JONESBORO, Ark. – Angela Lewis had no idea her appointment with Dr. Dane Flippin at Arkansas Progressive Medicine in Jonesboro would lead to this big of a change in her life.
“I’m 52,” Lewis said. “I have arthritis. It’s really common in my family. I have a bulging disc. I have to take medicine for that and the nausea from the medicine is so bad, I have to take another medication (promethazine) to manage it. I met with Dr. Flippin. I got my medical marijuana card and I was able to get off of promethazine, the pain medicine, and even my anxiety medicine!”
It was about six months ago Lewis, who lives in Helena, came to Jonesboro to see Dr. Flippin. In that six months, she describes a remarkable life change. In the simplest of terms, Lewis was able to get off of several prescription pills everyday in exchange for a vape pen with medical cannabis cartridges.
“When I was able to get off the chemicals, I have been so much healthier,” Lewis said. “I’ve lost 30 pounds. My youngest son has never seen me look like this! And I’m mobile now and can do more.”
But like many, Lewis was hesitant with medical cannabis. She said growing up, she smoked pot three times in the 80s and didn’t like it. She described medicating with it as a learning experience. She said her husband wasn’t overjoyed by the decision – at first – but soon became a supporter after seeing the positive effects in his wife’s life quality.
“Once he saw the change, now he’s the one asking me if I have my medicine or if I need more,” Lewis said. “He even tells his friends.”
For many existing and potential patients, they don’t need convincing. They need access and from Jonesboro, the closest dispensary is Greenlight Dispensary, almost 90 miles away in Helena (not an issue for Lewis, coincidentally). But, instead of making you drive to them, that dispensary is now driving to you.
Local Access to MMJ
You can order food, prescriptions, and even groceries through delivery in Jonesboro and now, you can get your medical marijuana delivered as well.
Greenlight Dispensary, 2000 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Helena-West Helena, AR, has launched a budding delivery program that includes Jonesboro, Paragould, Brookland, Wynne, Harrisburg, and more.
The deliveries began Monday, August 12 and orders are placed online at a minimum the day prior to the delivery schedule date. Jonesboro deliveries are made once per week, on Wednesday. Paragould and Brookland are on Tuesday. Deliveries must be made to a home (no businesses) and the patient must be present to receive the delivery with their license and MMJ card. See the full schedule and minimum order pricing/delivery fees here.
A dispensary is planned to be opened in Brookland, too, creating a close alternative for those not wanting to pay delivery fees. Hopes are that NEA Full Spectrum in Brookland will be opened by the end of 2019.
Local access is what most in NEA have been waiting for since cards were issued in February, 2019, according to Dr. Flippin. But for many of his patients who have traveled to the dispensary or used delivery options already, the results have been promising, he said.
“I don’t have a qualifying condition,” Flippin said. “I don’t use marijuana but I’ve seen the magic. I’ve seen what it can do for folks.”
“Life changing properties”
Flippin sat down with NEA Report this week to talk about the changes he’s seen and experiences he’s had since opening his clinic in Jonesboro. He said he’s seen many patients using prescription medication reduce or eliminate the need for pills. The ailments helped are vast and vary but most often, he Flippin said he see’s results with patients suffering chronic pain and anxiety. He said PTSD patients have found relief and even diabetic patients with pain in their feet report results.
“People have been able to decrease or stop their need for opioids,” Flippin said. “They replaced opioids with cannabis.”
When they leave Dr. Flippin’s office, they’ve got their certification, they know where the nearest dispensary to their home is, they know how to submit their papers properly to the health department, and get their card. Not only that, but Flippin said he takes time to get to know each patient.
“Everybody is anxious and they don’t know what to expect,” Flippin said. “We’re able to answer their questions and treat them like family. We give them whatever time they feel like they need here. We don’t rush people in and out. It’s rewarding. Maybe it’s a false reward but I’ll sit and talk with people. I’m just talking and filling out their papers. I get their story. A lot of doctors don’t do that anymore. They don’t connect with them. They’ve got their back to them. Patients will say I’ve done more for them than others and I feel bad. Because all I’ve done listen to them.”
We spend a lot of time talking about them. If you’re a practitioner and you’re trying to solve someone’s problem, you’re in a different mode. I already know what’s going on. I’ve got their papers and they’ve already been diagnosed. I’ll ask them, how long have you lived in Jonesboro. And they’ll tell me. I ask personal questions, hobbies, kids, and we talk about that stuff. We clear all of that in about five minutes and then we talk about their problem.
Lewis said Dr. Dane helped her out along the way, making information clear and easy to understand. She said anytime she wasn’t sure about the next step, he helped her along.
Her hopes are that others will see her story and find possible alternatives to their health woes. She acknowledged, like any prescribed substance, abuse and over-use is possible. For her, she measures dosages carefully, she said. She knows exactly what she needs to stop hurting and she’s thankful it isn’t an artificial chemical.
“I wish people would be more open minded about it,” Lewis said. “I’m an old movie buff and I’ve seen Reefer Madness. It’s amazing to me people have that view on cannabis. I wish they would have a more understanding.”