Tue | Dec 10, 2019

Ja eyes becoming medical ganja wellness capital of the world

Published:Wednesday | October 30, 2019 | 12:21 AM
State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green (front right), and head of the Doc’s Place Wellness Centre and Apollon Formularies, Dr Stephen Barnhill (front left), cut the ribbon, marking the official opening of the centre. Other stakeholders, including Member of Parliament Dr Wykeham McNeill share in the occasion.
State Minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green (front right), and head of the Doc’s Place Wellness Centre and Apollon Formularies, Dr Stephen Barnhill (front left), cut the ribbon, marking the official opening of the centre. Other stakeholders, including Member of Parliament Dr Wykeham McNeill share in the occasion.

As Negril celebrated the ­opening of Jamaica’s first medical cannabis wellness resort last Friday, one government minister is suggesting that it is not far-fetched the country could become the medical cannabis treatment tourism capital of the world.

The facility, Doc’s Place Wellness Centre and Apollon Formularies Jamaica, is ­located at West End Negril and is directed by medical doctor and cannabis clinician, Dr Stephen Barnhill.

It is regarded as a Global Centre of ­excellence for medical cannabis therapy.

Speaking at the opening, state minister in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF), Floyd Green, said Jamaica would be unbeatable as a cannabis treatment destination, due to the quality of its medical cannabis formulations and its distinct advantage in tourism, as the island is ranked among the best tourist ­destinations in the world.

“You can’t beat us in relation to our services industry; you can’t beat us in ­relation to the quality of our ganja. Now, when we are able to develop places such as Doc’s Place, where people can come to the best part of the world, they can be treated for all the things that we now know, without a doubt, cannabis is best at treating,” he said.

According to him, the reality dictates that instead of having treatment dispensed in a cold, dreary part of the world, which does not aid in the wellness process, coming to Jamaica and getting a full wellness package is the better option. “That is what is on offer here today and this is our natural competitive advantage. It cannot be recreated anywhere else in the world,” he added.

Green said the cannabis research and development component attached to the facility, sends a clear signal that this is the direction in which Jamaica needs to go in terms of continuing to develop its strains, among other things.

“We want to encourage more investors to look at this end of the industry. Yes, we understand, we want to see dispensaries; we want to see herb houses; but where we need to make our international mark is research and development,” he stated.

He asserted that all of that feeds into wellness. “The food that you will eat and the medications that we would develop right here from our local strains … This is what will ensure that all over the world will continue to call the name of Jamaica in relation to ganja; but that Jamaica will be known as the medical marijuana centre of the entire world. That has to be our vision and our direction,” Green added.

In his address, Dr Barnhill said the six-bedroom inn will accommodate people from across Jamaica and the globe; who want to be treated with medical cannabis, and will also enable the seven connected Jamaican doctors be able to make house calls.

“This is a facility that is unique in the world. It is a medical cannabis wellness resort; it is a combination facility. We treat patients here; we are not a ­dispensary. We have seven doctors on our staff, well-respected doctors on the island of Jamaica. Everybody is licensed and every single person that is treated in this facility gets a prescription for their ­treatment,” he explained.

Members of the medical support team include neurosurgeon Dr Anthony Hall, Dr Marjorie Vassell, Dr Dingle Spence, Dr Woodworth Wilson and Dr Alfred Dawes; and according to Dr Barnhill, the treatment they will offer is holistic.

“The treatment here includes all of the food, because we change your diet to a healthy diet; we change your water; we change a lot of things about your entire body. It’s not just about medical cannabis. It’s about the overall well-being of the patient,” he explained.

The facility includes a cannabis wellness massage therapy room with cannabis oil yoga as a part of the healing process; a saltwater infinity pool and seawater Jacuzzi with water pumped from the sea, as well as its processing and extraction facility and laboratory.

Dr Barnhill said the facility is expected to begin clinical trials for prostate and breast cancer, and chronic inflammation, as soon as the Ministry of Health gives the go-ahead. He said his company will, as part of its humanitarian outreach, establish a process whereby indigent persons from Jamaica can apply to be treated cost-free.

“We will have a committee set up [and comprised] of Jamaican people, and ­people can apply to that committee if they can’t afford ­treatment, and they will be able to be treated,” he said.