In a striking example of medical marijuana's growing legitimacy, the Denver-based Namaste Hospice will begin offering free medical marijuana to patients with terminal illnesses. While end-of-life care might not seem like the most cutting-edge of industries, Namaste, which has been providing Denver-area hospice services since 1998, seems to be downright forward thinking when it comes to medical marijuana
"One of our guiding principles is patient self-determination, autonomy and choice. To this end Namaste respects the needs and desires of the patient and family before those of the health care system, staff, or the organization," says Namaste President Jan Bezuidenhout in a media release. "If cannabis can help us better manage the pain for our patients and at the same time eliminate the negative effects of morphine and similar drugs, then it is our obligation to offer that choice to our patients."
Namaste has partnered with Americamm, a Colorado organization founded to provide free medical marijuana to hospice patients. Americamm doctors will evaluate Namaste patients to determine whether they qualify and would benefit from medical marijuana. Those who do will receive medicine donated from a network of medical marijuana centers and tested for consistency by Full Spectrum Labs in Denver.
The fact that medical marijuana is still very much a hot-button issue hasn't seemed to have phased Namaste in its decision. "We believe that death is not a failure, but that rather living and dying well, on one's own terms, is an ultimate success," says Bezuidenhout. In this case, that's a success well worth celebrating.
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