Field to Pharmacy: A look into South Dade’s medical marijuana lab

(WSVN) - It took two tries with Florida voters, but medical marijuana is on the market. And we’re getting an exclusive first look inside a South Florida dispensary that’s already hard at work. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin has our special assignment report “Field to Pharmacy.”

When most people think of marijuana, they think of people in a dark, smoky room. But this is a bright, sterile lab. It’s the new medical marijuana dispensary in South Dade.

Richard Young

Richard Young, CEO at Modern Health Concepts: “We wake up every day trying to build the best medicine and make the best medicine for patients that are affected from serious medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy and seizures. There’s always interest around the mystery and how things are done here.”

And that mystery goes beyond just growing marijuana. Because of security concerns, we can’t even show you where this laboratory is, but past the fields and nurseries here in South Dade, for the very first time ever, our cameras are being allowed inside the lab at Modern Health Concepts to see how marijuana drugs are made.

Richard Young: “It’s extremely critical to maintain a sterile environment, and that is why it is a rare and unique opportunity for you all to come in and see the processes.”

The marijuana is grown locally in an area off limits to cameras. But this is the product: dried, packaged and given a barcode so it can be tracked.

Dr. Eddy Blanco

Dr. Eddy Blanco, MHC Pharmacist: “If at any point we find something undesirable, we can quarantine the product. They’re the same practices and standards that pharmaceutical companies use.”

And despite what most people think, it isn’t smoked. It’s turned into an oil or pill.

Dr. Eddy Blanco: “What’s collecting in there, it looks similar to mashed potatoes.”

Oil is extracted from the plant and filtered to remove impurities.

Dr. Eddy Blanco: “They are removing waxes and unwanted lipids.”

Every step is documented by lab technicians and monitored by an independent testing lab on site.

Dr. Eddy Blanco: “They test all of our products at different stages for potency and for any bacteria or mycotoxin.”

You can only enter the facility if you have an appointment, and delivery is tightly guarded. Patients have to be prescribed the medicine by a doctor.

Linda Kanov

Linda Kanov: “I take presently .5 cc, placed under the tongue.”

Linda suffers from debilitating seizures and says she’s grateful to have a dispensary close to home.

Linda Kanov: “It controls the seizures. I feel good, no more mood swings.”

She uses a medicine called Haleigh’s Hope. It has low THC levels, so it doesn’t get her high, but she says it is giving her her life back.

Linda Kanov: “Now, I’m completely off of all seizure medication and solely on this medication.”

Researchers say medical marijuana could be a billion dollar industry in the next four years, but advocates say it’s important for people to understand these dispensaries are not peddling pot. They’re making medicine.

Richard Young: “Maybe their traditional options have not worked for them, so they’re looking for medical cannabis as an option.”

Linda Kanov: “This stuff saved my life. It changed my life. I love this stuff.”

Haleigh’s Hope medicine varies based on the amount prescribed by a doctor, but can range from about $55 to more than $100 per bottle. Insurance does not cover it.

To learn more about Haleigh’s Hope or Modern Health Concepts go to the link below.

Modern Health Concepts

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