Medical marijuana: Is it working?

October 23rd, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

October 21

Medical marijuana: Is it working?

By Eric Russell
Staff Writer

Two years ago, Sharon Gagne of Greenbush discovered she had two herniated disks in her neck. Her doctor told her surgery was not an option and instead encouraged physical therapy and prescribed a painkiller.

TREATMENT: Glenn Lewis lights a joint in his Manchester home earlier this month. He and his wife Catherine are medical marijuana patients.

Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Gabe Souza

“I didn’t like that,” she said. “I know too many people who got hooked.”

Gagne, 44, eventually asked about other options. Her doctor referred her to Dr. Dustin Sulak, an osteopath who has become known throughout Maine for his willingness to certify patients for medical marijuana. Gagne’s physician sent her medical records to Sulak, who then spoke twice on the phone with Gagne.

Without ever having met her face to face, Sulak certified Gagne as a medical marijuana patient. Now, whenever she feels pain, she smokes a little or nibbles a baked good fortified with cannabis.

Gagne’s case illustrates the seeming ease with which Mainers with certain conditions can receive medical marijuana. Gradual changes to state law in the past three years have deregulated medical marijuana to the point that there is no way to know how many people are using it, how many doctors are certifying patients for it, and whether the number of users is growing.

Indeed, some doctors are actively recruiting patients. Sulak’s practice

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