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Name: Erin Prosk

Hometown: Quesnel, BC

Current city: Montreal, QC


Number of years working in medical cannabis and what do you do?

I’ve worked in medical cannabis for a very long, yet also remarkably short 7 years, always in the area of patient access and education.  I first launched a nonprofit dispensary and cannabis kitchen with my partner Adam Greenblatt until 2014 when we opened Santé Cannabis to support patient access under the MMPR and the research mandate in Quebec.

How did you get involved in the medical cannabis space?

I had been interested in drug policy and social justice as a student but was unable to match my passion with my skillset in analytical chemistry and applied math.  Finally, I was convinced that I had to jump into medical cannabis with full abandon. I am very grateful for the support and mentorship that led me to my place in entrepreneurship, education and clinical research.

What was your first impression of cannabis as medicine?

That it had massive untapped potential to ease suffering and improve quality of life.  While I knew many cannabis connoisseurs at McGill, my first contact with medical cannabis came when meeting my partner’s father Michael Greenblatt.  He was 25 years into fighting MS and took a multitude of different medications to keep his symptoms at bay, sometimes at very high doses. A few drops of cannabis oil, baked into a cookie- and later on into his favourite Dark Chocolate peppermints- eased his nausea, relaxed his spasms, boosted his appetite and lifted his mood. This was a transformative experience for me.

What’s one of the biggest challenges of working in the medical cannabis industry?

Building or maintaining bridges between different interests.  With the diversity of voices in the cannabis industry, it can be frustrating to hear only the loudest ones or those that have been raised onto a platform.

What is the biggest misconception or myth about medical cannabis?

That it is somehow ‘different’ and by extension makes those who use it ‘different’.   This is something that I find even patient advocates can perpetuate and need to be conscious of. Cannabis is a natural medicine that we need to re-normalize into our society. By re-normalizing we must seek evidence-based information, and we must accept the limitations of that research and the potential risks.  I find that people who use cannabis as medicine can feel isolated and marginalized.  At Santé Cannabis we work to empower patients to take the reins of their own health care and to consider medical cannabis as a perfectly normal treatment to integrate into their daily lives.

What resources do you use to keep up to date on medical cannabis?

I am unfortunately an un-intentional social media luddite- I can barely keep up with my emails.  I am lucky to work with a great team who support my deficiencies by emailing me links to new articles and papers.  They swear by Twitter and Facebook for engaging with other advocates and leaders in the cannabis and health care space.

Who do you see as having the greatest impact to the field of medical cannabis right now? 

While legalization is a disruptor on the horizon that we need to keep in our focus, I am incredibly optimistic about the number of clinical trials underway in Canada right now.  I can see the path to broad access to innovative new medical cannabis products, pharmacy distribution and universal cost-coverage opening up in front of us.


DON’T FORGET:

Our free Medical Cannabis forum is happening on June 21st, 2017

Come out and hear from panelists, like Dr. Maida, about what’s up-and-coming in the field of medical cannabis and what that means for you.

Register Here!

Name: Beth Harris

Hometown: Waterford, Ontario

Current city: Leamington, Ontario


Number of years working in medical cannabis and what do you do?

2 yrs on August 10th…and my position is the Patient Ambassador

How did you get involved in the medical cannabis space? 

I initially starting using cannabis on a daily basis to help cope with the loss of my son.  Then 11 months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer which truly started my involvement in cannabis.

What was your first impression of cannabis as medicine?

My first impression of cannabis was a very positive one. The thought of being able to manage my symptoms without the use of opiates ; was very exciting and a medicine that I would certainly entertain

What’s one of the biggest challenges of working in the medical cannabis industry?

The biggest challenge is getting away from the stigma of cannabis; educating people on how this medicine works.

What is the biggest misconception or myth about medical cannabis?

The biggest misconception is that all people that smoke cannabis do it to get high.  I don’t think people understand the difference between THC and CBD and the different affects both offer

What resources do you use to keep up to date on medical cannabis?

Aphria continues to update on social media venues ie/ facebook, twitter, instragram, blogs. We also provide news blasts to our patients who have an email address but we also post all updates and changes on the Aphria website as well as the patient portal

Who do you see as having the greatest impact to the field of medical cannabis right now?

Personally, I feel the physicians have a great impact on this field.  I feel the more physicians are educated and feel comfortable prescribing cannabis as part of the patients plan of care; the more the public will feel more confident with using cannabis as an alternative medicine.  I also personally feel that personal testimonials definitely have an impact on how other see the use of cannabis.


DON’T FORGET:

Our free Medical Cannabis forum is happening tonight (June 21st, 2017)!

Come out and hear from panelists, like Beth, about what’s up-and-coming in the field of medical cannabis and what that means for you.

Register Here!

Name: Julie Vickaryous

Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Current City: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Number of years working in medical cannabis and what do you do?

I have been working in the medical cannabis industry for one year, but have been formulating edible cannabis recipes for several. I am a cannabis specialist for National Access Cannabis, and also am a cannabis chef. I spend my time outside of the office teaching classes in edible making and topical making for people with a wide range of symptoms and illness’s.

How did you get involved in the medical cannabis space?

I had originally met with a woman who as at the time, was the regional manager for NAC. I had seen they were opening an office in my hometown and wanted to be involved in that. I sent her a letter with my story in it and my credentials as a pastry chef, and next thing I knew I was helping open the Saskatoon offices.

What was your first impression of cannabis as medicine?

I first started using cannabis after one treatment of chemotherapy. It became clear I would have difficulty getting through the treatments without something to help me so my mother called our doctor about getting my prescription for medical cannabis. At the time there was very little information out there in regards to dosing and the most effective way to take cannabis as a medicine. It was several months before I actually got a handle on it as a medication, but eventually I did get it. That being said I would definitely say my first impression wasn’t a fabulous one, as I had no help in learning the process of using it. I was one of the people that believed just smoking it would relieve my symptoms so it was a bit of an awakening to learn that there’s so much more there.

What’s one of the biggest challenges of working in the medical cannabis industry?

I would say the biggest challenge to working in the medical cannabis industry is absolutely the stigma surrounding the plant. Doctors will readily hand out endless prescriptions for dilaudid or gabapentin, but the thought of prescribing medical cannabis is shocking to them. I get doctors sending me outdated studies on THC and anxiety all the time, when they have absolutely no idea that CBD exists, let alone what it can do for a patients mental health. When people hear about what I do there’s a very polarizing reaction. Either the person is thrilled to know the industry is finally emerging in Saskatoon OR I’m looked at like some big time drug dealer, trying to get all the unsuspecting elderly people to smoke a joint. Which I would never do, vaporizing is so much better for them.

What is the biggest misconception or myth about medical cannabis?

Absolutely the biggest misconception is that when you use medical cannabis you’ll be high all day. Many people who start using THC based strains or products fear they will be ‘out of their mind’ all day, when in fact, if used correctly THC is rarely distractingly felt. It blocks pain from being felt and relieves inflammation, not to mention it’s used with PTSD patients and the like.

What resources do you use to keep up to date on medical cannabis?

Part of my job is being up to date on a constantly changing medicine and the industry itself. Whenever I have a free moment in the day I check several cannabis based news sites, and at least once a day I keep up with licensed producers products and growings so I know what is legally available in the Canadian market.

Who do you see as having the greatest impact to the field of medical cannabis right now?

I feel like I’m biased, cancer wise, in saying that Mara Gordon is so impactful on the industry right now. Not necessarily in Canada, but absolutely in North America. We need women to stand up and create companies showing the benefit of this, and the talks I’ve seen Mara Gordon do are phenomenal with what she has learned treating cancer patients.


DON’T FORGET:

Our free Medical Cannabis forum is happening on June 21st, 2017

Come out and hear from panelists, like Julie, about what’s up-and-coming in the field of medical cannabis and what that means for you.

Register Here!

Name: Dr. Vincent Maida

Hometown: Toronto, Canada

Current city: Vaughan, Ontario


Number of years working in medical cannabis and what do you do?

More than 20 years!!!

How did you get involved in the medical cannabis space?

Based on my multiple patient success stories that began more than 20 years ago with anecdotal reports from patients using Rec Cannabis.

What was your first impression of cannabis as medicine?

Initially cynical, but as I began to immerse myself into the pre-clinical studies and the science of the endocannabinoid system, I became increasingly bullish on their potential.

What’s one of the biggest challenges of working in the medical cannabis industry?

Differentiating between Med Cannabis and Recreational Cannabis

What is the biggest misconception or myth about medical cannabis?

That it causes addiction and gateway effects

What resources do you use to keep up to date on medical cannabis?

International congresses and weekly PUBMED lit searches

Who do you see as having the greatest impact to the field of medical cannabis right now?

Pain and symptom management plus the potential for disease modulation.


DON’T FORGET:

Our free Medical Cannabis forum is happening on June 21st, 2017

Come out and hear from panelists, like Dr. Maida, about what’s up-and-coming in the field of medical cannabis and what that means for you.

Register Here!

Name: Lynda Balneaves

Hometown: Winnipeg, MB

Current city: Winnipeg, MB (just returned after a 20-year absence!)


Number of years working in medical cannabis and what do you do?

Since 2010 I believe and I’ve been involved in conducting research with colleagues on the access experience of patients using medical cannabis.

How did you get involved in the medical cannabis space?

I call myself an “accidental cannabis researcher” as I was approached by a community partner after they struggled to find an academic researcher willing to work with them on a research project. As I had some experience is working with stigmatized medicine (i.e., complementary and integrative therapies) as well as botanicals, it was a good fit. I feel very fortunate to have been engaged early in this field, which is rapidly growing!

What was your first impression of cannabis as medicine?

That it has a place in the Canadian health care system. As a young oncology nurse, I witnessed patients at the end of their life find much relief from challenging symptoms through the use of cannabis. And it just seemed wrong that they had to “sneak” outside (in -40 weather in Winnipeg!) to gain that relief and QOL in their final days. I feel we are just now tapping into the benefits cannabis and cannabinoids may provide across a range of conditions.

What’s one of the biggest challenges of working in the medical cannabis industry?

Well, I don’t see myself being part of the “industry” – I actually try to remain as separate as I can in order to remain impartial in my research. That being said, I see legalization of cannabis as presenting some unique challenges, including taking the focus off the possible therapeutic effects of cannabis and possibly re-stigmatizing cannabis as a recreational drug used simply for the psychoactive effect. Already we see research funding being focused on the possible social harms of cannabis use rather than the potential health benefits.

What is the biggest misconception or myth about medical cannabis?

That there has been no research conducted on it. There is a wealth of data on pharmaceutical forms of cannabis/cannabinoids that provides insight into the potential effects of herbal cannabis. Another would have to be that patients seeking cannabis are engaging in drug seeking behavior…

What resources do you use to keep up to date on medical cannabis?

With cannabis being such a new field, I actually find Twitter keeps me up to date on the latest studies that are coming out as we have a group of researchers in Canada who are very active on social media! Also, newsletters like Lift keep a close watch on the research literature. PubMed is always a source, but sometimes there is lag between a study findings being announced and being included in PubMed.

Who do you see as having the greatest impact to the field of medical cannabis right now?

I see legalization of cannabis will have both a positive and negative effect. Negative for the reasons I mention above and positive in that I see cannabis as being more accessible to patients who have struggled to gain access and for researchers who have been wanting to do human studies on cannabis but have been restricted by the bureaucracy that has surrounded herbal cannabis.


DON’T FORGET:

Our free Medical Cannabis forum is happening on June 21st, 2017

Come out and hear from panelists, like Lynda, about what’s up-and-coming in the field of medical cannabis and what that means for you.

Register Here!

This year’s annual Stretch Heal Grow yoga retreat brought 23 young women from our community together in the Muskokan woods. The wonderful thing about connecting in a retreat setting is that there really is time to get to know and trust each other in a way that allows you to open up and share your experience. There was laughter and tears and lots and lots of learning.

No one really knew what to expect upon arriving: some women had done yoga before, some not at all. Some were comfortable giving and receiving support, some were nervous about the prospect of speaking about their experience. And at the end of the retreat, everyone reflected on the ways that they were grateful and pleasantly surprised by the whole experience.

When each woman checked in to their cozy cabin they found a special care package containing items to pamper and to soothe – many of them donated by women who had attended the retreat in years before and wanted to give back. Participants enjoyed daily therapeutic yoga and meditation sessions. Mealtimes provided healthy and delicious nourishment, and spa treatments were just that: a treat.  There was also ample time to connect: group circles, one-on-one discussions, and free time to explore the beautiful surroundings. Many had a chance to try something new: swimming across gorgeous Devine Lake, getting  up on a Stand Up Paddle board, howling at the full moon, dancing in the rain – or maybe just having a conversation they may not have had.

All of this made possible by the gentle and inspirational retreat founder, Jasmin. Her vision has brought together so many women and continues to be one of Rethink’s most impactful partnerships.

We can’t wait until next year….

*Photographs by MelanieGordon.com

Support a crucial cause

Photo by Nikki Ormerod
Photo by Nikki Ormerod

This is your chance to be a part of something BIG, something that can help make a difference in many young women’s lives. Become one of Toronto’s young philanthropists by supporting Rethink Breast Cancer’s mission to empower young people worldwide who are concerned about and affected by breast cancer.

Dress up in a wild outfit


21419946173_808791c49f_bThis year’s Boobyball theme is Paradise City. Think Miami glamour meets Costa Rica Jungle. Some of the city’s most stylish come out to Boobyball and it’s a chance to show off your creativity and style, whether you go full-out costume or keep it classy in a (palm leaf) cocktail dress, Boobyball is a chance to get dressed up with your best friends and party the night away.

It’s in Paradise City

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Last year’s space theme blew us out of this world, this year it’s bound to bring out your wild side. In Paradise City, guests are immersed into a luxurious oasis filled with electric sunsets, majestic beats and tiki treats.

Enjoy some tasty treats and sip on signature cocktails

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Sample food from some of the city’s best restaurants and gather around the watering hole to sip on luscious libations by Tito’s, Beau’s and Meiomi.

More than just a pretty face

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Boobyball is known for their amazing sponsors and out of this world activations. Indulge and embrace your night in Paradise at the beauty bars or monkey around in the Topshop jungle gym, there is something for every party animal.

BONUS: Take charge of your best breast health—in style

photo via www.parkdaleroadrunners.com
photo via www.parkdaleroadrunners.com

Participate in our #mypackgoals challenge from September 19th-28th and you could win a VIP experience for you and 9 friends at Boobyball Presents: Paradise City.

PLUS! Make sure to check out this year’s Boobyball auction live online from October 10th-28th at boobyballauction.com!

Feeling the FOMO? Tickets are on sale now at boobyball.com.

Bummed summer is over and need an epic party with your friends?

Is your inner philanthropist telling you that you could throw an amazing fundraiser if you had the right tools?

Miss your chance to attend this year’s Boobyball and want to get a head start on securing next year’s tickets… for free?

Want to support Rethink Breast Cancer and win some great prizes?

We’ve got you covered!

Supporters from across the country can host their own #MyBoobyball party at home for friends to raise funds for Rethink!  For the first time we are adding a national campaign to the successful Boobyball machine! Those who cannot attend the big parties in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Winnipeg (or can’t wait until next year!) will be able to host their own Boobyball at home and use our Peer-to-Peer software to raise awareness and funds for Rethink’s important work.

Have fun with the outer space theme with a glow-in-the-dark cocktail party, gather your geekiest friends for that long-overdue Star Wars marathon, howl at the full moon on November 25th or knock your kid’s socks off with an out-of-this-world dance party!

Win big for your efforts!

The top fundraiser will win a stellar GRAND PRIZE – a trip for you and 3 friends to attend a Boobyball of your choice in 2016! You’ll get to pick your party, invite your besties, and hop on a plane to hit the hottest party in Canada! Accommodation is included, plus you can shop for the best Boobyball look with a $1000 H&M shopping spree!

And help make real change!

Rethink Breast Cancer is an organization like no other in this galaxy. We are internationally recognized – existing to educate, empower, and advocate. By giving young people concerned about and affected by breast cancer a youthful, modern voice we WILL change the future of the disease for the better!

It is amazing what a group of connected young people can do to inspire change and improve the lives of young women with breast cancer!

SIGN UP TO GET STARTED!