Dr. Andrew Kerklaan, Doctor of Chiropractic, has more than 20 years of experience in the global health and wellness industry. He completed his DC studies in Toronto, Canada and launched his career in London, England at a prestigious clinic where his patients included rock stars and royalty. Five years later, Dr. Kerklaan returned to his hometown of Montreal determined to bring the best in integrative health care to his own community-based center. His thriving practice provides expert treatment for a wide range of patients and conditions, with a focus on health, wellness, and pain management. In concert with his desire to further help his patients, he developed natural topical products which we will explore in part two of our interview.
Philip Rebentisch: After earning your DC degree in Toronto, what led to your decision to move to London? Was it for the better weather?
Dr. Kerklaan: When we moved to London I don’t think I saw the sun for five years! But let me back up just a bit. I was studying engineering which led to looking at structure and motion, how things come together and stay together. In the healthcare field, I thought that chiropractic was really in line with my perspective and the structural elements I was learning in engineering. Chiropractic was really an extension of the care that I wanted to provide to people in a holistic, biomechanical manner. I was top of my class in anatomy and I loved my studies. My wife has family in the UK and she was very interested in moving over to London. I knew I’d have the opportunity to transfer my skills after graduating.
PR: Who were your clients at the clinic? Were they from all types of professions or did you specialize in any way?
DRK: Being in the center of London was a fantastic opportunity to meet people who lived all over the world and we had a very diverse patient base. I met and treated a variety of people including royalty and rock stars, and I was personally invested in caring for people one-on-one. I had patients of all ages, from kids to adults, even one gentleman who was 87 years old. We treated people from all backgrounds, income levels and professions, including blue collar workers. I was able to help people who depended on their body to make a living, and it was very special interacting with them. This set me on a path of not only caring for people and seeing them improve their health, but I also became interested in business as an entrepreneur. I wanted to create something that serves a greater cause. I love what I do, and it’s so true that if you don’t have your health you really can’t do anything. Even if you have the time and money to travel, if you’re not healthy, you can’t do it.
PR: You moved back to your hometown of Montreal, Canada, and are the Director of Greene Avenue Complementary Health. I’m assuming you moved to Montreal for the French pastry, coffee, and baguettes?
DRK: No, I moved back for the weather. Actually, we moved back to Montreal to raise our son and have a better quality of life for our family. I wanted to work in a multi-disciplinary practice similar to the UK clinic, but it didn’t really exist. So, I decided to open my own practice. That was in 2003 and it’s been a fantastic experience with a diverse patient base and really great patient interaction. The one-on-one experience is always fulfilling, but I also had the opportunity to reinvigorate my career. Patients started coming in and asking about cannabis, and at the time, I simply did not have answers. In a way, I kind of stumbled into my initial exposure to cannabis, but I really grabbed the opportunity to pursue research and attend conferences. I took it upon myself to go out and study in order to be able to provide answers to patients who were asking about cannabis.
PR: Was there an epiphany moment in learning about the promise of cannabis for adults?
DRK: There was an epiphany moment. I was treating a couple in their mid-eighties and I was very close to them. The wife had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. She was taking many medications and her health and memory were deteriorating. This was a very frustrating situation. I’d sometimes see her almost every week and she’d be in tears with this chronic cycle of pain and getting poor sleep which leads to low energy. The medication was not solving this problem. They are a well-known, very conservative couple, and one day, I told them to research medicinal cannabis and consider getting a prescription. They looked at me a bit oddly and when they left, I thought to myself that it didn’t go over so well. However, they came back a week later and told me they were going to get a prescription for medicinal cannabis.
I was amazed that at their age they were willing to give it a try. This led to a change in her health and she responded well over the next couple of months. Did it solve or remedy everything? No, it didn’t, but it had this unbelievable effect on her. I was amazed and drew two conclusions. One, to be motivated at that age to go off and get a prescription for something that they thought was illegal, was amazing. Two, the health response was fantastic. This really opened my eyes and it helped set me on the course to figure out how I can help people with what’s out there.
PR: Dr. Kerklaan, it’s a bit of a leap to go from wanting to help people, to developing and selling topical cannabis and hemp products. You started with a product line that includes THC and is sold in medical marijuana dispensaries in the U.S. Can you tell me about this decision?
DRK: For me, it’s really an extension of helping people using these natural products. Running this type of business has been a new experience, but I decided to bring my professional expertise, skills, opinion, and reputation to the table. They are topical products because they align with chiropractic healing and the human body. I didn’t want to develop products that included a psychoactive affect, so topicals made perfect sense. They are professional products developed by me with input from biochemists and university researchers for their formulation expertise. It’s a health care product that is presented in a professionally branded manner just like any medicine in a pharmacy. I want people to feel confident in the products they are purchasing for pain, sleep, skin care, and PMS.
PR: Why did you choose to be part of the Three Wells community and its mission?
DRK: I love being associated with professionals who are grounding themselves well and are getting the cannabis message out. So, I’m very happy to be involved. It’s a platform that is really terrific.
PR: What’s one thing that you do such as a hobby or pursuit that your patients might be surprised to learn?
DRK: I’ve always loved downhill skiing and my family does too. Here’s the surprise part. When I’m on business trips to Denver or Vancouver I always try to take an extra day and get some skiing in, much to my wife’s chagrin.
PR: With that in mind, I think you need to get products into Mammoth Lakes, California as soon as possible. Dr. Kerklaan, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today.
DRK: It was my pleasure and thank you.
Please let us know how you felt about Dr. Kerklaan’s story. Do you want to read more like it? Tell us!
Next week, part two of our interview will explore Dr. Kerklaan’s Theraputics products, cannabis research in Canada, and the potential health effects of Canada’s recent nationwide legalization of recreational cannabis.
Philip Rebentisch is the Content Editor for Three Wells.