From the CEO

April 13, 2015

My interest in medical marijuana was sparked by the suffering of a person I care a great deal about: my mom. I saw first-hand how a medical marijuana topical helped improve the quality of her life. That experience became the catalyst that changed my thinking about marijuana as a medicine and the role it could play in healthcare.

Mom has always been an active woman. She was a competitive athlete her entire life (particularly in swimming and badminton) and gracefully managed to raise a family of five as it moved from place to place around the globe living and working in different countries. Always full of energy, she enjoyed the travel and took pride in seeing her children grow. As we grew up, my mom wrote letters to each of us regularly no matter where we were. Whether it was at boarding school, when we lived overseas or throughout college, she would often send press clippings, pictures of our family dog and updates of my family to one another. She has always been the keystone of our family and circle of friends.

Over time those letters became less frequent as she began suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Her condition impaired her ability to keep in contact with the people she loved and prevented her from enjoying her life fully, limiting her mobility and ability to communicate.

A childhood friend of mine who studied alternative and traditional medicine suggested that my mom use cannabis oil on her joints as an alternative or complement to the pharmaceuticals she had been prescribed. I passed on the suggestion to my mom (without telling her the main ingredient). After some very long dinner table debates, she finally agreed to try it. Within a few days of use, we knew the oil was having an effect because she was writing notes and seemed to be more active. Even better, this relief was free of the side effects of standard drugs and therapies she had been prescribed (such as cox-2 inhibitors and high doses of ibuprofen). Her progression was steady – watching her start gardening, writing, being more like her active self again, was something that brought joy to everyone in the family.

I like to live by the golden rule and the lesson that I learned was simple: medical marijuana improved the life of someone I loved. It seemed to have powerful medical benefits that could alleviate the suffering of so many who experience painful symptoms and illness.

As of June 2014, 23 states and the District of Columbia have approved marijuana for medical use. Today, physicians recommend marijuana for a host of conditions – for migraine sufferers to reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of their debilitating headaches, for patients with HIV-AIDS to relieve the pain caused by neuropathy and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who find that marijuana reduces nausea, stimulates appetite and quells anxiety.

I come from a family where every generation has been afflicted by cancer. After seeing how effective cannabis oil was for my mother in relieving inflammation and pain, I could only imagine how this therapy might be able to impact those struggling with cancer, and other severe chronic conditions, and the side effects caused by intensive treatments such as chemotherapy.

At the end of the day, there are so many drugs on the market that are based on harmful and heavily addicting chemicals – take a look at some of the commentary on opioids recently – cannabis, on the other hand, is a natural botanical. If grown safely, and in a controlled and compliant ecosystem, consistency in quality of the product can be guaranteed while ensuring safety for the community. Like any medicine, this should be manufactured and made available to suffering patients in a safe and measured manner that benefits a community.

I, along with the other founders and leaders of Columbia Care, strongly believe in the power of medical marijuana to help patients in need. Those patients deserve to be confident that what they buy is effective and safe, made of the purest ingredients and tested rigorously to ensure a consistent outcome.
Our mission is to serve those patients and to set the standard-of-care for medical marijuana.
We aim to help define the best in the medical marijuana industry and create the most professional network of cultivation centers and dispensaries in the United States. We have no affiliation with or plans to enter the field of recreational marijuana. Since 2013, we have grown from one storefront with a patient count of zero to an organization that has served thousands of patients across five states and Washington, D.C.

We are proud of the direction our company is headed and of the positive impact we have upon patients and communities. We would love to hear from you. Whether you have a personal story to share or questions on our business, you can write to us through our contact portal on the homepage.