This Is Albuquerque: Createoptimum Llc

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What is the primary focus of your business?

Dr. Karen: Our focus within
Optimum is on complementary healthcare. This includes medical cannabis, which has been legal in New Mexico since 2007. We see people with all 21 current qualifying conditions, including chronic pain, cancer and autoimmune arthritis. (See list.) Affiliated with us is Lori Frohe, a mental health nurse practitioner.

Lori: The primary focus in my business,
Mindful Medicine, is providing alternative health care for patients with the debilitating diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) get relief from their symptoms by using medicinal cannabis. I have been and will continue to be a strong patient advocate for medicinal cannabis use.

How did you start working with medical cannabis?

Dr Karen: I saw how much it helped some family members and friends with symptoms from cancer treatment and with chronic pain. I wanted to aid others in having this additional, complementary source of symptom relief.

Lori: I wanted to stay involved in some area of mental health after my retirement from the UNM-Psychiatric Center (UNM-PC). Through a colleague, I was introduced into her practice of helping patients with PTSD apply for their medicinal cannabis card with the NM Department of Health (DOH).

What is your educational background?

Dr. Karen: I received my M.D. from the University of Minnesota. I am a board-certified medical doctor, licensed in New Mexico and living in Albuquerque.

Lori: I have been involved in psychiatric nursing since 1983. After I received my BSN from the UNM College of Nursing, I continued my educational career at NMSU in Las Cruces. I graduated with my MSN and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Degree in 2011.

What has been most satisfying when working with your clients?

Dr. Karen: Seeing how many people with chronic pain issues are able to decrease or eliminate their opioid use after incorporating medical cannabis into their pain management programs. This is important because NM has the highest rate of heroin overdose deaths in the country. Opioid prescription medications are often a gateway to heroin use. Cannabis is allowing many to move away from this potential addiction and opioid side effects, which improves their ability to function. And this is just one example of the many benefits people describe.

Lori: My satisfaction comes from seeing patients and hearing how much the program has helped with their PTSD symptoms. I began to see how the program was helping these patients with their nightmares, traumatic memories, their unbearable anxiety and the fear of going out in public. Medicinal cannabis has turned their world around. Patients who had been on multiple daily psychiatric medications (anti- depressants, anti-anxiety, sleeping pills) and/or alcoholic beverages to help their symptoms were better by only using medicinal cannabis.

What is a principle goal of your business?

Dr. Karen: We want to help educate the general public and medical community on the legality and medical benefits of cannabis in NM.

What are the strengths of your business?

Lori: Together, we provide caring, professional assistance to our clients in private and comfortable offices. Tim, our Certification Specialist, does a free telephone consultation. For people new to the program, each person’s qualifying condition is determined and what documents may or may not be needed to put together a strong application for the NM Medical Cannabis Program. We also assist people who are doing their annual renewal for the program.

After an appointment with one of us, the completed application is mailed certified to the Department of Health. We have a money back guarantee. The panel of doctors at the DOH then makes the final decision about approval, whether enrolling or re-enrolling.

Any final thoughts?

Lori: We are hopeful that the medicinal potential of cannabis will soon be widely recognized by the general public, the medical community and people in government.

Dr. Karen: Medical cannabis is one of the reasons this is an important and exciting time in healthcare. We are here to help people determine if this safe and effective medicine is appropriate for them.

Qualifying medical cannabis conditions:

• Chronic pain,

• Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

• cancer

• Crohn’s disease

• Ulcerative Colitis

• Epilepsy

• Glaucoma

• Hepatitis C (being treated)

• Hospice Care


• Huntington’s Disease

• Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis

• Intractable nausea/vomiting

• Multiple Sclerosis

• Painful Peripheral Neuropathy

• Parkinson’s Disease

• Severe Anorexia/Cachexia

• Spastic Torticollis (cervical dystonia)

• Inclusion Body Myositis

• Spinal Cord Damage with Spasticity

• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
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