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The Cannabis Enigma
35 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Season Finale: Best Of The Cannabis Enigma
The Cannabis Enigma Podcast is wrapping up its first season. After 39 interviews with frontline doctors, researchers, patients, caregivers, practitioners, and expert storytellers, we are taking a summer break as we prepare for season two.For the season finale, hosts Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Elana Goldberg each choose three of their favorite interviews that they aired in the first season, discuss why those conversations are important to them, and play a short clip from each one.Listen to each of the full interviews here:No Time for Clinical Trials, with Catherine JacobsonDr. Ethan Russo Says Cannabis Can Be Better YetCBD Nation: Cannabis Science for the Masses, With David JakubovicA Rural Canadian Doctor Prescribes Cannabis for the First Time, With Dr. Tiffany KeenanUsing Cannabis to Treat Autism, With Dr. Orit StolarSo You Think You Know About Cannabis, With Dr. Codi Peterson, PharmDWe hope you enjoyed the first season and we can’t wait to start popping back into your feed in a few months!Make sure you’re subscribed so that you get a notification when we’re back. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn.The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man is the executive producer, editor, and co-host. Elana Goldberg is co-producer and co-host. Music by Desca.
36 minutes | May 22, 2021
ADD & Cannabis, with Max Simon
Max Simon was a closeted cannabis user since his teen years. But it wasn’t until years later, when he got into the cannabis education business, that he understood the reason he had been so drawn to it all those years was because it was helping his ADHD.“It’s an interesting thing to realize that you’ve tried and experimented with all the ‘accepted therapies’ and they’ve been damaging,” Simon said on The Cannabis Enigma podcast, “and the one that’s been most effective and supportive has been the most demonized.”Simon discusses how that process played out, how he found the dose and regimen that works for him, and what exactly cannabis does for him as someone with ADHD.Today, Max Simon is the founder and CEO of Green Flower, a cannabis education company that offers training programs for employees for some of the biggest companies in the industry, online courses for people who want to work in cannabis, and programs in partnerships with 10 colleges and universities across the United States.In this episode, Simon and host Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man discuss how to ensure that medical and adult-use patients have access to the best and latest information out there, how to get them that information in dispensaries, and the role that companies like Green Flower can play.The Cannabis Enigma is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Executive producer, Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca.
35 minutes | May 7, 2021
Is Europe Falling Behind?
When it comes to regulating and producing medicalized cannabis products, different countries have a variety of approaches. The American field of medicalized cannabis has followed a very different path to Europe. In today’s episode, we speak with Stephen Murphy, co-founder and CEO of Prohibition Partners, a cannabis-focused business intelligence and consultancy company. Prohibition Partners LIVE, its flagship conference, will be taking place later this month.In our conversation, we discuss the ways that Europe and North America differ when it comes to cannabis and what we can learn from those differences. In Europe, Murphy explains, cannabis products are held to the same standards of accountability and repeatability as other pharmaceuticals. While these high standards are certainly good practice, it doesn’t adequately consider that cannabis is a plant, which means it does not have the same stability as chemical compounds.We discuss the lack of access this results in for patients, the differences between hemp and cannabis with higher levels of THC, and the tremendous proven environmental benefits of growing cannabis and producing hemp that could play a big role in the fight against global warming, which Stephen is eager to discuss in the upcoming Prohibition Partners LIVE conference.Executive producer, Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.
42 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
The Marijuana Conspiracy
What happens when you lock 20 women in a hospital for nearly 100 days and make them smoke two joints each night? Well, if it were up to the Canadian researchers responsible for the experiment, we’d never know.Nearly half a century later, the story of the at times cruel experiment is being told in a new film — ”The Marijuana Conspiracy.”Speaking with The Cannabis Enigma podcast this week are director and producer Craig Pryce and one of the original women who took part in the cannabis-fueled experiment, Doreen Brown.What started out as a fun escape, as Doreen tells it, became anything but after a while. And when she set out to discover what conclusions had been drawn from her participation, she was stonewalled by the researchers and the foundation funding the study.“It was like no one even admitted that that experiment happened,” Brown said.***Links to images of endocannabinoid receptors: The ribbons (and more ribbons)Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.
46 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
So You Think You Know About Cannabis?
As both a regulated medicine and something people use for wellness and even recreation, the information gaps that exist for cannabis users are unprecedented.“Any other medication and you’re lawfully entitled to speak to a pharmacist,” explains Dr. Cody Peterson, a clinical pharmacist and medical cannabis professional. “The law states, you must be ensured the opportunity to speak with someone like me.” With cannabis, Dr. Peterson, continues, your best source of education is often a budtender with nothing more than a high school education.“I’m here to tell you that there is more going on and there is more to the story of consuming cannabis than just going to someone and saying, ‘I want an indica’ and ‘Here, smoke it.’”In this episode with Dr. Peterson, we discuss common mistakes people make when they use cannabis, and why new cannabis technologies and products can get a little too far ahead of the science sometimes. Dr. Peterson also explains why labeling something isolated in a lab as “plant-based” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always a good thing.“We’re creating our own issues — nature in my experience has done it better than we have, and so that’s why I think cannabis botanical needs to be preserved as well,” Dr. Peterson says. “When you start messing around with isolating molecules from a plant, it seems to be when we see more side effects.”Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.
38 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
What Every Budtender Needs to Hear
Cannabis is becoming more mainstream and available to nearly one in three Americans, yet most cannabis consumers aren’t educated enough to buy the right products for their needs. Apart from poor experiences, this can lead to unhealthy consumption. For Matthew O’Brien, editor and founder of the Four PM newsletter, one of the most important places to start is by setting their expectations properly — primarily that “cannabis affects everyone differently.” In this episode of The Cannabis Enigma podcast, Matthew unpacks how that lack of information negatively impacts the industry.As Matthew explains in the episode, budtenders are often best positioned yet ill-equipped to serve their customers: “I’ve seen some very crazy conversations occur in cannabis retail stores — we’re asking individuals to provide a service which they just have not in any context being provided with the right support to actually provide.”Later in the show, Matthew discusses the potential for cannabinoids to experience a huge upswing as the industry matures. The key question he asks is whether “THC is popular because it’s the best cannabinoid? Or is THC popular because of a lack of choice?”Produced by Elana Goldberg and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.
60 minutes | Mar 13, 2021
Can Medical Cannabis Survive Adult-Use Legalization?
Very few medical cannabis advocates are against the full legalization of the plant for all adults. But sometimes one unintended consequence of adult-use legalization is that the market no longer caters to medical patients.“Medical users, over time, are finding that the products that they want and need — they can no longer find on the shelves, or those products are more expensive,” explains Dr. Ruth Fisher, an economist who specializes in the market dynamics of cannabis. “And so they're kind of getting squeezed out. And I think that that's a real problem.”In this episode of The Cannabis Enigma Podcast, host Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man interviews Dr. Fisher about the various ways medical and adult-use cannabis markets interact. For instance, why is adult-use legalization almost always preceded by medical cannabis legalization?Dr. Fisher, author of the book "The Medical Cannabis Primer," also discusses how the remaining stigmas surrounding cannabis shape many of the dynamics and barriers facing both the medical and recreational markets. The fact that cannabis has been used in secret and behind closed doors for so long contributes to the ongoing perception of danger many people associate with it, she says.“If cannabis were used more openly by people, I think that we wouldn't have a lot of the problems that we're having today,” Dr. Fischer says.At the end of the episode, Debbie Churgai, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, discusses the various ways that military veterans — who could very much benefit from medical cannabis — have difficulty accessing it and the ways that the Veterans Administration can address that issue.Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.
24 minutes | Feb 11, 2021
How Mara Gordon Got Her Start
When Mara Gordon started using medical cannabis there wasn’t any lab testing — or any way to know how much of each cannabinoid or terpene was in a given strain . There was definitely no way of ensuring that you got the same effect from it consistently.So she drew on her training as a process engineer and decided to start doing it herself.Gordon has been featured in the Netflix documentary, Weed the People, and owns and operates two medical cannabis companies. One of the things she does is collect and analyze data about cannabis products and how patients with different medical conditions respond to them. All of that data is packaged into software doctors can use to manage their patients’ medical marijuana treatment.“I know how to collect data. I know how to analyze data. I know how to make incredibly good medicine, but [doctors] have to be the ones managing [their] patients’ care,” Gordon says on The Cannabis Enigma Podcast.What’s one of the most surprising things she’s learned from all of that data? “The lack of correlation between the weight of the patient and the dose,” Gordon says. “That was shocking.”This episode was originally released in December 2019.Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Elana Goldberg, and edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma Podcast is a co-production of Americans for Safe Access and The Cannigma. Music by Desca.
37 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
The Women of Cannabis
A lot has changed for the cannabis industry in the last 10 years. Yet, one thing we can’t seem to shake is the negative stigma that follows it around. In this episode, we speak with a woman who once feared and dismissed cannabis, only to become an activist for it in later life. “I thought it was dangerous,” says Joyce Gerber, “I believed it killed brain cells.” This all changed for Joyce when she and her husband traveled to Denver to experience cannabis under the guidance of industry expert, Goldie from City Sessions. Ever since then, Joyce has enjoyed a different outlook on cannabis, normalized it in her private life, turned it into a second career, and aims to tear down the stigma attached to it for the broader public. “It's not my natural habitat. People think this is some joke. They think it's a bunch of guys on a couch eating Cheetos. Maybe that was my preconception as well. [Now], I’m working in this industry, and every week I’m bringing on a new professional to talk on The Canna Mom Podcast about what they're doing in the industry. It's transformative.”With this mission in mind, Joyce was able to create a successful podcast during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In her pursuit to share stories of hope and to change the narrative, Joyce has interviewed over 50 inspirational guests and continues to be an advocate for cannabis change. Produced by Elana Goldberg and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:The Canna Mom Show The Canna Mom Show on FacebookThe Canna Mom Show on InstagramThe Canna Mom Show on LinkedInJoyce Gerber on LinkedInThe CannigmaCity Sessions Dr. Dustin Sulak
36 minutes | Jan 16, 2021
Finding 'Releaf': Put Data in Your Pipe and Smoke It
Finding the right cannabis product can be a daunting task for anyone, let alone a new medical patient without any guidance.When you walk into a hardware store, pharmacy, or even a liquor store, if you don't know exactly what product will meet your needs there's someone educated enough to point you to the right product and the data to back up that recommendation, says Tyler Dautrich, COO of Releaf."That's not really available in the cannabis industry," he explained on the Cannabis Enigma podcast. "That's where we're trying to fill that need and plug that gap and help individuals inform their purchase decision."The Releaf app allows users to journal and track what cannabis products they are using and what effects they have in order to build an evidence-based treatment regime.Anonymized data also helps scientists better understand the cannabis plant and what products and chemical profiles are most effective for treating different conditions and symptoms.Produced by Elana Goldberg and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca. The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access.Full transcript will be added soon.
46 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
Can Family Farms Compete in Cannabis?
When Kevin Nafte and his wife moved from Northern California’s Emerald Triangle to Uruguay, they already knew that they wanted to empower small, family farms to compete in the global cannabis industry. They had seen it work in California, and were determined to bring a similar model to South America.Less than three years later, they have 11 farms in their network and have already exported tons of cannabis to Europe.Speaking on The Cannabis Enigma podcast, Nafte explained the social and environmental vision of his company, YVY Life Sciences, and why he believes that there is a place for small farmers like those in his network in the global cannabis economy.He also explained what cannabis access looks like in the first country to legalize, and his own experience developing cannabis formulations to treat an auto-immune disorder.In the second part of the episode, Andrew Coon, policy coordinator for Americans for Safe Access, explains the significance of two recent political feats: the passage of the MORE Act in the House of Representatives, and the UN decision to reschedule cannabis.Produced, edited, and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.
57 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
Finding the Right Strain & Dose, With Dr. Dustin Sulak
“Start low and go slow,” the widespread refrain for finding the right dose of cannabis, is actually only half the phrase, Dr. Dustin Sulak explains on The Cannabis Enigma podcast. “But [people] often leave off the rest of the sentence — it's start low, go slow, and don't be afraid to go all the way."Dr. Sulak, a practicing physician and renowned cannabis educator, gives his recommendations for how to choose a cannabis strain, why we need to get rid of the terms indica and sativa once and for all, and how the way you take your cannabis can have a significant impact on its effects.“When we consume both THC and CBD and it gets into our stomach, mixed with some fat-containing food, that can enhance its absorption by up to four or five times.” Dr. Sulak says. “You might get something much stronger than you bargained for, depending on how close to a meal you had it.”Host Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Dr. Sulak also discuss how the opioid epidemic created a perfect storm for medical cannabis to go mainstream, and the sometimes different needs of patient groups — men and women, young and old, etc.In the second part of the episode, Americans for Safe Access Director Debbie Churgai explores the landmark UN vote to reschedule cannabis in a key international treaty this week.The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Edited, mixed, and produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, with production assistance from Randy White. Music by Desca.
46 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
What Biden Means for Cannabis
In some ways, cannabis won the 2020 general elections. Legalization measures won with healthy majorities in five separate states. The Biden-Harris platform was also the most progressive on cannabis than any other major party candidate in history. So what should we expect in the next four years?“It’s not going to be as exciting as people hope, unfortunately,” Founder and President of Americans for Safe Access Steph Sherer said on The Cannabis Enigma podcast.It’s not likely that Democrats will have full control of the Congress, without which it would be difficult to enact broad reforms.“There's policies they can change, but as far as legalizing medical cannabis, they're going to need Congress to do that,” Sherer explained, and “even with a Democratic senate majority, that still may be a tough haul.”The vast majority of Americans across the political spectrum support legalizing medical cannabis, polls have shown, and the majority of states have followed suit and legalized it. So why is cannabis still a partisan issue in national politics?Most people don’t vote for cannabis on the national ticket, Sherer said, which makes pressuring representatives on the federal level a difficult task.There is one idea for a major change that advocacy groups are pushing for, however: the creation of an Office of Medical Cannabis, a federal agency to oversee and coordinate medical cannabis policy among all other federal agencies.The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Edited, mixed, and produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca.
55 minutes | Nov 7, 2020
The Endocannabinoid System Demystified
How much do you know about the Endocannabinoid System — the system present in nearly every part of the human body that helps maintain balance, and which the chemicals in cannabis can help regulate?Dr. Rachel Knox explains everything you need to know about the Endocannabinoid System in a special episode brought to you and originally published by The Cannabis Conversation podcast, hosted by Anuj Desai.“In a basic sense, it’s this massive neurotransmitter system inside of our bodies,” Dr. Knox explains, “that keeps us in balance, that keeps us healthy. It modulates and controls every physiological system that you can think of in the body.”Dr. Knox discusses the interactions between CBD, THC and other chemicals in the cannabis plant and how they can be used to tailor treatments for different patients, her role in creating an endocannabinoid sub-specialty for other doctors, and how her family of four doctors all wound up in the field of cannabinoid medicine.Check out and subscribe to The Cannabis Conversation. Follow them on Twitter (@TheCannabisCon2) and LinkedInMixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca. The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access.
49 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Writing the Book On CBD
With so many products and so much conflicting information out there, how is a prospective patient supposed to figure out if CBD is for them? How do they learn to use it? And who is going to sift through all the science?Those are some of the questions that author Mary Biles set out to answer in her new book, “The CBD Book: The Essential Guide to CBD Oil.” [15:10] In an interview on The Cannabis Enigma podcast, Biles discusses with host Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man how aside from explaining the science, it was regular patients’ stories that most moved her.“When you read the case studies, these are just ordinary people whose lives are being completely transformed just with the CBD that you buy online or on the high street, it just sort of completed the story really and put it in a real context people can relate to in terms of what the potential is or might be for their health,” she said.[3:15] In the first part of the episode, we discuss the upcoming US elections with Americans for Safe Access Executive Director Debbie Churgai and Interim Policy Director Dustin McDonald.According to Churgai, the future of medical cannabis legalization and access is very much on the line in the 2020 elections. It’s not just that one of the presidential candidates is promising to decriminalize and reschedule the plant. Local and congressional elections have a huge influence in ensuring there are allies in the halls of power.And while we know how cannabis can drive voter turnout, is it also a partisan issue? You might be surprised by the answer.This episode was edited, mixed, and produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. Music by Desca.
47 minutes | Oct 8, 2020
Cannabis As An Addiction Treatment
When Dr. Joseph Morgan worked in addiction medicine, his clinic wouldn’t even admit patients if their primary substance was cannabis. Years later, he developed a treatment protocol to treat opioid addicts with cannabis.“CBD will reduce cravings, whether it's for cigarettes, whether it's for heroin or cocaine. THC has impacts on the endogenous opioid system to get the body to release its own opioids,” Dr. Morgan said in an interview on The Cannabis Enigma podcast. “There's a lot of benefits for using cannabis and THC to treat opioid addiction.”Dr. Morgan has brought cannabis research to a host of unexpected and fascinating areas — including as a possible treatment for chemical warfare exposure. He also found a way to conduct cannabis research that bypasses the impossible restrictions imposed by federal cannabis prohibition in the United States.“Delta-9-THC, the main psychoactive component is actually legal, if it is synthetic,” he explained. Using legal versions of the chemical components of cannabis, he reconstructs the plant’s active ingredients in order to study its effects in rodents — and himself.“I also had it prescribed to me as compound pharmacy, starting with dronabinol. The pharmacist wanted to see all the certificates of analysis, and I gave him the original stock bottles...and he said he would be able to do that. And so, I have basically a legal cannabis mimic prescribed to me as a liquid.”Dr. Morgan also explained how one of more notorious side effects of cannabis can actually be a positive aspect for some medical patients.“Short-term memory loss is a negative property when you're having a conversation — you forget what you're talking about — but when it helps you to forget about pain, forget about thinking about pain, and especially in the setting of endometriosis, it's a very positive property,” he said.Dr. Joseph Morgan will be speaking at the CannX Conference on October 26-28, 2020.In the second segment of the episode, Associate Policy Coordinator of Americans for Safe Access, Andrew Coon, discusses the hurdles pediatric cannabis patients and their families face in schools. With so many states declaring the areas around schools “drug free zones,” it makes it very difficult for pediatric cannabis patients to administer their medicine during school hours — a problem that most other medications do not pose.Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Matan Weil. Music by Desca. The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access.
53 minutes | Sep 24, 2020
Dr. Ethan Russo: How Cannabis Can Be Better
The cannabis that most people have access to isn't what it could be. A big part of that is a result of the way the plant has been bred to have high THC levels for the recreational market over the years."For the most part, around the world, we're still dealing with cannabis that is mostly high THC and high myrcene, which is gonna be very sedating, producing what we call colloquially couch lock, where the person feels immobilized," Dr. Ethan Russo explains on The Cannabis Enigma podcast. "So that might be fine for the person that's trying to get to sleep, but it's not at all good for the person that might need to work, or study, and function well in the process, and particularly for chronic pain conditions."Science has made great advances in identifying what chemical properties of a given cannabis chemovar would be beneficial for various diseases and treatments, "but that's a far cry from saying that they would be able to access a chemical variety of cannabis that would be appropriate for their treatment," Russo explains."We really haven't seen the capabilities of cannabis properly harnessed at this point," he adds.Dr. Russo, one of the premier cannabis researchers who is responsible for the theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency and has done a great deal of work on proving and harnessing the entourage effect, also discussed different approaches to dosing, and why developing a tolerance can actually be a good thing."The beauty of cannabis is, even though one gets accustomed to the psychoactive effects, the benefits on whatever you're treating remain. In other words, if we have a chronic pain patient and they get benefit from using cannabis, as long as that condition is stable — it's not getting worse — we don't see dose escalation over time, and in fact, there are many people, who have taken cannabis therapeutically for decades that are using the same dose."Dr. Russo will be speaking at the Whole Plant Expo.In the second part of the episode, Dustin McDonald of Americans for Safe Access interviews Sue Lewtin, a medical cannabis patient treating lyme disease, about her journey with the plant. Like so many others, Lewtin explains how her doctors got her started on the path of medical cannabis but that bulk of the work and learning had to be done on her own.Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Matan Weil. Music by Desca. The Cannabis Enigma podcast is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access.
44 minutes | Sep 10, 2020
CBD Nation: Cannabis Science for the Masses
“The scientific material, which is complicated, if it is presented in a way that one can understand and really appreciate, can be a game changer in terms of shattering stigmas regarding cannabis,” explains David Jacubovic, producer of the new documentary CBD Nation.The film, which was released last week, accomplishes what many have tried and failed to do: shatter the taboos around medical cannabis.“There's nothing that really makes you accept something more than understanding it,” Jacubovic says on The Cannabis Enigma Podcast.In a wide-ranging interview, Jacubovic talks about his decision to put a focus on cannabis and women’s health, why so many people are unwilling to look past stereotypes and stigmas about the plant, and gives a behind-the-scenes look at his approach to cracking the cannabis enigma for the masses.In the second part of this episode, Americans for Safe Access Policy Director Dustin McDonald discusses the organization’s new report, 2020 State of the States.Produced by Elana Goldberg and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca. The Cannabis Engima is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access.
50 minutes | Aug 27, 2020
Cannabis At The Bar?
Marijuana has come a long way since the days of Reefer Madness and when you first learned about it from a DARE officer. But will it ever be treated like wine, with curated tastings available at high class events?That’s exactly what Dan Braunstein is trying to accomplish — at least until the coronavirus shut down the idea of social gatherings.His Los Angeles based company, Grassfed, hosts cannabis-themed events that aren’t actually about cannabis, where you can sample a flight of different terpene-infused vapes or beverages at the bar.“Cannabis should be, eventually, treated like wine. That's where we are trying to push it,” Braunstein said on The Cannabis Enigma. “Consume with intention, consume because you really like the process of consuming cannabis. Obviously you get all the medicinal effects, but have an intention — don't consume just to get blasted.”Grassfed also goes to nursing homes to introduce elderly residents to modern ways of consuming medical cannabis, helping make the medicine more accessible. Much of the stigma standing in the way of a full-on cultural shift, however, can only happen once smoking is removed from the equation, he says.“Smoking is one of the biggest enemies when it comes to making cannabis more mainstream,” he explained. “When you compare cannabis to alcohol, and there are many ways to compare it, cannabis is a safer substance — safer, healthier, especially if you consume it mindfully and responsibly.”In the second part of the episode [43:25], Americans for Safe Access Director of Policy Dustin McDonald discusses the regulatory situation in California, the problems with the way legalization has played out, and what changes need to be made in order to ensure everyone has real access to medical cannabis.Produced by Elana Goldberg and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca. The Cannabis Engima is a co-production of The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access.
50 minutes | Aug 13, 2020
The Fight for Legalization — and Access
Twelve states will vote on cannabis legalization measures this November. Those ballot measures — and the momentum that has given a majority of Americans legal access to cannabis — don’t come out of nowhere. Groups like Americans for Safe Access have played a huge role in the cannabis legalization that has taken place over the past two decades.But legalization isn’t the end of the story. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean everyone has access. “There's lots of patients that don't even qualify to access cannabis in their state even though there's a medical program,” Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access Debbie Churgai explained on The Cannabis Enigma podcast. From employees subject to drug testing to some minors to geographic restrictions to cost, there are a number of reasons why medical cannabis could be out of reach. “This medicine is not going to be accessible to everyone until insurance can cover it,” Churgai said, and that’s something ASA is working on.Ultimately, two things will make federal legalization or descheduling more likely, explained Dustin McDonald, ASA’s policy director, education and pressure on elected officials, but more importantly, expanding the map of states that have legal cannabis programs.“As we look at more controversial policy issues, whether it's cannabis, whether it's same sex marriage, the state and local governments tend to be the laboratories of democracy producing a lot of those reforms ahead of broad, full-scale federal action that addresses a more comprehensive top down approach,” McDonald explained.The Cannabis Enigma Podcast is a collaboration between The Cannigma and Americans for Safe Access. This episode was edited, mixed, and produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca.
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