Rachna Patel, DO, COM '09

Rachna Patel profileDr. Patel hadn't planned on becoming a medical marijuana doctor, especially not as a nerdy kid raised in a conservative Indian family.

From early on, she was on what would be considered a very typical path. She excelled at one of the most competitive high schools in New Jersey, which landed her acceptance to the prestigious Northwestern University. She then worked at a non-profit managing a city-wide after-school program in Chicago for underprivileged children. In 2005, she made her way to Touro University California's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

At Touro University, she had the opportunity to learn from distinguished faculty established as experts in their fields. They taught her to be not only a compassionate, but more importantly, an empathetic doctor. They also equipped her with the knowledge to effectively solve the most difficult of clinical problems that came her way. Her education at Touro University went beyond just academics. It afforded her the opportunity to travel half-way around the world to Africa through the Global Health Program where she learned to address the medical needs of underserved populations that have very limited resources. She also had the opportunity to do research with the late Dr. Peter Baginsky on effective methods to screen for diabetes in an underserved Latino population.

Surfing around on Craigslist one fateful night altered the course of the path she was on. She stumbled upon the words "Medical Marijuana Doctor Needed." A moment of curiosity evolved into a year-long quest of reading every bit of research in peer-reviewed journals that she could find. Finding the research compelling and with a desire to learn more about the medical use of marijuana, she set off to work at a medical marijuana clinic. The outcomes she witnessed took her by surprise.

She saw patients with multiple sclerosis experience significantly fewer muscle spasms and sit more comfortably in their wheelchairs. Children who once had seizures as often as every ten minutes were able to play with their brothers and sisters for several hours at a time. Patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation were finally able to get rid of their nausea and gain back their appetites. Patients with chronic pain who were once on a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs reported that they were able to manage their pain with medical marijuana alone. Patients deprived of sleep found that marijuana afforded them a better quality of sleep they had not had in years, even with over-the-counter sleeping aids.

She found herself affecting the lives of patients who were desperate for an answer otherwise not found in conventional medicine. Today, she's taking the rigorous training she received at Touro University California to pave the way as a pioneer in a budding field of medicine.

You can learn about the work Dr. Patel does at www.DrRachnaPatel.com.



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