KENNEDYVILLE — Lisa McDonald opened what she says is Kent County’s only medical marijuana clinic because she wants to offer patients an alternative treatment for debilitating illnesses.
McDonald said the patients she sees at Eastern Shore MediCann Clinic, which opened last month north of Kennedyville, are dealing with chronic pain, cancer, anorexia, insomnia, depression and anxiety — among other illnesses.
Medical marijuana gives patients an option in pain management, she said.
“I want to give the community what they need, and I do believe that it might help with some of the opioid abuse,” McDonald said in an interview Friday at her clinic.
McDonald said addiction to opioids is a common concern for patients with chronic pain.
“I’ve had so many patients come in and say ‘If I could only have medical marijuana because I don’t want to go to pain management,’” McDonald said. “They don’t want to go to pain management, they don’t want to start on opioids and get addicted.”
McDonald said long-term pain management facilities focus more on prescribing drugs than treating patients.
She said a patient recently told her that changing treatment to medical marijuana helped them stay Methadone-free for weeks.
McDonald has been a nurse practitioner for five years.
She is a registered nurse, and previously worked at Union Hospital of Cecil County.
She earned a master’s degree in nursing from Wilmington University in 2013.
A Queen Anne’s County native, McDonald now lives in Kennedyville.
McDonald splits her time between her consulting clinic and University of Maryland Community Medical Group’s primary care office in Galena. She sees patients at her clinic on Fridays.
Patients must have a referral from their physician before coming to McDonald’s clinic.
After being screened by McDonald, those who are approved are issued a Maryland Medical Cannabis identification card, which allows them to pick up prescriptions at certified dispensaries.
Kent County does not have any medical marijuana dispensaries. There are dispensaries in Queen Anne’s and Cecil counties.
“It’s obviously not for people who just want to be able to carry marijuana around,” McDonald said. “And that’s why I have a health history and information about the medication so they know what they can expect.”
There is an annual fee for enrollment and consultations.