Cannabis care: New Northampton clinic helps patients, health care pros integrate cannabis into health and wellness plans

  • Caitlin E. Bernhard, right, who is a nurse practitioner, talks to Shelby Lawson, of Greenfield, at CED Clinic, a new office in Northampton that helps patients begin or continue medical marijuana treatment. Top, marijuana flyers and brochures rest on a table. STAFF PHOTOS/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Caitlin E. Bernhard, right, who is a nurse practitioner, talks to Shelby Lawson, of Greenfield, at CED Clinic, a medical marijuana clinic in Northampton, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Callie Farmer, who is the operations and outreach manager for CED Clinic, works in a conference room at the Northampton clinic, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Caitlin E. Bernhard, right, who is a nurse practitioner, talks to Shelby Lawson, of Greenfield, at CED Clinic, a medical marijuana clinic in Northampton, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Marijuana flyers and brochures rest on a table at CED Clinic in Northampton, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nicole Papirio, who is the office manager at CED Clinic in Northampton, works at the reception desk, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Callie Farmer, left, who is the operations and outreach manager for CED Clinic, stands beside Nicole Papirio, center, who is the office manager of the Northampton clinic, and Caitlin E. Bernhard, a nurse practitioner at the Northampton clinic, Sept. 25, at the entrance to their office at 36 Service Center Road. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • CED Clinic is at 36 Service Center Road in Northampton, a space it shares with Ostrander Law Office. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/6/2019 11:48:19 PM

NORTHAMPTON — When Jill Graciale first visited Northampton’s newly-opened CED Clinic, which specializes in medical marijuana treatment, she had endured years of endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) pain. But often, she said her concerns were “kind of brushed off,” and doctors usually just advised her to take painkillers.

Graciale, a Gardner resident, had long known that she suffered from endometriosis, but was not aware that she also had PCOS until she had a softball-sized cyst rupture, sending her to the emergency room with a 106-degree fever and unable to walk. The rupture became septic, and she spent a month in the hospital.

In the past, basic recommendations like Tylenol and heating pads still left her “in excruciating pain every single month before I had my period,” she said, “to the point that I would just lay in bed. I couldn’t get out of bed.”

But after her hospitalization, her OB-GYN told her that some patients had found better results with medical marijuana products.

Graciale was at first uncertain about using medical marijuana, noting that the substance typically made her feel anxious. But now, she finds the results “uncomparable.”

“I feel like there are so many people out there that would benefit from medical marijuana, but they just don’t know where to start,” Graciale said.

But for those seeking to find a place to begin or continue medical marijuana treatment, CED Clinic offers a safe environment where patients can quickly be connected with treatment options, said Callie Farmer, the business’ operations and outreach manager.

“With the dispensary next door, it’s becoming a really great outlet for patients who need to renew quickly, or who need any kind of assistance with their registration,” Farmer said.

“Patients can come see us and shop the same day now, which is wonderful,” Farmer said, adding that this process used to take about two weeks.

The clinic’s Northampton location opened Sept. 2 at 36 Service Center Road. CED also has a location in Chestnut Hill — a location that, like Northampton, has “a huge handful of dispensaries” around it, Farmer said. In Northampton, New England Treatment Access medical and recreational marijuana dispensary is just a few steps away from the Service Center Road CED location, and other dispensaries, such as INSA in Easthampton, are a short drive from the clinic.

The clinic’s staff wanted to be able to serve patients on both sides of the state, and Family Nurse Practitioner Caitlin Berhard was already based in Florence.

The clinic is currently staffed by Bernhard, Farmer, and Clinic Manager Nicole Papirio. Patients come in for a variety of physical and mental health issues, including chronic pain, migraines, PTSD, anxiety, insomnia and addiction.

Graciale agreed with Farmer’s assessment of the clinic, noting that the staff provided her with “a really nice experience” as she navigated unfamiliar territory.

“I’ve never been really big with marijuana in general, so it was kind of scary at first, and I didn’t know what to expect, but there were really comforting.

“They gave me great suggestions that I ended up trying, and they ended up working out well,” she added.

Having NETA as a nearby resource was also convenient, Graciale said, noting that when she told staff that marijuana had made her anxious in the past, they were able to point her to a strain that helped avoid this effect.

Additionally, treatment options such as suppositories and lotions did not produce the high effect typically associated with marijuana, Graciale said, which she also hoped to avoid.

The clinic’s largest demographic has been women aged 50 and older, according to Farmer. The clinic used to see more patients aged 18-30, but she noticed this demographic begin to shift older after recreational marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts, she said.

Considering this clientele, Farmer also considers it significant that although the clinic’s founder, Benjamin Caplan, is a man, the organization is primarily women-operated in an industry that is dominated by white men.

Graciale said that she isn’t surprised that most of the clinic’s patients are women, noting that the health problems that she and other people experiencing reproductive health issues are not always properly addressed in traditional medicine.

The clinic does not have plans for any major expansions anytime soon, Farmer said, but is looking to operate a pop-up location in Pittsfield a few times each month.

“There’s a lot of dispensaries out there,” she said, “This just gives people another option not to have to wait so long.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy