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‘Masterclass in Medical Cannabis’ Signals Global Change in Cannabis Opinion

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Masterclass in Medical Cannabis
PHOTO | cendeced
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The global trend in cannabis legalization and acceptance of the plant as medicine took another leap forward recently. New Zealand’s largest medical cannabis firm and the leading British expert in medical cannabis recently joined forces to host a ‘Masterclass in Medical Cannabis’ series to educate local doctors and healthcare professionals about the benefits of incorporating the plant into their prescription.

Professor Mike Barnes, a highly experienced consultant neurologist and the Director of Education for the Academy of Medical Cannabis based in London, and Helius Therapeutics hosted three ‘Masterclass in Medical Cannabis’ events in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, the first RNZCGP-endorsed professional training of its kind.

Paul Manning, CEO of Helius believes it is “absolutely critical that New Zealand’s doctors have access to professional training in advance of locally-produced medicinal cannabis products becoming widely available from next year.”

“As the country’s largest medical cannabis firm, I feel it’s incumbent on Helius to invest in educational opportunities for healthcare professionals, in what is a rapidly emerging field of clinical practice,” said Manning.

We sat down with Prof. Barnes and Paul Manning to discuss the importance of education, the global trend of cannabis legalization and their mutual concern of the specialist sign-off requirement that’s recommended in the discussion document on New Zealand’s Medicinal Cannabis Scheme.

Professor Mike Barnes

Professor Mike Barnes

Cannabis Aficionado: Why do you think doctors are so hesitant to prescribe medical cannabis?

Professor Mike Barnes: There are several reasons: lack of knowledge and lack of guidance, also medical cannabis products being unapproved medicines, which means the doctor had to take additional responsibility — so they can be scared of prescribing!

Education is key to informed decision making. In an ideal world, what educational resources would you like medical professionals to have access to?

As many different formats as possible. On-line training, one-day masterclasses like we ran in New Zealand, and written material.

What do you think the most compassionate legal cannabis model looks like?

Wide access to all that may benefit without restriction on conditions that can be treated. Leave it up to the doctor to decide whether its right for that patient (like any other medicine). Allow all doctors (specialists and GPs) to prescribe any GMP standard product.

What parallels do you believe New Zealand has with the U.K. with regards to thoughts around cannabis legalization?

Very similar — general doctor reluctance to be involved — although I felt much more interest than we have in the U.K. That’s for medical cannabis of course. General legalization for recreational use is at about 50:50 split in the U.K. now — similar again to New Zealand.

Have you seen N.Z.’s proposed medical cannabis scheme? If yes, what are your thoughts?

Yes, and it’s generally excellent. The main issue is the proposed prescribing restriction that requires specialist sign off, which is unnecessary. I believe that GPs would make very good prescribers as medical cannabis is mainly a symptom treater and GPs treat the sort of symptoms that cannabis helps all the time, such as chronic pain, anxiety, sleep problems, etc.

What three things do you wish all doctors knew about medical cannabis?

That it is very safe. It is generally different from unregulated cannabis and there is good evidence for several indications.

Any advice for New Zealand moving forward with legalization?

Make medical cannabis products available through GPs without the need for a specialist recommendation. Help all doctors to learn by organizing a range of educational opportunities. And don’t rely on the traditional medical bodies to provide guidance, as they are usually far too conservative – the wrong generation!

Paul Manning, CEO, Helius Therapeutics

Paul Manning, CEO, Helius Therapeutics

Cannabis Aficionado: Why does Helius believe that educating doctors is so important?

Paul Manning: Thousands of suffering New Zealanders will be relying on their GPs for professional advice about medicinal cannabis for a range of therapeutic possibilities, and if appropriate, to access to products on prescription. We strongly believe every Kiwi has a natural right to a pain-free existence.

However, access will not improve unless doctors are well-informed about medical cannabis and how to prescribe the products. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of Australia and the U.K., where doctors were simply unprepared for the changes, causing widespread frustration among patients.

This initiative marked New Zealand’s first RNZCGP-endorsed professional training in medicinal cannabis for doctors on a national scale. It’s a major milestone for our burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry, as well as the healthcare sector.

How did Prof. Barnes become involved?

Mike became widely known after the U.K. Government commissioned him in 2016 to assess evidence for the medical use of cannabis. I had read this report, Cannabis: The Evidence for Medical Use. It helped to change the direction of legislation in the U.K. and acted as a catalyst to the eventual rescheduling of medicinal cannabis in November 2018. He is also the author of more than a dozen books and 200 published papers, several of which have been referenced by our team.

Mike also famously consulted to Alfie Dingley’s case in England, a six-year-old boy who suffers from a rare form epilepsy that was causing up to 150 seizures a month. His seizures have been since dramatically reduced after being given cannabis products. Mike is the Director of Education at The Academy of Medical Cannabis, so I reached out to him about this opportunity.

Did he enjoy himself?

Absolutely. We had an ambitious schedule, to deliver three full-day masterclasses in three cities, so we were flat out, but it was a lot of fun too! I think Mike really liked New Zealand and I know he was very encouraged by the positive response from healthcare professionals down here.

What has the feedback been from attendees?

We had 330 healthcare professionals attend the three masterclasses. The feedback has been fantastic. The majority of attendees were general practitioners. It was a big commitment to join the class for a whole day, and I think this demonstrates just how open-minded many doctors are to medical cannabis.

What is the biggest reason you believe cannabis should be legalized for medical purposes?

Cannabis is an extraordinary, natural treatment for many chronic conditions. These products present alternative to many harsh drugs, such opioids, and can improve the lives of millions of people across the world.

What is one thing you wish people knew about the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis?

You don’t need to get high to get healthy. Even products that contain THC need not necessarily come with a euphoric effect.

How can the public educate themselves on medical cannabis?

There are some wonderful resources available online, such as Project CBD. There’s a fantastic book by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with the snappy title The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. We’re also working on a unified repository of the world’s published cannabis research, which will be launched in 2020.

Any plans for more events like this again?

You bet. The Masterclasses in Medical Cannabis were just the start. We’ll be rolling out a program of professional and public education initiatives over the next 24 months. Helius has also just signed a quarter-million dollar commitment with BiotechNZ to stage a major education event in New Zealand early next year.

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Culture

Power & Collaboration Are the Name of the Game at WEIC Women’s Leadership Summit

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Power & Collaboration WEiC
PHOTO | Tinnakorn

In 2019 women held 37% of senior level positions in cannabis. Alarmingly, less than 8% of CEOs are women and only 38% of all positions in cannabis are held by women. This statistic and much more will be the topic of discussion at the Women Empowered In Cannabis (WEIC) Power & Collaboration summit on July 21, 2021, from 10 am PST – 5 pm PST.

The one day summit is WEIC’s first virtual Women’s Leadership Summit and will address the rapid loss of female leadership and power in cannabis and question how the community can address and stop this trend.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to build an industry from the ground up that is inclusive, diverse and just, and yet women are losing ground at a distressing rate,” said Kyra Reed, WEIC founder and CEO. “The summit is designed to help women elevate our voices and establish real power in the global cannabis market.”

Power & Collaboration WEiC

Meet the Speakers

The Women’s Leadership Summit: Power and Collaboration brings together a diverse group of influential women. This virtual summit offers opportunities for women to learn and interact with each other, irrespective of their location.

Andrea Brooks, Founder and CEO – Sava; Annie Holman, Founder and CEO – The Galley; Christine De La Rosa – The People’s Ecosystem; Kate Lynch, SVP Marketing – Curaleaf; Khadijah Adams – Girl Get that Money; Franny Tacy, Founder and CEO – Franny’s Farmacy; Helen Gomez Andrews, Co-founder and CEO – The High End; Katie Pringle, Co-founder – Marigold Marketing; Kendra Losee, Founder and CEO – Mota Marketing; Lelehnia DuBois – The Humboldt Grace; Dr. Lola Ohonba, WCI Health, Clinical Pharmacist, Certified Medical Cannabis Specialist – WCI; Mara Gordon, Founder and TEDx speaker – Aunt Zelda’s; Mskindness Rivera; Nancy Whiteman, CEO – Wana Brands; Rosie Mattio, Founder and CEO – MATTIO Communications; Scheril Murray Power, Cannabis and Agricultural Attorney – Doumar Allsworth Laystrom Voigt Wachs Adair & Dishowitz LLP; Susan Soares, Founder and CEO – The State of Cannabis; Tiffany Yarde; Valda Coryat, CMO – Trulieve

Nancy Whiteman, Wana Brands CEO

“Pursuing inclusion and diversity in business is not just a way to encourage goodwill. It is a strategic business decision that can literally make or break a company. This is not a wishful, feel-good attempt to make news or have people speak well of the industry. It is truly how we survive — and maybe how we change the world a little bit.” – Nancy Whiteman, Wana Brands CEO

Mara Gordon – Founder Aunt Zelda’s

“This quote from the late Helen Keller says it all – ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.'” – Mara Gordon – Founder Aunt Zelda’s

Dr. Lola Ohonba PHARM.D.

“Women are the “Pillar” of the world but are being left behind in major sectors of our economy especially after the pandemic. It’s time for us to come together as one to claim our spot at the decision-making table!” – Dr. Lola Ohonba PHARM.D.

Chrystal Ortiz – CEO/Founder Herb & Market Humboldt, High Water Farm

“It is well known that women are more than good enough to run companies. We need to recognize if we are good enough to do the work, we are good enough to own the work. We need to empower one another, create financial opportunities and invest in each other to become owners and make sure there are women in the C-suite of the companies we work with. This is why.” – Chrystal Ortiz – CEO/Founder Herb & Market Humboldt, High Water Farm

Power & Collaboration Event Topics

The day’s schedule will be broken into ten categories:

  • Keynote: EXECUTIVES: How to Use Power in Leadership
  • Keynote: MESSAGING: Developing a POWER message for women in cannabis
  • Keynote: FINANCE: Women, Money & Power
  • Panel: CULTIVATION: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: MANUFACTURING: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: SCIENCE & RESEARCH: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: RETAIL: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: INTERNATIONAL: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: CBD: Power & Collaboration
  • Panel: HEMP: Power & Collaboration

Join the all-day live virtual conference on July 21, 2021, at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST – 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST

Don’t miss this incredible event! Register here to attend.

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Culture

Cannabis & Hollywood Elite Turn Out for Wonderbrett LA Store Opening

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PHOTO | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Hollywood cannabis, entertainment, and TikTok elite turned up in droves last night to celebrate the Wonderbrett LA store opening.

The co-founders of the legendary West Coast cannabis brand best known for its world-renowned genetics and premium cannabis, Brett Feldman and Cameron Damwijk, were welcomed to the Hollywood community by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Wonderbrett LA Store Opening
Wonderbrett Co-Founders Brett Feldman (L) and Cameron Damwijk with Snoop Dogg. PHOTO | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Wonderbrett

Global superstar and cannabis advocate Snoop Dogg, singer and music producer Poo Bear, Compton rap artist Problem, music producer and artist Tank God, legendary music manager Steve Lobel, singer Bryson Tiller, pro-skateboarder Nick Tucker, and a who’s who of TikTok stars, Bryce Hall, Lauren Godwin and Zach Clayton, turned out to welcome the hottest new weed dispensary.

Guests at the Wonderbrett LA store opening. PHOTO | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Wonderbrett

“This is a dream come true,” said Wonderbrett co-founder Feldman. “We wanted to create an experience and a haven that lived up to what our community expects and really needs. Tonight was unforgettable and is only just the beginning of what’s to come. Our team is truly the best and we plan to show the world what a premium genetics cannabis brand is really made of.”

Feldman gave a live art performance, pouring gallons of brightly colored paint over the venue’s photo wall while narrating his journey from growing legacy to legal cannabis.

Wonderbrett LA Store Opening
DJ Carisma. PHOTO | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Wonderbrett

Insiders and the press were then rocked by performances from Problem, including his hit song “Like Whaaat” and brand new, unreleased track, “Taking All Fades.” Producer to the stars, Poo Bear followed up with his homage to cannabis, appropriately titled, “Wonderbrett.”

Wonderbrett LA Store Opening
Inside the new Wonderbrett dispensary. PHOTO | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Wonderbrett

Wonderbrett’s highly anticipated, public grand opening is on Saturday, July 10th.

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Culture

New Odor-Proof Bags Will Keep Your Stash Safe & Stylish

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Higher Standards x Revelry

Cannabis carryalls have come a long way. Continued advancement in smell-prevention technology has created a new breed of odor-proof bags. Just in time for 420, two of the cool kid brands have just launched a collection of form-meets-function travel bags to keep your stash safe.

The Higher Standards x Revelry collection fuses East Coast style with the West Coast spirit of adventure. Each odor-proof bag in the collection is made with Revelry’s signature three-layered carbon filtration system of activated charcoal and synthetic filters that soak up all unwanted smells.

The collab showcases minimalist design with maximum technicality across four odor-proof bags — a fanny pack; zip pouch; dopp kit and backpack. Additionally, the bags are waterproof, made from lightweight fabrics with heavy-duty rubber backing, and seal shut with double-lined zippers.

Higher Standards x Revelry collection is available now in stores and online.

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