“Dr. Janice Knox was several years into retirement in Oregon when she was asked to fill in at a “card mill” ― a facility where patients can be diagnosed with conditions that qualify them for a medical card to buy cannabis.
This was a few years ago, and public sentiment about medical marijuana wasn’t quite what it is today. “I had the mindset that most people had at the time ― ‘marijuana is a terrible drug, it’s just a drug,’” Knox told HuffPost.
When she arrived at the clinic, the makeup of the waiting room was “not who I was expecting,” she said.
“There were businesspeople, doctors, lawyers, moms, dads, grandmothers, grandfathers. I just couldn’t believe who I saw,” Knox said. “They were coming because conventional medicine had failed them. They wanted a better quality of life.”
“People were coming in with their last dime to get a card,” she added. “I was stunned.”
Equally surprising to Knox was how she, a practicing anesthesiologist for 35 years, had been taught so little about the mechanisms and effects of cannabis ― a substance that people said eased their suffering, even from symptoms related to chronic diseases.
“I knew nothing about this medicine. I felt so embarrassed as a physician that that’s where I was. So I really made it a point to learn everything that I could about it,” Knox said. Since then, she’s tried to “change the narrative” about who uses cannabis and why.”
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