JONESBORO, Ark. – When the medical marijuana law passed in Arkansas in November, 2016, Dr. Dane Flippin had an epiphany.
After 20 years successfully practicing family medicine in Memphis, he would shut down his clinic and come back to the community where he completed his residency, Jonesboro, and on April 20, 2017, Flippin opened Arkansas Progressive Medicine – a medical cannabis evaluation and service clinic.
The idea seemed crazy to some of his other friends in medicine.
“Part of them thought I was crazy and part of them wished they were me,” Flippin said. “They wished they had the intestinal fortitude to drop everything and to start on a new venture.”
Flippin grew up in Searcy. His father was an optometrist and he, too, wanted to enter the medical profession. By the time he was a third year medical student, his eyes shifted to family care. Flippin would complete his residency at St. Bernard’s Medical Center. He then practiced family medicine for 20 years in Memphis but while on vacation in California, the medical marijuana issue passed in Arkansas. With it already being law in California, Flippin and his family explored how it worked.
“We did some research and talked to folks and learned a lot in a short time,” Flippin said. “My eyes were opened to how it all worked and the good we could do here in Northeast Arkansas.”
In a short time, Flippin realized he would be the perfect person to enter this new world. His experience as a family practice doctor and having dealt with many of the diagnoses like PTSD, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain gave him understanding into how those conditions work.
“Now, we know how integrating medical cannabis into the treatment will work,” Flippin said.
In addition to visiting clinics in California, he said he also visited clinics and dispensaries in Florida and learned how the practice of medical cannabis was performed there. Then, he said he took online courses as required by the State of New York on medical marijuana.
It is a new field for everyone but learning is part of the job each day.
“We’ve actually learned quite a bit from our patients who have traveled out of the state,” Flippin said.
As NEA Report has previously detailed, Jonesboro is not insulated from the national epidemic of opioid abuse. Flippin believes medical marijuana could be the answer to the problem.
“Cannabis has been shown to be much safer, especially in an overdose because you really can’t,” Flippin said. “It’s incredibly difficult or impossible to overdose on it where as with opioids, you can accidentally do it. We’ve got lots of examples with that. Once they go down the rabbit hole of opioids, it’s harder to come back, many times.”
When over the counter remedies don’t work, the prescription options quickly begin to involve opioids, from codeine to more powerful drugs like Percocet, Vicodin, and so forth, Flippin said. His belief, as is many others, is that the marijuana-based medical options will provide safer relief without side effects of opioids.
Arkansas Progressive Medicine is located on the “Jonesboro Medical Mile” at 1000 East Matthews Avenue. They opened on April 17 and hosted their official grand opening on April 20. The company provides medical marijuana evaluations which will be needed to obtain the prescription card, once Arkansas begins to issue them. This is expected to happen sometime this summer, Flippin said. Dispensaries will then be able to sell to the patient who has the necessary card.
Qualifying conditions include:
2) Intractable Nausea
3) HIV+ status/AIDS
4) Hepatitis C
5) Ulcerative Colitis
6) Crohn’s Disease
7) Alzheimer’s Disease
8) Tourette’s Syndrome
9) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
10) Persistent Muscle Spasms
11) Severe Arthritis
13) Peripheral Neuropathy
14) ALS – Lou Gerig’s Disease
15) Intractable Pain
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