While medical marijuana and cannabis products are starting to become more popular in the U.S., their healing properties have long been known in Chinese medicine. So it was no surprise when Dr. Sera Balderston, an acupuncturist who follows natural and holistic philosophies, decided to add medical cannabis and CBD products to her practice.

“As a Chinese medicine practitioner, cannabis made sense because it has been used as a Chinese herb for thousands of years,” Dr. Balderston explained. “The fact is, if Oriental medicine doctors had more lobbying money, we’d all be prescribing cannabis.”

In addition to providing acupuncture and cannabis recommendations, Marijuana Doctor Now by Point Lumineux promotes the therapeutic properties of herbal and plant-based medicine, and includes vitamin therapy, hormonal therapy and nutritional counseling as part of its services. Point Lumineux also offers an aesthetic service line that includes facials, CoolSculpting®, radiofrequency body contouring, laser hair removal, skin tightening and more.

“We first began offering cannabis when our medical director, Dr. Timothy Hoffmeister, came on board,” said Balderston. “He was an ob/gyn surgeon, but wasn’t able to work because of a back injury. He had tried all of the conventional routes, including surgery, cortisone shots, nerve blocks and more, but they didn’t work. Once he started using medical cannabis, in addition to acupuncture and the correct hormones, vitamins and diet, his health greatly improved.”

So did his personal life: Dr. Hoffmeister and Dr. Balderston are now married, and work in the practice together. “I like to say that we met because of cannabis,” she laughed.

Because of his unique experience, Dr. Hoffmeister is well-versed in medical cannabis, and takes the time to truly explain its risks and rewards to patients. “He’s the type of physician that when you walk out of your appointment, you know what to get at the dispensary,” said Dr. Balderston. “He can pinpoint the types of cannabinoids and terpenes needed for different conditions, and provides a really detailed explanation of what to look for, even if they don’t have the specific strain he recommended.”

Patient education is at the forefront of Point Lumineux’s mission, and in addition to speaking one-to-one with patients, the practice also holds a monthly community education event where dispensaries are invited to talk about their products. Dr. Hoffmeister also speaks about different types of cannabis and their benefits at these meetings, which are free and open to the public.

“What really sets us apart is the information that we provide,” said Dr. Balderston, adding that during a cannabis consultation, the doctor may also offer information on other treatments that can help, including adjunct therapies such as functional medicine, vitamin injections and hormone therapy. “Cannabis isn’t a panacea for everything; a patient might also benefit from acupuncture or other therapies. Our goal is to fill in the gaps of conventional medicine.”

In order to make these therapies accessible, Point Lumineux offers a number of patient discounts, including $50 off a first acupuncture visit, free 30-minute massages and facials, and a $99 summer special package that is good until the end of August. The practice also offers a low $47 transfer fee to patients wanting to transition from another doctor’s care.

“A lot of people come to us as a last-ditch effort to find relief after trying more conventional methods, but we should be the first place that they go,” said Dr. Balderston. “Our commitment to natural, integrative medical approaches can provide a higher quality of life.”

Marijuana Doctor Now by Point Lumineux is located in south Sarasota. To learn more, visit www.marijuanadoctornow.comor call (941) 894-9847.