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Medical Marijuana Specialists: Guiding Patients Through the Certification Process With Care and Respect

By Daniel Casciato

As a registered nurse, Shelly Hutchison spent most of her career in the neonatal intensive care unit. After 17 years, she chose a new path as a manager and marketer for a pediatric home care company. It was in this role where she learned about the benefits of medical marijuana for treating pediatric seizures and other chronic illnesses. Her mother, who had also been suffering from severe chronic pain, decided to try medical marijuana as well.

“It had amazing effects on her,” says Hutchison, also known as Nurse Shelly in the cannabis community. “I knew then that I had to get involved with this natural plant-based medicine. I began researching and educating myself on the plant, on its properties, and how it was being used as medicine.”

When medical marijuana was legalized in Pennsylvania in April of 2016, she became a medical marijuana nurse and a consultant for a short period of time. In 2018, Nurse Shelly decided to start her own business, Medical Marijuana Specialists, to educate the community, patients, and healthcare professionals on all aspects of the medical marijuana certification process. She is also a member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association and takes immense pride on guiding patients through every step of their entire journey.

“We're truly about helping them find peace and comfort,” she says.

Nurse Shelly is also a medical marijuana patient who suffers from anxiety and trigeminal neuralgia, and was taking over 3,600 mg of gabapentin per day. Since becoming a patient, she only uses plant-based medicine to help cope with the pain and the symptoms.

The company has grown rapidly since its launch. Today, Medical Marijuana Specialist has eight locations in the western Pennsylvania region. Nurse Shelly also brought on board Dr. John Metcalf, the leading expert in the history, science, and benefits of medical marijuana, as her medical director. Patient education and customer satisfaction remains their number one priority.

“We passionately believe in the amazing properties in the plant and education and support is truly our passion,” she says. “We want to make sure our patients are educated and knowledgeable in making their own healthy decisions. Obtaining a medical marijuana card in the state can be cumbersome process. At Medical Marijuana Specialists, we take the patient by the hand and we walk them through the entire process.”

Their team of highly knowledgeable staff of doctors and nurses will review a patient’s medical records, educate them on the science and benefit of medical marijuana and thoroughly answer any questions they may have regarding their journey, and help them obtain their card.

“We're a one-stop shop and we can do this easily and affordable for patients,” adds Nurse Shelly. “We truly care about their health and wellbeing as well as the education they receive.”

There are so many benefits of medical marijuana, she notes.

“First, it helps us with our chronic pain patients,” she says. “The majority of our patients we see are seniors who have been on a number of pharmaceuticals, who are in chronic pain, and want a more natural relief. They're reaching out to us wanting to try plant-based medicine and they're finding a lot of relief with their pain.”

Many people today, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, are also seeking help for their severe anxiety.

“There are compounds in the marijuana plant that help patients with severe anxiety and help us with pain,” Nurse Shelly explains. “It's helping our veterans with PTSD. Also, among children who have epilepsy, we're seeing them have a great decrease in the amount of seizures they're having.”

While Medical Marijuana Specialists does not dispense medical marijuana, they have a com-prehensive list of resource dispensaries on their website.

“I highly recommended to each patient sit and have a pharmacist consult when it’s their first time visiting a dispensary,” says Nurse Shelly. “Speak with the pharmacist about your diagnosis and symptoms, and let that pharmacist recommend a strain and a product that they believe will help you with their conditions.”

During the current COVID-19 crisis, Medical Marijuana Specialists is seeing patients via telemedicine, from 9am-9pm every day. In addition, Nurse Shelly hosts a weekly series, “Ask Nurse Shelly LIVE” every Thursday at 1pm for a live Zoom meeting, where people can tune in to hear local leaders, experts and patients discuss cannabis and get their questions answered.

“It’s yet another way for us to educate our patients and other people in the community,” says Nurse Shelly.

For more information, visit www.getyouridcard.com. For Ask Nurse Shelly LIVE, visit www.getyouridcard.com/ask-nurse-shelly/ or call (833) 667-4665.

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