NORTH CANTON – The Green Compassion Network will open Monday at its new location — 1201 S. Main St.
The medical cannabis business is moving from Frank Avenue NW to the building on Main Street, which also houses the Vista Psychological & Counseling Centre. GCN cofounder Julia Appleby, a clinical counselor who also operates Vista with two business partners, said she expects the shared site to be “mutually beneficial.”
“It just seemed to make really good clinical sense to move the cannabis clinic in here,” she said. “So many of our patients have sought out medical cannabis. Mental health and physical health, they go hand-in-hand.”
The only mental health condition that currently qualifies for medical cannabis treatment in Ohio is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The State Medical Board accepts and reviews petitions to add new conditions each year.
Appleby said GCN has had an influx of PTSD patients during the pandemic and has had patients with other qualifying conditions, such as chronic pain, report a mental “euphoric effect.”
“We’re not talking about being stoned, but we’re talking about elevating your mood so that the quality of your life improves,” she said.
Julia and her husband, Michael Appleby, started GCN in 2018 with Anne and Ted Shingleton, who have since left the company. Within the network, patients are connected to physicians for medical cannabis recommendations and receive health consultations and access to cannabis resources.
An initial evaluation, which includes an exam from a physician certified to recommend cannabis, costs $245. It’s $195 for veterans or people who are indigent, according to gcnhope.com.
In the past few years, the number of patients in the network increased from 50 to about 2,000.
“We’ve just been busy and growing,” Julia Appleby said.
The number of GCN-affiliated physicians increased from zero to six. All are state-certified to recommend cannabis but only three are actively making recommendations, Appleby said.
Mark Fechheimer, GCN’s director of operations, said work is “fluid” with physicians and depends on patient demand. The doctors are located throughout Ohio, from Amherst to Athens, and primarily have done telehealth sessions during the pandemic.
“We currently have patients in a 200-mile to 250-mile radius from here,” Fechheimer added.
GCN does not dispense cannabis but now sells cannabidiol (CBD) products, which do not require an Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program card. Fechheimer said they will sell CBD products, such as topicals and tinctures, from the pro-line of Clean Remedies.
GCN offices are located on the building’s second floor, where there also are some counseling offices and shared spaces. Appleby said she hopes to use some of the shared rooms for cannabis education or mindfulness yoga sessions.
GCN will host a grand reopening from noon to 5 p.m. May 29 with food trucks and tours of the clinic.