Hello I’m Tanya Allen your host today.
I’m an actor, writer, concerned citizen
and all-around curious human being. My
first guest is Dr. Daniel Schecter. Dr.
Schecter is a practicing family
physician and co-founder of the Cannabo
Medical Clinic. My second guest is
Stephanie Karasick, Founder and Chief
Creative Officer at Strainprint
Technologies. Thanks to you both for
joining me today. Thanks for having us.
Thank you. Dr. Schecter lots of hype
about the health benefits of cannabis
but certainly not necessarily the
evidence to back it up. Would you agree
or disagree? There is a tremendous amount
of hype and there is also a lack of
evidence, so in essence I would agree. But
we also have to remember that we often
are holding cannabis to a different
standard than we hold a lot of other
medications. Many medications and
interventions that we do in clinical
medicine have very very little evidence
to support their use. Some of the
medications we use for chronic pain,
there is no randomized controlled trials
to support using it, but you know what
people end up using it and it’s being
prescribed because we know that it works.
Now with cannabis, it’s the same thing.
It has been used for over 5,000 years as a
medication. There is very good evidence
and understanding as to why it works at
the biological level. Patients tell us
that it works. But you’re absolutely
right. We don’t have those randomized
controlled trials that involve tens or
hundreds of thousands of patients to
support its use. But we know that it
works. So what we’re lacking is knowledge
about specific doses, specific
indications, specific methods of
administration. But in general we do have
enough evidence. We have enough evidence to say it’s safe. We have enough evidence
to say it’s effective and we have enough
say yes it can be used safely as part of
a treatment regime.
And 5000 years.
And we have 5000 years of evidence and as many
people will point out in 5000 years
there really hasn’t been an overdose
leading to death of cannabis or due to
cannabis. Of course you can have negative
side effects. You can have adverse events.
You can have people who get high and get
behind the wheel of a car and get into
an accident and die but unlike opioids,
you can never use enough cannabis or too
much cannabis that it actually causes
cardiovascular depression and death. You
can never die just from consuming
Oh that’s very good to know.
Where as we know with opioids, you take
too much it will kill you.
Right, Stephanie you have some first-hand
experience with Dr. Schecter’s field of
expertise. Can you explain a little bit
how you might know him.
I actually, we met in August of 2014 when I was sent via a
referral from another physician and I
believe you had just opened the clinic.
It was fairly new.
Yeah we opened in July.
July so there you go. I was you know
first first few in the doors as they say
and I came in, pardon the expression, but
a very green. I really did not know at
all how the appointment was supposed to
go, what what was to come out of it and
what I would leave with. And I
am here to tell you that essentially
what it was, was a a life-changing moment
for me. I left here with my medical
recommendation. It’s not referred to as a
prescription, I always say, for I think
you gave me a gram. It was a gram a day. I
didn’t know anything and here I was
being given essentially a prescription
by a doctor for now what I was going to
be deeming my medication. So it was a
little bit of a strange experience. I
kind of left and I was like well what
there was a lot of trial and error
that followed that.
And you have since made a company yourself that helps
people with dosing and stuff like.
Can I ask what you were taking the
Absolutely. I had just prior to the to being referred to Dr. Schecter been diagnosed with PTSD and
I’ve told the story before so I’ll
say it again I lost my brother when I
was a kid and it was the 1970s and
things weren’t talked about back then
and it was swept under the rug and then
here I was thirty-five years later and I
had kids of my own and I basically
started to have a lot of trouble raising
them and not thinking that they were
going to die essentially. And so the
doctor that sort of suggested that I look at cannabis
had sort of read a lot of articles about
PTSD and what that was doing for
soldiers and anecdotally it seemed like
something that could work for me.
And it evidently
Changed my life. I’ll say it
over and over, it changed my life.
And a company was born.
Well one of the things when I first saw Stephanie, as she was saying, you know we didn’t know very much about cannabis at the time and the
whole idea back then was that we were
trying to get more information and
trying to figure out what strains, what
doses were going to work for our
patients because there’s literally over
300 different products available in
Canada. So my recommendation to Stephanie at the time was go home and experiment with drugs.
Kind of. No, in fairness,
you know you did say look at CBD strains
first I remember that because I think
Tweed was my first LP that I went with
But I also asked you to journal.
Yes you did. He did. He asked me to journal
and luckily he found the right person to
ask that to because I am a huge
documentarian. I write things down. I’ve
been journaling my whole life so why
wouldn’t I want a journal
about how this medicine was
affecting me. And it was affecting me in
so many ways that if I didn’t journal it,
how could I even come back to Dr.
Schecter at my 3 or 4 month
appointment and tell him what was going
on. So luckily I had a notebook full of
anecdotes. Sorry, it wasn’t really anecdotes, it actually was my evidence of what
happened. I wrote down ‘oh 5: 30 p.m. took
two puffs of super Silver Haze, ten
minutes later made dinner and listened to
music with my kids’. Doesn’t sound bad to
me. No. Right?
What was it, purple, silver
I don’t know. I’m making it up. I can’t remember. I’d have to reference the
original log book. But yeah, so it did
occur to me not only that, so Dr.
Schecter is right in suggesting to
his patients that they note things down.
However, I always felt that people are
inherently lazy, myself being one of
those people. I forced myself to write
things down. But people are lazy and I
thought it would be really great if
there was some type of software for
people that would make it super easy for
them to just document their ‘befores’,
their ‘afters’, their ‘how it made
them feel’ and the type of, you know cuz
pain is not remembered, nor is relief.
Is that correct? Am I correct in saying that statement?
It’s almost impossible.
You can’t remember so how can you come
back in three months time and say “oh
yeah it really worked for me quite well”.
I want to know how well it worked for me.
Like did it work for me, like did I go
from like an eight on ten pain to a two
on ten pain or was it just like an eight
on ten to a six on ten. I just
really wanted to understand it for myself.
And I’m assuming Dr. Schecter that
that’s important for you in terms of
your your diagnosis and your treatment
plan to know what’s working, what isn’t
working on a sort of daily basis, that
you would need a journal?
Yeah well you know it helps me help my patients and
really what I’m trying to do is empower
my patients in order to get the best
response that they can from this
medication and live the
most effective life and live the life
that they want to lead. And in order to
do that you have to understand how your
medication affects you, what the effect
is and because cannabis is not just a
single product, there’s hundreds of
different strains and different ways of
administration, it’s important to be
able to identify what strains and what
method of administration and what dose
is going to give you the proper effect.
And we also have to remember that
people don’t use just one strain. People
will often have to use two or three or
four different strains at different
times of the day or for different
symptoms. And it takes a lot of trial and
error and unless you’re disciplined,
unless you really put in the work to try
to figure out what works best for you,
you’re not going to do that so I’m so
happy that Stephanie took the initiative
and documented and found the success
and found the strains and found the
doses that she needed and also was so
enthralled with this that she wanted to
help other people.
That’s exactly what happened.
Well there’s a lot of people that wouldn’t even probably be able to
approach the app because they don’t have
any idea how they would even be getting
their pot, what they would need.
There’s many physicians who aren’t
necessarily signing on for this yet. It’s
a sort of area where when I was
talking to people about the fact that I
was going to be doing this podcast, a lot
of people were saying that their parents
were interested in it; people from an
older generation who are in chronic pain
and have arthritis and stuff. And they
don’t know. If they heard something
like Purple Haze that would frighten
them or make them confused. How
are we going to reach those people or
do you see them in your
Our biggest demographic are people over the age of 50.
Isn’t that incredible.
That is very interesting. That’s what I was getting from the conversations I was having.
And the reason why it’s
our biggest demographic is because those
are the people who are living with
chronic diseases. Age, as you get
older, you have a larger chance of having
arthritis, of having diabetes, of having
any number of different conditions. So
age is a risk factor for developing
chronic disease and more and more people
who are older do not want to be on
traditional pharmaceutical medication, or
they’ve tried them and they failed and
that’s why they have heard well cannabis
doesn’t sound as dangerous as opioids or
many other medications maybe this is
something that I should investigate and
I should learn more about. And that’s how
they actually end up coming to me. But
it’s interesting. I don’t see
patients who walk in off the street. I
don’t see patients who refer themselves
to me. I only see patients who get
referred to me from their family doctor.
or their or their specialist. And
this is really important because then
the family doctor or specialist hears
that patients are not satisfied with
their current treatment, they go to them
they say I would like to be referred to
doctor Schecter’s clinic or I’ve heard
about cannabis, can you prescribe it? Tthey
say no but I know a clinic where you can
go and they send a referral to me and
that gives me an opportunity not only to
help patients but it also gives me an
opportunity to educate physicians who
might not be knowledgeable about
cannabis, who might not be educated or
comfortable even with the idea of
cannabis for medical purposes. And when
you see someone in consultation, you
always send back a note explaining your
rationale for authorizing a particular
medication and that gives them an
opportunity to learn from you and they
also see the benefits that their
patients are getting from treatment with
cannabis. And you know, something
funny happened when we first opened our
clinic. We had a waiting list of you know
three to five hundred people. People were
really waiting to get into our door. We
had collected referrals and Stephanie
was one of those. And then the referral
numbers really tapered off after three
months. We hardly received anything for
the first three four months
and we were sitting here, people weren’t
coming in the door. We weren’t getting
referrals. We were biting our nails.
And then the referrals just shot up
exponentially and the reason why is
because physicians started seeing the
results of treatment after three or four
months and they said oh my gosh look how
good they’re doing I have a few more
people. Or they did so well that their
family and friends said what are you on
oh my gosh
I want that. Send me to Dr.
Schecter. So it was really just you know
seeing the benefits that cannabis
can have in transforming people’s lives,
in improving their ability to function
on a day to day basis, that astounds
physicians that astounds, patients
families, astounds patients friends,
and really just makes patients so
appreciative to have this medication, to
have this treatment modality.
What about the people who don’t have referrals? It’s
not every doctor is, you know, hip to the
latest things. Many doctors in you know
rural areas might be older.
You’ve developed an app. That’s probably a got a different demographic that’s attracting it. How do people figure out where to go?
Well I was
gonna say, well it’s interesting. As far
as I know, nothing about cannabinoid
therapy is taught in med school, correct?
[Dr. Schecter shakes his head ‘no’]
Except how bad it is.
you go. So this is still what
needs to be overcome I think is that
there are still a great number of
physicians across the country who simply
aren’t comfortable prescribing it or
recommending it because they just don’t
know anything about it. So that is an
issue because you don’t want those
people dissuading patients or
This is what I think about, those
patients that have been told no or maybe
too afraid to ask their doctor
well now that cannabis is legal
federally are they just going to go and
buy it on their own without under the
consult of a doctor? I think that is
potentially a bad idea for a lot of
and you can certainly weigh in on
that but I think it’s really really
important to note that there is a
distinction between using cannabis as
medicine and using it to relax on a Saturday night.
And that is an
important distinction for people who
are looking to use it as a medicine to
potentially replace other medicines or
to function in a way that they are
hoping that they can function as a
result of using cannabis I think is
incredibly important to be followed by a doctor.
So a lot of the broadening of the groups of
people who are interested in it is
well obviously the the federalization, the
making it legal would take away a lot of
the stigma, maybe take some of the
liability fears away from people who
might be recommending it but it’s also
just positive feedback keeps happening
and people are finding that it’s
working and it’s just sort of spreading that way.
I think so I mean the doctor
can speak about what he sees in
the clinic here. I can only speak about
what I hear on a daily basis which is, I
can’t even tell you how many hundreds of
stories that come across the offices
when we’re you know we’re working away
on our software, just people whose lives
are just transformed and the power
of that and social media is pretty
amazing in terms of how you can get
spread you know information quickly to people.
And the ways that you can sort of
treat yourself with cannabis are changing.
I mentioned edibles earlier. A lot of
people are sort of creeped out
by the idea of smoking a joint. All kinds
of you know, some sort of
stereotypical ideas that they have in
their head and and an edible is just
something that a lot of people are
comfortable with and maybe is it
more sort of dose controlled in that
case? What are edibles? How do they fit in?
Take it away.
I’ll field that one. I’ll try to.
So edibles is basically
consuming cannabis. Cannabis at the
moment in Canada is able to be purchased
in two ways: either in the dried plant
form in which case it is meant to be
inhaled preferably using a machine called
a vaporizer and not smoking it. Now the other way
Which a lot of people probably don’t know
Which unfortunately a lot of people
don’t know and for those of you who
don’t know, a vaporizer is a machine that
lets you inhale cannabis without
inhaling smoke. What it does is that it
actually, it’s an electronic
machine then you place ground-up dried
cannabis flowers inside of the chamber
and it heats it up to a point where the
flower buds don’t burn but it gets hot
enough so that the moisture within the
plant goes from a liquid to a steam or
into a vapor. That’s why they call it a
vaporizer. And then you inhale the steam
or the vapor along with the active
ingredients which are THC and CBD and a
number of other molecules.
Our listeners don’t get to visually enjoy this but Stephanie just showed me a vaporizer [Stephanie laughing]
A new one I’m testing out.
It looks like a cell phone.
That looks like a cell phone to me.
It’s pretty stealth, right?
It’s totally not a scary looking thing.
No I’m just trying to
They’re super easy to use. They’re
very convenient and there’s hardly a
smell. That’s the other thing. People
really, some people really don’t like the
smell, that strong stench that smells
like skunk to some people of
cannabis smoke but because vapor,
vaporizers don’t actually burn cannabis
flower, there’s very very little smell.
It’s basically like steaming vegetables.
So you might have, you know when you
steam broccoli, you might have a mild
smell of broccoli or potatoes [Tanya laughing]
Steamed broccoli? But yah, it’s a good analogy.
Maybe brussel sprouts I don’t know. But that’s basically what it is. That’s what a vaporizer is.
Actually, just to interject here, the edibles
have to be made from heated cannabis.
You can’t just take dry flower. It’s not
easy to do. You can’t just eat flowered cannabis and get high.
Yeah, so if you were if you went into a field where
cannabis is growing and you took a
cannabis bud and you started chewing on
it, you wouldn’t get high. You wouldn’t get
anything because in its natural state
it’s actually inactive. And it has to be
heated and go through that process
called decarboxylation in order to go
from being inactive to being active. And
that’s why people will have to either
heat their cannabis by smoking it or
heat it by vaporizing it in order for it
to become active. Now that’s also why
people like to bake it into baked goods
because it heats it up in the baked good
and goes from being inactive to being
active. Now the other thing that
Stephanie was alluding to is that in
order for it to be, when you eat it, in order for it to be absorbed through the GI system, it
has to have fat molecules associated
because it’s what we call lipophilic. It
likes fat and it needs fat to be
absorbed. So that’s why putting it into
something like a brownie that has fat in
it is a great way to increase absorption.
If you were making tea out of cannabis
it will heat it up but, and it’ll become
active, and if you just drink the tea
alone you’ll have very very small
amounts that will actually be absorbed
because there’s no fat. So if you’re
making tea out of cannabis you actually
have to add in a high fat content cream
or milk in order to increase absorption
through the gastrointestinal system. So
when we’re talking about edibles, it’s
really any kind of cannabis that has
been converted to its active format to
be in a form that you can eat. Now in
Canada, the only way that you can
actually purchase cannabis that is
prepared to be eaten is in the form of
oils and the oils that are being sold
are basically vegetable oils so
vegetable oils like grapeseed oil or
and what they do is they have this oil
and then they extract all of the active
ingredients from the cannabis plant, the
THC the CBD and all of the other
ingredients and they make it into a
concentrated resin and then they dilute
it into this oil so the end result is a
vegetable oil that has a predetermined
concentration of the two main active
ingredients THC and/or CBD and this oil,
it’s commonly sold in a bottle 40 or 50
or 60 ml but some companies
also will put it into a capsule so it
looks and feels and tastes just like any
other medication. Now what’s great about
these oils is that you know exactly how
many mg are in each ml.
It usually comes with a syringe and you
take a quarter ml, half ml, whatever it is that is your
dose and you put it in your mouth and
you swallow. More commonly from a
recreational purpose or for recreational
purposes we consider edibles to have
that oil put into a muffin or brownie or
cupcake mix and then you have you know
you can also put it into chocolate bars,
into gummies, into really any food that
has fat that will allow absorption. Now
the difference between having these
gummy bears or these cupcakes or these
brownies is that you don’t know exactly
how much is in each bite or in each
brownie or in each cookie.
I would say that that could be a concern.
So that’s the big concern with edibles.
Huge. Huge concern. I have seen people in front of my own eyes overdo it on edibles and
for that reason that I actually have
never tried edibles.
Yeah, and you know the the big problem is that when you when you inhale cannabis, the onset of
effect is within five to ten minutes.
It’s almost immediate so you can take
one or two inhalations, feel it and stop.
But with edibles
You can read your own body’s reaction to it right away.
Exactly. And it’s almost instantaneous. But with
edibles, because you have to absorb it
through your GI system, it can take
anywhere from one to two hours even
three hours to reach full maximum impact.
And that means that someone will, you
know, take a cookie wait around and say
hey you know nothing’s happening
it’s really weak I bet, I’m
gonna take another and man nothing’s
happening okay I’ll just take one more
maybe it’s like really bad stuff and
then two hours later they’re wow, they’re
flipping out, they’re tripping out and
they’re completely incapacitated.
Too much THC.
They’re probably not feeling
they’re sore knee.
They’re not feeling they’re sore knee and they’re feeling a whole lot of other stuff.
OK, so that sounds like the vapor is easier for people to control the dosing in them.
Well it’s also if you have the oil and
you’re dosing it with a syringe, you can
get a very very standardized dose and
you know exactly how much you need.
So, when we’re using cannabis as medicine, not recreationally, we instruct people to
start low go slow. We give them a very
specific dosing regimen so that they use
two point five mg of THC. If
that’s not effective the next day, not
the next hour, they use five mg
and they slowly increase and they
increase until they find what we call
their lowest effective dose or their
optimal dose and that’s the dose where
they get improvement in symptoms, get the
benefits that they’re looking for
without the unwanted side effects.
And the unwanted side effects can be
anything from feeling high to
to your heart beating
to feeling unwell in your stomach or
lightheaded or dizzy or sleepy.
And that is a fairly standard medical practice to want someone to have the least amount that they need for the good results.
That’s right. So basically we’re treating
cannabis like any other medication. We do
screening of our patients. We make sure
it’s the right medication for the right
person at the right time. We start low we
go slow. We make sure that it has no
unwanted side effects and that they’re
using it to achieve a specific goal or a
specific function. We’re not using it
just because it makes them feel good.
Okay I will admit that I’m still a
little bit confused.
Then let’s clear it up.
But I have a feeling that Stephanie,
maybe your app kind of helps people with
that a little bit. Can you tell us
exactly, sort of breakdown, what it is and
and why you think that it’s helpful.
Absolutely. So really what it is, is in a very
simple form, it’s a way for a patient and
and we have, by the way, we have tens of
thousands of users right now across the
country that are helping themselves to
use cannabis better with the app. So
I want to say that we’ve made it so
that it’s so simple to use that even my
mother can use it and if she’s listening
[Tanya – no offense to her mother] Myrna you can laugh [Tanya laughing – AFN has no comment]
She is very technologically
unsavvy. We’ll leave it at that. But
that’s to say that essentially what it
is is by the time you would download
the app we’re making the assumption that
you have decided to try cannabis. Now if
you haven’t and you’re just curious, we
do have a feature where you can look up
what is helping people that have the
shared symptoms that you’re looking to
treat. So you want to look up who’s using
what for anxiety or for headaches or
what not. You can do a simple search just
to sort of see the ballpark you’re
playing in. Now you go and you have your
cannabis. It takes maybe five minutes to
set yourself up on the app. You have to
put in, it’s a sort of a simple setup
wizard where you put in what symptoms
and conditions that you’re looking to
treat and what strains you may have and
you can add those as you go. And
basically it will, once you’re set up
as a user of the app, you are ready
to do what we do call track a session.
And every time you medicate you simply
press the button that says track
a session and it asks you what you’re
medicating for. And so I’ll just take you
through just the logic of it. So if
I’m treating a headache, it’s gonna ask
you how bad is your headache. I’m gonna
say it’s a seven on ten and then it’s
gonna ask me which strain I’m using and
then I will put in the name
of the strain and how much I’m taking. I
put away my smartphone and it will
notify me based on my method of
ingestion, so if I’m inhaling it as Dr.
Schecter said, the effects are much
quicker, so it’s gonna notify you in 20
minutes ‘hey how bad is your headache now’
So now I’m actually, the medicine is
in my body theoretically hopefully it’s
helping and can I say that my headache
is now a 4 on 10? Yeah I can probably say
what it is because it’s asking me in
real time and that’s it. And now
I’ve logged that session. I’ve tracked
that data. We have currently as as we sit
here today approximately 800,000 of
these tracked sessions from people around across the country.
So obviously it is
helpful and there’s a demand for it
There’s a huge demand. So what I was
going to say is over time the more you
do this, the more the app will then take
your information and it will sort out
your results. So if you go from let’s say
a 7 to a 3 on this particular strain
with this particular dosage, it’s going
to rank that in terms of how it does the
other strains that you may be trying or
the other dosages that you may be trying
or quite frankly even the times of day
that you might be using it. So there’s
all kinds of different factors that it’s
looking at and we have all this built-in
logic that helps to create a snapshot of
what works best for you.
This app definitely sounds like it’s very good
for medical users, people who need to see
how is this treating this direct symptom.
Do you find that people are using it for recreational purposes too?
So yes the
answer is yes.
There’s two things that I would say to that: one is we do know that a lot of people self-medicate.
They may not say why they’re using it.
Maybe they just have their own
anxiety and they find that cannabis just
helps to calm them down. And then we do
have users that have been using cannabis
for many many years and they’ve written
into us to tell us that they love using
our app because it helps keep them
accountable. They never had any way of
being accountable to anyone. You
know like some people we’ve had write in
and say ‘oh we I used to smoke 5 grams a
day and I started to track it and I
started to realize I could cut that down
significantly by just taking a little
bit less as I go’. So it’s almost like
people who use a weight watching app or
something like that where they’re just
marking down that information.
And I think now that it’s federally legal
you’re gonna see there are a lot of
people who are self-medicating but
they’re calling themselves a
recreational user but really what’s
happening is they’re experiencing the
the benefits of of the THC which I think
the doctor is probably better suited to
describe what is actually going on and
why are people using it so effectively
for their symptoms.
Yeah well that’s a great point and people
use cannabis for all sorts of reasons
and there’s no single type of cannabis
user. People can use cannabis for
medicine. They can use it purely
recreationally to have fun, but they can
also use it as a lifestyle drug. They can
use it as a natural health product to
promote wellness and that’s because when
when you come down
to it cannabis is something that is
physiologically active. It contains
molecules in it that affect the body and
this is something that unfortunately
most physicians do not learn about in
medical school or throughout their
training. And once we actually explain to
physicians what the physiologic basis of
cannabis is, why it works on the human
body for pain, for PTSD, for spasms, for nausea,
they say ‘oh, well that makes sense, it’s a
medication like anything else’. And what I
explain to them is that cannabis is
basically like a mini factory for
molecules. The cannabis plant is a genus
of plant that has a few different
species and it’s a plant that produces a
large number of molecules and probably
the largest and most important group of
molecules that the plant produces is a
group of molecules that are called
cannabinoids. Now the term cannabinoid is
a generic term that refers to a group of
molecules that have a common structure
and these molecules can interact with
the body and it interacts with the
body’s own endocannabinoid system, so the
body’s own cannabis based system.
And most people don’t realize that we have
our own cannabis based system and this
system is responsible for what we call
homeostasis. Homeostasis is a term that
we use to describe keeping the body in
balance. So if you have too much pain,
it’ll reduce your pain. If you have too
much anxiety, it’ll reduce that. If you’re
too cold, it’ll warm you up. If you’re too
hot it’ll cool you down. So that’s what
homeostasis is and that’s what the
endocannabinoid system is important for.
It’s important for maintaining
homeostasis in the body and we actually
produce molecules that are cannabinoid
like molecules in our body that helps to
regulate this endocannabinoid system to
maintain homeostasis. Now we create these
molecules in our body but these
molecules are not only found in our body.
They are also found in nature and
they’re found in highest concentration
in the cannabis plant. Now they’re in the
cannabis plant. They’re found in the
highest portion or area of the plant of
the female flowering buds of the cannabis plants.
That does not surprise me.
No no, women are always the ones who create the best
So the cannabis plant produces
these cannabinoid molecules and there’s
over a hundred different molecules that
they produce but there’s really two
molecules that are produced in higher
concentration than all others and those
two molecules are called Delta nine
tetrahydrocannabinol or THC and
cannabidiol or CBD. Now THC and CBD are
often said to be opposite but
complementary. And it’s actually THC that
is responsible for that feeling of being
high that you get if you smoke a joint.
And cannabis that’s actually being used
for recreational purposes over the past
30 or 40 years has been selectively
grown and bred to have increasing
amounts of THC to the detriment of CBD
and all of the other molecules that are
in the plant.
Now just because THC makes you feel high
or impaired doesn’t mean that there isn’t also benefits and
it can be used for medical purposes. THC
has actually been shown to be beneficial
for pain, for spasms, for nausea, for
vomiting, for asleep. And so THC can be
used but the more you use, the more side
effects you get; those side effects being
feeling high, feeling sleepy, having dry
mouth, dry eyes, maybe feeling anxious. So
that’s where CBD comes in. CBD doesn’t
actually make you feel high. If you use
cannabis that has only CBD in it with no
THC, you’re not going to get high. You’re
not going to feel impaired. Now aside
from not making you feel impaired, CBD
can also decrease how high or unwell you
feel when you use THC. So just to give
you the example, if you use cannabis that
has only THC in it and you smoke a joint
of THC cannabis you’re gonna get super
high. If you smoke
a joint that has only CBD cannabis in it, you’re not going to get high at all.
But if you have cannabis it has both THC
and CBD in approximately a one-to-one
ratio, you’ll get a little high but
you’ll also have pain relief and it
won’t be as bad because CBD can actually
decrease how high you get from THC.
Interestingly enough there have been a
couple of times in the last four years
that I’ve been using cannabis and only
maybe four times where I’ve taken a
little bit too much THC and the last
time I took a little bit of CBD and it
went, it took it took down all of those
adverse effects. It was
Yeah so it’s great.
That’s very interesting to hear that there’s this sort of the street name CBD and THC and
you don’t really know exactly what those
things means so that’s really interesting.
And CBD it’s not only effective to
counteract the feeling of being high
or make the THC more palatable but in
and of itself it’s been shown to be a
very effective anti-inflammatory. So
that’s why it works
as a pain medication. It helps to reduce
the inflammation which is at the heart
of so many different pain conditions and
that’s why we have so many people who
are 60 70 80 or 90 coming in and saying
I’ve heard about this CBD oil, I really
want to try it and they come back and
they say I feel so much better since
I’ve been using CBD. It’s not only
effective to counteract the effects of
THC but in and of itself it can be
anti-inflammatory but it can also work
for epilepsy. And this is super important
especially for children who often have
treatment-resistant epilepsy, who
sometimes have hundreds of seizures a
day and we provide them CBD oil and they
actually get improvement in their
seizures. It allows their brain to start
developing. I’ve had so many parents who
told me thank you for helping me treat
my child with CBD because I have my
child back. They start walking, they start
talking, they start feeding themselves
because they stop seizing, their brain
can start maturing and developing
and they can actually be the person that
they’re meant to be.
I’m hearing a lot of benefits for groups of people that we
haven’t been associating with pot. I’m
hearing dogs, I’m hearing children, I’m
hearing seniors. What’s the hold up?
Stigma. Because we use the term cannabis
and term cannabis has been
vilified since 1937 when it was made
illegal in the United States. And we have
to remember actually that cannabis was
in every single pharmacy before that. It
formed the basis of 6% of all
medications that were on the shelves
before 1937. And when cannabis was made
illegal in the United States in 1937, the
American Medical Association was
categorically against making cannabis
illegal at the time because they knew
that it was beneficial. They knew that
people were getting improvement in their
symptoms, improvement in quality of life
when they didn’t have other medications.
And that’s still the case.
It’s just unfortunate that after 70
years of prohibition, the medical
community’s minds have been brainwashed
and extreme and there’s a tremendous
amount of people in the public who have
been brainwashed as well after growing
up with watching commercials saying this is you brain on drugs.
Just say no to drugs
This is what we grew up, after school, you turn it on there’d be
the fried egg pan right and this is what
your brain looks like on drugs. I was
scared of it.
Basically we’re trying to get over stigma and there’s so
much emotion and so many thoughts and
associations when we use the term
cannabis or marijuana or weed or ganja
or pot. You know we think about people
getting high or hippies. We don’t think
about our grandparents, our pets, our
children and that’s why we we probably
have to rename the cannabis based
medicines into something else. We should
be calling it CBMs or cannabinoid
receptor agonists or or something more
medical so that we can
stop people from having these
preconceived notions or conceptions and
stigma that still overrides and
jades any discussion that you have when
you’re talking about cannabis.
Ok. Stephanie and Dr. Schecter, we we talk
about the the stigma and the fact that
maybe this industry needs a
whole new branding for how it can be
de-stigmatized. Are there studies
that are coming out, are there facts
coming out that can help people in a
more you know pragmatic way, you know knowledge is power?
So actually I’ll just
start by saying that the second part of
what we do is we collect all this
anonymized data. So it was meant first and
foremost as a patient digital cannabis
journal of sorts and that’s as I
described. What we are doing now though
is that we’ve taken all of this data
which is as I said anonymized, and we
have a second software that is called
Strainprint Analytics and it is with
that data that a physician or an LP,
licensed producer, or researcher or
anybody government related, they want to
see the data we have it. You can
slice it and dice it in any way that
you’d like in terms of finding out you
know what 55 to 65 year old women who
suffer from fibromyalgia are using and
how they’re using it for example and
we actually were fortunate enough to
have a researcher from the University
of Washington used our data for a
study that she conducted on anxiety and
depression and it was recently published
and picked up by many many medical
journals and that is just the
beginning. So it’s you know we have what
we call observational data, real-time
observational data. It is currently the
world’s largest observational data set.
That is a start and you know it is by no
means a clinical trial
which takes years and millions of
dollars as the doctor can attest to but
I know that there is tremendous research
coming out of Israel and there
are many many physicians right now that
are making it their business to study
this because they want to be on the
forefront of how they can help treat
their patients which essentially is
hopefully why they got into medicine in
the first place. I mean if there are
any studies that you would like to speak
Yeah so you’re you’re absolutely
right. I think many people who are
studying cannabis want to be on the
right side of history because we know
that it works and we want to find out
why it works and have the evidence to
show other physicians to say hey it
works, it’s safe and it’s okay to use it
in clinical practice. So because and
we have to realize that up until
recently it’s been extremely difficult
to be able to do good randomized control
trials using medical cannabis because up
until recently we haven’t had a placebo.
We haven’t been able to get ethics
approval. We haven’t had different
strains of cannabis that are
standardized and people fail to
realize how expensive it can be as well.
It can take many years to get enough
patients into these studies but we’re
starting to do these studies and we’ve
been doing them for the past ten or
fifteen years. There’s been a few studies
that have shown cannabis to be safe and
effective for chronic pain. There are
studies looking at the effectiveness of
cannabis for anxiety, for PTSD, for
generalized anxiety disorder, for
different symptoms of people who are
living with cancer, for spasms especially
relating to multiple sclerosis or other
spinal cord diseases and injuries. So we
have a lot of studies that are coming up.
I don’t want to jump
but I think it’s important to also note
that now with the opioid crisis, I hope
you don’t mind me bringing that up, but I
think we’re gonna find more doctors
closely looking at how they can help
get off of opioids and
potentially using cannabis to help
mitigate some of those side effects.
And replace the the opioids because
cannabinoids work synergistically with
opioids. It improves their effectiveness
so people need less opioids to achieve
the same effect when you add on cannabis.
And we know
that not only from anecdotal data not
only from people telling us that but
from randomized controlled studies where
they brought patients into the hospital
gave them opioids, gave them cannabis or
gave them placebo. So we have that
evidence. It’s just that these trials are
still small so we need more trials and
more evidence to support the mass of
doctors who are still unsure or who just
don’t know enough about it.
And quite frankly, more conversation. Conversations
like these this podcast and
conversations that we can have with one
another to start really talking about
the successes and helping other
physicians to help their patients.
I think this is the time. Like we
couldn’t have had this conversation
about opioids five years ago, you know,
but here we are. [Tanya – yeah]
Exactly like Stephanie was saying, you know, we’re
currently living in this opioid crisis.
People are dying every single day
because we’re prescribing too many
opioids. People are getting addicted, they
overdose and they die. And we are
increasingly seeing cannabis as being a
potential solution to the opioid crisis,
to replace opioids, to prevent opioid
from being prescribed in the first place
and maybe even suggesting cannabinoids.
So we see a tremendous amount of benefit
not only for individual patients but for
society as a whole.
So we have an epidemic of opioid. We also have
internationally sort of epidemics of
cancer. There’s lots of reasons why not
just Canada but other countries are
spending more money on research, changing
some laws, opening the people’s minds towards this.
And I think honestly
the world is watching Canada right now.
You know we are is it
the first G7 country
in the world to federally legalize
cannabis. I think that’s a tremendous
step forward and I think there are a lot
of eyes on Canada right now in terms of
what we are learning, and sharing that
learning with the world I believe is
something that is important for us to be
doing right now.
Why not. Why not. It’s a great
Nothing is perfect
What are some of the negative things
that, you know, associations with pot that
maybe have some basis and truth, that
people might be afraid of and should
remain a little bit concerned about?
Listen, with any medication, any substance
that’s being used for recreational
purposes to get intoxicated, inebriated,
you can go overboard and I think we
would do ourselves a disservice if we
said you know cannabis is a hundred
percent safe and it’s good for everyone
we should be putting it in the water.
Because we shouldn’t. Cannabis, if and
when it’s used as a medication, should be
used for the right person at the right
place at the right time for the right
condition. Now if cannabis is being used
recreationally then of course it can
have unwanted side effects, cause adverse events.
And probably the population
that’s at highest risk of having these
negative outcomes associated with
cannabis are youth. And we know that
people who start using cannabis at a
very young age especially high potency
THC products are at more, are at higher
risk; at higher risk of developing social
dysfunction, developing what we call
cannabis use disorder which is basically
cannabis addiction tolerance and
dependency. If they are at risk of
developing schizophrenia or bipolar
disorder it will increase the risk of
that being unmasked at an earlier age
and actually have worse long-term
outcomes. And it seems that people who
use cannabis at a younger age are at
higher risk of developing an addiction issue
with cannabis. It works, it’s
very insidious how it works into your
system in your life when you’re a youth. You
have trouble self-monitoring and being
able to recognize that this is becoming
a problem and there’s more people who
are under the age of 20 who are in
treatment facilities who are seeking
treatment for cannabis abuse than for
all other drugs combined and that
includes alcohol cocaine and heroin and
fentanyl and opioids. So these are some
of the drawbacks about cannabis and we
have to be positive that we are
presenting a balanced approach saying
that you know cannabis in general is
safe when it’s used responsibly, when it
is used in a recreational manner or in a
medicinal manner as long as you’re using
it with the proper intent and you’re not
letting it take over your life or rule your life.
Do you feel that maybe there
should have been more educational,
I don’t know what to call it I’m
not a marketer or a brander, but you know
if they’re going to roll out something that
could significantly change an aspect
of both recreational and medicinal use,
it’s really important that people know,
young people know how they’re
supposed to use it and what the dangers might be.
Are you seeing any educational
campaigns that are targeting any groups
that you think might be vulnerable?
We are certainly doing our part at Strainprint to educate the masses of people including the young people.
As Dr. Schecter said, those are the most
impressionable people and the ones that
need to know the potential dangers more
than any other part of the population
so have I seen, I mean we’re
in I guess in the industry so you know we
we kind of have our eyes and ears on a
lot of events but there
are a lot of organizations right now
working really hard to educate.
are both government organization as well
as non-government organizations. The
Government of Canada is putting a large
amount of money that they’re getting
from the sale of cannabis in terms of
the taxes, they’re putting it towards ad
campaigns in order to educate people
about safe use of cannabis. The Centre
for Addiction and Mental Health here in
Toronto actually published what we call
the lower risk cannabis use guidelines
to give to healthcare providers and
other people working with youth and for
those who are using cannabis
recreationally how to use it safely and
effectively. We also see other
organizations such as MADD, Mothers
Against Drunk Driving, engage in research
and publicity campaigns explaining to
people the dangers associated of
impaired driving under the
influence of cannabis. A number of other
organizations are doing similar types of
things. And you know people say well why
are you legalizing cannabis before
you’re doing these big ad campaigns and
people fail to realize that for people
who are younger than 19 it’s easier to
get cannabis than it is to get alcohol so
people are using it anyways and they’re
using illegal products that have not
been tested, that are usually higher
concentration or higher potency than
will be allowed for legal sale in Canada.
So in a way by legalizing cannabis, it’s
a public health measure to make sure
that if people are going to be consuming
cannabis, they’re going to be consuming
safe products and that they’re armed
with the knowledge of how to use it
safely, responsibly and to have the least
amount of harm come to them if they use
So the information is out there. It’s starting to become out there more. We
should look into what all of these
things are. Talk about it with people who know like you and
listen to programs like this one but
talk about it. So everybody here is doing
what they’re supposed to be doing.
And yeah and and I think you’re going to
be seeing more and more of these ad
campaigns and even when you’re
driving on the highway now not only do
you see signs on those electronic
billboards saying don’t drink and drive
but they also have signs now saying
don’t smoke and drive.
Oh, I didn’t see those yet. Wow.
It’s slowly it’s slowly
coming out. I took a double take when I
saw that, I was like whoa.
Well it probably relates back to what
you were saying of various people not
wanting to be on the wrong side of history. You don’t want to be on the wrong
side of having not prevented car
accidents. You don’t want to be on the
wrong side of people not feeling better
when they have cancer. So um
And of course there’s gonna be mistakes. There’s going to be things that we hadn’t
thought about in terms of rolling out
legalization for recreational purposes.
But it’s a learning exercise and it’s
it’s an experiment that’s in progress
and as long as we continue to reflect on
what’s going on, be critical, continue
to strive to improve this program, to
improve education, I think this is only
going to be positive for society as a
So cannabis is basically something that
is going to be affecting all aspects of
life basically in Canada so you’re not
just seeing government and medical.
You’re seeing actual industries coming
from this. You’ve got oils, you’ve got
edibles, you’ve got pet
food products, you’ve got all kinds of
things and then you’ve got again that
information gap. How do you explain to
somebody what buying an edible
or using an edible is gonna be like for
them? What will micro-dosing mean?
How do you simplify it for people?
Consumer packaged goods is coming
your way folks in a big way.
Consumer packaged goods whether it be gummy bears or chocolate bars or lollipops or cookies
are all going to be available but only
sometime within the next year.
How will they navigate that? How will people navigate that?
What would I be looking for in a, what did you call it, a packaged good?
Consumer packaged good. Well yeah I mean if
you’re looking if you’re asking if I’m a
patient or somebody who would like to
consider using cannabis as a medicine
potentially therapeutically where do I
begin? Is that kind of sum up what you’re asking?
Yeah, in an emerging market like edibles.
Yeah I mean edibles is going to help a lot of people but it’s also potentially could harm a lot of people
as we cited earlier with the
Or even if you take too many edibles and you’re not used to it. And that’s why when people are going
to start using edibles, there also has to
be some kind of a publicity campaign and
an educational campaign and that means
start low and go slow. Use one edible or
one dose which is a maximum of usually
ten mg of THC and wait at least
one or two hours before taking any more
so that you can gauge the effects.
Don’t use another dose right away. And those instructions will actually be most
likely on the package where at least
information will be available from the
retailers. Now there’s also a lot of
people who are talking about micro-dosing
and micro-dosing isn’t something
that the recreational user is really
interested in. The term micro-dosing is
taking a sub therapeutic dose to promote
wellness so you take maybe one or two
mg of THC a day in order to
spark your immune system or spark your
endocannabinoid system to achieve some
type of improvement in your well-being.
But this isn’t what most people are
going to be using, who are using edibles
are going to be using it for. Most people
who use edibles are going to want to use
it to get high, to get intoxicated, to get
inebriated and that means they’ll
take a whole dose or two doses or three
doses. But in order to do that they are
going to need to be educated what a dose
is, how to use it, and that’s going to be
part of the public conversation, part of
the job of the retailers of cannabis for
recreational purposes but also part of
the government’s public health campaign.
So you don’t anticipate a sort of edible
that has that process that you were
talking about earlier where the CBD is
more prevalent in it?
Oh for sure. No there will be CBD
edibles for sure. I think what
we’re, I think what Dr. Schecter was saying
is that edibles as we know them today,
they don’t exist for sale in Canada
legally. We know that a lot of
people make their own edibles and they
can make them with CBD oil, they can make
them a THC oil in whatever form they
want to use in order to to ingest the
medicine. And I think when we think about
recreational or adult use cannabis we
think about THC based edibles more than
we do CBD based edibles but of course
those are gonna exist you know 100%.
There are in fact there are currently
sublingual sprays that just came out not
that long ago which are slightly
different because they’re quicker acting,
correct? So that’s another form and we
even know of users of our app who make
their own suppositories.
I’m not kidding. I’m sure you’ve heard this from patients.
Yeah. And they use their either rectal
suppositories and even have vaginal
suppositories which are being used for menstrual
Oh yes, I have heard about those.
Yes, so so it’s pretty amazing what,
people are very resourceful and you know
are sharing recipes with each other and
so there’s a difference between the
edibles that people are making in their
own kitchens and the ones that will be
available in about a year’s time.
Oh that’s great. So it’s sort of like the
new frontier of the old frontier.
The old before it would stopped with
all of the science of today, it’s a
pretty exciting future.
And talking about edibles, your imagination is really the limit when it comes to edibles.
and even now if
someone would want to make their own
cannabis butter, cannabis cookies,
cannabis flour, cannabis sugar, really
cannabis anything, there are cookbooks
out there that you can purchase that
explains you step-by-step how to go
about making these products. So it’s
already out there. It’s already being
used. It’s just that they’re not yet
available to be purchased commercially
at the legal level.
Dr. Daniel Schecter, Stephanie Karasick,
thank you both so much
for being here today. You were excellent
guests. And thank you for listening, thank
you for watching. Please share this
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Hello I’m Tanya Allen your host today.