Doctors Make Marijuana a Family Affair

Happy Family Skipping in the grass

A married couple and their two adult children, all doctors, have begun a medical marijuana practice in three states. Dr. David Knox and his wife, Dr. Janice Knox, along with their children, Drs. Rachel and Jessica Knox, have come together to offer a professional cannabis practice for their patients.

The Washington Post reported that the family business, American Cannabinoid Clinics, has locations in Oregon, California, and Washington state. The family practice also has licensed physicians in several legal medical marijuana states through their online portal.

Dr. Janice Knox was the first in the family to become familiar with marijuana after she covered for a colleague's practice that recommended medical marijuana for eligible patients. Knox says that she was surprised when she saw the diversity of the patients that were using cannabis as medicine. Blind people, grandparents, and people from all walks of life visited the clinic because traditional medication had failed them. Despite attending the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Washington School of Medicine, Knox had never been around marijuana. But after filling in for her colleague, her interest in natural medicine deepened and she became intrigued after meeting such a diverse group of patients medicating with cannabis.

Because cannabis is classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug, there is not enough research on how cannabinoids work. Knox, a former anesthesiologist, was so impressed by how much cannabis helped patients that she decided to learn everything she could about the endocannabinoid system, which is a group of receptors in the brain and body that regulate the immune system, liver function, and insulin production. She also became a specialist in cannabis, learning everything about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the ingredient in marijuana that causes psychological effects along with some therapeutic benefits, and cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient with no psychological effects but also has therapeutic qualities. 

She decided to retire and in 2012 opened American Cannabinoid Clinics in Portland in order to give patients an alternative to the quickie cannabis card mills that don't really treat patients. American Cannabinoid Clinics strives to give patients genuine, professional treatment and answer any questions they may have about cannabis. Knox's husband and emergency room physician for almost 40 years, Dr. David Knox, joined the practice and was amazed by the effects of cannabis on patients with epilepsy or receiving cancer treatments. He was also interested in how cannabis could treat opioid addiction.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rescinded the Cole Memo, which protected states with legal marijuana from federal prosecution. Knox isn't worried about the federal government because she says she is doing what is right for her patients.

The husband-and-wife team also includes their two daughters. Doctors Rachel Knox, 35, and Jessica Knox, 31, grew up in Portland with their parents before attending college in Boston. Jessica attended Harvard while Rachel graduated from Tufts University. Both women graduated from Tufts medical school in 2012, with Rachel moving to San Francisco and Jessica going back to Portland. Both women joined the family practice, and telemedicine allows the clinic to help patients in the 29 states plus Washington, D.C. where medical marijuana is legal.

Dr. David Knox says that it is unfortunate that the medical community is just now learning about the health benefits of cannabis because for so long they were taught that it was a dangerous drug. The American Medical Association has recently updated its policy on cannabis and has stated that the drug's federal Schedule I classification should be reviewed and clinical research should be conducted for potential health benefits.