decreased by 66 percent and 75 percent for the oxycodone. That decreases her side effects such as drowsiness and decreases the risk of overdosing and respiratory depression. Eventually there is a chance that she can get off those medications completely.”

Although this is not the retirement that Frye had originally envisioned when moving back to this area, she decided to launch her local practice as she became aware of the building body of evidence for cannabis. As a healer with expanding knowledge in this emerging field, Frye understood that her skills could be used potently and effectively in an area of the country where physicians are just beginning to learn. That is also part of her challenge, with some resistance within the medical community.

Through her work, she is de-stigmatizing cannabis as a medicinal treatment but notes that “a lot of patients are running out of time, particularly those with cancer. It doesn’t help everybody but there’s enough science behind it, enough pre-clinical studies, that shows how cannabis can program malignant cells to die. They can interfere with cell migration and adherence so it slows down metastasis.” This has been particularly helpful for patients who have chosen to forego conventional chemotherapy.

After years of study and working with thousands of patients, Frye is on a mission to convert those who could be helped significantly but are reluctant to use cannabis because of the possible side effects. She opened her office to “educate them on how it works and how to use it and be clear-minded. You don’t have to be stoned to get the benefits.”

Location: 6930 Carroll Ave., Ste. 412, Takoma Park, MD. For more information about Dr. Frye and the practice, visit TakomaCare.com.

 

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