Cannabis Science Conference: A Reflection by Dr. Dix

Upon arriving at the Cannabis Science Conference, I was giddy with excitement and instantly began making friends. There were three separate “tracks” of presentations, the Analytical Cannabis Track, the Cultivation Track, and the Medical Cannabis Track. Given my background and interests, I stuck with the Medical Track throughout the conference. I wish I had the time to attend the others’, each had a full 16 hours of information delivered by the experts in their respective fields.

The lectures I attended the first day didn’t waste any time getting into how serious this medicine is. I was so touched hearing the testimony of 13-year-old Rylie Maedler, about how she’s gone through a variety of treatments for tumors and seizures, been stigmatized for using cannabis, and finally broke through the barriers allowing her to receive it. Now, she fights for other children around the country by sharing her story and bringing attention to the reality that has been kept hidden regarding this medicine. You can support her and many others by visiting Rylie’s Smile Foundation.

There were many other speakers who shared their experience and research, shifting the perspective of those listening, but what inspired me the most out of all of them were the panels. The nurse’s panel was remarkable! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after hearing the testimony of how each of them got involved with cannabis, whether to save a family member or themselves and how they’ve furthered the cause was moving. As a healthcare professional, I am proud to see such a coalition of cannabis nurses making an impact. There are more nurses in this country than any other healthcare worker; it is vital for them to understand how to talk about this medicine with their patients. Many of the panelists are members of the Cannabis Nurses Network; check them out to see how you can get involved if you’re a nurse!

The other panel was for veterans and was a bit heart-wrenching. Hearing the personal stories of each of the vets, the struggle they went through and how they’ve bounced back made my stomach turn and my eyes water up. I was shocked at the trauma these men went through and what they face now as a result. They noted that cannabis – NOT pharmaceuticals, has been one of the only medicines to help them find balance in their lives, and it’s still a struggle at times. Most inspiring was their call-to-action: if you want to help a veteran, do SOMETHING for them, anything. There are countless vets out there suffering from PTSD, suicidal thoughts, depression, etc. I learned that even saying hello, lending a hand, or thanking a veteran for their service is enough to help them feel a little bit more human. There is a lot we can do for these brave people, and now, it’s your turn to go do something for a veteran you know.

I can’t leave out Ricki Lake, Abby Epstein, and Montel Williams! I never realized how involved Ricki and Abby were in revealing the truth about cannabis medicine. I was shocked and inspired by their generosity and willingness to help sick families, and how persistent they are! If you haven’t seen Weed The People – you must. Montel Williams’ presentation was jaw-dropping. He shared his personal story battling multiple sclerosis, dropped an unbelievable amount of truth, and really lit a fire in people. What made it that much better was an exercise where he asked each of us to shake the hand of the person to our left, and to our right, acknowledging that these people are not our competition, but our friends, our family, and the people who are going to make this industry what it is in the coming years.

Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to all the people on the expo floor who had amazing booths, stories, and swag! There are too many to name, but I have to say the Evermore booth was by far the most aesthetically pleasing and all-around coolest place to hang. Also, it’s always a pleasure seeing Linda Biggs, local artist and business owner, out and about showcasing her brilliant work! The Healer team was there too with Dustin Sulak, and many other local businesses and friends.

I want to give a huge heartfelt thank you to Josh Crossney for putting on such an amazing event and bringing so many powerful people together. Maybe next year you’ll see me presenting!

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