Utah in the Weeds Episode #40 – Utah Medical Cannabis Patient Valerie Blaylock

What to Expect in this Episode

Utah in the Weeds hosts Chris Holifield and Tim Pickett began 2021 with Episode 40 and an interview with Medical Marijuana patient Valerie Blaylock. As a Medical Marijuana user for more than 10 years, Blaylock says she has a special relationship with cannabis.

Early on, the conversation focused a lot on different strains and how Valerie uses them to cope with multiple medical conditions, including MS. [01:26] It was a fantastic discussion from a management standpoint. The three talked about how different strains can be used at different times, depending on a patient’s needs. [04:03]

That led to a discussion about journaling cannabis use. [05:29] The idea here is to keep track of what works and what doesn’t so that patients can always make the best use of the products they buy. A journal is also helpful as a ‘shopping list’ so to speak, making it easier for patients to ensure they get the right products with every visit to the dispensary.

About a third of the way into the podcast it was revealed that Blaylock is also a patient navigator at utahmarijuana.org. [08:52] Her long history and personal experience with Medical Cannabis makes her a valuable resource to the organization. Patients love her, too.

About half the podcast was devoted to an excellent discussion about vaping versus smoking Medical Marijuana. [15:50] Valerie brought a lot of experience to the table, talking about a variety of vaping devices. Tim encouraged smokers to give vaping a try, explaining that it’s safer and quite a different experience.[18:16]

Chris, Tim, and Valerie wrapped up by mentioning a few predictions for 2021. [35:07] They generally agreed that this year could be the year Medical Marijuana is decriminalized at the federal level. If this is the case, then it could open up the door to more access for more people.

Resources in This Episode

Podcast Transcript

Chris Holifield: This is actually the first episode of 2021, episode 40 of Utah in the Weeds. My name is Chris Holifield.

Tim Pickett: I’m Tim Pickett.

Chris Holifield: And we have a very special guest today. The first episode of the year, we figured let’s bring a patient on. Valerie Blaylock, is that how you pronounce your name, Valerie?

Valerie Blaylock: It is.

Chris Holifield: Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, and being willing to kind of share a little bit of your story or a little bit of your cannabis usage and your history there. Was there anywhere special you wanted to start with this one, Tim? Or do you want to kind of go way back here with Valerie or how do you want to do this one?

Tim Pickett: That’s a good question. I think the exciting thing about Valerie is she has a lot of personal experience, she has a good relationship with the plant, is that true, Valerie?

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah. I would say that that’s very true.

Tim Pickett: Yeah. So I think this episode we just see where it takes us, Chris. We’ll see where 2021 takes us.

Chris Holifield: Now, Valerie, when you say a relationship with the plant, what do you mean by a relationship? Is this as far as growing it, as far as using it for years and years and years? Let’s talk about that relationship there.

Valerie Blaylock: My relationship with cannabis has actually I think evolved. At first I started using it to kind of cope with my chronic pain. I have constant sleep issues, and at one point I was on opiates, Tramadol, which they told me wasn’t an opiate, but is, and a bunch of other medications, and I think at one point I was on like 20 medications or something ridiculous. I was initially diagnosed with MS. So a lot of complicated medical conditions that were really hard to manage, and I did what I could. I got it where I could. I tried to source it as best I could, but the problem is when it’s not legal, people will do what it takes to take care of themselves, and honestly it was one of the few things that worked.

Chris Holifield: How far back was this? Just for a little bit of a timeline, are we talking 20 years here? We talking 10 years, we talking 40 years? What are we talking?

Valerie Blaylock: I would say consistently, consistent use of cannabis would be probably a solid 10 years as far as for treating medical stuff. Of course 16, 17, probably a little bit younger than that, I used it to escape at first, honestly. I have an addictive personality, and if it’s a thing I can get addicted to it. I struggle with my relationship with cannabis sometimes, but especially now, especially having access to strains that I can count on and things that I can experiment with, that has really enhanced my ability to cope with my depression, to cope with my medical stuff, to cope with my addiction actually, because I can be very deliberate about it. I can be very deliberate about the strains I choose in those moments, or do I use a tincture or do I use flower or do I use both? Do I use the high THC, do I use high CBD or both, some combination of it.

So I look at this as, the interesting thing is sometimes when I use a strain it affects me one way, sometimes I use a strain it affects me another way, and I really think, I worked with herbs in the past, and it is very, very similar. There’s, for lack of a better term, there’s an energy to the plant. When you approach an herb or a plant on it’s own terms, I think that there’s a relationship that happens almost an agreement, like okay I’m willing to see what you have to give me and to work with that. It’s so easy to take that pill and not be conscious of it.

Tim Pickett: You know, Chris, we’ve heard this before, like Valerie talks about, how having consistent product selection and consistent access has made a big difference in your ability to treat your condition, or to use it medically, or to use it for whatever really you want, but consistently. Not just getting it wherever or buying a bunch at once and then using the best stuff first and being left with oh I’ve got this bag of gummies, they’re okay but it’s all I’ve got.

Chris Holifield: And hoping you can find similar down the road again because it worked so well.

Tim Pickett: Sure. And I don’t think anybody keeps, before you were able to get it here, Valerie, were you somebody who kept a journal of what you used before and then would go back and seek out the same brand and the same strain? Or was that just something that, I don’t know anybody who does that.

Valerie Blaylock: Actually I was one of those people. I did actually do my best to, when I would go I would try to keep track of at least what worked and what didn’t so that the next time I got product, because honestly, I was going out of state. So you never know. If you go every six months or whatever, you never know what they’re going to have, and things change. So even though I was trying to pay attention, again, there’s that consistent access, right? Driving six hours or four hours or three hours or whatever it is. That’s a significant commitment to do. So it is, it’s difficult. It becomes a burden, and it becomes like okay do I have enough product to last me the rest of this month, do I need to drive sooner? Do I need to plan this thing? So yeah, being able to actually have that has been enormously helpful and I have been doing my best to keep a journal now. Some days I’m better at it than others, but I have a general idea.

One of the things that I like is, and I tell our clients this too, Tim, is I understand that it’s frustrating because we don’t have, we can’t count on exactly the product we’re going to have every month, whether we’re going to have flower, what strains we’re going to have and all that, so I let them know-

Tim Pickett: That’s a good point.

Valerie Blaylock: Go ahead.

Tim Pickett: I was just going to say, we’re more consistent than before but still, we’re at the point where we’re still not, you still can’t go down and buy the strain you want every time every day.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah, and so when I’m talking to our patients, I let them know that, can I mention the actual website or not?

Tim Pickett: Oh yeah, you can mention the website.

Valerie Blaylock: Okay. So Leafly has an amazing terpene profiler now. So terpenes and CBD and CBN and all of that, so what I do is I go, if I find something that I like, so Tim you and I were talking about the Durban Poison and how the Durban Poison was kind of helping my whole GI tract and that was part of it, and then when I started to mix in some of the CBG hemp flower where I did that two to one mix with the Durban Poison, that was amazing. But, Durban Poison for a couple months. so what I do is I go on Leafly and I look up Durban Poison and then I look up similar strains.

Chris Holifield: That’s a good idea.

Tim Pickett: Oh, and then you can go to the dispensaries and you can try to find similar strains.

Valerie Blaylock: Exactly.

Tim Pickett: Oh that’s a really good idea. Okay. So to back up just a little bit, because you mentioned that you work in our clinic and you see patients and for the listeners, it’s really important, and this is part of the reason why we wanted you to come on too because you’re unique amongst patient navigators because you’re not 22 and you have a perspective not only as a patient and an advocate of cannabis but experience in a way that is difficult. I just feel like the way that you present cannabis to patients is more comforting. Do you feel like that’s one of the things that you like to do because you’re really good at it and when you talk about the strains that you’re using and the terpenes and things like that, you’re into this.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah. I am, actually. Honestly, I feel like, you know that old Remington commercial where the guy’s like, “I liked the company so much I bought it.” When I saw that you had a job opening, I became about pursuing that, because I love our clinic in that you have a very unique viewpoint. You are all about de-stigmatization first, and I think that that is absolutely critical. I’ve seen it in mental health when I worked up at Uni for eight years, and I see that. If you de-stigmatize it, patients actually tell you what their real experience is and you can actually connect and meet them where they are and help them shift to where they want to be. So for me, education, I love education. I am a freaking cannabis geek, I’m a vaporizer geek. I get obsessed about it. I’m looking into things.

So for me, honestly I’ve had people say, “What are you doing different? You are so different from a month ago from where you were.” Because I was really struggling with the pandemic and I stepped away from my previous job as a psychic reader, which I had done for almost 15 years, because that really helps me help others, and with the pandemic and with everything, I had to step away from that. I couldn’t keep myself as open. But I didn’t feel like I was being of service, and for me that’s huge. So the opportunity that you’ve given me to actually educate people and meet them where they are, some people, really, they just want give me the three times a day tincture, whatever it is, and that’s totally fine and I tell our clients, our patients that. If that’s where you want to be, just let us know and that’s where we’ll meet you. But if you want to be all into it like me and be a weirdo and all of that, we can meet you there too.

So that’s what I love about your perspective, Tim, is that the first thing that has to happen is that de-stigmatization and that look, I’m just like you and I’ve been where you are and I’m not going to make you feel stupid if I can absolutely help it. So I think it’s actually really an amazing opportunity.

Tim Pickett: I think that’s the key, is the destigmatization, that’s what I like about this podcast. We’re just talking about it like it’s kind of a normal thing. Now, what do you think about cannabis, and Chris this is kind of a question for everybody, we are all, the three of us especially, we’re all so deep in the cannabis culture in Utah and what we do, do you feel like we have a little bit of a warped view? Sometimes I think I’ve got a little bit of a warped view because it’s all cannabis all the time.

Chris Holifield: Absolutely, yeah.

Tim Pickett: And I’ve got to back up and say not everybody is in this world.

Chris Holifield: Especially when you find that one person that still has that warped idea that it’s like a gateway drug, that it’s going to open up these other doors for harder drugs, it’s like wow there’s still people like that out there.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah.

Tim Pickett: Like I don’t run into those people all the time or commonly anymore-

Chris Holifield: But when you do it’s like, what is going on here?

Tim Pickett: Yeah. I feel like that’s odd. And they probably look at us and say the same thing, like oh my gosh you’ve just drank the Kool-Aid.

Chris Holifield: “You’re just looking for a reason to get high.”

Tim Pickett: Yeah, you’re just using it as a reason to get high. It’s weird because, I don’t know as a patient, a lot of patients don’t use it all the time. Use it when you need it, don’t use it when you need it, you still need a card. I don’t have pain all the time, right? So Valerie, let’s get back to this use, because we talked about your use about the Durban Poison and then mixing hemp flower. So what’s your favorite, maybe a few quick questions here, what’s your favorite dry herb vaporizer?

Chris Holifield: What are you currently using?

Tim Pickett: All of them.

Valerie Blaylock: Yes.

Chris Holifield: Do you have a lot of them?

Valerie Blaylock: I do, actually.

Chris Holifield: That’s awesome.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah. I actually have two Fireflies, which you just started using a little bit too, Tim, didn’t you?

Tim Pickett: Yeah. The Firefly is super cool, and you are the one who told me, one of the reasons the Pax isn’t … I don’t know there’s a silicone thing in the Pax, so the silicone absorbs the flavor, and then the next round or the next bowl of flower tastes like the old one.

Valerie Blaylock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

Tim Pickett: Because of the silicone. I didn’t know that.

Valerie Blaylock: Oh yeah.

Tim Pickett: No, I didn’t know that before.

Valerie Blaylock: It doesn’t bother, I know people in our clinic even, who absolutely love the Pax, and to be honest the Pax is really, really good for people who want just something fairly simple, fairly easy, and it’s really pretty easy to clean, there aren’t a whole lot of parts, it’s just pretty simple. So I think, honestly, all vaporizers have a place. Even the crappy $30, $40 dry herb vaporizers that are going to give you maybe two or three bowls and then you maybe go out.

Chris Holifield: If that.

Valerie Blaylock: I actually encourage people, especially people who have smoked for a really long time, even some of our older folks, like our old hippy kind of people, like that generation, which is not far from me, I’m 52, so I’m not calling anybody out on their age, just saying, I think that once you get a vaporizer in somebody’s hand and they can actually experience it and realize that man, I’ve been smoking and it’s really harsh, it’s like when I quit smoking-smoking and went to vaping, and then I would be around smokers and I’d be like, “Oh my god, I smelled like that all the time?”

So I think it really is about getting a vaporizer in somebody’s hand and letting them experience that. I also think that each vaporizer, it has it’s own quirks and if you don’t have somebody that is a little familiar with it, like I obsessively watch YouTube reviews and read stuff and all the reviews, but a lot of people don’t want to do that. So that’s why I kind of like what we do in clinic as well, which is that education part. Because most people, I love, so we have a packet that we give to our patients, and in that packet there is a couple of things, Tim, that I find incredibly helpful. The first one is that spectrum, that temperature spectrum for all of the-

Tim Pickett: The cannabinoids.

Chris Holifield: Like how high you’re burning it.

Valerie Blaylock: Exactly. And at the very top with combustion, there are three things that you can access, three. And they’re like 100 different combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids and all of that. So you blow past all that medicine, all of it, and all you get are those three, it’s like two cannabinoids and a terpene, right Tim?

Tim Pickett: Yes. Primarily you’re getting the TCH.

Valerie Blaylock: Correct.

Tim Pickett: That and the plant material in your lungs, which is no good. Which we talk a lot about on the podcast, like smoking, how they want to add smoking to the available list of delivery methods and the Utah Medical Association is against it and I agree with you, Valerie, the vaping is safer, and you need to experience it. If you’ve been smoking a long time, you really just need to experience it because it’s just different.

Valerie Blaylock: Correct.

Chris Holifield: But I was curious, when you were mentioning all the different vaporizers, so you truly believe that they each offer kind of something different. It’s helpful to have multiples. I’ve always been one type who’s been like, “Well if I’m only using it at home, the vaporizer I use at home, like I use a Volcano so I’m like oh I’m home and that’s all I need to use.” But you think I might benefit from some of these other ones?

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah. I do.

Chris Holifield: Do you think it burns different?

Valerie Blaylock: I do. So there are two different, technically three different, there’s the conduction, there’s convection, and then there’s hybrids. So conduction is like the Pax. If you have a pack or if you have any kind of conduction vaporizer, you want to grind your herb usually pretty fine and you want to pack it tight. So the reason for that is you want that herb in complete contact with that surface that’s going to heat up, because you want that herb to heat up evenly, so that you get all of the components. But in a convection, where it uses warm air circulating through the herb, you actually want to pack it looser and in bigger chunks because that gives it more surface area for the air to rotate over. So the way you pack things are going to be a little different. You’re going to stir a conduction kind of in the middle.

So it’s kind of like each individual vaporizer has it’s own combination of factors that once you get to learn or once you kind of know, so I usually go, if I really want a lot of flavor, or if I want a lot of terpenes, I would usually use a convection. So I’ll go to Firefly.

Chris Holifield: Do you think most people really know what their vaporizers are though? Do you think most people-

Tim Pickett: No way.

Chris Holifield: I don’t even know what a Volcano, is that a-

Valerie Blaylock: Well it depends. Do you have the digital one or do you have the manual one?

Chris Holifield: I have the manual one. I wish I had the digital one.

Valerie Blaylock: I know, right? So they both work, I think it’s primarily convection, but from my understanding it is a bit of a hybrid.

Tim Pickett: Yeah, I think it’s a bit of a hybrid, but mostly the air passing through it, the convection.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah.

Tim Pickett: That’s the design of it is supposed to me like that, right? Like the Firefly, because you’re sucking the air through the chamber, up into, just a little different than the Pax.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah. I like the Firefly because, so let me back up a little. With the Firefly, with talking to you, Tim, about how I was actually combusting the herb, I’m like what the heck is going on here? I don’t understand. So it was literally how I was drawing, how I was packing, the fact that I didn’t stir sooner. One of the other things that I found was instead of stirring, I kind of turned the Firefly and just kind of tap it, and it kind of stirs up without even having to open up the thing.

Tim Pickett: Because you don’t pack it too tight.

Valerie Blaylock: Right. Exactly, exactly. But the thing that I love about the Firefly is the fact that it goes right from the oven, it goes across that, it has a glass vapor path. So glass doesn’t absorb, so it’s not going to build up on the glass like it does on the silicone, so you’re always going to have that consistent flavor and that consistent vapor production that goes over that glass. It’s never going to be adulterated in that form. So that’s one of the things that I like about the Firefly.

Tim Pickett: Yeah, I think the flavor of the Firefly, now that I’ve tried it, it’s the superior flavor of a portable vaporizer. It’s the superior, if flavor is a big deal, and small, do you find that you’re using your, like with the Pax, it seems like you can pack it and you can use it multiple sessions, whereas you kind of get diminished taste, right? Taste isn’t as good the second session, but you’ve still got flower in there you want to use, so use it up. Whereas the Firefly’s more of a single session, because you don’t put as much in there, and I don’t know, you tasted it after and it’s just disgusting.

Valerie Blaylock: Well I think the thing that I like also about the Firefly is that it is on demand, too. It is probably the smallest, from my understanding, I don’t know every vaporizer out there, but the smallest convection oven that’s on demand. So with it taking three seconds to heat up and it cools down and even though the case still stays warm, the actual herb isn’t still getting combusted, or not combusted but vaporized.

Chris Holifield: In three seconds it heats up?

Valerie Blaylock: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Holifield: That is ridiculous.

Tim Pickett: So to kind of explain that a little bit, a Firefly has two buttons on the side, you don’t push the buttons, you just connect the buttons, and you’re showing us on the screen here but our listeners can’t see it. You connect the two by your fingers are the connection. In three to five seconds, it is hot and ready to inhale. When you let go, it goes off. It is either on or it is off. So people really like it. So unlike the Pax where you turn it on, the Pax you turn on and it stays on until you turn it off. The Firefly you turn it on every hit, essentially, and it turns off.

Yeah, this is a good conversation about kind of three different types of vaporizers, all portable, of course you have the Volcano which is the classic desktop vaporizer, which is great if you’re going to use it and you can afford it, and the Firefly which is an expensive, for a portable, but convection. The Pax which is conduction, and a little bit different, and then your hybrids which are various prices.

Valerie Blaylock: Exactly.

Tim Pickett: Have you ever used the DaVinci?

Valerie Blaylock: I haven’t. Sorry, I’m showing you my Extreme Q. This is an airizer. I’m sorry, I would like to speak with this.

Tim Pickett: What is that?

Valerie Blaylock: This is basically a Volcano, but for like $169 as opposed to $350.

Tim Pickett: What’s it called?

Valerie Blaylock: It’s the Arizer Extreme Q. It actually has a ceramic, it’s ceramic and glass element, it heats up, it’s convection, so it heats air through it, and you can either fill a bag or it has like a hookah tube. So this is what I use at home, because-

Tim Pickett: That’s cool.

Valerie Blaylock: I couldn’t justify $500.

Chris Holifield: So there really isn’t a difference. That’s going to work just as good as a Volcano.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah, exactly. It does bags. It doesn’t work quite as well as the Volcano with bags. The Volcano, I don’t know, stores in… They’re ridiculous. They’ve been around forever. But something, I don’t know, the way it’s set up or whatever, the bag doesn’t get harsh after a while quite as quickly as the bag on the Extreme Q. So it’s just a thing, again, it’s just a thing. But if you’re going to use it at home and that’s the only place you’re going to use it and you sit in your chair next to your television, you set it up, you have a hookah, it’s basically a hookah type set up, you turn the fan on, it even has a little remote control that you can turn the fan on and off, you can turn the temperature up and down, that’s the one thing that I like about the Arizers. So Arizer is a smaller Canadian company and all of their devices, except for I think one the Air, have temperature control on the unit itself, which means that you don’t have to have an app, you don’t have to do anything fancy, you literally can change it degree by degree.

So by dialing that in, you can dial in the terpenes and the cannabinoids and all of those things that you want, specifically, degree by degree.

Tim Pickett: Okay. Explain that a little bit, because people don’t understand how the experience at 330 degrees or 350 degrees is different than it is at 450 degrees because of this terpene profile and where things are activated. Do you use this in medicating? The temperature?

Valerie Blaylock: Yes.

Tim Pickett: What’s the difference for you between, like a strain, you’re telling me that a strain, this is my experience too, a strain vaped at 350 degrees, totally different experience when vaped at 450 degrees.

Valerie Blaylock: Yep. 100%.

Tim Pickett: What’s the difference?

Valerie Blaylock: So I start fairly low. Also I use Celsius so I don’t know what the change is, but I start at between 150 and 155 Celsius which is probably 320, 350?

Chris Holifield: Oh wow. So you go low.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah, I absolutely go low, and what I do is I hit, because at that really low, low temperature, you can actually activate the CBN, because CBN, Tim, it’s just barely over 310 or something like that. So it’s super low, but the two cannabinoids that we focus on, largely, is the CBD and the THC. But all of those sub cannabinoids have their own experience. So being able to access that at the really low temperatures, you start to really taste the flavors. So you’ll have that kind of diesel-y taste, or you’ll have that citrus-y taste. All those terpenes become active at different temperatures, and all those terpenes have different effects on your system.

So for me, that’s often the difference in the strains is the active terpenes, the active cannabinoids, and that is more impactful on my medical use than whether it’s a sativa or an indica or hybrid or whatever. So does that answer?

Tim Pickett: Yeah, totally. Do you find that lower temperatures are better for daytime use, higher temperatures at night? Or vice versa? Or is it just strain by strain?

Valerie Blaylock: I would say it’s strain by strain, largely. I don’t know that I would correlate temperature with time of use, only in so far as if you go higher, you’re going to have that more activation of the THC, so the higher you go, the more THC is active. So I guess in that specific thing, I would say probably yeah, lower temperatures would be better, because it wouldn’t activate that THC as much, at least in my experience. But the question that I asked you when we were doing my visit, when I asked you, “So have you had the experience of people with ADHD having paradoxical effects with sativas?” And you were like I don’t know.

Tim Pickett: Yeah.

Valerie Blaylock: I haven’t captured that, you’re the weirdo. You’re the weirdo, I don’t have any weirdos. Because I find that a couple of the sativas, like Pineapple Express, every time knocks me on my butt and I sleep for a couple hours.

Chris Holifield: Oh wow.

Valerie Blaylock: And that is supposed to be one of the most energizing strains.

Chris Holifield: Yeah.

Valerie Blaylock: And I’ve had that with a couple other sativas where I’m just like …

Tim Pickett: Yeah. I think that just proves the point that it’s hard to get good dosing and delivery guidelines for everybody when it comes to plant based medicine in general, it really is keep a journal, try it out, figure it out, keep a low dose, and that’s okay.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah.

Tim Pickett: We had a meeting with the department of health the other day about dosing and how providers are recommending dosing, and there is so much different opinion in the expert field of Utah. This meeting was with really a handful of people who are really involved in this space, and none of us can figure out how to dose.

Valerie Blaylock: Really?

Tim Pickett: A brand new patient. The pharmacists are like, “Well, you just kind of have to try it out.” And the providers are like, “Yeah, you’ve just got to kind of try it out.” And that’s different than other medicine, and it’s hard to design a legal system for that, when every strain is different, every temperature is different, think of all the possibilities.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah. Absolutely. And how wonderful and amazing and fabulous is it that this one freaking plant, this one freaking plant has so many applications including cancer treatment. There are international studies that show improvement in lung cancer, inhaling the cannabis, it treats that. So how freaking amazing that this plant does so many things if you treat it with curiosity and respect and fascination and decide to even ask that question of, even if that person doesn’t want to get involved in any more than just an alternative thing, that opening to say I want something different than just a mindless medication, I just want to be able to take it and forget about it, I think it goes back to the fact that we’re not being mindful anymore, and we’re not being present, and being present with your medical treatment, being present with your medicine, I think makes a difference even if it’s just in your own resilience, in your own experience with that, your own empowerment.

I see it with herbs too. People go in wanting that quick fix, and you will never get it with an herb. You just won’t. So there’s this blend I think that is hard to get where you’ve got the medical professionals and you’ve got the people who are a little more whole plant and alternative and that kind of thing and it’s just like where do you come down on this. And it’s like the plant does all that, so you’ve got to come down on all that too. So yeah, totally. I can see where that would be really difficult.

Chris Holifield: I’m curious, do either of you have any 2021 cannabis predictions that you care to share? I figure since this is the first episode of the year, it might be kind of fun to look back at this episode, I don’t know, and say what predictions do we make, I don’t know.

Tim Pickett: That is a good question, Chris.

Chris Holifield: I guess I should have had you prepare for it I guess.

Tim Pickett: What do you think? Do you have any ideas?

Chris Holifield: What do I think?

Tim Pickett: Yeah.

Chris Holifield: Well I definitely think this year is the year that it’s going to be decriminalized. I definitely believe that. So that’s going to completely open up the marketplace from state to state, that’s what I think is going to happen. That’s my prediction.

Tim Pickett: The federal government is going to decriminalize cannabis.

Chris Holifield: Yeah.

Tim Pickett: That would be huge in 2021.

Chris Holifield: I believe it’s going to happen this year.

Tim Pickett: That’s amazing. I’m not going to go that far, Chris.

Chris Holifield: What do you think?

Tim Pickett: I think they’re going to have an independent study, I think the federal government is going to create an independent council to study the effects and to give us a report this year, and that’s as far as I think we’re going to go, is we’re going to get a report of how to do it, and then we’re going to hear at some point in the year there’s going to be all kinds of news articles about the possibilities and it’s going to increase the amount of talk we have about it, and it’s going to increase people’s awareness of it’s benefits.

I also, on the negative side, my second prediction is you’re going to see a couple of studies come out against the use of cannabis for things like increasing psychosis and anxiety and some of these things that are going to start the process of narrowing what cannabis is good for and what it might not be good for and we’re going to get a little clearer picture on that, or at least the beginning. Those are my two predictions.

Chris Holifield: Any thoughts on either of those, Valerie? Or any thoughts on other predictions? Do you care to weigh in at all?

Valerie Blaylock: Sure. I’m always up for future embarrassment. So I think, the fact is that this year the MORE Act was passed in the house, which means that at least in one part of our government, there is the political will to decriminalize, to make it more available for research, to make it more available in general. So I think that if the makeup of the senate changes a little bit, it is possible, not probable in my opinion, I agree with you Tim, I think it’s possible that we’ll see at least the beginnings of decriminalization this year. So in 2021.

So I would say I kind of agree with both of you, to be honest. I do think, Tim, that we are going to see some negative stuff come out. I think it needs to be framed appropriately though, because I do think that especially in mental health, there is some serious benefit in the use of cannabis. I think it’s just going to be a lot more precarious to find that point of homeostasis. So I do think that there’s going to be money in it, and I think that big pharma and people who want to do the money thing, it’s already happening, but I think established companies are going to want to get their hands on it, and I think that those of us that do connect with this as a plant and as plant medicine, we have to fight really, really hard to stop people from breaking out the components and making it into medicine, because it works better as the plant. So I think we’re going to have to decide and hold the line and I think 2021 is really when it’s going to start to make that shift.

Chris Holifield: I have a question, you were talking about the negative, your prediction was kind of the negative reviews, the negative things of cannabis. What are your thoughts on, let’s see if I can word this properly, because I don’t personally think cannabis is for everybody. I think it can react negatively to some people, so it’s kind of like if it reacts negatively to somebody is that a negative light of cannabis then or is that just negative of them? It’s kind of an interesting way to look at … I don’t know if that makes sense at all. I think so often, you and I, Tim, we want to glorify cannabis because it’s so wonderful, but I think sometimes we have to remember that it isn’t wonderful for everybody. Some people can’t handle it.

Tim Pickett: No. And I think that’s where, I honestly, it’s one of the things that I have to constantly remind myself about in this space is we’re constantly pushing for more and more access, more and more conditions to be added to the list and things like that, but because we can’t research it in the same way we can other things, we cannot find out the good and we cannot find out the bad and get more specific about what’s good and what’s bad. We all just say, well nobody’s died so let’s just all use it, let’s just give it to everybody. And I agree with you, Chris. I think this year, because we’re starting to see more specific research, we’ll now be able to start to see a narrowing of that, of who may benefit, who may not benefit. I think that might be one of the good ways to get medical providers in the medical establishment on board is if you can say, “Okay, look, we all agree, even in the cannabis field, we’re going to agree, this is who might not benefit.” Then the medical providers will be like, “Okay. See? Now we’ll get on board.”

Valerie Blaylock: I agree, honestly. I think one of the things that I hear just from my docs and from the people that I know is, “Well we don’t have enough data. Well we don’t have enough data. Well we don’t have enough data.” Okay, I get that. So how do we get more data without it being decriminalized, without us being able to have more research studies and the other thing about research studies is it depends on the question you ask too. What are you trying to capture? If you go in trying to capture the positive, you’re going to capture the positive. If you go in trying to capture the negative, you’re going to capture the negative. So I think that it’s super important to put whatever data that we do get into context and not just say, “Oh well yes it causes psychosis.” Or, “Yes, it causes anxiety.” Or whatever that is.

And I think that that’s one of the things, Tim, that I like about your viewpoint, honestly, is even though you are pushing, one of the things that you’re very clear about is we’re here to help the patient. And if I hear something that I am concerned about, I’m going to tell you. Or I’m going to tell the provider. And then the provider is going to delve into that. So I think that’s one of the things that’s really good about having cannabis providers, QMPs in specific, is that that’s all you do. That’s all you do. And if we can capture the data in some way, even if it’s just the subjective data, and get that to the docs, that right there is going to be a huge key.

Chris Holifield: I agree.

Tim Pickett: Yeah, I totally agree. This is a good — thank you, Valerie.

Valerie Blaylock: You’re welcome.

Chris Holifield: There’s been a lot of interesting stuff discussed on this episode, I think it’s been very informative. I learned a lot, shoot, I want to go out and get some more vaporizers now, now I feel like I’m missing out and I need to add a couple more to my collection.

Tim Pickett: Yeah. Absolutely. I’m glad we had the conversation about some specifics about vaporizing, because I think that we haven’t had that talk on the podcast yet, Chris, and this should be helpful hopefully for a lot of people who are curious, that curiosity. Yeah, destigmatize vaporizing cannabis right here-

Valerie Blaylock: Right now.

Tim Pickett: That’s right.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah.

Chris Holifield: What’s going on in Utah news? Anything that we need to discuss on this episode, Tim, that patients need to be aware of or anything?

Tim Pickett: So as of the release of this podcast, your letter is no longer valid.

Chris Holifield: Yeah, this will be January 1st, this episode, so new year.

Tim Pickett: So your letter is no longer valid. If you do not have a medical card in Utah, you are using cannabis illegally today, and I’m sorry to say that, but it is true. So that’s the biggest, I think that and then you have to have purchased, by statute, you have to have purchased your cannabis in Utah in order for it to be legal, whether everybody is going to follow that or not, that’s just the law. How they’re going to prove you bought it here, we don’t quite know. But those are two huge changes.

Chris Holifield: I would imagine the packaging, all those stickers and receipts and blah, blah, blah.

Tim Pickett: Right.

Chris Holifield: Yeah.

Tim Pickett: Yeah, so those are the two big announcements I see. The legislative session is going to start and then they’re going to discuss a few tweaks to the law there, but nothing is set in stone yet.

Chris Holifield: I wanted to mention, there’s finally ounces. You can buy an ounce at Beehive. Beehive has ounces, so that’s very good to know. They have a sativa and they have an indica blend, or not a blend but two different strains available. Yeah. Pay attention, I think even Sugar House Select is going to be dropping some flower off soon here, keep an eye on Instagram, that’s where I try to tell people, watch on Instagram, get their text messages, whatever way to connect so you can keep an eye when flower is dropping in all these places because that stuff is flying off the shelves.

Tim Pickett: Yeah. And I guess as a potential teaser, we probably will have a big announcement in the next couple weeks, utahmarijuana.org, Utah Therapeutic Health Center, potentially going to Utah county. So that’s in the works.

Chris Holifield: There you go, Tim. Do we have any other questions for Valerie or should we let her get going or anything else you guys wanted to talk about on this episode?

Tim Pickett: Not me.

Valerie Blaylock: I’m good.

Tim Pickett: Valerie, I’ll see you soon.

Valerie Blaylock: Oh no, that’s terrifying.

Chris Holifield: Can listeners, do you have an Instagram or anything that people can connect with you? In case people wanted to reach out and say hello or thanks for something you said, do you have an email address, or I don’t know.

Valerie Blaylock: Yeah. You can even send it to valerie@utthc.com

Tim Pickett: Valerie@utthc.com, there you go.

Valerie Blaylock: Absolutely. Reach out to me.

Chris Holifield: And Tim, how can listeners connect with you or find out more about what you have going on?

Tim Pickett: Well for us, Utah in the Weeds is found at utahmarijuana.org. We’ve got all the podcast episodes there, and summaries of them all, we’re definitely pretty much caught up now with all the episodes, and that’s the great place to connect with me, see the articles that we write and connect if you have questions about your letter converting to a card this year and getting legal again, definitely reach out to us there, you can chat with us online, but utahmarijuana.org. How about you, Chris? How about your other podcast?

Chris Holifield: My other podcast, I am Salt Lake podcast, iamsaltlake.com, go give that one a listen. It’s a fun podcast. That’s actually how I met Tim, I probably say that on every episode and everybody’s getting sick of hearing that, but it’s true. I’m having so much fun on that meeting all these people in Utah, not only people in the cannabis game, but we’re talking to food truck owners, restaurant owners, bartenders, anybody, right? So it’s been neat to see the different sides of Utah and different sides of Salt Lake City by doing that. But I also want to mention, if anybody is interested in coming on the show, to go to utahmarajuina.org, like you were even mentioning I think on one of the episodes, Tim, is even hit up the chat, right? They can go to the chat and hit somebody up and say, hey, I’m a patient, or I’m a cultivator, or whatever, and I want to come on the podcast, and we would probably let you come on, right?

Tim Pickett: Absolutely.

Chris Holifield: One more thing I want to mention, we have a voicemail line, we haven’t gotten any voicemails yet, it’d be cool if we got some. We’re thinking of just kind of starting this if anybody has questions like for Tim or myself, or questions about cannabis in Utah, or topic ideas, whatever, we might play the voicemail on the podcast, and that number is 385 215-9557. So on that note, make sure to subscribe in whatever podcast app you’re listening to this in, go check out utahmarijuana.org and iamsaltlake.com. Thank you again, Valerie, and as Tim likes to say …

Tim Pickett: Stay safe out there, guys.


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By UtahMarijuana.org
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Published January 25, 2021

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