Callahan Center Hosts Discussion on Medical Marijuana

FRAMINGHAM – The Callahan Center hosted a presentation about cannabis, and how it can be used to treat diseases and help individuals over age 55 on Tuesday night.

The presenter was Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, a local Natick doctor, and the founder of TotalHealthCare, a healthcare provider that “specializes in alternative therapies, including medical cannabis. She worked as a regional medical director in Richland, Washington State.

Dr. Dhanablan was inspired to become a cannabis advocate after her mother, who was suffering from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (a lung disease where the lungs become scarred) watched a TV program about how it was being used to treat certain diseases, such as lung cancer, in Israel.

She wishes that she didn’t have misconceptions about it in her early days as a doctor, as it could have helped her mother.

“I never got to use this medication for my mother, because I didn’t know enough…but I wish I had,” she told the audience.

While the presentation covered a lot of different topics, the main point that Dr. Dhanablan wanted the audience to take away from it was that they should not be afraid or ashamed to give cannabis a try, as no one has died from it.

“I want to see it available as a first-line option and not a last resort,” she told the audience. However, she realizes that cannabis treatment might not work for everyone and that if it is not helpful to someone, they should prioritize their own “safety first” before they take it.

After the presentation ended, Dr. Dhanablan took questions from the audience.

While many of the seniors were still concerned or unsure about using cannabis, the presentation seemed to help them understand it a little bit better.

But for some, the presentation changed the way that they thought about it. “I learned that it can’t kill you,” said Judy Izenberg, a senior who attended the event.

Many of the seniors said that they would pass on what they learned to their friends and family.

“I don’t need it for me, but I want to extend the information I learned for people I know who need it,” said Izenberg.

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Photos and report by SOURCE Intern Nick Barry, a Westfield State University student. He is a Marian High graduate.

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