A patient support group has been formed in Riverside to help AIDS/HIV patients who use or are interested in using cannabis to treat their symptoms.
Sponsored by the THCF Medical Clinic, the group meets weekly and provides patients with information on cannabis’ health benefits, getting a doctor’s approval, methods of ingestion, obtaining medicine, and how to navigate the torturous and potentially life-threatening briar patch of laws, regulations and licensing requirements.
The Inland Empire AIDS Medical Marijuana Patient Group was formed by AIDS patient Tom Place, whose health was restored by using cannabis in conjunction with other medications. Place said, “Marijuana use is still controversial and patients find its use problematic due to a society that still does not understand its immense benefits. Many patients find that cannabis use can cause friction with family members, doctors and social workers and this group helps them deal with it.”
Lanny Swerdlow, RN, is the group’s facilitator. Nurse Swerdlow is a strong advocate for the use of cannabis to treat the myriad ailments associated with AIDS.
“Both anecdotal and peer-reviewed research have shown incredible benefits for AIDS patients for everything from neuropathy to appetite stimulation,” said Swerdlow. “Due to fear of funds getting cut by the federal government, AIDS organizations generally will not provide such information to their clients. It is the purpose of this AIDS-patient medical-marijuana support group to provide this life-saving and life-affirming information.”
While many AIDS patients maintain that cannabis keeps them alive and without it they would be ‘zombies,’ support organizations often turn their backs on the this remedy. Many patients cannot meet the high price of cannabis. Indeed, some cannot afford any amount when they must choose between purchasing cannabis or paying for food and housing.
The group is turning to the patient community, and the collectives that supply them, for help in providing low-income and destitute AIDS patients with cannabis. It is asking collectives to provide regular donations of free and low-cost cannabis to patients by issuing certificates that could be redeemed at participating collectives.
One of the first to join in the effort is the Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center, which supplies cannabis for a tincture developed by leader Tom Place. As more collectives join in, the group hopes to be able to supply more AIDS patients.
The IE Aids Medical Marijuana Patient Group meets every Monday at 7:30 pm at the THCF Medical Clinic, 647 Main Street, #1B, Riverside 92501. All AIDS/HIV patients and caregivers are invited to attend. 951-782-9898.
Tom Place examines a bottle of cannabis tincture at the THCF clinic. Photo by Lanny Swerdlow