Crazy Cat Lady Cannabis will be interviewing Central MA (and some outside) cannabis business owners to get an idea about how COVID is impacting their ventures and how we can ensure a strong industry moving forward. If you would like to interview in the next few weeks, please email email@example.com.
A two-time cancer survivor, Shari Berman of Boston provides insight on her COVID has impacted her business, Canna Healing Consulting.
1). How has COVID affected your cannabis business? Have you adjusted your services/mission in any way?
I officially launched my business in early March, at the same time as COVID started to escalate. It has made it tough as I planned face to face networking and other type opportunities. Adult-use (recreational) marijuana is closed down now in my state of Massachusetts which also makes it a bit difficult for prospective clients. Much of my business will be referrals so I hope people share my site with anyone they know that needs a little extra help. I am offering a number of free consults to help people during this difficult time.
2). What is your message to people who are considering trying CBD/cannabis for the first time to ease anxiety and boredom during this pandemic?
There isn't a lot known about cannabis usage and how it might affect one's response to COVID. Smoking does carry risks as it can cause irritation in the lungs where the virus often strikes so I think people should be a bit cautious in how they consume cannabis. I use a CBD/THC edible to help me sleep. The rate of prescriptions for sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medications have increased by 34% during the coronavirus pandemic. Personally, I would try cannabis/CBD before choosing medications that can be very addictive and have side effects.
Many of us are feeling especially anxious right now and I think trying CBD to manage the anxiety is an option. Dosing is individualized and people should start with a low amount at first. It does require regular usage and a methodical approach to find the right dose. This is what I help people with. Many people don't understand that CBD doesn't typically work with sporadic use. It requires the right dosage at the right time and overtime. It is also very important to choose reputable, high-quality products that are tested.
3). What has your overall experience as a cannabis consumer in MA been
like? What has your overall experience as a cannabis business owner in MA been like?
Massachusetts has a robust medical marijuana program and also includes adult use. That said, I have been frustrated with the lack of education for patients and recreational users who may be trying for the first time to alleviate a specific symptom or condition. Walking into a dispensary can be overwhelming for many people. Some dispensaries provide better support than others. Patients don't receive much if any guidance from their physicians and often have to rely on the salesperson in the dispensary with little medical background which is really not the way it should be. This is why I am passionate about starting a business to help coach people on how to navigate through the environment. I provide information on dosing, products, delivery methods and for those with complex issues, information on finding a cannabis doctor, and applying for a medical marijuana card.
4). How do you help people manage the stigma associated with CBD/cannabis use?
I help people through education. I have felt my own stigma around usage but have found that learning about the plant, its history, and seeing it work has helped me. Many new users will start with a topical like a cream or salve and realize how un-daunting it really is. If it works, they typically will be open to exploring other options.
I have spent many years in patient advocacy. As a two-time cancer survivor, I have taken a difficult experience and used my knowledge to help others. When I applied for my own medical card, I realized how confusing it was and had no idea how to start with products. Cancer patients, pain patients, and others now have an alternative way to combat symptoms, one that may cause fewer side effects and come with a lower opportunity for abuse, yet their doctors generally can't give them guidance on how to use it because they haven't been trained to do that. As both a cancer patient and patient advocate, I am worried about patients not receiving the support they need in this area. For this reason, I started my practice Canna Healing Consulting to help bridge this gap in education. This fall I will be starting a Masters Program at the University of Maryland in Cannabis Science and Therapeutics.
If you would like to contact Shari Berman of Canna Healing Consulting, email here.
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To submit interview ideas, please email Jen@crazycatladycannabis.com.