By Amber Gibson
I recently moved to Vancouver from Australia, and it’s clear to me now why Vancouver is seen as the hub of cannabis in Canada. The legal production of cannabis is limited back home, as the medical industry develops, so I was curious about the emerging industry which focused on the plant’s medicinal properties. When I arrived in Vancouver, the range of dispensaries and open conversation of the cannabis was refreshing and foreign.
As an infrequent consumer of cannabis, my own relationship with cannabis has been shaped by experiences in high school and throughout my early 20’s. Growing up, I had limited education on the subject which made it hard to understand the role of mindful consumption methods during adulthood.
Last month I had the opportunity to learn what I didn’t know back then. I attended an event by Flower & Freedom – The Elevate Experience, which was touted as an evening of exploration for the “cannabis curious”. A friend recommended that I go, and I’m glad that I did. If I hadn’t, I would have missed the opportunity to explore a new way of interacting with a plant that I had viewed as a recreational drug rather than something that is therapeutic and comes with many health benefits. I invited my Swedish friend Sofia to join me; she was also intrigued by the very real, positive effects cannabis was having in people’s lives.
We arrived at the event, on 8th Avenue in Mt. Pleasant, and were greeted with a gift bag and an assigned number. My initial thought was that this event almost looked like an after-hours tea party, with catering, candles and a whole bunch of feminine energy. I immediately felt relaxed and re-energized. The number we were given directed us to one of ten education stations which provided us with useful information, experts for guidance, and new-to-me cannabis product demonstrations.
Throughout the night, attendees moved from stall to stall exploring different topics surrounding cannabis; types of consumption methods; how to pick strains based on terpenes; the latest technology and innovation. The layout worked in a speed dating style, allowing all guests to be introduced to different cannabis topics and brands in the cannabis industry.
After visiting a few stations, it was evident to me that cannabis was already being used to target a wide range of health benefits. These benefits are backed by credible research with a few standout players leading the charge in Canada, licensed producers Tilray, and Aurora. I began to see the personal value in experimenting with different consumption methods that I could adopt in my own lifestyle. Like many others, finding healthier ways to manage stress during everyday life is something that I often struggle with.
There were two stalls particularly persuasive in helping me drop my predisposed attitude and dialogue towards “weed.”
I began at a stall sponsored by Aurora, a Canadian company producing high-quality legal and lab tested medical cannabis. Aurora is a licensed producer in Canada, meaning a prescription is needed to obtain their products. Their products are safe, accessible and used to treat both physical and emotional alignments. I was fascinated by the cannabis oils, but more specifically the CBD drops. These drops are used to assist conditions such as anxiety. Aurora explained this different aspect of the plant – far removed from the psychoactive properties caused by THC – which allowed me to change my perspective on cannabis from a vehicle for escapism to naturopathic medicine.
In hindsight, a lot of my friends and family have subconsciously used cannabis to manage an array of mental health issues both physical and emotional for many years. Attending this event confirmed the reason why cannabis may have been a go-to for them and how it has maintained its popularity in our culture.
The next stall was stationed at my lucky number four and focused on topical consumption methods; sponsored by Cannalife Botanicals. Cannalife Botanicals produce cannabis-infused “topicals” used to promote healing and provide the potential for deep pain relief. If you’re open to natural based medicine and conscious about what products you absorb into your skin, you’re already converted. Many of the products are primarily derived from CBD, so there is no pressure to embark on a psychoactive journey to reap the physical benefits. Even products with THC that are applied to the skin, don’t cause a psychoactive effect as the absorption is different and doesn’t pass through the blood/brain barrier, I learned.
What surprised me most about The Elevate Experience is that it made the global push for the legalization of cannabis more understandable to me. The event encouraged education alongside participation via a holistic and realistic approach. Not only was I wholeheartedly onboard with this growing movement by the end of the tenth stall, I felt compelled to tell my friends and family about what I have learned. Specifically, my parents, to ensure that they had up-to-date information that would allow them to make a choice now and in the future about their own plan for health and well being.
I learned that there is an abundance of ways to consume cannabis and a sweet spot, or dosage, for everyone. There is support available for new explorers and a diverse range of experts to help you.
The night was a perfect opportunity for me to ask questions that I thought were naive and taboo. To understand the reasons why people are looking for new alternatives to traditional medicines and how this complex plant has been so effective in providing solutions.
I look forward to bringing more friends and family to the cannabis consumer education event held by Flower & Freedom.