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E96 - The Medical Cannabis Educator - Justyna Johnson

Why not pick up your medicine on the way home from work? Buying your cannabis from a recreational store is certainly more convenient, especially when there is a store in pretty much every neighbourhood. In this episode, we learn the advantages of following the Health Canada Medical Cannabis pathway. Justyna Johnson is a Medical Cannabis Educator employed by The Clinic Network. The enthusiasm for her job comes from spending her workday helping people navigate the medical cannabis system. Unlike the recreational store budtenders, Justyna’s job is to address your medical questions and guide her patients through the paperwork, discussing the programs offered by License Producers. This is where there is a difference between medical and recreational cannabis systems. Justyna shares her knowledge and understanding, demonstrating how those who use cannabis as medicine will benefit by not using the recreational system to buy their medicine.

Tuesday, 20 December 2022 09:38

Meet our guest

Justyna Johnson

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Ben Stofel – Winter
Desiree Dorion
Marc Clement

(Yes we have a SOCAN membership to use these songs all legal and proper like)

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Episode Transcript


Trevor: Kirk. We're back. 

Kirk: Hey, Trevor, how are you? 

Trevor: I am very well. Do you want to share with the audience where where on the planet you are? 

Kirk: Well, I'm back in small town Alberta and back in Lac La Biche.  James Gordon Hamar, my father-in-law, passed about seven or eight days ago, and we returned to Lac La Biche to celebrate his life. And so I'm here on a life celebration tour.  Jimmy was, a party was thrown and we said our Sayonara and shared some stories and. And yeah so it's I'm here on unfortunate circumstances. But in all due respect, the man was 93 years old and I think he died of old age, you know, I mean, and here we are, so healthy family. He left he left a very healthy, very strong family. And he sees he has a life to be proud of. And we celebrated it. So yeah, I'm, I'm in an office that we recorded from before actually a little office and my father in law's home. So here we are in Alberta. So I brought you a medical story. 

Trevor: And just a lovely story just before the audience thinks we're trying to do this is a downer. This is this is a truly lovely story with a lovely young woman. Yeah. Obviously, cannabis related but I think I would listen to this originally was driving up to Winnipegosis one day and I just sort of grinning ear to ear. She's she's a delightful soul who loves her job. 

Kirk: Yes. Yes. And I'm going to be asking our producer to take me out of it because her voice is her voice is very, very charming, very happy. And you can't help but smile. So why don't we just why don't we just jump right into it and I'll introduce you by saying, I know this young lady and you'll sort of get that from the conversation. She went to school with my youngest son. Her family and I are are strong acquaintances, small town. I've been wanting to talk to her for a while. Her job is she works at a medical clinic and she is the information person. So, you know, when you go to a recreational shop, you talk to a bartender. Bartenders aren't allowed to talk to you about the wellness part of cannabis. She works in a medical clinic. She can tell you about cannabis.  Let's just jump right into her and we're going to hear her voice. Right? I'm taking myself out of the interview. So let's just listen to Justyna, introduce yourself and go. 

Justyna Johnson: My name is Justyna Johnson. Now, as you know, I just recently got married. Kirk, you did... Which, by the way. Lovely. Excellent. You and your lovely wife doing some wonderful bartending is always very hospitable. 

Kirk: Well, thank you very much. 

Justyna Johnson: I am originally from Dauphin. I am now living in Winnipeg right now with my husband and our little daughter. I'm definitely an advocate. I am a plant enthusiast. So I am, of course, on mat leave right now. But my current employer is The Clinic Network. The Clinic Network is just that. It's a series of clinics that are spread out, just about all across Canada. There's clinics all the way from Ontario. And we actually do have some in Quebec going all the way over to Alberta and what they are, there's a series of like chronic pain clinics, but it's their medical cannabis clinics. And my role is I am a cannabis educator. And so we used to have some it's really nice to have that formal name now. We used to have some weird names, like they had Bud Tenders and Bud Geniuses and like some really, really weird whacked out stuff. But no patient educator is what I do for the clinic network. Once you have actually talked to a physician or a nurse practitioner and they have actually gone ahead and they've issued you a medical prescription. We as educators help do a number of things. One, navigate the world of medical cannabis in terms of how you're going to be accessing your medication, what kind of forms your medication comes in, and kind of any other questions that they might have depending on, you know, I've had some, most of them honestly are absolutely brand new to cannabis, to, you know, very experienced users as well. It's interesting, I've been doing this now for five years. So in the beginning there was especially for the medical channel here in Canada, there was a very, very small number that you could that you could start with. I used to I would say probably two dozen, maybe just over two dozen licensed producers is what I had had to work with. And now I've umpteenth. I've got dozens and dozens and dozens to work with. And so that's what we what we let patients know. There are a certain set of producers that might be able, to like, they're just more well-established. But there's also a lot of small batch as well. Again, like I said, we help them navigate the process of helping them register for that if they want to switch providers as well, which a patient in Canada of medical cannabis can do at any time. They're never signing a contract or anything of that nature. And the best part about my job is that I get the honor of telling them that their appointments are covered under provincial health. So for instance, here it's under covered under Manitoba Health. And usually that shocks a lot of people, right. You know, there was like the gray and black market kind of happenings going about and people charging for these. We don't. We also, we do take referrals, but it's also on a self referral basis, which I thought was amazing when I first heard about the position. The physicians trust that you were coming in for honest medical reasons and they will listen to you and it's really nice. It gets a really nice open rapport with the practitioner and the patient. I do, actually, some of the clerical workers, well, I'm cross-trained, so but generally Educators, we don't we usually are just full on either if we're helping physicians or nurse practitioners like with their patient load that day, we might be taking calls, like we have a general like call line, so we have lots of patients, again, general inquiries clarifying something from their last appointment or helping them switch. We when it comes to registering with the licensed producer, we try to obviously teach the patient that let them be as self-sufficient as they possibly can. Obviously, there are some circumstances where we need to give them a hand. We're absolutely not shy to doing that. A good number of the patients that I talked to were actually senior patients. So a lot of them sometimes, you know, if they don't have like a child, a spouse or a grandchild to be able to help them out, we'll certainly navigate them that help navigate that. The nice part is, too, is that since I started medical cannabis, a lot of the providers actually are really, like some of them have dedicated teams, to helping you old school over the phone you know get yourself squared away. So that's really nice. So first thing that I'm going to ask you is I'm going to ask you kind of what your base knowledge is for cannabis. We always try to go about it in a gentle manner. I'm not just going to be like, so have you like have you smoke weed before?  We do have like a nice little gentle questionnaire and I try to gauge from the patient their comfortability. Most patients, of course, usually want to go with the oral approach if they've never if they're absolutely brand new to it, most of them tend to try to go for ingestion over inhalation. I will, admittedly, that is mostly obviously for a physician recommending something that is not going to be necessarily as harsh on their lungs as in ingestion. So once I get a gauge from there what your knowledge is and what kind of forms you're looking for, then I'll go through and I'll immediately explain and like the legalities and kind of policies and stuff that we follow. So I will tell them about the legal ramifications, right? If you have smoked, if you would have inhaled cannabis, you must abstain from driving or operating machinery for four hours. If it's ingested 6 to 8 plus hours. Go over all the things like border crossings, privacy, like, you know, who the information is shared with, which for the record, we don't share that information with anybody, obviously. And going from there, we start listing out what part of my job is also making sure that I kind of find a right fit for them. So now that they're like honestly getting into almost hundreds of licensed producers for for medical patients. Based on the initial conversation, I'll try to give them at least a good spread of a half a dozen, show them what they have to offer. Some of them might have different programs that might be more fitting for them as well. So if you are a senior, you might be eligible for seniors discounts. Some of them offer what is called compassionate pricing. So that's for low income individuals and that sometimes even the cut off point depends on the provider. So there's all these little tidbits that we'll take from the conversation we have, which, to be honest, sometimes, you know, patients can vary from anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes. I'll go for like a first time meeting.  Renewals, sometimes they're very, very quick, just a quick check in. But first time appointments can be 15 to 20 minutes sometimes. I've had them go 45 minutes to an hour. Those ones are usually honestly some of my most favorite because those are the patients that are not only brand new, but they're really, really open and want a bunch of knowledge and just want to keep asking questions. And you just you see the look on their face of amazement when they start hearing anecdotal evidence and the way that our most of our education centers work when we were in person. Now we do a lot of this virtually since the pandemic, but it used to be in one giant, huge waiting room, sort of an area. And that was kind of nice because, you know, I'd be in a conversation with a patient and they go, really? And, you know, down the line there's somebody that's sitting there doing a renewal. And they would go, they'd chime in. And now these two patients are talking to each other and now they're feeding off of each other in terms of knowledge and experience. So, yeah, I just that's that's one of my favorite parts of of the job is having those lengthy kind of conversations. 

Justyna Johnson: They're going to be having extreme hallucinations. They think that they're going to be chasing the dragon, so to speak. A lot of them just are dealing with old stigmas from the past. Right. Like, you know, reefer madness and, you know, the war on drugs. And a lot of them just received a lot of apprehension and a lot of, you know, bad rap over over the course of their lifetime. And some of them have waited for so long that once they have started a regime coming back for the renewals, sometimes it's very, very emotional, which is another interesting aspect of my job, because a lot of these individuals are having quite the transformation. Sometimes just after three months is when we need to see them again after their first appointment. And I'll never forget, I had one patient who was she was 72 years old and she had heard about it obviously for the longest time that all of her friends, she said at Sunday brunch, were just not not quite on board with it for her. And she was just about to leave an appointment. And I said, you have such a positive outlook on this for having so much negativity. And she said, Well, you know, we were at Sunday brunch the other day and one of the ladies piped up and she said, Well, what happens if you say overdose and you die on this, which we know is is not a possibility, and to which she looks at me straight in the face and she says, well, at least that I'm going to go out feeling absolutely amazing and just without a beat. And it was so wonderful just from all ages. Right. It's it's huge. I've had my youngest patient be three years old who was epileptic all the way to my oldest patient, who was probably 103 years old. First time at 103 years old for probably what is our most common symptom, which is chronic pain. If it's not the classic trifecta of anxiety, depression, PTSD, it's usually chronic pain. You know what combination of THC CBD, I think is finally starting to catch on a little bit more for them because again, there's that kind of that almost fearmongering or what I call I call THC shaming. Right. The idea that that's something that's going to be, you know, harmful in some way or very scary as a compound. What physicians are obviously usually recommending to start off with, especially for senior patients, though, is CBD. Just because if we are going to we always want to say take it low and go slow. It used to be mostly oil. I'm actually finding now more of a 50:50 between oil consumption and having the oil in the soft gels or the capsules. Again five years ago when I was first doing this capsules where and they they still are a little, little on the pricier side, but they were very expensive to produce and it wasn't usually a very viable option. For especially, you know, seniors on a fixed income, but they are very handy dexterity wise, again, with senior patients, you know, being able to try to read. You've obviously seen many thousands of oral syringes. I'm sure they're super hard even for me. I'm going to be 29 next month and I still have to do like the whole, you know, double check. So it's nice to have those and a predetermined dose. So I would definitely say oil. As cannabis is now legal recreationally as well, it's also becoming a little bit more attainable. And I was encouraging patients to get into thinking about making their own oils as well and just kind of slowly experimenting. I was like, let's start with small amounts, you know, everything else you can find in your kitchen, it's just a matter of of finding that right strain for you. I've definitely noticed an uptake in the last probably year and a bit or so, maybe a year and a half, there has been more of an uptake of having those those conversations with patients going, Well, I can get this same product down on the recreational market for cheaper. So why am I not doing that? And I'm going to say probably out of those patients that bring that to me, I'm going to say probably about half of them will continue to go and do that. And I will never discourage somebody for getting an option, which is definitely more that's more suitable for you because of affordability. Absolutely. I'm not going to you know, we're not big pharma. We're we're not going to be forcing you to go with these products. But what I do tell patients is that there are definitely benefits to the medical.  Getting it through the medical channel as opposed to the recreational channel. Usually what the big points are is through the medical channel. Number one, those are licensed producers will have a call center with staff and people on hand that if you want to know specific questions like and details about their products, you can directly ask them. You're not just asking you know a bud tender who is, honestly, like they are cannabis enthusiasts, but they're also just their retail associate and they're not they're not authorized to be giving any kind of medical advice. The other benefit, of course, being is that any of your medical receipts that you get from that medical channel, you can actually go ahead and then claim that on income tax or if you have a health spending account, then you can actually use those receipts for your health spending account. I know it's been up in the air with people trying to amend that for Government of Canada to have that work with recreational. But right now that's the only way to claim it through medical because of course, medical cannabis does not have a DPIN number yet either, which is obviously a huge hurdle for many aspects. But so, yeah, so there's taxes and there's the consistency of availability. That's another thing too, especially when it comes to CBD and high concentration, CBD products, capsules, oils, those kinds of things. They're not necessarily meant and especially being CBD dominant, for recreational use. I can't see a reason why you'd be using that for recreational use. So and having one of my very, very good friends, she manages a bunch of recreational stores here in, in the city and those CBD products, when they catch on for exactly the point of them being cheaper, sometimes in the medical market, they're gone like that. And so I did have a few patients that were like, Well, I'm going to go and explore this channel, this avenue for a while, and I let them go and do their thing. And then sure enough, usually at their next appointment they're going, Yeah, well, I got this, this, you know, this spray this one time. But then I went back three weeks later and, and they didn't have anything for me. So that's, that's my thing. Claim it on your income tax, consistency of availability and then being able to have knowledgeable staff and people on hand that can actually answer those kinds of questions for you. 

Justyna Johnson: So normally with the process is, is that we as the clinic will there's two pieces of paperwork that you need. So you need a proof of prescription which we as a clinic will send in for you. The patient doesn't have to worry about that. We can send it electronically. Once the provider receives that, it's usually an automated system. So the patient is provided their email to us. We and then have provided it to the provider. Once they have their script, they email that patient back. Usually what happens is that the patient just assumes like they'll just skip over the email. Oh yeah, cool. I'm accepted. And they go to try to order, but they haven't completed their registration yet, which is usually just a quick either click the link. If patients again have other dexterity issues or you know, like a senior patient, then by all means we'll help them in clinic if they give us a call. But the biggest one is usually just assuming that their registration email is their confirmation of acceptance. So I would say that's probably the biggest one. I absolutely love my job. You know, apart from working for yourself, this is definitely, definitely the spot to be. It was an absolute, almost a fluke for me that I even had a chance to be able to get into the industry that early. There was a lady from Winnipegosis actually, who had moved to the city. She had extensive knowledge working in the Dauphin Hospital and in clinics around the city, saw the job postings for we used to be Natural Health Services. Now we are known as the Clinic Network and she had just give me a phone call one day and she just said, "Hey, I've I've got a part time right now, job position for you, but I kind of think you'd be up your alley." And when she explained to me what it was, I just I remember just sitting on the phone in silence, probably for like 30, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, just trying to process this. Is this like is this legal? Is this, you know, like is this really happening here in where I live? And sure enough, then I went through the whole through the whole process. I read up on at that point what was known as the ACMPR to get myself familiar because I was just, I was so nervous. And this the cannabis culture is truly probably one of the most beautiful cultures that you can be a part of. I love, like I said, I'm a plant enthusiast and I love plants and being able to do things like grow your own medicine. Absolutely magic. I think that's phenomenal. There's a lot of paperwork that goes into your application for your license to grow, and there was a lot of liability that was kind of being held on the clinic. If we were to fill it out and something was incorrect or, you know, something that could be argumentative back, we just just decided to avoid that as a whole. But we certainly like will if a patient doesn't want to go with a licensed provider, that's not just solely what we provide. If they want to have a prescription for the use of growing, then we'll absolutely facilitate that and send them their original prescription to be able to send that away. But we used to do that, and the process for anybody that's watching or listening is super simple. You are just going to the Government of Canada website. If you were to type and application to grow for cannabis for medical purposes, that's going to be the first option that shows up, usually just simply going through it page by page. It seems daunting, but a lot of them are just like pretty straightforward. Sign it. And then having the original version of your prescription, which usually involves having a head or a letterhead and color. One of the biggest ones we grow at home that we used to find were patients getting upset because they would get their rejection back in the mail from Health Canada and then they'd read it out to us and we go, Yeah, you can't have it a photocopy or in black and white. It appears like a copy and they'll just they'll ixnay it, no questions asked. So yeah, definitely in color and yeah. Then you're going to send those to Health Canada. My my recommendation and my personal recommendation that I give to all patients is if you can afford it, get a tracking number attached to it as well. Because that's just especially this time of year in particular now that we're getting into the holiday season. But it just gives you that peace of mind and that assurance that it's made it to Ottawa. And then from there we'll take about and usually now it's about, I would say, but 2 to 3 months for processing and renewals can be a little bit quicker. But yeah, but unfortunately we don't, as a clinic fill out that application for patients and if they do have any questions, there is a dedicated government of Canada, there is a cannabis line that you can go there and you can you can ask questions. If you have trouble filling it out. We are here solely just to help you along your journey and help you answer like help to answer any questions or curiosities that you may have. We know that medical cannabis can help a lot of people, but it doesn't necessarily help everybody. So when you come into this space know that you're coming into our space with we've all got open minds, open arms, open hearts. And again, we're just here just to help you step by step in whatever way we can. And that's what I feel like. A lot of there are some patients that will come in, and that's just the kind of reassurance that they needed. And again, it's just it's also really, really nice when it's something that you're already enthusiastic and passionate about and you already have a base knowledge on and when you already have experience as a as a patient myself.  So that was a huge one because believe it or not, we have had patient educators in the past who were still really good educators and good at wheeling it, but they were never patients themselves. And so that's sometimes a really, really nice, nice little trick in the box for me is being able to go, well, hey, here's, here's my experience with this. And then there's usually it's a lot of the senior patients kind of get like their wide eyes and and think like, there's but there's nothing wrong with like there's doesn't appear to be anything wrong with you. And I go, so, so yeah. It's just I couldn't be honestly, I couldn't be more blessed to be in the position that I am, to be working with the people that I work with. Since the pandemic had started, we all went to work remote and with some how we were kind of restructuring and doing everything. When we were switching over to being The Clinic Network, I ended up working for a team actually primarily out of Edmonton and Calgary, so I was working with physicians out of Alberta and it's just been it's a great community. It's entire team of people that I've never met in person before. But it's the same kind of people who held the baby shower for me virtually and held a surprise for me. You know, they sent me gifts and sewed me a blanket for my newborn daughter. So, yeah, I'm super, super, super lucky to be with the people that I met and to be able to do what I do. I just get to talk about cannabis all day. That's all I get, and just tell them about how it can literally make your life better. And that was like a mind blowing thing for my father when I told him about it. And he's like, just, you know, you have no idea. I had I would have had no clue, you know, in the sixties or in the seventies that my daughter, would be able to legally work in cannabis. 

Trevor: All right, Kirk. Kirk, again, that was a lovely, lovely interview. You know, it is it's a joy. I'm saying that too many times I'm starting to sound like the hippie we want to be. But it is a joy to listen to someone who loves what they do. 

Kirk: Yeah. Isn't that interesting? We're both, well I'm at the end. Well, I'm starting my career over again in a sense. I'm retreading. Retired from clinical practice in some ways. But. But it's so nice to talk to people who truly, truly, truly love their job. And it makes you wonder sometimes how much time in my 40 year career did I really like my job this much? 

Trevor: Yeah. No. And so, yes, she's she's easy to listen to and just easy to listen to someone who is enjoying helping people that much as sharing with you off air. Honestly, I'm a little bit jealous of her. She she I do. I do some of the same things she does. Like if a patient of the one of the doctors in our clinic wants medical cannabis. Odds are they get sent to me and I sit down and talk to them, help them fill out the forms, help the doctors fill out the forms, which I enjoy. You know, it's a part of what I do, but and, you know, make fun of the pharmacist talking about money, but I don't get paid for that. You know, to the point that my boss has actually said things like, don't you think you're spending a little bit too much time with these? Because, frankly, if I sit down with a patient for half hour, 45 minutes and go through forms or questions or whatever, the pharmacy get zero money out of that. And I'm not saying there's not other things I don't do during the day that bring in zero money, but cannabis brings in zero money, as a pharmacist, I spend time talking to a patient about it. 

Kirk: And isn't that a problem? In the last several interviews, I'm talking to a lot of people who are really medical cannabis focused, and it's a real shame how medical cannabis is completely ignored. You know, people people tend to forget that, you know, the Canadian health care system is sacred. Tommy Douglas did us a wonderful thing. But every time we talk about, you know, private health care, well, my goodness, man, we have a fee-for-service system right now. You are a fee for service practitioner, right? Doctors are, like you said, you signed. Yeah. You're fee-for-service. Yeah. When you sign your name you get your your organization gets paid for that. Yeah. Right. And doctors are a fee-for-service, right? Cannabis is sort of out there and there's very few doctors that do the work. And as we've learned, they were pushed by their patients. I love the fact that she talked about and reminded us that you can go to a cannabis doctor and you should not be paying for it. 

Trevor: Yes, I'm glad you brought that up, because if you didn't, I was going to. So, you know, back in the Wild West, we'll say before 2018, often you would have to pay a large sum of money just to see a quote unquote cannabis doctor. I'm not I don't know what all cannabis clinics do now, but their's basically they bill their time to the provincial health system. So, you know, if you if you saw one of her and I won't get this right because I think I'd heard of them before when their NHS and the Natural Health Solutions they're now The Clinic Network. If you saw a Clinic Network, nurse or nurse practitioner in Manitoba, they would bill their time to Manitoba Health, which is which is what it should be. Right. It's you know, you're still seeing them for, you know, the chronic pain in their back. Whether the doc decides the right treatment is physiotherapy or cannabis. Right. So so I was I was happy to hear that that is part of their model. 

Kirk: Well, as as our friends in Gimli gave me the with Dr. Shelley Turner and also we've interviewed many doctors you know, the Catalogue Group, none of those guys charged. So if people are being charged for their cannabis consultation, stop, you know, go online. And from what I can figure, I think some of this work that she does is online. So, you know, you can access these people. 

Trevor: She was saying her clinic happens to be at the moment well pre-mat leave, out of Alberta but she's based in Manitoba. So yes, there's a lot of a lot of and she was just doing it during the pandemic. So a lot of online stuff. 

Kirk: And it's and it's good to know this because you can access it. We I'm in a situation with family where, you know, we're sitting around and we're talking about Jimmy's contemporaries are old and Michelle's mother still has lots of older sisters. And and we often talk about cannabis as, quote unquote, alternative medicine for these people because they're suffering from chronic pain and they're in old folks home, you know. And I bring up the fact the cannabis. Well, the fear is there are still doctors that will say that if you bring cannabis into this care, you have to find another doctor. So so hence there are doctors out there that will bring you cannabis. But the fear factor is that doctors are only providing the cannabis care. Not the wholistic care, right? Unlike our friend in Sarnia, you know, Dr. Peterson, who provides a wholistic care. So it's happening. And and Justyna is working in an environment where I think it's very supportive and the care is there. So I guess this this podcast, this episode is providing people to let you know that those services are out there and you get nice people. Like Justyna, you know, who who truly you can just feel the vibe from her. She loves her job. 

Trevor: She does. And let's talk about some clinical pearls. She dropped her lap. So if you wanted to get your medicine from a Rec store, Justyna is fine with that. But but did point out some some potential.  So let's start with you can get exactly the same product in the Rec store. So, there's no problem with that. But there's some cons and it might be might be cheaper and sometimes Rec store have sales. So those are all good but might not have availability because frankly if you're going to Rec store it's to get high so i.e. usually a higher THC product and a lot of the medicinal people want to lower THC but not everybody not all the time. But that's the thing. The, we talked about before, this nothing against bud tenders but bud tenders not only don't have medical training, you're actually not allowed to talk medical with you where the LP's actually often have a hotline, we could call them and ask medical questions and things like taxes and insurance all work easier through the medical system. So she's not against getting from the Rec store, but just wants people to have some ideas. There's a few cons to it as well. 

Kirk: I haven't asked you this question, I don't think. Have you done the Health Canada Cannabis Review? 

Trevor: I think I looked at one of the surveys. No, I did not finish. 

Kirk: I don't know what the deadline is, but I did it. And as you get as you get closer to the end of the survey and it's all a long answer, right? It's all it's all essay answers. As you get to the end, there's one question that suggests that Health Canada is considering allowing recreational stores to be the medical cannabis dispensaries. There's there's a fear of that. Yeah, not not a fear, but it's actually implied in one of the questions and that my fear is that so so this is Health Canada saying we're done with medical cannabis and since it's now legal, you can get your medical cannabis recreationally. That is so wrong. 

Trevor: No. And I've heard from you and I think it comes up in one of our further interviews, and I was off at another conference for completely different things that came up there. Health Canada seems to want to get out of the cannabis business altogether. So they would be this is the impression any way they seem to be giving that if they could have nothing to do with cannabis throughout all the rec stores, they'd, you know, I don't want to worry about a medicinal patient ever again. It sounds like Health Canada be happy with that. And as we've mentioned, that that doesn't do a good service to the to the medical patients. You know, it's going to be fine for some medical patients, some more educated medical patients, or grow your own medical patients. But, you know, let's take your what I see in the pharmacy anyway, your typical 75 year old. I've never use cannabis before. I'd like to try it. Having them just sort of show up at how many many are won't be comfortable going to a rec store and be. The Bud tender there won't have all the tools, the knowledge, the know what all their medical profile and problems are to help them. So it's I, it's. 

Kirk: Not even that it's not even that, Trevor. It's not even that they're not allowed. 

Trevor: No, and literally not allowed right now, but even. 

Kirk: Not allowed. 

Trevor: But even if Health Canada waived their one and says now you're allowed, well, you know, does the with the button, they're now be able to see what medications they're on and know their medical history or like it's not. Yeah, it sure sounds like two streams will make sense to me anyway. 

Kirk: Well, I was reminded I was reminded of our Colorado trip when when I went down to Colorado and we walked into the dispensary. This is back before it was when we first started this podcast. Whatever episode it is, we're almost to a hundred eh, that's kind of cool. But it's like walking in to the store and on one side of the dispensaries, medical cannabis, one side of dispensary is recreational cannabis. And when you go to this side, there's tax exemptions, there's there's medical, there's actually maybe even some different products and different pricing. But when I asked, like, can they talk about medical stuff over there? Well, not necessarily. Like you said, they may not have the tools. So I get the fact that it will be more convenient to go into one dispensary and get you get your medicine. But like you said, who's reviewing who's reviewing your other medicines, who is reviewing when you're taking it, why you're taking it, and how you're taking it? Who's giving you that feedback, which is what we're supposed to be getting from our medical professionals. So it's still rather disturbing to figure out that even though it's been 20 years, the health care system still does not view cannabis as medicine. And, you know, and you and I were I have been so immersed in it that everyone I talked to believes the same way I do, because birds of a feather, we seem to flock with people that have like minds. So every so often when I get out of my little bubble and realize the system truly still doesn't recognize cannabis, it's not only frustrating, it's bewildering. And I have to remind myself, oh, yeah, Right... the government...

Trevor: That's absolutely the case. Like a mid mid-December, I'm going to join one of our family docs doing a little cannabis blurb to medical residence and I last year one of the number one questions was, well, why don't they just go down to Tweed and buy their stuff? So I guarantee that's going to be the question again this time. Yeah. 

Kirk: So because, because because would you send, would you send your patient to go get his Dilantin from a guy down the street because he ran out, you know, like well. 

Trevor: I think think about how horrifying. Well, as a pharmacist it's horrifying if you know, if you go and winter in Texas and can take a road trip over the border to Mexico, you can go into a Mexican pharmacy and basically buy whatever prescription product you want because we see this every winter. People come back with, you know, Spanish antibiotics and Spanish Viagra and Spanish, whatever that they just bought. And, you know, sometimes it's not terrible because they knew what they were on. So let's let's let's ignore the fact we're not entirely certain what it says on the outside of the bottles inside. Let's even pretend that everything was legitimately what it said. You know, maybe if you know, they'd been on X diabetes pill forever, then it's fine. But you know, the antibiotic, while they think they have an infection and they, they think that, you know, of the hundred antibiotics, this would be the one to treat them and they bought it. You know, as a pharmacist, I'm horrified by that. Yeah, but you know, that that that's what we think is a good idea in medical cannabis. 

Kirk: That that's a really good analogy because a lot of people don't realize that antibiotics are designed for specific parts of your body. Like if you've got a skin infection, there's an antibiotic for that. If you've got a throat infection, well, there might be some overlap. But this antibiotics are a little better for the throat infection. Cannabis medicine is getting that way. I mean, there's enough research out there to suggest that this cultivar is better than this cultivar for what you need. That's why you want to go to a medical cannabis expert. That's why you want to go to somebody who understands medical cannabis. It's I got some of your stories I can remember very early. Well, you know, I can remember very early sitting around having Mondays at Brian's with with, you know, my neighbors when we used to sit outside in his driveway and watch the sunset with a drink in our hands and having conversations about cannabis and somebody saying to me, Well, medical cannabis is different than recreational cannabis. It's different. And I got I got really kind of, I guess, sarcastic, maybe sarcastic, strong or cynical. I just said, no, they're different, but they're not different. They're the same medical it's an attitude. Medical cannabis is an attitude. The product is the same. There's different cultivars. So yeah, you can go get your medical cannabis if you want from the recreational store, but it's, it's the concept. Medical cannabis is different. You got to treat it differently. People use it as medicine, respect that fact and help them use it as medicine. I think we've said before that I think 100 to 100% of the people that use recreational cannabis is doing it for medicinal reason. Yeah, you know, I mean, we've equated it to alcohol before sitting down and just having a beer because it's hot outside and it's refreshing. It's providing you calmness and a sense you're taking it as a medicine. Right. And to relax, you have. 

Trevor: To switch gears again, because I thought it was interesting that the the Clinic Network back when it was NHS used to help people fill out forms to grow their own medicine and now they've decided there's too much liability, which is fascinating. But Kirk, tell everybody what what what's the importance of blue ink if you're trying to to fill out and grow your own form? 

Kirk: I am I am a medicinal cannabis user and I and I grow my own medicine. I'm learning how to grow my own medicine. And the issue is that when I went to get my renewal done, I just said to my doctor, just just email me the prescription and I'll get the paperwork and I'll send it off. Oh, no, no, no. It had to come in the mail because it had to come with her signature in blue ink. So I had the original, so I had the original. So I had to do my, my grow form, you know, the, the, the, you know, who, who, whose house? Who owns the house? Are you a renter? And if you have joint ownership, like my wife and I joint have joint ownership on my house. So. So she has to give permission for allowing me to grow my medicine in the house. And so it have to go through all these forms and then you have to wait for your prescription from the doctor to coming out to mail it out together. So and I think I think this is my third renewal. It came rather quickly, actually. My my my license was was going to expire. I think it was my dad's birthday, November 22nd, my my which was the last month. And I and I received my my license a week late. So I got it a week after the other expired, but I got it. Whereas before that it was like three months I had gone. So. So they're not very expedient in getting your license. 

Trevor: And and it sounds more like a more than a tad bureaucratic. 

Kirk: Well, I think they're getting better at it, because I was quite surprised how quickly this one came back. I think it only took about two months. So that's not too bad. 

Trevor: So, Kirk, like I said, this lovely interview, lovely lady, doing fantastic work. Yeah. Which everybody loved their job as much as she did it. Anything else you have to say about Justyna, our cannabis educators? 

Kirk: No, just that we've been trying to get ahold of each other for a long time. She's a brand new mom, as you heard. Michelle, and I did the cocktails at the bar for her wedding. What a fantastic wedding. It truly was the party to crash. I was surprised how many people did not crash it. And and what it was is that she she she lives in Winnipeg now, and she brought her her musical family with her. So it was just the rotating, the stage was just rotating bands and the bands there were all professional musicians from Winnipeg and they just rotated through. They were playing songs from the seventies, the eighties, the brand new, original music she's sending us. She's sending us some music from our original music from Winnipeg that will play at the end here. Nice. Yeah. No, it was it was a fantastic wedding. And she's thinking of bringing more back and doing some fest, some music festivals. So I'm quite excited and hopefully I'll get involved with that. But I guess I'm Kirk. I'm the registered nurse.  This is Reefer Medness. 

Trevor: I'm Trevor: Shewfelt, I'm. I'm the pharmacist. and this was another good one. 

Kirk: Reefer Medness - The Podcast. We're getting close to the hundred. What's what's coming up? You've got anything coming up? 

Trevor: I've got a cardiologist. I've got a family doc. We've actually interviewed him before, but I'm trying to snag him for a second one. We talk to him about little kids before. Now we're talking hopefully about seniors. You've got Owen Smiths. We we've got we've got some stuff in the can. 

Kirk: And we're coming up to 100. Do we have anything special for 100? We might be getting in. 

Trevor: Yeah. How about we'll leave that? We'll leave that. As a teaser, we are working on special things for number 100 because we haven't quite got them all sorted out yet, but we're working on something special. 

Kirk: We might actually get in the studio maybe. I don't know. I think it could happen. 

Trevor: It could happen . 

Kirk: Happen. Well, what do they say? It's possible. It's possible. 

Trevor: It's possible. 

Rene Hey, well, it's Rene here, and I am back in the studio. That was another great one, guys. Thank you very much. A couple of loose ends to tie up here at the end. One of the things we'd like to mention is that Reefer Medness - The podcast likes to acknowledge that we produce our shows on Treaty two territory and the homeland of the Metis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Metis ancestors of this land, and we reaffirm our relationships. Kirk: asked Justyna for a song request for the end of the episode. And she chose Ben Stoffel and the song Winter. So we're going to honor that now. Thanks everyone for listening to the show.