Even before Cannabis was legalized I went to the protests, and I participated in making sure that people knew the importance of the medication – ironically I didn’t understand it the way that I do right now. I didn’t participate in smoking it as much as my friends, but I did enjoy going to the events and hearing people’s stories.
I did enjoy learning that millions of people use the herb more for medicinal use than they do for recreational use, and I also learned and continue to believe that the idea of a “recreational user” doesn’t actually exist. Even recreational users will tell you that it helps with their appetite, or their anxiety, or their depression, so does the idea of “recreational” exist? I don’t actually think so.
Smoking it at a party isn’t recreational when you’re using it so that you can feel more comfortable at the party with people you may not know, or who may make you anxious.
That aside, the one thing that I’ve been thinking about is that from month to month I can’t get access to the strains that work for me.
Over the last three years I have been doing my research, these are just some of the strains that I like over others:
- Ayahuasca Purple
- Purple Princess
- White Kush
- White Widow
- God Bud
These strains are fairly average really, they are not high end, they aren’t super expensive, but they are hard to find in large quantities, and that’s because not everyone grows these strains.
It’s not because the strain seeds are hard to find, but because every grower has it’s preferred strains to grow, and their reasons for choosing those strains are endless. Everything from the ease of which they are to grow, to how much THC/CBD content is in the strain goes into the decision process when it comes to which strain the grower will choose.
The same can be said about the selling process – most dispensary’s chose the strains they grow based on what is available, which means that for six months they might have the perfect strain for you, and then all of a sudden that strain is gone never to be seen again.
With the way the laws work when it comes to cannabis, (IN BC) some people are only allowed to use the dispensaries that their prescription is assigned to.
Medical patients have to register at dispensaries, and in order to become registered you have to have a Doctor fax that prescription over. Doctor’s are not likely to do this for twelve different dispensaries for each and every one of their patients. Which means that if you can’t find your strain at your dispensary, the chances are high you won’t be able to access it otherwise.
This causes problems for people who depend on certain strains to help them with medical issues, it also alters our mental health, it affects our ability to coexist in the world with other human beings. Because our bodies learn to depend on these strains.
When I did my podcast interview with a member of EduCanNation, Stephanie Massey, (I might be wrong about the name of the person I spoke to) one of the things that she said was that she “woke up”, she found herself after she tried cannabis for the first time. She was able to recognize that she was “still inside” of herself, underneath all the shit that she’d been dealing with for months.
When we have to suddenly switch strains and guesstimate what strain might do some of the things our usual strains do for us, it’s a moment of high stress. Other people are waiting behind you, you better make sure you choose right, because if you only have a certain amount of money you can’t take it back if you’re wrong, and you won’t be able to afford to make another choice.
So how do we solve this problem? How do we ensure that the market is ripe with cashflow so that the producers and the dispensaries have access to the strains that we need? We start with education.
We start with creating a network of growers and suppliers around the world who can dispense the needed strains. We start by collecting data on who uses what strains and what for. Leafly is really good for this because they allow people to leave reviews on different strains which help consumers like me decide which ones to buy or smoke.
We support the “legacy” or “illegal” market by giving home growers the tools they need to provide these needed strains to various dispensaries if they are able. We share that information with Doctors, we ensure that Doctors around the world are educated by offering them classes on the different strains and by allowing patients the space to speak up and share their stories, so that Doctors can be informed from the source of the persons using the product.
Cannabis is absolutely a part of the medical industry, even if it is not a part of the pharmaceutical community, and it’s important that we start listening to the people who know what the fuck they are talking about.
Today I did an interview with Rev Kelly from Kelly’s Green Lounge, which is a smoke lounge in Ontario. Over the years that Kelly has been running her lounge she has built a community of cannabis users from around the WORLD, who talk to her about the different strains they use and what they use these strains for.
Everything from muscle aches to deep complex trauma, can be medicated with cannabis, but if the people using the medication are the only ones that understand the importance of having access to the needed strains, we’re never going to get to a place where people understand just how important it is that we have our medication.
When people are using pharmaceutical medications, those patients never have to worry about whether or not their medications are going to run out – UNLESS – they can’t afford to access those medications. The same issues exist in the cannabis industry, and it’s absolutely imperative that we pay attention to that fact before we’re dealing with the same issues as other patients.
Strain security isn’t about providing growers and producers with the most money, and unfortunately right now far too many people in the industry are focused on providing the highest number of THC counts, then the best possible product for the community.
If we really want to talk about how we’re doing in the cannabis industry, it is absolutely important to highlight the importance of strain security.
These are just my two thoughts, from one patient to the community.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
In some places you can get a prescription online from a Doctor or a medical clinic, in BC in MY experience, dispensaries only take customers who have a letter or a prescription from a doctor prescribing the medication. Which means if I don’t have a Doctor who is willing to write a letter saying that I need cannabis, I cannot use any of the legal dispensaries across the province. This only makes it harder for those of us who can’t find Doctors who know about and work with cannabis patients.