A Natural Choice 

Nature Med's on-site cultivation means more quality product for patients

Medical marijuana patients have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a dispensary in town, but not many dispensaries can offer what Nature Med can when it comes to healthcare industry experience.

As a family-owned and operated business, Nature Med is backed by owner Mike Schmidt, a healthcare professional with more than 25 years of experience as a registered nurse. His experience is combined with that of his son and general manager Jacob Schmidt, who has a background in hospitality management and nutrition, and dispensary manager Keoki Wing, who has worked in the medical marijuana industry for the last five years.

"I really liked the fact that Mike was an RN," said Wing about what attracted him to work at Nature Med, which opened on July 11, 2013. "It was different. Very few have that sort of experience in this field. From a medical perspective, we're able to more easily draw parallels and communicate with patients, because we all know what we are talking about given our backgrounds."

Also attractive about Nature Med is its location in Marana, Wing said. "It's beautiful out here," he said. "We are pretty isolated, and we have a discreet location. We aren't near any schools or businesses where people are loitering. It's a clean-cut, safe location."

Nature Med is one of only a few dispensaries that has its own on-site cultivation. While still in the early stages of development, Wing says once in full effect, the on-site grow will translate to savings for customers since strains won't have to be imported from elsewhere.

On-site cultivation also helps ensure a trackable, safe, lab-tested product.

"It's not so much about creating mass quantity as some dispensaries do," said Wing. "It's about creating a quality product that actually works for our patients' symptoms."

Currently stocking between 12 and 15 strains, Nature Med also carries several edibles like chocolate bars, brownies, juices, energy shots, chocolate truffles, gummy bears, and liquid tinctures.

The cultivation is expected to be fully operational in the beginning of the next year. Also around that time, posttraumatic stress disorder will be added to the list of qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card.

This could prove mutually beneficial to Nature Med and veterans dealing with PTSD.

At least a third to a half of our patients are somehow affiliated with the military," said Wing.

Other common qualifying conditions include chronic pain, epilepsy and cancer. It is becoming more and more common for victims of such to turn to marijuana rather than prescription pills, according to Wing.

"Not only do you have the health effects that pills have on your kidneys, liver and stomach, patients hate the zombie feeling that accompanies pills," he said.

Wing said many mistake medical marijuana as simply a way to get high, when in fact CBD strains allow for pain relief without compromising lucidity.

"The reason we do what we do here," he said. "Every day we see how this helps patients. We are here to help people live a better life."

Nature Med is located at 5390 W. Ina Road. More information can be found online at naturemedinc.com, on Nature Med's Facebook page, or by calling 620-9123.

More by Chris Flora

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