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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Infinity Wellness: At the Forefront of Safe Access for Medical Marijuana

Jun 30, 2011 08:15AM ● By Linda Sechrist

If the worst of Hollywood’s bad boys, such as Robert Downey, Jr., star of Iron Man, and the music industry’s Steven Tyler, once Aerosmith’s “Demon of Screamin,’”can turn their negative images around and make good in the public eye, then marijuana can turn its former reputation around, too.

“We would like to educate those who are unaware of the actual therapeutic value marijuana can have for those who are ill,” says Luana, a board member of Infinity Wellness, a marijuana cooperative in San Diego. “Some newer strains of cannabis have less psychoactive properties and appear to relieve inflammation, nausea and other ailments.”

Luana says her traditional medical background of helping ambulatory surgical centers prepare for their accreditation surveys inspired her to bring the same type of standardization to the medical marijuana cooperative setting. She and a friend in the medical field, also a board member, discussed presenting access to medical marijuana according to set guidelines, but in a comfortable, spa-like manner. “We anticipate that it will be only a matter of time until the dispensaries are more regulated, and we want to be at the forefront of setting a good example,” she explains.

Marijuana’s once unchallenged “weed without merit” status is slowly slipping, with the help of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR). After spending $8.7 million on 10 years of research and preclinical and clinical trials, CMCR, based at the University of California San Diego, determined that chemical compounds active in cannabis have definite therapeutic value.

Five published studies in scientific periodicals, such as the Journal of Neurology, all conducted under CMCR auspices, indicate marijuana effectively relieves neuropathic pain in some people. Neuropathic pain can occur after traumatic injury or from numerous diseases including HIV, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cancer. Another study found that people with spinal cord injuries experienced similar relief; still another, not yet published, concluded that marijuana reduced painful muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis better than placebo cigarettes.

Since the passage of the California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215) and the 2004 California Senate Bill 420 (known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act), doctors and patients have been trying to balance the risks of marijuana with its medical benefits, which also include reducing the nausea that generally accompanies chemotherapy.

While applying for a medical marijuana recommendation is becoming more common, the decision to use medicinal cannabis can’t be taken lightly by patients or physicians. Since 2004, more than 53,000 Medical Marijuana Identification Cards have been issued by the state, based upon recommendations by doctors that have carefully considered issues such as their patients’ medical history, long-term medical diagnosis, and why current medications are unable to address the condition.

Medical marijuana’s ever-improving public image can be traced to stringent government regulations that include verifying physician recommendations and proof of residency, as well as facilities such as Infinity Wellness. “We strive to provide safe access to medical marijuana in a professional, clean and comfortable environment,” Luana advises.


Infinity Wellness Center Cooperative, 9465 Black Mountain Rd., San Diego 92126. Call 858-689-1600

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