Why We Raise Money for MS Research

by | Apr 30, 2019 | Events

In 2010, a grower joined The Clinic staff that had a unique story on what lead him down the road to growing medical cannabis. Several years prior to joining The Clinic staff, his wife had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). One of the symptoms related to MS that she was experiencing was optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve that was causing uncontrollable twitching in her eye. Initially, she was prescribed prednisone, a synthetic corticosteroid drug, to help combat this specific symptom of her MS. She found the immune-inhibiting side effects of the steroid treatment to be far worse than the original symptom that she was trying to treat with it, so she appealed to her neurologist for another treatment option. Her neurologist suggested that she consider trying medical marijuana to treat this symptom, as the other patients of his had found some success in treating this particular symptom of MS with medical marijuana. Having had so many issues with the standard pharmaceutical treatment option for this symptom, she was willing to try anything else that might work better for her and became of the very early entrants into the State of Colorado’s medical marijuana program.

At this point in time, there was not the current framework in place for retail sales of medical marijuana. There was nowhere that they could legally purchase medical marijuana, and they were forced to source her marijuana from the black market. Upon obtaining and trying marijuana to treat her optic neuritis, she found near immediate relief from the pressure and twitching in her eye, and without all of the horrible side effects, she had found with the prednisone. She also found some relief from other symptoms of her MS including spasticity and numbness. She and her husband made the decision that if they were going to keep going with the medical marijuana treatments, they needed to find a safe and legal means of obtaining it.

At the time, the only legally allowed option to obtain medical marijuana was for them to grow her legally allotted 6 plants themselves. Her husband got a crash course on indoor horticultural processes from a friend that worked in a local university’s biology department and ran one of their greenhouse facilities. He also obtained several different kinds of cannabis seeds from the international market that were claimed to have different specific medicinal properties. They began growing her legally allotted 6 plants in their basement, and he also started tracking which plants seemed to work best for each of her specific symptoms. His education and degree were in mechanical engineering, so he took a very scientific approach to how he was going about growing her cannabis, and tracking which cultivars were working best for each of her symptoms. She was soon able to discontinue taking several other pharmaceutical drugs that she had been taking to treat various symptoms of her MS, and successfully replace them with her medical marijuana treatment.

Over the next several years, he worked on optimizing his cultivation system, his feeding regimens, and every other aspect of their medical home grow. He also began cross-breeding the various cultivars that she found most helpful, in the hopes of creating new cultivars that were able to treat more of her symptoms at once. With the results of this work, his wife now only takes 1 other medication for her MS and has been nearly asymptomatic for over 8 years. She has also been one of the rare few patients with MS that have actually shown some reduction in the size of the lesions on the myelin in her brain via CAT scans.

This grower also had a history with MS before ever meeting his wife. When he was 7 years old, his father had been diagnosed with MS. He had spent much of his youth helping to care for his father, who passed away from complications related to the disease when our grower was only 14 years old. When our grower was going through watching his father succumb to the effects of this disease, there was very little information available on the disease, and what his family should expect next. There simply weren’t the resources available for this disease then as there are now. They wanted to make sure they were doing their part to help make sure that these resources would be available to those families that were now going through this. He and his wife, with all of the personal connections they had to this disease, formed a “friends and family” team for the Denver MS Walk and began raising funds to help others living with MS and their families.


When this grower joined our staff, he brought with him this desire to help others living with MS. He spoke with our owners and quickly convinced them that through the company’s staff and patient base, they had a unique opportunity to do even more for those living with MS and their families. In 2010, our first full year of operation, The Clinic founded their corporate MS Walk team and began collectively raising funds for the Colorado and Wyoming Chapter of the MS Society. This was an easy transition, as several other members of the staff at the time had also been members of this grower’s former “friends and family” MS Walk team. Initially, the bulk of the funds raised were through donation bins at the retail stores, and through donations from the friends and family of the team members. In the team’s inaugural year, we were able to raise over $10,000 for the MS Society to help fund research and programming for those living with MS and their families. This total far exceeded anything their team had accomplished in the past, and the seeds were planted to grow this team into something even more amazing.


The Clinic has grown over the past 10 years, so have their MS Walk fundraising efforts. Through several avenues including an annual charity golf tournament known as The Clinic Charity Classic at Arrowhead Golf Course, The Clinic Colorado’s team has now raised a grand total of over $600,000 for the MS Society. In 2014, The Clinic Colorado became the top fundraising team for Walk MS in the Colorado/Wyoming region, and have won this distinction each subsequent year since taking the honor for the first time. With this being their 10th year of involvement in raising funds for the National MS Society, they’ve set an extremely lofty fundraising goal, with their sights set on raising another $250,000 to add to their fundraising total.

Additional Resources:

To learn more about the research study that was done on cannabis and MS, follow this link.

This month’s Patient Feature highlighted Kelly who lives with MS.

Curious in learning more about this year’s 10th Annual Clinic Charity Classic? Find golfer and sponsorship info here.
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