The Company’s founder, Kyle Kingsley, MD, is a board-certified emergency medicine physician, serial entrepreneur, and inventor. He was inspired to launch Vireo after encountering numerous patients who successfully used cannabis to effectively alleviate their pain and suffering.
Initially a medical cannabis skeptic, Dr. Kingsley’s position on the issue evolved over time, as he delved into the science that was absent from his medical school training and became intrigued by the small, but building body of clinical evidence around the medical use of cannabis as well as the increasing number of real world patient stories he observed first-hand.
One particularly moving story came from a Gulf War veteran — a six-foot male in his forties, father of two, originally from California — who had suffered a gunshot wound that resulted in a spinal cord injury. For years following the war, the vet continued to experience debilitating pain and muscle spasms in his legs that prevented him from leading a normal life. After a lengthy period of being prescribed large amounts of opiates with numerous adverse side effects – including constant states of sedation, dizziness, and nausea — he decided to try cannabis, which quickly provided him significant relief from his symptoms with little to no side-effects and helped pave the way for him to return to normal everyday life.
This is just one of the many first-hand accounts that inspired Dr. Kingsley to learn more about medical cannabis. Drawing on his significant experience and passion in medicine, business and horticulture, Dr. Kingsley decided to launch his own medical cannabis company, Minnesota Medical Solutions.
The Company’s first milestone was winning the highly competitive, merit-based Minnesota medical cannabis licensing process in which it was ranked first out of a dozen applicants. Only a few months later, Dr. Kingsley launched another Vireo company, Vireo Health of New York (formerly known as Empire State Health Solutions), to compete for one of New York’s five medical cannabis licenses. On July 31, 2015, the Company was informed that it had won a license in New York, achieving its second milestone. Vireo Health of New York ranked second out of 43 finalists.
The Vireo team is now focused on increasing awareness about the number of deaths caused each year from the use of highly addictive opioid pain medications such as oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone and the illicit, related street drug heroin and conducting research on how medical cannabis could be used as a replacement to opioids.