21 | Amanda Siebert, The Little Book of Cannabis

After almost a century of disinformation, there’s a lot to learn about the realities of cannabis. Canadian journalist Amanda Siebert is up to the task. Author of The Little Book of Cannabis: How Marijuana Can Improve Your Life, Amanda has a deep knowledge of all aspects of cannabis, and how it can help us achieve better wellness. She brings fact-based reality to the discussion of cannabis, in easy-to-understand stories about how this powerful plant medicine can help with everything from sleep, to anxiety and pain relief, to creativity and better sex. We talk about case studies, phony big-pharma ads and much more. Join us and hear from Amanda in episode 21 of the Kannaboomers Podcast.

Kannaboomers (00:00): Hey it's Tom, I'm back with episode 20 of the Kannaboomers podcast. You know, there's been about 70 years of coordinated misinformation about cannabis. It really is past time to set the record straight. So I was very pleased to connect with Amanda Siebert, author of "The Little Book of Cannabis, How Marijuana Can Improve Your Life." Amanda is up in Vancouver, so she's got some experience with the Canadian model and uh, her little 200 page book is really user friendly, full of case studies and really applies a lot of science and it's very well footnoted various authoritative. So it was really glad to have her on the show and I think you'll enjoy our chat. If you liked this podcast, please leave us a review at iTunes or wherever you download and if you have a guest you'd like us to interview or any feedback at all, please drop me a line at tom@kannaboomers.com or leave us a comment at Kannaboomers with a "K"

Kannaboomers (00:53): Thanks for listening. This is, Let's Talk About Weed, the Kannaboomers podcast, CBD micro dosing, and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host. Thomas J.

Kannaboomers (01:08): So yeah, you had a little snowstorm tonight.

Amanda (01:10): Yeah, it's kind of unfortunate. Vancouver is not very good at dealing with the snow, so it took me, uh, twice as long as usual to get home.

Kannaboomers (01:18): Oh man, I hear you. Uh, San Diego's got more rain this year than I've ever seen in 35 years here. And uh, people just, they don't slow down. They just keep going.

Amanda (01:30): Yeah. I mean, it happens. So rarely hear that people think, oh, I can get away with not getting snow tires. And so I live in a city that's got a couple hills and you just hearing people spin out and uh, not, not so good.

Kannaboomers (01:43): Yeah. I grew up in Michigan, but in a small town. Oh yeah. So I, it just freaks me out when I see freeway scenes like the one I saw one the other day on Twitter or somewhere where all these cars are just ramming into each other because nobody was slowing down there. So for episode 20 we have Amanda Siebert, author of "The Little Book of Cannabis: How Marijuana Can Improve Your Life," which was published just last year. Welcome to the show Amanda.

Amanda (02:09): Thank you so much for having me, Tom.

Kannaboomers (02:10): The book came out in the fall?

Amanda (02:12): Yes, it came out on October 17th, which, uh, in Canada was the same day that cannabis was legalized across the country.

Kannaboomers (02:20): Perfect timing. Nice. And you continue to be a journalist as your day job, in addition to being an author?

Amanda (02:26): Uh, yeah, sort of a, right now I'm doing a little bit of everything. Some journalism work, some copywriting work, so I sort of just brand myself as a writer.

Kannaboomers (02:33): And now you have a great specialty.

Amanda (02:35): Yes, I do. I mean, cannabis, there's so much to discover and so much to learn about it and I've only just begun

Kannaboomers (02:43): The legalization thing. Uh, you know what's happening in California. I know it's on going up there and we've talked about it before. It's not really a binary state. There's a lot of evolving that has to do to get it right.

Amanda (02:55): Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, um, you know, you hear it said very often in Canada that this is a legalization 1.0, you know, it's the beginning. And so, um, like anything, you know, there are certain kinks to be worked out, but I think it really speaks to, um, how progressive a country Canada is and really, uh, I think it sets a bit of an example for other countries. We sorta did see, you know, after October 17th when Canada legalized cannabis on a recreational level, it was a little bit like a domino effect. You saw a few countries, um, legalizing cannabis on the medicinal level or at least considering legalizing it on a medicinal level. So I really do think it's sort of a, the beginning of a change worldwide. Hopefully

Kannaboomers (03:41): Yeah. Uruguay came on board, South Korea. I'm not sure who else yet. But yeah

Amanda (03:45): Definitely. I mean, just, I'm hearing a country like England or the United Kingdom, pardon me, discuss, um, you know, the possibility of, of legalizing cannabis medicinally and, and bring it in. And you know, especially because there's a lot of, um, I mean, worldwide, there's a lot of stigma, but particularly in the UK, you know, you hear about that. So, uh, it's refreshing to see governments across the world sort of looking at the substance in a different way.

Kannaboomers (04:11): Kannaboomers, we try to put content up for baby boomers, but I think there's a lot of other listeners as well. People my age have lived through being lied to for a long time, but we knew that this weed was not evil. It was not going to cause you to scramble your brain or anything. So there's sort of a, a new look at it a few decades later and we have a lot more information about what it does. I really like the way your book is laid out, where you start with the kind of the first thing it can do that can really help your wellness is improve your sleep.

Amanda (04:44): Totally. I think sleep is such a huge, um, a critical area for people and one that so many of us, um, you know, suffer from issues related to it. So, uh, whether you take a long time to fall asleep or perhaps you're like me, you find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night. This is something that personally I've, I've found cannabis to help with. And, and of course, you know, um, anecdotally you hear that cannabis users find that if they're using cannabis for a specific, um, a specific ailment, whether that be pain or stress and anxiety or, or, or what have you, that one of the, um, positive effects of their uses, they, they experience improved sleep. Uh, I said anecdotally, but there's also lots of, um, research to back that up as well. So, um, there are a number of ways that cannabis can help you with your sleep.

Amanda (05:37): And, uh, one of them for sure is a decreasing, uh, sleep latency. That's just a fancy way of saying the time it takes for you to fall asleep. Um, but of course other ways as well. It all depends on, on your body and your, um, your makeup and, and your, your personal endocannabinoid system. Um, but THC has definitely been shown to help with decreasing sleep latency. And also, uh, it actually increases melatonin production in the brain. So if, if you've ever taken a melatonin for, um, for something, you know, maybe you've been on a trip and you want to get your sleep schedule back on track, you've used melatonin and you know that it does help you sleep. So, uh, another positive effect of THC on sleep.

Kannaboomers (06:20): Yeah. Getting good sleep is so foundational to just feeling well and feeling better the rest of the day. The opponents of legalized cannabis have always said, well, the whole medicinal thing is just a ruse. It's just people who want to get stoned, and sit around. But what you find I think is A, it can help you sleep. And then B, you may discover along that route that it helps you relax and there's other relaxants that are a lot more damaging to your body.

Amanda (06:48): Absolutely. I mean, I'm sure myself, you know, using cannabis, that was one of the first things I realized. And when I began using it, it was sort of more as a recreational kind of, um, substance. But I quickly learned that, uh, you know, there were positive medicinal benefits as well on my health and wellness. You know, I mentioned sleep, but as well as stress and anxiety. You know, when I started using cannabis consistently I was in college, uh, I'm sure, you know, college, um, many of you are, are aware. It's a stressful time. Um, and I found that when I was using cannabis in that instance, uh, I was using, not only was I consuming less alcohol, but I, you know, I was sleeping better, I was more relaxed. I was able to work through my studies more effectively. Uh, I wasn't arguing with my parents as often. Um, and yeah, I think that, you know, that relaxation that is, is really another, um, uh, not just relaxation, pardon me, but you know, reducing stress and anxiety that's among the top three reasons that cannabis users actually decided to consume is because it brings that sense of relaxation. And I think, you know, um, our, our current world, you know, the state of everything, uh, requires that you have some way to, to relax and to calm your mind. And, um, for so many people, that's cannabis.

Kannaboomers (08:07): Absolutely. I mean it's, modern living is so a stressful enterprise. Some of the other things that you get into, um, you know, helping support people who have cancer. There's lots there.

Amanda (08:20): Definitely. Now this is an area that, that people who are perhaps doubters of medicinal cannabis, they, if they scoff at the idea of cannabis, um, helping people, you know, get rid of or manage their cancer. Um, and the way I sort of covered in the book is I speak about cannabis as a way to sort of, um, potentiate or assist those, those traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Uh, and, and what I'm, I mean by that is, you know, it's been shown that cannabis can actually help those, um, those treatments work more effectively. Um, you do hear of people using just cannabis too, um, qual, their cancer. Uh, but I'm very, very hesitant of using the word cure around cannabis just because it's been shown. Um, you know, through, through some of the experts that I spoke with and in, in studies that, um, in order to keep cancer out of the body, you need to continue using cannabis.

Amanda (09:11): And so, uh, that for me is why I will never use the word cure around cannabis and cancer, but I do firmly believe that it can be an effective, um, uh, medicine for, for cancer patients. And you know, yes, of course. Um, there, there are studies to show that cannabis can help to kill cancer cells. Um, but also, you know, uh, the, that end of life stage that the troubles that come with, um, having cancer, perhaps the anxiety, the depression, uh, then nausea. Um, cannabis has been shown to be super, super effective, um, in those other areas as well. Not just in treating and killing cancer.

Kannaboomers (09:53): Pain management. Right?

Amanda (09:54): Oh of course, yes. I can't believe I missed that. Pain management is huge.

Kannaboomers (09:58): We all know that opiates have been a catastrophe. So here's a nontoxic, uh, substance that has never killed anybody, and can at least let people compartmentalize their pain, um, and deal with it.

Amanda (10:13): That's an interesting way that you put it. Compartmentalize. Cause I was just thinking of, um, like in my book I interviewed a gentleman by the name of uh, Mark Ware he's a physician in Montreal in Canada and he also works out of McGill University. Um, and what he told me about his experience in treating individuals who suffer from chronic pain is that across the board, many of them have sort of described the way cannabis works in a similar way in that they say that, um, how does he put it? I have to get it right, otherwise it's not as effective. Um, cannabis, uh, helps take, or doesn't take the pain away for me. It takes me away from the pain. So I think their use of the word compartmentalize really works there. And I think it's, um, such a kind of profound way of describing it.

Amanda (11:01): I mean, you know, in his experience as well. Um, cannabis has also been shown to be a much safer, um, treatment for pain. And then so much of what is already out there, I mean, you mentioned opioids. Um, I, you know, I totally understand the place of prescription, a prescription drugs, but I think they've definitely been overused and overprescribed and as a result, we're seeing, you know, this crisis that has sort of taken North America by storm and, um, you know, I am hearing whispers that there are more and more physicians that are looking to cannabis as sort of that first line of defense. And I really hope that that trend does catch on. I think that would be a really effective way of, uh, or, or could be an effective way of, I'm starting to sort of chip away at this opioid crisis.

Kannaboomers (11:48): You've got a chapter on it towards the end, right? About the exit drug?

Amanda (11:52): Yes, exactly. It's great how this is all segueing into the next thing. Um, so that to me is definitely something that really, um, has also, it has potential, I think. Um, you know, it's funny you mentioned that, that we've been lied to our whole lives about cannabis. You know, for my generation, the thing we were taught was that cannabis is a gateway drug and it's going to make you use cocaine and heroin and then all these other things. Um, and what I discovered in my research is that not only, uh, is that sort of gateway drug notion false. It was, and it certainly was, pardon me. It was applied to tobacco. Um, and the 1940s, that's sort of where that term actually came from. Uh, the gateway drug. And then, um, you know, uh, it got sort of hijacked and was used to describe cannabis.

Amanda (12:42): And so since we, I guess, or the 1970s or 1980s, we've thought that, oh, yes, cannabis can lead you to use more harmful substances. But what we're discovering is that in fact, um, it can be used as an exit drug. And what that means is that it can help you to, uh, reduce or eliminate, um, the number of, uh, other substances that you're using, whether it be alcohol or opioids as SSRI's. And we're seeing a huge increase in research that shows cannabis can actually work as a great substitute for a lot of these other things that people have, you know, become accustomed to using. Um, and it's a little bit counter intuitive for people who may have been raised with this gateway drug, um, theory. But I think it's also very, um, you know, reassuring, uh, and you know, perhaps will provide us with a way to sort of, um, you know, work on this opioid crisis a little bit. But also, um, you know, some of the earliest research, uh, that sort of, um, uh, examine this, this concept came out in the 1940s is about alcohol. So there's lots of ways that cannabis can actually be used as a substitute or, or an exit drug as I put it in the book.

Kannaboomers (13:57): One thing it brings to mind for me is a book like this, you can hand it to people. It's fact based. And again, you know, we talk about having been lied to for 70 years. There, there was a propaganda campaign that, uh, was, was quite successful in convincing generations of people that this was a dangerous substance. And is there a countervailing, um, pro cannabis side where when you hear some of the things about CBD, it's just fantastic. It's almost like unbelievable everything it does. So what I really appreciated about your book is it's well footnoted. It's well referenced. You back up every assertion with the available science and that's the kind of work that we have to do to get this book in the hands of doctors and, and other and policy makers and people who are making decisions based on the facts and not folklore and not paranoia or propaganda.

Amanda (14:52): Absolutely. I mean, I think there's definitely a, a middle that we haven't quite found yet. We have, you know, some, some really extreme beliefs on either side about what cannabis can do. And, um, for me it was very important to have all of those, um, things referenced in my book. Um, you know, I'm a writer, I'm not a doctor or a scientist. Um, but in being a journalist, you know, had, um, I'm able to sort of examine these questions and look at the research. I mean, one thing for me that was kind of frustrating to hear as a journalist before taking on this book was, oh, we don't have enough information. There's not enough research. Um, and what I was finding that, you know, there, there was research and perhaps, you know, uh, it was buried or, or, or worded in a way that was not accessible to people.

Amanda (15:39): Um, and of course, you know, there is more to be done. I think now that cannabis is legalized in Canada and, and, um, you know, other places around the world, we're able to research it in a more nuanced way, um, in a way that really represents the way cannabis is actually used by consumers. You know, a lot of the time in studies you see isolated THC or isolated CBD being used. And oftentimes that's not how people are actually using cannabis. You know, the products that they're using have a little bit of everything and perhaps they're, uh, in oil and perhaps they're, they're smoking flower. And, and so now we can really look at it in that way. But um, yeah, this, this, this kind of idea that there's not enough research. Um, I think, you know, that's a, that's about to change. I think a lot of the people that prescribed to that idea, um, soon will not be able to make that statement anymore. And that's my hope anyway.

Kannaboomers (16:34): Well, yeah, I mean for a long time in the U.S. I think there was one farm in Louisiana that grew some kind of lousy weed that was the basis for any clinical study that was approved. But yeah, hopefully that's all going to blow up pretty soon.

Amanda (16:50): Definitely.

Kannaboomers (16:50): I mean there's, there's a lot of money running into it right now. I mean, you can see some stocks that are, people are investing a lot and it's a very interesting time in this industry. Are you covering or are you still covering cannabis for other publications?

Amanda (17:07): Um, right now I'm doing a little bit of work for a publisher publication called Leafly. They have a, and think they're in the states as well and in Canada and all over. Um, I've been writing a few odd things here and there. Um, I actually wrote my first piece for the New York Times in November, which is incredibly surreal and I'm still sort of like, oh wow, I can't even believe that happened.

Kannaboomers (17:29): Congratulations. That's the big time.

Amanda (17:30): Thank you. Yeah. Um, so am I, I am trying to, um, work on a couple of journalism pieces here and there. Uh, and then as I mentioned before, I do a little bit of work for different companies in the cannabis space, uh, up in Canada and I am actually chipping away at a proposal for a second book. Um, so yes, it's definitely a busy time and exciting time. Um, and I am sort of just eager to see what happens, you know, not just here in Canada but around the world, especially in the United States.

Kannaboomers (18:04): When you first sat down to write this. What kind of challenges and obstacles were in your way? Do people go, "Are you crazy? Why would you do that?"

Amanda (18:11): Um, no, actually I found that people were quite receptive. Um, people were very generous with their time, you know, um, the way I structured the book, I start each chapter off with a case study where I spoke with an individual, uh, who uses cannabis in a specific way. Um, and, and everyone I, I approached or, or, you know, I sort of just threw it out there on Twitter. Hey, would you be willing to chat with me for this? And I got more responses than I knew what to do with, um, you know, and then when it came time to speak with experts and researchers and scientists and physicians, um, you know, they're all incredibly generous with, with, um, with their knowledge. And I think that's one thing about this industry that it's, it's, it's quite, uh, I dunno, I'm going to use the word like magnificent because, you know, there's such a dearth of, um, of understanding on some level.

Amanda (19:01): And so when people are open about their, their knowledge, uh, you know, they're willing to share their, their, their research and speak to me for 45 minutes to an hour or more. Um, you know, that's something that I can translate. And, and, um, you know, present to, to readers and I think, uh, that's great. That's how we really start to break down the stigma, you know, associated with cannabis and people who use it. But we also provide people with information about something that, you know, perhaps they've never been exposed to or they've been afraid to. So in terms of challenges, I mean, I guess I would say the biggest challenge was time. Um, I was working a full time job at a newspaper while I was writing this book. And so I, uh, worked myself to the bone. But, um, I would say that, you know, it was really a wonderful process. Um, and people were like, I-I, I'm stumbling over my words here because I'm, I'm still like stunned that people were so generous with their, their personal stories and, and their knowledge on the subject.

Kannaboomers (20:07): Yeah. Well, I've done some freelance too, and it's evenings, the weekends and yeah, you can really get run down.

Amanda (20:13): Absolutely it's like nonstop. So trying to take a little bit of a break, but, you know, it's a busy time in the industry. So, um, working vacations, it is, I guess,

Kannaboomers (20:22): Can I ask, is the second book about cannabis as well?

Amanda (20:26): Yes. Uh, it will be about cannabis and what I would like to do in the next book without giving too much away. Um, is sort of focus on, uh, the discussions around cannabis and mental health and I think this book will probably be far less prescriptive and more of an exploration of the research and the subject matter and, um, you know, lots of conversations with experts and stuff because it is a much more sort of nuanced area. Um, and something I'd really like to explore.

Kannaboomers (20:56): Well there is a book out about the connection between cannabis and schizophrenia. There are a lot of...

Amanda (21:02): Oh, is this the Alex Berenson book?

Kannaboomers (21:04): Yes.

Amanda (21:05): Yes. Yeah. Um, I, I've heard a lot about that, that's been in the media a lot lately. And so that, um, kind of, I wouldn't say that it had anything to do with my, um, decision to focus on mental health. It's funny that I sort of made the decision then, and then a few weeks later this came out in the news that this book had been written. And, um, yeah, I mean, I, I think that, uh, it just sort of speaks to, um, all the different opinions and beliefs that we have about cannabis, the stigma associated with it. Um, the residual ideas, uh, these prohibition era kind of ideas that, um, you know, some people still feel the need to proliferate. And so, um, yeah, I don't, I haven't read the book so I can't say much about it, but I think that when it comes to something like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, you know, these are very, um, tricky, uh, conditions, schizophrenia.

Amanda (22:03): And we know we have studies that show that individuals who are predisposed to it, if they consume cannabis, that they may bring that out. Um, but we also have research to show that individuals who use schizophrenia, um, a lot of them really like to use cannabis to treat their symptoms. And so, uh, rather than, you know, presenting, uh, is it this or that? I think I would like to sort of explore those nuances. Um, and yeah, a much much kind of heavier subject, so probably won't be a little book of cannabis per say.

Kannaboomers (22:37): Yeah, that's a big undertaking, but it's important to, um, I wish you luck on that, that that will take some time. For sure.

Amanda (22:45): I'll probably need it.

Kannaboomers (22:48): Um, you know, uh, the US is maybe on its way to federal legalization. Fingers crossed. I mean the states we're at I think 32 states now, um, between 11 or 12 where it's for adult/recreational use and then the rest are for medical use. But, um, so more than half of the states and, uh, you know, some of the people running for president and the next round are going to be pro cannabis. Um, what, what can the United States learn from Canada?

Amanda (23:23): Oh, that's a great question. Um, I think for myself, one of, and, and you know, for a lot of people in Canada, I think one of the biggest things that the federal government missed, um, was presenting, uh, individuals who have a criminal record for cannabis with some sort of, um, expungement option. I think it's kind of like gross oversight to legalize a substance and then leave behind all of these people who did time or, you know, maybe now they're having trouble finding a job. They can't cross the border, they can't travel anywhere. Um, those people deserve some sort of apology, some sort of recognition, some sort of opportunity to come back from that. Um, so for me, I mean that's the bit, if the United States, you know, legalized cannabis and offered people an opportunity for expungement, I think that would be incredible. Um, I think it, you know, in other areas for sure.

Amanda (24:21): Um, I mean, it's already happening in the United States, but, um, just the, the structure of things, I'm sure it'll be different because you know, of the state versus provincial system in Canada. But, um, yeah, there's just the many levels of government that are all allowed to sort of make different decisions on who can smoke where and, and what's legal and what is it in terms of, um, consumption, uh, those sorts of differences from province to province. Make it a little bit, um, confusing. Um, but I think, yeah, the biggest thing for me is that sort of expungement piece, you know, providing people with, um, an option to have their records cleared. Um, you know, if everyone else is allowed to, to use the substance without, um, without any sort of, um, you know, arrest or, or penalty, then I think it's time to, uh, provide that to the people who, who perhaps made a mistake or, or what have you, when it was prohibited.

Kannaboomers (25:25): And there are millions of those people.

Amanda (25:27): Oh, I mean, in the United States. Yeah. I won't get into it. And that's, we can do a whole podcast on that.

Kannaboomers (25:32): It's a, yeah, it's a social justice issue. Really.

Amanda (25:36): Absolutely.

Kannaboomers (25:37): It would be huge. There are still vested interests who are out there telling, promulgating the narrative that this is a dangerous drug. Oh, you know, there is the alcohol industry, obviously the prescription drug industry, these have a lot to lose if we all clean out our medicine cabinets and use this for pain and for insomnia and for anxiety. And...

Amanda (26:01): Definitely, yeah, organizations like, um, SAM you know we had, I think, uh, before, um, legalization occurred in Canada when we had all of these hearings. We had individuals from SAM, uh, come up and speak to our government. And I remember watching that and just thinking, wow, like, you know, this is something that we're thankfully moving past, but it's still so, um, uh, just to see it that way, I just, yeah, it said, because I know that there are so many states and in, in the United States I have great, you know, cannabis and then, you know, you still have these people who think it's absolutely terrible and want to convince everyone that it's, you know, going to make people violent and all these other things. So...

Kannaboomers (26:43): What is SAM? I'm not familiar with that.

Amanda (26:45): Um, I'm forgetting the, let me just look it up and forgetting the name of the organ- with the, um, Smart Approaches to Marijuana is the, is the, uh, it's a nonprofit organization, but essentially they're, they're very opposed to legalization and commercialization and they think that, you know, it's tobacco 2.0 and um, yeah, it was kind of interesting to see them come and present their ideas to the Canadian government.

Amanda (27:10): Um, and uh, yeah, it's, it's uh, uh, it's founded by, or there's a man and the man in charge of it, his name is Kevin Sabet.

Kannaboomers (27:19): Ok. Yes, I've heard his name before. Yeah. Yeah. Has this book kind of propelled you into the spotlight and are you comfortable? If that is so, uh, being a spokesperson for this cause?

Amanda (27:33): That's a great question. I mean, as a, as a journalist who is often, you know, in journalism school, they tell you that the writer is never part of the story. Um, so it's sometimes strange for me to be on the other side of, um, the interview process, asking questions or answering questions rather than asking them. I will admit I'm a little bit, um, I'm a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of constantly or not constantly, but yeah, it's, it's, I'm, I'm stepping outside of my comfort zone, let's put it that way. But I really, honestly, uh, I feel that tinge of anxiety for a moment and then I get talking about something I really love to talk about. And then I see the way, um, people's, you know, faces change when, when we talk about these stories of, um, individuals lives really being, being saved by, by this plant. Um, it gets me excited and then all of that anxiety kind of melts away. Um, and yeah, I mean, I am very, um, happy to sort of advocate for, um, for cannabis and for cannabis users. Um, you know, I am myself a medicinal cannabis patient. Um, I use cannabis for PTSD and, you know, I, I, I've seen how it has affected other people's lives in such a positive way. So, uh, I am totally okay to get over that little bit of anxiety, um, for that, for that purpose.

Kannaboomers (28:56): Do you ever have to just pinch yourself and go, I can't believe this?

Amanda (29:01): Every day, every day I get out of bed and I'm like, Oh wow, this is very cool. I'm so grateful to, to be speaking about something that has brought so much positivity to my life.

Kannaboomers (29:11): Yeah. I mean, we've come a long way in 10 years. We're on the cusp, I think of big stuff to come. So the kind of work you're doing, it definitely helps the cause, I think.

Amanda (29:23): Oh, thank you. I hope it does. I mean, um, if you would've told me five years ago that I was going to write a book about cannabis and, and, uh, be sort of thrust into this industry, um, I perhaps would have doubted it for a moment. But, you know, now it just feels like the right thing. I'm just so happy to, uh, to be able to talk about it so openly. I remember, you know, having conversations about cannabis and, um, in social class in high school and, you know, it was uncomfortable for some people. They didn't, they were afraid to even talk about it. And so, um, yeah, that we're able to be so open about it that more and more people are coming out of the cannabis closet. I think, uh, this is just the beginning. So that's the exciting part for me.

Kannaboomers (30:08): Yeah. My previous guest, Abby Epstein, was one of the producers of "Weed the People" and the whole movie, the whole documentary is about sort of this underground effort to help little kids survive.

Amanda (30:21): Oh I love that movie.

Kannaboomers (30:22): Why is it underground? I mean, so shining a light on all of these stories is a huge public service.

Amanda (30:29): Absolutely. I think, you know, for so many people, the one thing that brings them, um, I guess, you know, or that allows them to sort of open their mind to this idea that cannabis can be a powerful medicinal, uh, uh, powerful medicine, um, is that personal experience, you know, and they meet someone who's used cannabis in a certain way or, or they see something like in that "Weed the People" movie, Oh my goodness. Like I think I was crying through the for like within the first five minutes, I was like, Woo. You know, it's, it's powerful stuff. And so I think, you know, the power of story to, to um, be able to share it in that way and, and let people know that, um, it's not the scary substance you were raised to think it is. Um, really, uh, has the power to, to affect change.

Kannaboomers (31:14): Yeah. The demonization of it. We're hopefully getting past and, uh, on to a better place. Do you care to make any predictions about the next five or 10 years? Um, do you have a crystal ball and do you have any insights into where we're going?

Amanda (31:28): Hmm. I wish I had a crystal ball. Um, and in terms of insights, I'm not really sure that I have any, but I can tell you sort of what I would like to see or what I, what I hope will occur. I mean, um, in, in Canada, one of the things that we're sort of experiencing, um, in terms of the legal cannabis market is, you know, a lot of the, the legal products on the market, uh, perhaps are not, um, matching the quality of what was once or it was. And still is available on the black market. Um, I'm from, uh, British Columbia. So, um, you may have heard of "B.C. Bud". Um, you know, the thing is consumers here are incredibly intelligent when it comes to their, their cannabis and they, they're very picky. And so my hope is that, and my prediction to I guess is that in time we'll see that sort of, um, will be reflected in the market because as it stands, you know, a lot of the, the cannabis that you can get legally as a little bit drier than you might like perhaps the selection's not there.

Amanda (32:30): Um, you know, uh, edibles aren't illegal yet, or pardon me, aren't legal yet. Um, and so those things are all coming. I think within the year we have, um, legal edibles and concentrates in Canada. There's some new legislation that will hopefully be coming out, um, in the winter. Um, but beyond that, I think we just need to see more of these growers who have sort of given, um, British Columbia and Canada, the name it has for cannabis. So many of these people have spent their lives, um, living and working underground and telling people, you know, they're in construction and this, and then when really they're growing this, this fabulous cannabis. And so I would like to see those really high quality products coming to market. Um, yeah. And, and, uh, along with that, you know, a sort of refocusing on the benefits that can come with cannabis, cannabis consumption.

Amanda (33:27): You know, it's funny here in Canada to me that we have this medical program that we've had since 2001. Um, but the government doesn't really like to talk about, you know, how many people are already utilizing that program and how many people are benefiting from it. Um, so along with, you know, better quality product, I think it would be great to see, um, some emphasis put on how cannabis and how our program here medicinally is, is successful. Uh, yeah. Cause right now it's sort of not really discussed. Uh, and I know for a fact that it's something that, uh, people really do greatly benefit from [inaudible].

Kannaboomers (34:07): You know, people also lose sight of the fact that it's a very personalized medicine. I didn't realize that edibles aren't already legal up there. That's kind of astounding. But there's smoking, there's vaping, there's oils.

Amanda (34:20): Yes.

Kannaboomers (34:20): There's concentrates. There's transdermal patches. It's a very versatile plant. Right?

Amanda (34:25): Oh of course.

Kannaboomers (34:25): So, you know, there's sativa, there's indicas. Some people say those have no meaning anymore, but there's different cultivars, I guess is the preferred term that are going to have different effects and each person has to sort of experiment to find out. Right?

Amanda (34:41): Definitely. Yeah, for sure. I mean, that's the thing about cannabis. It's so personalized and that's it. The reason a lot of physicians decide to stay away from it is because they're perhaps in your friend that, oh, you know, it's just so much work to take on. But, um, I think it's, it's really interesting. And, and you know, every physician that I've spoken with, um, who, who does sort of include cannabis within their practice, the thing may, they've told me about why they've done that is because so many of their patients have, you know, begun to ask them about it. Um, so I always tell people, you know, even if you think your doctor is going to shoo you away and say, no, you shouldn't be doing that. Ask them anyway about cannabis because, um, you know, the more people that are bringing this topic to their physicians, the more physicians are going to be considering it. And we've definitely sort of seen that, uh, happening in Canada.

Kannaboomers (35:39): A person who's interested in using cannabis is going to be listening more to their own body. They're going to take more responsibility for their health. And if you're the right kind of doctor, I would think you would welcome that opportunity to have a patient who's really focused on their health.

Amanda (35:55): Absolutely. I mean that, and of course the side effects I think, um, when you consider the side effects associated with some prescription medication versus cannabis, to me it feels a little bit like a no brainer. But I do respect that some people, you know, their, their bodies don't work with cannabis. Maybe they don't enjoy it. Um, uh, I, I do respect that. I'm not here to push it on anyone. But when I look at things like the side effect profile of, of certain medications...

Kannaboomers (36:22): Oh my God. Some of the commercials, I mean, oh my goodness, baby boomers and you watch baby boomer of programming, you are just inundated with these commercials for all sorts of things. And you know, some of the drugs are for the constipation you get from taking the other drugs and...

Amanda (36:38): Oh, totally.

Kannaboomers (36:38): It's crazy.

Amanda (36:40): It's crazy. Like I, I just find it so laughable that you walk these commercials and it's like people that are laughing and having a great time while the narrator's like side effects may include heart palpitations, you know, narcolepsy, like, like I'm just making that up. But you know, I find that crazy. And so I think if we're gonna, if we're going to have commercials, they can speak to these sorts of substances and tell you about the side effects, then you know, I, well like when are we going to see, um, you know, like, I feel like cannabis kind of deserves a place among all of that. Perhaps that's a lofty idea, but, um, maybe one day...

Kannaboomers (37:17): The side effects may include euphoria.

Amanda (37:19): Exactly.

Kannaboomers (37:20): A sense of wellbeing, um, a good nap.

Amanda (37:23): Perhaps the munchies not the worst thing.

Kannaboomers (37:26): Truth in advertising.

Amanda (37:27): Yeah, exactly.

Kannaboomers (37:29): So your next book, when can we look for it?

Amanda (37:33): Oh, that's a great question. Um, it's going to be in the works for a while. I would say probably not at least for a year and a half. Um, cause that's going to be a greater undertaking than this one. Um, "The Little Book of Cannabis" took me about 10 months to write. Um, and that was including research or, no, I think I had a little bit more research before that, but let's say about a year total. Um, and I think, you know, I'd like to, uh, take a little bit more time with the next one. So...

Kannaboomers (38:01): Yeah. I've done large writing projects and you get insights that you didn't have in the beginning on the third or fourth revision. You know, the reviser never stops.

Amanda (38:13): Nope. It does not.

Kannaboomers (38:16): Amanda , where can we find you online?

Amanda (38:17): Oh, right. So you can find me on Twitter @amanda_siebert. That's S-i-e-b-e-r-t uh I have the same handle on Instagram. And then on Facebook I, uh, just typing my name, Dash journalist and I've got pink hair. So you'll display the photo. That to me. Um, yeah, I uh, I thank you so much. This has really been a great chat and I hope that your listeners can get something out of this. And if you do, oh, I would love to have some feedback. Please do get in touch with me, tweet me, all of that.

Kannaboomers (38:52): Absolutely. And I'm going to urge everybody to pick up your book. It's not that little, I mean it's over 200 pages. It's got a nice little, a couple of appendices in the back, including a visual on how to roll a joint. Um, and a couple other things that are very useful too about the endocannabinoid system. So what I like about it is it's very practical. Here are the things you need to know. It doesn't, there's not a lot of ranting in it. Um, although there's a place for that. I think it's really useful and I urge everybody to pick up a copy because my copy is dog eared and as many highlights and uh, I'll be referring to it often.

Amanda (39:31): That's great to hear. Can, I'm just going to add one more thing about the online stuff. If you want to learn more about the book, it's just littlebookofcannabis.com and you can find lists there, uh, where to, where to purchase it, but it's on Amazon and all that jazz too. Thanks so much, Tom, for the kind words. I think it's great that your copy's dog eared. I love that.

Kannaboomers (39:51): Thank you Amanda.

Amanda (39:52): Well, thanks so much Tom. Um, keep in touch and I hope we'll chat soon.

Kannaboomers (39:55): You've been listening to, "Let's Talk About Weed" The Kannaboomers podcast with Thomas J. For more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at kannaboomers.com.

 

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