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Cannabidiol, better known by its acronym, CBD, has been the new focus of many therapeutic treatments for physiological processes such as memory, mood, and behavior. Much of the CBD for sale online has the potential to help with these processes. With the passing of the Farm Bill (2018) that made CBD federally legal, more and more studies have been conducted or are being conducted to develop a deeper understanding of how CBD interacts with our bodies endocannabinoid system (ECS) and how if affects physiological processes. Here is what we know so far . . .
The Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is a bodily system which keeps the body in a state of homeostasis. Homeostasis is when all of the bodies interconnected systems are functioning within a narrow operational range. The prefix, endo, means coming from within. A cannabinoid is a molecular compound which includes the active parts of cannabis. Cannabinoids occuring outside the body (CBD and THC) work with the ECS similarly to endocannabinoids (2-AG and anandamide).
There are three (3) parts to the ECS: cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and metabolic enzymes. Cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, 2-AG, and anandamide activate cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. Once activated, these receptors create your bodies response promote homeostasis. Metabolic enzymes such as FAAH and MAGL breakdown cannabinoids which in turn deactivates cannabinoid receptors.
CBD and Memory, Mood, and Behavior
Your ability to remember events and form memories can be hindered by a number of conditions or traumas. Even your mood and behavior can be affected. Dementia-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and more can be positively impacted with CBD use.
A human clinical trial based in the U.K. and funded by Alzheimer’s Research U.K. has recently began. More and more trials will begin as the safety of CBD has been confirmed by the World Health Organization. They say there are “no public health problems associated with the use of pure CBD” (WHO). Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease. This means the nervous system is degenerating. Neuroinflammation (inflammation of the nervous tissue) and oxidative stress (a harmful imbalance of oxidants and antioxidants) are the main characteristics associated with the disease. In lab results, CBD has been shown to have neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory qualities. A 2017 study conducted tests using living organisms and found that CBD can reduce the neuroinflammatory response as well as promotes neurogenesis (the growth and development of nervous tissue). In addition, CBD was shown to “ . . . reverse and prevent the development of cognitive deficits in [Alzheimer’s Disease] rodent models” (Watt, Karl, 1). A cognitive deficit refers to an impairment of mental processes that make it difficult for an individual to form memories, learn new concepts, concentrate, or make everyday decisions.
Vascular Dementia is caused by an insufficient supply of blood flow to the brain. A study has found that activating the cannabinoid receptor CB2 decreases obstruction of blood flow to the brain (decreasing cerebral infarction). This could potentially increase the activity level of brain cells as well as decreasing damage to brain cells that is associated with vascular dementia.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the brain cells that produce dopamine are damaged and eventually die off. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) that sends signals to the brain in relation to bodily movement. These movement issues can further develop into Parkinson’s Disease Dementia which affects cognitive functions similar to those described above in relation to Alzheimer’s. A study has shown that Parkinson’s patients with psychosis “ . . . showed a significant decrease [of psychosis] under CBD treatment”. In addition, there were no adverse effects and CBD was determined to be “safe and well tolerated for the treatment of psychosis in [Parkinson’s Disease]”.
Memory loss and behavioral issues due to a traumatic brain injury can also be positively affected with CBD use. Inflammation in the brain after a head injury is common. As mentioned prior, CBD can be a strong anti-inflammatory agent. The ECS has also been shown to play a role in recovery post traumatic brain injury. “Functional recovery was significantly enhanced” when the endocannabinoid, 2-AG, when introduced to the brain. CBD behaves similarly to 2-AG, suggesting that it may be useful in recovery.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is triggered by an individual experiencing or witnessing an awful event. Reliving the trauma (flashbacks) is a common symptom of PTSD. Many will attempt to avoid thinking about the event and this could negatively affect mood, memory, and even day-to-day behavior. Extinction learning is a therapy that has been found to be helpful in the treatment of PTSD symptoms. Extinction learning is described as a gradual decrease in the response to a conditioned stimulus (e.g. the traumatic memory of the event). A study from 2013 found “ . . . that CBD can enhance consolidation of extinction learning in humans and suggest that CBD may have potential as an adjunct to extinction-based therapies for anxiety disorders”. This means that CBD use could be a powerful therapeutic tool to treat PTSD symptoms.
Addictive urges can be about anything you find pleasurable. This could be drugs, alcohol, nicotine, video games, sex, or food. One factor that could contribute to addictive tendencies is the neurotransmitter, dopamine. After it is formed, dopamine eventually travels to the brain’s amygdala. In the amygdala, dopamine stimulates the brain via emotional responses to pleasurable memories. This can promote reward-seeking behavior. CBD has been found to interfere with brain reward mechanisms” (Study 2013).
Now with cannabidiol being federally legal, you can find CBD for sale easily accessible and can have many uses in relation to the physiological processes each of us experience. The Endocannabinoid System creates bodily responses to anything that knocks us out of our balanced operational state called homeostasis. CBD, a cannabinoid that naturally occurs outside the body, interacts with the ECS in a similar fashion to endocannabinoids (cannabinoids from within the body) such as 2-AG and anandamide. Physiological processes such as mood, memory, and behavior can be negatively affected by disease, trauma, extreme stress, addiction, and more. The symptoms of each can be positively affected as a result of the properties CBD seems to possess. This includes neuroprotection, antioxidation, anti-inflammation, and interaction with the bodies dopamine production and response. Before beginning use with CBD and CBD products, consult your physician.
The cannabis industry is full of passionate people. From those cultivating to the patients at the receiving end – everyone is animated about their experiences, career, and relationship to this little green plant. But it’s the growers who often have a particularly strong connection to the plant. They are the ones who’ve spent decades digging deep to perfect their techniques and methodology. It’s these passionate small-scale cultivators who have found themselves as the voice of the craft cannabis industry.
The quality difference between a craft bud and a big-name one is clear. The proof is in the pudding, or in the flower, as they say. Even in such a newly minted sector, craft cannabis in Canada stands out from the rest. Craft means something different than the run of the mill product usually available on dispensary shelves. Craft is the good stuff – it’s the unique strains and innovative products everyone is starting to talking about.
While large multinational companies may be stealing the limelight in Canada’s first year of legalization, their product isn’t the one earning a following at the dispensaries. For the first time in history, consumers can compare two different cannabis products to choose the best one.
The benefits of growing small are more than just what the bud looks like in the palm of your hand though. Growing small is like a passion project. One that starts in the strain development and ends with a well crafted final product.
What Does it Mean to Be Craft in the Cannabis Industry?
But what does craft mean? Craft cannabis is only the newest rendition of the small-batch, micro-producer trend seen across many other industries. Just like we witnessed in the beer industry, big-beer isn’t king anymore. It’s the craft breweries which have propelled the industry forward and earned a following of loyal patrons.
It’s a pattern repeating itself across many consumer sectors beyond beer, from farmers markets to local butcher shops. Canadians are keen to ditch the big box store in favor of buying small and local. It’s why they are already moving towards craft cultivated cannabis.
In Canada, craft cannabis describes a culture but also a special licensing called The Micro Cultivation Licence. This license makes it easier for smaller growers to enter into (or stay in) business. It’s a competitive edge for the little guys, to stand their ground against farms producing tens of thousands of pounds a year.
A Micro Cultivation Licence allows for up to 200 square meters of canopy space, although this may include multiple growing surfaces. Each license qualifies one unique address, but in some industrial zones, this may cover addresses within the same building. For craft cultivators, this type of permit has fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome, lower staffing and security requirements, and therefore more financially feasible. The Micro Cultivation License may also tie into the Micro-Processor License for a complete seed-to-sale supply chain.
Yet, craft cannabis culture is much more than just the paperwork involved. For the people working with the plants, craft means more than numbers and licenses. If you are a craft cultivator, you are passionate about the process from start to finish, and funnel that passion into a small commercial operation. You touch every plant and know the nuances of the growing facility inside and out.
The best way to envision the craft grower is to compare it to an industrial grower. There are facilities in Canada that produce on an unfathomable scale, with facilities over 200,000 square meters in size. The large-scope format works for pumping out pounds of product, but it does nothing for the quality of that product. Big producers often grow in a monoculture format to optimize their indoor growing conditions for one single strain. They grow for volume and have little space for experimentation.
Craft cannabis is quite different: small spaces, lots of experimentation, and a visibly different product at the end of the day. It’s not always about volume, its sometimes about cannabinoid content or flavor profile. If you are working on a small scale, you are on the floor with the plants every single day, seeing the nuances develop as they reach harvest. This attention to detail gives the craft grower an ability to evolve at a faster pace than their industrial competitors.
What are the Benefits of Craft?
Let’s break it down into bite-sized pieces. What makes craft cultivation so great? Why are so many people excited about the potential of growing small scale? Craft cannabis growers keep it low-key not because they lack what it takes to go big. They are growing small on purpose. Here are only a few of the reasons why craft is here to stay.
Long before recreational cannabis was around, many small scale growers earned their reputation by learning to innovate. They worked with what they had and brought the industry to where it is today. They were locally owned and operated, they knew their customer base, and they were connected to their community. No pun intended, but craft cultivation remains dedicated to grassroots growing mentality even to this day.
Grassroots means strong connections to the local community. That might look like jobs, participation in the local business chamber, or sustainable business practices. Grassroots is generally less cutthroat then how the big-players operate, and they welcome cooperation. Craft cultivation is making connections not to burn bridges.
When you are small, you are naturally more eco-friendly. Your harvests use less water, less energy, and fewer fertilizers. Growing small means you can pay closer attention to changes in your crop, and make the adjustments needed.
On the industrial scale, the details tend to get lost in the foliage. Big operations cannot make on the fly environmental adjustments. If a few plants are struggling among thousands, there isn’t time or concern for their development. A craft grower may have the capacity to get the most out of the struggle plants, to adjust their environment and improve the growing conditions.
Sustainable growth may also mean reducing the environmental impact in several other ways. For some craft growers, it may mean adopting wholly organic farming practices; for others, it might mean growing outdoors on a small plot of land. Being small is naturally more sustainable than most industrial methods of agriculture.
It’s so much easier to experiment when you are operating on a small scale. Growers have the space to tweak the environment in attempts to improve old strains or launch breeding programs to develop exotic new strains. You are not as tied to your principal strain as say, an operation growing at 200,000 square meters at a time.
Again, the big growers will plant what sells the most. Their business model depends on moving the most product possible. This doesn’t give them the leeway to try out strains flavor profiles or cannabinoid contents. When you are small, you’ve got the freedom to branch out now and then. It makes it much easier to respond to niche market needs and consumer preferences.
Any way you look at it, you can see why passionate small scale operations produce a better product then the industrial monoliths growing at scale. Craft beer tastes better than a brew from Anheuser-Busch, artisan chocolate is better for you than a Mars bar, and you’ll experience the same differences within cannabis.
Growing small means someone is paying attention to the details. At each step of the process, someone is optimizing the conditions to produce a cannabinoid-rich and fully developed flower. It’s easy to see if one area of the grow isn’t thriving and make the necessary adjustments. Craft cultivators harvest each plant for peak trichome development, instead of on a schedule the factory farm dictates. There is much more space given to each employee to follow the best farming practices, all to produce the best final flower.
Consumers are already well versed in high-quality craft products. The beer industry has trained us to expect better from a craft producer than from an industrial factory setting. The cannabis consumer is primed to see the value of a craft product; the product needs to introduction.
Because the consumer can smell, taste, and feel the difference between a sub-par bud and a beautiful one, it’s easy for them to make an informed decision on quality. We, as consumers, are already investing in these premium products sold by craft brands, because we can see the difference. We care about quality and are ready to spend money on it.
Craft cannabis brands like Canalief are often packed full of the most dedicated people in the industry. They aren’t just growing cannabis because its a job, they are growing it because they care. As the cannabis industry in Canada continues to evolve, it’s going to be the craft growers who continue to push the envelope, launch unique strains, and improve upon their already great product. Multinational industrial-sized growers may produce the most product, but consumers can already see who is delivering the best.
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It’s been barely six months since recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada. In this short time, Alberta has managed to get a few things right; even though the rollout of weed in the province has not been quintessential. So far, they boast of having the highest number of weed storefronts in the country. As of 4th May, 2019, the province had already issued 101 licenses to cannabis retailers. The number would have been even higher, but the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) halted the issuance of new licenses in November last year temporarily following a national supply dispute.
Boom then Bust
In the first two weeks after recreational marijuana legalization, Quebec and Ontario were leading the pack with the highest number of retail trade sales. While Quebec had sales of $9.4M, Ontario sales hit a high of $11.5M. Sales in Alberta at that time were a mere $5.7M. Fast forward to Feb 2019 and the tide had turned. Alberta recorded the highest weed retail sales at $ 12.3M, while Ontario and Quebec had $7.5M and $11.4M respectively.
The statistics up to this time revealed that Alberta accounted for 38% of the legal weed sales in Canada; this is despite having a small population size which is less than 12% of the country’s total population. Putting this into context, Ontario has three times the population of Alberta.
Projections by Arcview Market Research reveal that legal weed sales in Alberta will hit $800M by 2024; however, its national market share may drop as other provinces catch up.
A private model with no cap on retail licenses
After legalization of recreational weed, Alberta adopted a private model for cannabis distribution. What this means is that cannabis store fronts are operated by private retailers instead of being government run.
Five months prior to legalization, the province had received 533 retail applications for licences. By November 2018, they had issued 65 licences which were increased to 75 after the cannabis license moratorium ended in January of 2018. The ultimate plan is to have 250 privately run cannabis retail stores by the end of the first year. By then, other cannabis products such as edibles and topicals should have been legalized as well.
There is no cap on the number of licenses that can be issued to private cannabis retailers in Alberta. However, no single retailer can hold more than 15% of the total licenses issued.
Here are some statistics from Marijuana business daily.
|Province||Expected number of retailers in the first year of recreational sales|
|Newfoundland & Labrador||24|
|Prince Edward Island||4|
However, regulations for private retailers in Alberta are strict. For example, the cost of obtaining a private license is a non-refundable fee of $700 per year. Also, aspiring retailers need to undergo due diligence which involves: an interview, financial analysis, background checks, litigation, bankruptcy and other enquiries that the commission may deem necessary.
Adopting a private model has allowed Albertans to exercise liberalism on matters related to cannabis. This in turn has spurred growth in the cannabis sector.
Alberta’s economy was ready for cannabis
With the financial figures mentioned above, Alberta is definitely generating more per capita wealth from cannabis than any other province. But even before this happened, Alberta’s economy was poised for growth.
At the crack of 2018, hope was re-birthed in the province as oil prices began to peak. The price of a barrel was back up to $60 and people had hopes of finding jobs in the oil industry again. But as CBC news reports, this was a different kind of economic recovery.
CBC news quotes a report released by petroLMI in 2017:
“Jobs in petroleum exploration and production remain hard to come by, the report found, meaning no recovery for engineers, geoscientists, and those on the business and operations side of things.”
With the economic recovery and less jobs in the petroleum sector, Albertans were forced to look elsewhere. This happened to be about the same time that the cannabis act was being negotiated.
This might have provided the much-needed capital and labour to invest in cannabis businesses. The economic surge also positively impacted on Albertans purchasing power.
Existing network of medical marijuana patients
Prior to legalization, Alberta already had a large network of medical marijuana patients. This same network ensured that there would be a ready market for recreational cannabis, come October 17, 2018.
Here is what Tom Adams, managing director of industry intelligence at BDS Analytics, had to say as reported by CBC news.
“Before legalization Alberta already had a strong medical cannabis market, with 2.5 per cent of its population having prescriptions, well ahead of other provinces. There was a “mad embrace” of cannabis prescriptions among workers in the oil patch who are often drug-tested and can avoid losing their jobs by having medical cards.”
Canada has 201,000 registered MMJ patients, of this, 74,000 are Albertans. Apart from creating demand, this also created psychological preparedness for the acceptance of weed as part of the culture in Alberta.
According to data released in the first quarter of 2018, 17% of Albertans over 15 years have tried cannabis; this is while the national average is at 14%. In Alberta, the minimum age for cannabis consumption is 18 years, while the recommended national minimum age is 21 years.
Alberta has an excellent distribution system that has made it the most consumer-friendly market and with the highest legal cannabis sales in the country’s cannabis industry.
Way before legalization took effect; the residents of Alberta had made all the preparations to make cannabis a huge success.
More Doctors than Other Provinces
In 2018, Alberta spent more money per person on health as compared to other provinces in Canada. With the high level of spending on health, the ratio of doctors to the population has significantly grown as compared to other provinces.
According to a report published by CBC news in February 2018, the ratio of family physicians to population is increasing in Alberta faster that it is in any other province. The ratio increased by 20% between 2013 and 2017. Putting this into perspective, the national ratio increased by only 6.6% in the same period. This means that residents of Alberta have witnessed improved access to health care services in the last four years. This may also contribute to the high numbers of licensed medical marijuana patients in the province as compared to other provinces.
The same report indicated that Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have the highest physician to population ratio. While the former has 257 physicians/100,000 people, the latter has 250 physicians/100,000 people. Alberta on the other hand has 237 physicians/100,000 people, as of 2017.
Although Alberta is not leading the pack, there are strong indications that this trend might continue.
“Looking at the current trends, we are sure that such kinds of growth rates will continue into the next few years,” said Geoff Ballinger, Physician Manager at CIHI as reported by CBC news.
Alberta is the second largest producer of cannabis in Canada
According to a report published by the Calgary Herald, Alberta is now the second largest producer of Cannabis in Canada, after Saskatchewan.
Health Canada is tasked with the responsibility of licensing cannabis producers in Canada. So far, AGLC has signed contracts with 24 Cannabis producers that are federally licensed.
Alberta also boasts of having some of the largest cannabis production facilities the world over. In a “top ten list” compiled in January, 2019 by Market Watch, three Alberta based cannabis companies were featured: Aurora Cannabis Inc., CannTrust Inc., and Aphria Inc. Other large producers based in Alberta include: Canopy growth (which had a very successful IPO in 2018) 7 Acres and ABCann.
With all these positive energy, Cannabis is slowly forming the backbone of Alberta’s economy. We expect to see more and more monies being pumped into the cannabis sector, considering that the right environment to attract investors has already been created.
What sets Alberta apart?
Alberta has one leverage factor, a cannabis supportive government. Even before the whole of Canada welcomed legalization on October 17th 2018, Alberta had already embraced cannabis and put measures in place to make sure that this was going to be a success.
The government made funding available for municipal cannabis transition programs ahead of legalization.
While BC was struggling to issue licences in the single digits, Alberta had 65 stores raring to go, with 250 stores being the target.
While other provinces set higher age limits for recreational cannabis, Alberta preferred to go with the lowest possible minimum age.
While other provinces embraced government run storefronts, Alberta did quite the opposite. They allowed the government to run online stores but gave store fronts to private entrepreneurs. This not only created employment for the populace but it also intertwined the culture of weed with the economy of Alberta.
Given, bigger provinces such as Ontario may catch up on retail sales volumes, given the small population in Alberta. However, it will take a lot more to oust Alberta as the cannabis capital in Canada, all factors taken into consideration.
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A team of Albertan entrepreneurs are excited to soon become the newest entrants to the Canadian cannabis industry. Devon Davidson and Adam Bourbonnais are long time residents of Calgary. They have been working tirelessly to get Canalief, Alberta’s Premium Craft Cannabis Grower, off the ground. After facing many initial challenges, the team is making massive headways.
Canalief has been granted a development permit in a town in Southern Alberta for their proposed 67,000 sq. ft. facility. The construction will create 30-40 temporary jobs and after completion, employ approximately 25 full time staff members. Members of the town council are excited to welcome Canalief, and feel the facility can help boost the local economy. “I am very proud to be at the forefront of this exciting new industry. Now that prohibition is over, I look forward to being able to provide a safer alternative to harmful drugs and helping as many people as we can along the way.” says Devon Davidson, President and Co-founder of Canalief.
The team has also submitted their application for a standard cultivation license with Health Canada and has passed the intake and screening stage, and has moved to the review queue. The team is actively fundraising to move forward with the completion of the facility. They are aiming to break ground on the new facility in the summer of 2019.
Learn more about Canalief at www.canalief.ca
Several months ago, I decided that I was going to live pharma free. My main concern was managing my crohns, a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines, especially the colon and ileum, associated with ulcers and fistulae. Since Crohns is an inflammatory disease and I had heard CBD helps with inflammation , I thought I’d give it a try!
I quit pharmaceuticals “cold turkey”, which I don’t recommend! I began taking CBD oil to help alleviate my pain and inflammation, a few small drops under my tongue before bed. As I progressed, I ate my CBDs in “infused” foods, I bathed in CBD bath bombs and juiced fresh cannabis leaves ( I was NEVER returning to pharmaceuticals, yes I said NEVER).
In the beginning I didn’t notice anything…I was too busy sweating out the 9 years of pharmaceuticals! After a few weeks, what I did notice, was I wasn’t sick! Hmmm, I guess CBD was helping. Oh, and by the way, I wasn’t high all the time. I wasn’t high at all actually, because CBD doesn’t get you high! CBD has no psychoactive affect.
When you have a “disease”, you have to find a good doctor and put all your trust in them and the medical profession. I believed what I was told and didn’t give it a second thought, that is until my body started failing me in so many other ways. My favorite way to add cannabis to my system is suppositories, definitely a cringe worthy word for most people, but those little suckers have been my saving grace. They can be expensive, often as much as 20.00 each, so I made my own.
The suppository works by putting the CBD closer to the source of your pain or discomfort, they work both vaginally, and anally, which is the perfect way to #medicate when dealing with Crohns. You are also able to take in larger quantities of CBD and THC, (THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis) because the psychoactive properties of the THC don’t pass your liver.
As with any new regime, it’s trial and error and everyone’s results will be different. Taking control of my health and wellness, and using plant medicine has been a very positive and exciting journey. Now just over a year pharma free, and thanks to CBD, I’m on a positive path to health and wellness.
We’ve all said “I wish there was magic pill”, well there is a magic plant, cannabis, and thanks to legalization and the many growers like canalief.ca we have greater access to the “magic plant” that is not only saving my life but improving my quality of life as well. We’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to medical cannabis, and as time goes on, I can’t even imagine what new ways we’ll be able to incorporate cannabis into our lives. Since I’m still considerably new to the cannabis community, I’m curious to hear how others have used cannabis to help manage their ailments.
You can find Jacqui on:
1) Jacqui Childs
Jacqui is much more than just an active member of the cannabis community. She a co-author of a best selling novel, a model, and an influencer in the cannabis space from Hamilton, Ontario. She has completed over 150 photo-shoots and has been published over 30 times including the book she co-authored, Ignite Your Inner Warrior. She also happens to be verified by Facebook with over 2 million followers and was nominated for the 2018 Cannabis Influencer Award from Lift.
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
2) Lisa Campbell
Lisa was name a “Badass lady in the cannabiz” by Leafy which is actually a great description. She has done a lot of work in international drug policy during her position as the Outreach Director for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy along with being the founder and chairwoman of Women Grow Toronto. Much of her work in drug policy takes inspiration in part from her family’s fight to end alcohol prohibition many decades ago. She is the CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions, and also the CMO for Vindica Cannabis Corporation.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
3) Jamie Shaw
Jamie wears many hats in the cannabis industry. She currently serves as Government Relations Director for MMJ Canada, she is Director for the BC Independent Cannabis Association, and is also an advisor to NICHE Canada just to name a few. Previously, she was the director of the BC Compassion Club Society, and also was the President of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. If that isn’t impressive enough she also co-founded the first Canadian chapter of Women Grow, has done extensive work with the Vancouver School Board and the Canadian AIDS Society on cannabis education, and is one of the authors of the Lift Retail Cannabis Training Course. She has also played a key role in the Allard trial and her testimony was deemed “very important” by Justice Phelan which lead to the quote “dispensaries are at the heart of access.” Lastly, she has done extensive successful lobbying for dispensary regulations in Vancouver and other BC municipalities.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
4) Gill Polard
Gill has been a fan and user of cannabis for many years and has been actively working in the industry since 2013 in a wide variety of roles. She launched her blog, The Her(b) Life, in 2015 which explores the relationship women have with cannabis. She is also a co-host of the High Friends Podcast and a founding chair of Women Grow. She has been a huge supporter in the lead up to legalization for safe access to cannabis.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
5) Allison McMahon
Allison is an expert in the area of cannabis in the workplace. Her credentials speak for themselves as she is is the CEO of Cannabis At Work and a certified Human Resource Professional. She also holds a Bachelor of Human Resources and Labour Relations. She previously served on the board for the Human Resources Institute of Alberta for 3 years and is also a former Term Instructor at the MacEwan University School of Business. Her work with Cannabis At Work started after 10 years of providing HR solutions to a wide array of customers across Canada. Her and her team are now the leading source for cannabis jobs, recruitment services, online industry training, and workplace impairment training in Canada.
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
6) Rebecca Brown
Rebecca has spent decades in the marketing and advertising industry with a proven track record of innovation and building new agency models. She is the founder of Crowns, a full service consulting agency for the global cannabis industry. They have become global experts around cannabis marketing and designing solutions to grow brands in the cannabis industry within the constraints of regulation. She has an extensive speaking resume, is a marketing instructor at Miami Ad School, and a contributing writer to numerous media outlets.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
7) Abi Roach
Abi has a very impressive portfolio of business ventures centred around cannabis. Her mini empire includes Hot Box , a hydroponics store, Spliff Magazine, along with a bud-and-breakfast tour company in Jamaica. It may come as no surprise that she is a member of the Cannabis Friendly Business Association. She is also an active advocate for cannabis who has spent much of her time lobbying local politicians for the rights of cannabis users.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
8) Barinder Rasode
Barinder Rasode is another female leader in the Canadian cannabis field. Vancouver Magazine ranked her as one of the 50 most powerful people in Vancouver. She is the President and CEO of NICHE Canada, her not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing evidence-based research around cannabis production in Canada. She also on the Board of Directors for Fraser Health which offers guidance and support to one of largest health authorities in British Columbia. Her resume is just as impressive outside of the cannabis industry. She has substantial experience in working with various levels of government and the private sector to facilitate an informed dialogue around emerging challenges for British Columbia’s future. She served two terms as an elected councillor for the City of Surrey and also co-founded and acts as Advisory Committee Chair for She Talks, a unique series of conferences that features women sharing stories of transformation, leadership, and advice on how to thrive in a changing world.
Location: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
9) Manisha Krishnan
Manisha is best known for her role as senior writer and host for VICE. She has extensively covered a wide variety of topics around all this cannabis and is not afraid to be the first to offer an opinion on any topic. Her journalism-based coverage has heavily focused on the black market side of the industry and with new legalization in Canada, expect a lot more to come on this front from her. Prior to working with Vice, she acted as a reporter for the Calgary Herald, Macleans, and the Toronto Star.
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
10) Bethany Rae
Bethany is a creative fashion designer, fitness enthusiast, traveller, and cannabis influencer. She is the founder of Flower & Freedom which is a female-focused lifestyle brand whose mission is to empower people to explore cannabis as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. Their goal is to guide individuals to take on the knowledge to make safe and educated choices about cannabis or to better understand the choices of people around them. She is excited to be creating one of the first cannabis-themed clothing brands globally. She is an outspoken advocate around education for healthy and safe cannabis consumption and what a healthy lifestyle with cannabis can look like.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The prohibition on cannabis is nearly over in Canada. In the past years, there has been extensive research done on the plant and its effects. The research of the medicinal properties that this botanical wonder possesses, is undeniable. As Canadian’s, we have had the benefit of legal medical cannabis since the first patients were granted permission from the Government of Canada in 1999. Due to the granted permission, research on cannabis is continuous. This is especially the case with recreational legalization just around the corner. Through the studies conducted on medical cannabis, it has been proven that there are some chronic and acute medical conditions that the use of cannabis is very effective for improving the patients health related quality of life (HRQoL).
Health-related quality of life has become a much discussed topic in the contemporary medical world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defined HRQoL as “an individual’s or group’s perceived physical and mental health over time.” There are methods to measure HRQoL that are predominately through standardized surveys. As of yet, medical cannabis has not been known to specifically treat any chronic and acute conditions, diseases, and syndromes, for a cure. However, its use is pivotal in improving the patients health-related quality of life through treating the symptoms caused by many diagnoses.
To better understand the topics in this article, it is paramount to briefly discuss the two main active chemical ingredients in the cannabis plant. These active ingredients are called cannabinoids. Although there are over 100 cannabinoids that have been discovered, the two that have been mainly researched and discussed are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is a substance that causes an altered state of mind. In colloquial terms, this is the substance that causes the “high”, when inhaling or ingesting cannabis. THC has been a proven aid in reducing nausea and vomiting, as well as acting as an appetite stimulant.
CBD, on the other hand, helps to make the altered state of mind caused by the THC more tolerable. In this substance, there is barely any psychoactive effect while receiving all the medicinal properties of the plant. As a result of this, CBD is largely used in oil form as an antipsychotic, antidepressant, and sleep aid.
Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador states that 300,000 Canadians are effected by epilepsy, that is 1% of the entire population. In a study conducted by Statistics Canada on the prevalence of Epilepsy in Canada, it was found that 44% of Canadians found their quality of life was effected a little bit to moderately. This was documented alongside 18% who fell on the more severe end of the scale, reporting that the seizure disorder effected their quality of life quite a bit to extremely.
Medical cannabis has been proven to be a promising therapy for many who suffer from the seizure condition. The British Epilepsy Association published a study in 2016 condoning the use of medical CBD enriched cannabis oil in the treatment of pediatric seizures. As well, Epilepsia conducted an international survey including patients, epileptologists, and general neurologists. The participants of the survey were from North America and Europe. This study concluded that 98% of survey takers would recommend medical marijuana in cases of severe epilepsy.
A recent story of “Charlotte’s Web, ” told on CNN and reported on in Medium, demonstrates the power of medical cannabis. This story showcases the effect of a hybrid strain of cannabis that has the ratio of 40:1 – CBD:THC. The product is a strain that has all the “medicinal purposes associated with the plant, but none of the psychoactive effects” (Boshoff). This was administered to a young girl, Charlotte, who suffers from a form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. This form of the condition is nearly impossible to control. The family was interviewed as part of Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, Weed. During the film, Charlotte’s parents claim her seizures decreased from a staggering 300 a week to just one every seven days, as a direct result of medicating with this particular strain of cannabis. With the seizures Charlotte’s cognitive functioning was becoming impaired, and she lost her ability to walk. With the treatment of the CBD oil, she has now regained those functions, which will greatly improve her HRQoL.
Cases of insomnia inhibit the daily functioning of Canadians. It has been confirmed that medical cannabis can greatly assist in a restful sleep. Insomnia impacts an individual on “diverse areas of HRQoL, and that both pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions can produce, to varying degrees, improvements in domains spanning physical, social and emotional functioning” (Kyle). As a pharmacological treatment, cannabis was studied extensively in the 1970s for the sleep aid properties of the whole plant. It was found, and confirmed, in recent studies that the most powerful active chemical of the plant is THC. THC enables the patient to fall asleep more quickly and to increase Stage 4 sleep. This is a deep stage of sleep prior to the dream state of REM. People who wake from this stage of sleep are typically disoriented for a few minutes as they come out of a deep sleep. This also proves that a night in this stage will be restful. In addition to a significant decrease in the time it takes to fall asleep and achieving a deep restful sleep, THC has been proven to keep patients who administer the medication, asleep through the night. The lack of interruptions of sleep assists in allowing the patient to experience Stage 4 of the sleep cycle for longer periods of time. When taking cannabis for insomnia it is to be noted that THC does inhibit and reduce the amount of REM sleep one would obtain. For some, this may be advantageous as those suffering from specific conditions such Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, may prefer not to enter into an intense dream stage.
Any individual who is considering this medicine to treat insomnia should seek out a strain that is high in THC. In taking this medicine, it is important to make the correct choice in administration. There are two recommended courses: inhalation (smoke free), and ingestion by mouth. Both administrations are effective. However, when taking the edible form, the effect may take longer to set in. Once it does, it has been recorded that the benefits will last longer. The delayed but lasting effect of the medicine would be favourable for treating insomnia, as it would be preferable for the body to metabolise the medicine slowly over the course of the patients sleep to ensure a full night of rest.
The widespread disease of various forms of cancer leave many battling not only the cancer and its symptoms, but also the harsh symptoms of the treatments taken to rid the body of the disease. In an article written in West Asia Organization for Cancer Prevention, it stated that “Chemotherapy did reduce the QoL [Quality of Life] of breast cancer patients. Management of chemotherapy-induced loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting should be improved for a better outcome” (Chean). The management of the symptoms caused by chemotherapy could be treated directly and effectively by medical cannabis. “Considerable clinical evidence indicates that marijuana could yield a variety of useful medicines, especially for nausea, vomiting, and appetite stimulation” (Mack). A strain containing high amounts of THC would prove favourable for those who are suffering from symptoms of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
Although the symptoms of the treatments for cancer can prove a cause in seeking the medicinal purposes of medical cannabis, the symptoms of cancer itself can also be remedied by the plant. Malnutrition is often a result of the disease. The loss of appetite and wasting effect most patients’ quality of life. This can lead to a condition called Cachexia, where the patient may have a loss of lean body tissue. Cannabis is widely renowned for appetite stimulation. This appetite stimulation would be best found in administering the cannabinoid THC.
Unfortunately, there are a multitude of conditions and diseases that create symptoms that minimally, or greatly, effect the patient. These symptoms impact the individual’s health-related quality of life. Through the use of the correct strain of medical cannabis, these symptoms could greatly reduce. Some of the conditions that have been studied for treating the symptoms are: endometriosis – for pain control; fibromyalgia – for pain control, specifically for muting the overactive neuroreceptors; and post-traumatic stress disorder – for sleep, as well as alleviating anxiety and fear generated from trauma episodes.
With continued research and support, medical cannabis will evolve to become a well-utilized and lasting medicine in the contemporary medical community. Spurred by the drive from society, to return to a more natural way of treating diagnoses, this national legalization will be the opportunity to satisfy that desire. In conjunction with the additional research, the products will be more sophisticated. This will inevitably allow for more effective treatments. As a result, medical cannabis is and will continue to boost health-related quality of life.