Episode 51 of Utah in the Weeds features a fascinating discussion with Derek Sherer, a medical cannabis patient with a history of opioid addiction. This particular episode is ideal for anyone concerned about cannabis being a gateway drug. From Sherer’s perspective, it is an exit drug. [18:52]
Derek Sherer first started using marijuana recreationally at age 17. [03:19] In the years since, he has made a point of educating himself about its medical benefits. He puts that same effort into educating his children as well. [06:51]
His transition to Medical Cannabis began as a result of an opioid addiction some 14 years ago. [09:59] After breaking his hand three times and needing surgery, Sherer’s doctors prescribed opioids. It was after the second accident that his opioid use ramped up and he got hooked.
During the discussion, Sherer spoke of how he bought opioids on the street to handle withdrawal symptoms when his doctor finally tried to get him off the prescriptions. [17:38] Over the next 9 to 10 years, Sherer was using a variety of prescription medications and street drugs. In 2016 he decided he’d had enough. He also concluded that self-medicating with cannabis would be his ticket out of opioids.
Shearer explained how using cannabis helped him overcome the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal. He also believes cannabis saved his life. Had he continued using opioid pills and heroin, he believes he would have died from an overdose.
Today, he tells his story to anyone who wants to hear it. Tim and Chris are on board, being strong believers in Medical Cannabis as an exit drug. As a side note, the guys devoted part of the discussion to talking about prices and some of the other hiccups Utah’s program is currently experiencing. [28:43] It was a great discussion all the way around.
Chris Holifield: So, this is going to be Episode 51, Tim.
Tim Pickett: I can’t get over every time you say-
Chris Holifield: Every time you get on here, you get so excited. And you know what? I’m like a kid on Christmas to watch your face just smile, because I’m like, “Okay, this podcast is actually working.” It’s actually doing what it should be doing.
Tim Pickett: It’s all because we have, really, it’s all because we have you. You stick it out, you do it, you’re good at this.
Chris Holifield: It’s our community. Without our listeners though, we wouldn’t have a podcast. So, really, you can say all that you want, but I’m going to thank our listeners for listening to the podcast every week, and downloading the show, leaving reviews, sending messages, all of that. So, who’s on the show this week, Tim?
Tim Pickett: Derek Sherer, who is an exciting guest, but we’ve finally hooked up with him. And he has a fascinating story about addiction and cannabis. And I love stories like this, Chris, because they focus on cannabis being an exit drug, instead of a gateway drug. And that is the science is bearing that out. We have patients that are bearing that out. This is a good episode to listen to, for people who are seeking knowledge about the legitimacy of cannabis as something that can help people.
Chris Holifield: Absolutely, no, I was really excited to talk to Derek. And then, when I listen back to this episode, before publishing in here, I’m just like, “Wow, everybody’s got to listen to this.” This is a powerful episode.
Tim Pickett: Yeah.
Chris Holifield: So, hopefully, listen to the entire thing. Listen to it again. Share it with a friend. Share it with somebody who you might know is struggling with the same thing.
Tim Pickett: Absolutely. And we’ll publish this on utahmarijuana.org/podcast, where we’ll have a transcript and a summary, Episode 51. If you look there, all of our episodes there, remember if you want an update on the legislative session, and what’s happening in the cannabis industry, Episode 50 with Rich Oborn was last week, which was a great episode.
Chris Holifield: So, good. Yeah.
Tim Pickett: Yeah. I’m excited to get into this with Derek. This is one that I think people should listen to, especially in Utah. This is a culture. It’s a culture breakdown.
Chris Holifield: Very cool. Yeah. Let’s get into this episode with Derek. Remember to subscribe to the podcast in whatever app you listen to this in. We have a brand-new episode, comes out every Friday, 4:20 AM. Let’s get into that conversation with Derek. Thanks so much for listening. Here we go.
Derek Sherer: Congrats to you guys on the one-year anniversary. That’s awesome.
Chris Holifield: Yeah, man.
Tim Pickett: Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s been-
Derek Sherer: Yeah, that’s huge.
Tim Pickett: It’s been an interesting year.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, it really truly has. Yeah. It’s been nice to listen to, especially through 2020. You know what I mean? I fell back on your guys’ podcast a lot just to escape and hear other people’s stories. So, I’m loving it.
Tim Pickett: That’s cool.
Derek Sherer: I’m honored to be here.
Tim Pickett: Thank you. Thank you. Well, I’m hoping to find out your cannabis story, and how you got… you’re currently a patient, a medical cannabis patient. But how did you get introduced to cannabis? Let’s go back to your beginning story, if you don’t mind sharing that. I’m always curious the first time.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, yeah, of course. Yeah. Mine came a little bit later than most people. I did. smoke a joint with a couple friends when I was 15 years old. Didn’t really spark any interest, no pun intended, but didn’t really spark any interest to me. And passed it along. 17 years old, revisited it and really, really fell in love. Just with everything that it was, it was just, I don’t know, love at first puff.
Derek Sherer: I guess you could say it, just I knew it was just something for me. I’ve never really been a big drinker. I have a family that’s got a lot of alcoholism in it. Like to have a beer here and there and everything. But it’s not something I see I could do every day, like a lot of other people do. So, yeah, this was just something that was for me. And yeah, 17, I know it’s a lot older than a lot of other people you hear, all the 13-year-old, the 14-year-old stories and stuff. But quite a late bloomer.
Derek Sherer: And yeah, just really, really liked it from the beginning. I knew it was something that was for me. And then, I really wanted to educate myself on it more. I knew a lot of other people were just treating it like a have fun party type vibe. I really wanted to know more about it, and this is back in 2002, 2003. And it’s just evolved so much, and I love learning more each and every day.
Tim Pickett: Yeah, you grew up in Utah too, right?
Derek Sherer: Yeah, yeah, born and raised here in Utah.
Tim Pickett: So, you said 17 is a late bloomer. Gosh, I was like 20 for the first time I-
Derek Sherer: Oh, really?
Tim Pickett: … I smoked weed. Is 17 late? Is that considered late for people to consume-
Derek Sherer: For the stories that I have, yeah. A lot of people that I talk to, they are really super young. I hear some people talking 10 years old, 11 years old. I’m just like, “Wow.” I’m thinking what I was doing around those ages. And it wasn’t even a thought. You know what I mean? It wasn’t a thought to me. But yeah, I get a lot of people saying that I was that late bloomer, and they’re like, “Wow, 17, it’s pretty old.”
Tim Pickett: It’s interesting that people have different… really, is it the world we live in now? Right, Chris? You, and I, and Derek, we live in this world where everybody around us uses cannabis. And it’s just part of our life. And so, for you, Derek, to say, “Well, 17 is late.” Well, in your world, I guess so. Right?
Derek Sherer: Right. Yeah.
Tim Pickett: But what’s “normal?”
Derek Sherer: That is a great question. It really truly is. I got kids myself, so I would look at like, what is a good age for anybody to partake in any kind of thing like this? And what is normal? You’re right. Because some other people see a younger version as normal, where others see, once your brain develops, obviously.
Tim Pickett: Right, right.
Derek Sherer: But yeah, what is normal I think changes day to day.
Tim Pickett: I’m going to be in that crowd, Derek.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, true, true.
Tim Pickett: When they’re 25, if my kids ever listen to this episode.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, mine too.
Tim Pickett: You can try cannabis when you’re 25 children.
Derek Sherer: Exactly. Exactly.
Tim Pickett: Okay, not before.
Derek Sherer: Yeah.
Tim Pickett: We let that frontal lobe develop.
Derek Sherer: My kids too, yeah, they’ll hear it.
Tim Pickett: But there are plenty of people who need an endocannabinoid stimulant-
Derek Sherer: Oh, 100%
Tim Pickett: … before that. So, there are places for it before you’re a fully functional adult.
Derek Sherer: Yeah. It does offer a lot. It offers so much. Like I mentioned, I educate myself so much, and dive so deep into stories. Obviously, like I said, I have kids. I’ve been an advocate for cannabis for so long. And then, I became a dad, and now I see myself as a dadvocate. I educate my kids.
Tim Pickett: That’s a cool word.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, yeah. I like to educate my kids too. I have a 10-year-old and a five-year-old. They both, they know what daddy, what he does, they know what my passion is. They’ve sat down and watched stories, Charlotte’s Web. The little girl Charlotte, this new one that we just seen that was called Waldo on Weed, really touching little story also. Six-month-old child that had a rare cancer in his eye. And parents picked up cannabis, CBD oil, and completely changed everything for this little boy.
Tim Pickett: Where’s that video at?
Derek Sherer: You’re right. It’s called Waldo on Weed. I’ve seen it on Amazon Prime. The name itself just kind of pulls you, you see roots curling across, you see Waldo On Weed. It’s like, “Oh, I got to check this out.” It’s a great story. I highly recommend it.
Tim Pickett: Yeah, I’m going to watch that after we’re done here.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, It’s amazing.
Tim Pickett: Yeah. I think you’ve got, when we talk about kids and stuff, I don’t know if I can make a universal statement about this. But I’m trying to organize my thoughts here around it. Because you have cannabis, medical marijuana, you have alcohol, you have guns, you have sex, all of these four things that we talk about with kids. And it does seem like in every case, more education and more openness leads to better choices in general, right?
Derek Sherer: Absolutely.
Tim Pickett: You hide the booze from your kids, what do they do? They go try to find it. They drink. Hide the guns from your kids, you don’t educate them about them. They go use them in bad ways. Same thing with medical cannabis, sex. Right?
Derek Sherer: Yes.
Tim Pickett: You taught classic for that discussion. We can’t teach kids about sex education in school. We have to teach them about abstinence and what do we get? We get high pregnancy rates in teenage girls. Because we don’t know how to use protection. So, cannabis is the same discussion. Be open with your kids about cannabis in a good way. Give me a good idea, Derek. Maybe we should write a book, a kid’s book. What’s in Grandma’s Garden as a book?
Derek Sherer: Oh, man. I love it. Grandma’s Garden. I love that.
Chris Holifield: Wait, is that a real book?
Tim Pickett: It really is. That’s actually real book. You can go buy it on Amazon. What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden?
Derek Sherer: You had me going there. I thought we had a deal working.
Tim Pickett: And it’s a weed book, how to teach your kids about cannabis and-
Chris Holifield: It’s awesome.
Tim Pickett: … in a legitimate way.
Chris Holifield: That’s awesome.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, I’m going to Amazon Prime that tonight, and maybe on the next book list.
Chris Holifield: When did cannabis come into your world, Derek? When did you realize you could use it on a medical level, more to help your body out instead of just recreationally?
Derek Sherer: This for me, I do fall victim to a lot of the… what a lot of people here in Utah fell victim to, a lot of the country in itself, the opioid epidemic. While back, a few years after high school, I’d say about 2006, 2007 was running with some wrong crowds, fighting, doing some damage to my hand, broke my hand three times, shattered it, required surgery on it.
Derek Sherer: They say it was too late, I’d done too much damage to it. Typical story, doctor was just pumping me full and full of so much medication that I didn’t need. I was going and filling my prescriptions at pharmacies and the pharmacist was asking me, if you don’t mind me asking what this is for, I’m telling this from my hand, and the pharmacist themselves are telling me this is way too much for you.
Derek Sherer: And younger kid right out of high school, I’m just like, I’m just taking what the doctor is prescribing me. Little did I know, it was creating massive damage to my body, to everything. I became so dependent on it, that’s when the doctor was just like, “Okay, this is the amount of time, we’re just going to take you off.” There was no weaning off process.
Derek Sherer: My body became, obviously, I went through withdrawals, and had no idea. I never really been addicted to pills. I’d never known what that feeling was. Used cannabis recreational before that, I was really never too familiar with any other drugs besides alcohol. And didn’t really know what that was doing at a young age. I was scared. So, I started looking for my medication elsewhere on the streets.
Derek Sherer: And at that point, I wasn’t even helping the pain. I was just helping the pain from the withdrawals by seeking medication through the streets and everything. So, that had turned into a quite lengthy addiction.
Chris Holifield: How long ago was this for you?
Derek Sherer: So, this was 2007 when I got on the pills, for the second time, I’d seen two different doctors from two different breaks and shatters on my hand. The second one is one it just cranked up. The first one, I was on like some Percocet, some low-end stuff. Second one, it was oxycodone 80s, and it just got out of hand. And from about 2007 until about four years ago, I’ve been off everything opiates, clean for four years, all thanks to cannabis.
Derek Sherer: It just went downhill. And I’ve seen things in that time, and went through things. It was just no person should go through. It was losing at least two to three friends every six to seven months, it felt like, all the overdoses, all overdoses. I became numb to it. I had not lost a family member until I was like 26. But in that 26 years, I had lost at least 15 friends during that time, in just a short period of time, all to overdoses.
Derek Sherer: My parents, my dad still talks about it to this day that my friends have set a record for just bodies is going down on all to opiates. And yeah, cannabis was something that I had obviously used before. It’s something that I use, obviously, just recreationally. Like I mentioned, I tried to educate myself on the benefits of it before, but never really knew the medical standpoint until I gave myself an option to look for other ways to get off this medication.
Derek Sherer: I did do the typical rehab. I went to rehab. That didn’t work. I was doing Suboxone, methadone, terrified of that. I know they have the programs and it works for some people. But that stuff is just as hard to come off of as opiates are. And I think any person that’s on that right now can tell me that’s the truth too. So, cannabis was something that I really took a shot at.
Derek Sherer: I had tried so many different things. The Suboxone, rehabs, and just told myself, I’m going to have this pain, like the doctor said, I’ll have this pain in my hand the rest of my life. That’s just plain and simple. And in the wintertime, it gets even worse. Utah can be winter in March or winter in April. So, it’s really hit and miss. But yeah, cannabis really stepped up for me, saved my life.
Derek Sherer: I truly believe it, and I owe it all to it. I educate a lot of other people that there’s other options out there. And this is just, I feel like the best alternative for anybody that’s looking to get off opiates.
Tim Pickett: How did you switch from opioids to cannabis? It sounds like you’ve been a cannabis user for a while, right?
Derek Sherer: Right.
Tim Pickett: And that’s always been part of the equation. But at some point, there was this idea that look, I’ve got to get serious about getting off the opioids. I’ve got to get serious about using something else, or what does that look like?
Derek Sherer: Glad you asked, and by all means, I’m not ashamed of anything. I’m not here to glorify anything. The glory from my story comes from me getting out of it. Plain and simple. I tell this story to a lot of people because they ask, just like you did, how did you do it? I was so deep. I’ve tried so many different things. And what was the wake-up call?
Derek Sherer: I had switched from oxycodone just like a lot of other people to opiates to heroin was using intravenously, IVs, shooting up everything. And just this one day, it was just the weirdest thing. I still don’t know what it was. I tell a lot of people this, they have their own thoughts on what it was. As I was ready to use again, I was just sitting there, and do you guys know the feeling like if you stand up too fast, you get tingling in your body?
Tim Pickett: Yeah.
Derek Sherer: Okay. So, I was sitting down, was completely fine, everything, not withdrawing or anything. And I could just feel that feeling going from my forehead all the way down my body just this tingle feeling. And it was like a snap of reality. And I just remember asking myself, is this it? Is this what you want to do the rest of your life? Is this for you? And I said, “Absolutely not.”
Derek Sherer: I broke my needle off, threw it in the garbage, picked up some cannabis, and told myself I am going to beat this. I’m going to get through this. I told my mental state that it needs to take a backseat because I know a lot of it is mental when you’re trying to get off opiates. A lot of it is obviously physical as well. But I truly believe if you can overcome the mental state, you can fight the hell out of it.
Derek Sherer: And I chose to, and through the withdrawals, through the pain that I was suffering, cannabis was the thing. I had my humor back. I was eating. I was sleeping. All of the things that a lot of these doctors can prescribe you. But there was no side effects from it. You know what I mean? There was really the side effects were hungry, happy, sleepy, all things that I could deal with.
Derek Sherer: All things that were just perfectly right up my alley. So, yeah, that was four years ago. 2016, November of 2016, November 27, and haven’t looked back since. And cannabis has been not only the thing for me, I’ve helped a lot of other friends that have been in need. I know a lot of people see me, and they’re like, “Wow, he did it.” And they have questions. And that’s the only answer I can give them. I don’t know what else it was. I don’t know if I would have made it without it. I truly, truly don’t.
Tim Pickett: Tell me why do people go to heroin from the pills? How does that happen?
Derek Sherer: That transition came honestly, I can almost remember the day, oxycodone really took off. I can’t remember around what year it was. But it really took off and was just creating damage everywhere. All over from every corner of the country. And I remember when they took it off the shelves, and the company just said we’re done with this. It was like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.
Derek Sherer: Nobody could find them and everything. So, that was a huge transition for everybody is that that became unavailable. So, somebody else just said, “Hey, I have this other thing. Cheaper, and just as strong.” And so, once that settles in, it’s just off to the races with that.
Tim Pickett: I’ve heard the same thing. It’s actually just cheaper.
Derek Sherer: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Completely, completely.
Tim Pickett: It’s like, it’s easier to get in some ways, and it’s just plain cheaper. You can’t afford the pills, so you got to switch to heroin.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, yeah. And it’s dangerous. But even more now, though, with the fentanyl that’s came in. I’m just so glad I got out when I did. It’s a blessing.
Tim Pickett: It’s interesting too, how people can label marijuana as a gateway drug when you’re using it to get off of drugs. It’s like how does-
Derek Sherer: It’s an exit, yeah, it truly is.
Tim Pickett: Why can’t we get people thinking that way, I guess?
Derek Sherer: I’ve thought that for the longest time, and you know when you have one of those ideas, and then you’re just like, this is such a great idea, and then you go to look it up, or you don’t even go to look it up, and then you just see your idea. They have a facility. I’ve always thought that for these drug and rehab facilities that they’re giving people, they give people methadone, Suboxone to help them detox.
Derek Sherer: I’ve always thought: why has no one ever tried cannabis to give these patients? There’s a place in, I believe it’s California called THC, The Heavenly Center. A music producer, Scott Storch helped fund it, and everything, and they use specific cannabis to get people off. Matter of fact, I’ve just seen today, there’s a center here in Utah that I believe is doing that now.
Derek Sherer: That is introducing medical cannabis to people who are trying to get off opiates. So, it’s amazing to see that people are taking a shot at it because I truly haven’t seen it fail. I’m a person that’s speaking the truth from it, and anybody else who has taken my advice, they’re right here with me. And it’s a blessing to see. Every time that I can see how it can heal anybody, it warms my heart. It truly, truly does.
Tim Pickett: What’s the difference between the high associated with the opioids or heroin, and the feeling of cannabis? Because I’ve talked to some people who’ve come off of alcohol, and they’ll say, “Well, I still get that craving and it’s different.” It’s not the same relief as the alcohol is. How does that work with cannabis and opioids, or cannabis and heroin?
Derek Sherer: Yeah, it’s a good question. Honestly, for the longest time, and this is probably true for a lot of users, I was never really getting high in the end. I was just getting by, and I was just getting better. A lot of addicts would chase that high. I never wanted to chase it too much, because that’s how you overdose. You can overdose off of a small amount, but a lot of people would chase it so much, and push the limit.
Derek Sherer: It was just to get by for me. It was really not necessarily taking away any pain. It wasn’t giving too much euphoria. But I do remember smoking cannabis while I was in the midst of an addiction, while I was in the middle of it. And just to quote Bob Marley on it, when he says the cannabis helps reveal you to yourself. I remember smoking while I was just got done getting high off opiates, smoking some cannabis and thinking to myself, why am I doing this?
Derek Sherer: Why am I using these opiates? I would literally have conversations with myself. And think this is so stupid. And I was so close to like, those were the close times that I had to full on stopping and quitting. So, I knew that when I had that rollover and just said, “Hey, is this it for you?” I knew that hey, every single time before you smoked, you would always ask yourself, you really got back to you. And it was the truth.
Derek Sherer: So, there was really not much more of a difference. I would say credit definitely would go to cannabis. It would obviously get you high, but it wouldn’t… to me, it was just more of a spiritual type thing. It was more of this is real, this is safe. There’s more of that hug high, more than that, like you’re just out of that kind of high. I felt the embrace every single time. But sometimes the opioids were really too strong in the moment. But since then, yeah, like I said, it’s a blessing. It truly is.
Tim Pickett: Now that you know what this process looked like for you, think about all of the knowledge of cannabis. You started when you’re 17. You’re in your mid-30s now. You’ve come a long ways. You’ve learned so much about cannabis. Could you design a program better now to get somebody like you, could you go back to you and be like, “Hey, four years ago, you’d be like, hey, man, Derek, you know what? You’re using this strain. No, no, no, you need to be using this in the morning. You need to be using this at night. You need to be using this tincture here.” What’s that look like now that you know?
Derek Sherer: Now that I know, I just want to know more. I truly, truly do. I believe I’ve become such an advocate, and such a promoter for this that a lot of people around me to talk about different things, whether it’d be neuropathy, whether it’d be diabetes, whether it’d be pain, whether it’d be anxiety. I feel like I am starting to educate other people on what, hey, this is what you need. Hey, maybe you need CBD. You don’t need THC. Maybe you need some CBG. You know what I mean?
Derek Sherer: For inflammation. There’s a lot of different things. So, I’m more trying to create this program for myself to help others to really pass the message of cannabis on, not only just for myself, for the loved ones around me, but for my kids. I truly, like what we were talking about in the beginning, what is normal for a child to start taking something like this? I can see my kids taking CBD at a very young age, given if they need it.
Derek Sherer: There’s just a lot of options outside of Big Pharma that people need to take a look at, and they don’t need to see this as a last resort. It’s very tough for me to hear when people are suffering through certain things that they say we don’t have any other choice. So, we’re going to try this. This is our last resort. So, we’re going to try cannabis. It’s tough to hear. It’s also good that they’re giving it a shot, but this needs to be the frontline. It really needs to be the frontline.
Tim Pickett: Top three, instead of the bottom.
Derek Sherer: Hands down.
Tim Pickett: Right.
Chris Holifield: What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis? What’s your favorite way there?
Derek Sherer: I’ve always been into the art form of a lot of different things. I used to roll sushi and everything like that. Rolling joints was a thing of mine. That’s for me, and my friends in the past, we tried to roll the best, and everything. I really do enjoy the vaping now. To me, back then, it was when somebody had a vape it’s like no, what are you talking about? But there’s so many benefits from it, from the vaping. Edibles, I’ve really trained my body on them, more or less.
Derek Sherer: I’m understanding a lot about how they work with metabolism, with lots of different things that you eat. So, that’s interesting to start working on the doses on that. But just really all things. There’re so many different things that work on so many different levels. But yeah, for me, I love the taste of the flower. I’m a flower child at heart, really. I love where cannabis is going, extracts, tinctures, I love where it’s going, but more kind of the old school flower child.
Tim Pickett: Yeah, there’s something about it, Chris. There’s something about the flower.
Chris Holifield: Just that right stickiness and just that-
Derek Sherer: It is. It’s the beauty. The beauty of it. There’s so much.
Chris Holifield: Right. There’s that experience of grinding it, of rolling it, or of putting it in the vape if that’s the way you consume it. Certainly, there’s a lot of people who still smoke it in Utah, even though it’s really outlawed. But yeah, that’s the thing, would you want to grow it or no?
Derek Sherer: Yeah. It’s always been a dream of mine, it really has, and especially with what I’ve been talking about is offering this as another alternative. I would love to figure out the perfect, I know there’s great strains out there for people that are coming off of opiates, but just one that’s just going to be the end-all be-all that a lot of other people can say this is going to be the one. You’re coming off of opiates, not Suboxone, not methadone. It’s this particular strain.
Chris Holifield: Yeah, that is a high goal.
Derek Sherer: It really is.
Chris Holifield: That’s a really cool project, though.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, it really is.
Chris Holifield: The right ratio of cannabinoids, even down to that where you’re going, “Okay, maybe we don’t need a 30% THC strain, we need 12%, we need high CBD.”
Derek Sherer: High CBD. Yeah.
Chris Holifield: We need that anti-anxiety.
Derek Sherer: Somewhere around the lines of the ACDC strain. I know that that’s a one-to-one strain that’s rare out there with higher CBD.
Chris Holifield: I’ve never seen it.
Derek Sherer: Right. Yeah. And you don’t, and you don’t. A lot of people are just-
Chris Holifield: You don’t see it.
Derek Sherer: … high THC. They just want them 30 percenters, and there’s more benefits in CBD, CBG, CBN, so many different things that people need to take a look at.
Chris Holifield: I know, it’s always interesting in a lot of the online forums, people get so bent out of shape about the whole of low THC, the flower in Utah is just too low. And I’m just like, “I don’t know, it’s not all that bad.”
Tim Pickett: We had some we had some discussions today with Justice Grown and they’re talking about this program as a real medical… this is a really medical program and medical programs, they’re not the same as adult use programs. We are not going to have the same products that they have in Colorado. We’re just not.
Chris Holifield: They just need to bring that price down, though. That’s hard to keep it as a medical thing, because it’s like people can’t even afford it.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, I feel real bad for a lot of the indigent patients out there that some of these prices, man, I work and I have kids, and everything like that. My dispensary buys just are just enough. But yeah, it is high. I’m just thankful It’s here. I truly am. I remember watching when Prop 2 was getting passed, I literally was up refreshing my phone all through the night, all through the night. Like come on, come on, come on, come on. And bless that it’s here.
Derek Sherer: There’s a lot of kinks in the system and in the program right now, but I’m very hopeful that they’re going to get it worked out. I think it’s just going to get better. But yeah, prices, it would be great. IAND I was really looking forward to, if patients were able to grow because that is just a huge thing. I heard you guys’ Bob Waters episode. Shout out to Bob Waters, that thing, that was amazing. I would love to get in touch with him. So, if we can link that up like that was-
Tim Pickett: But he brings up a good point, right? It’s $24,000 for his medicine per year. And it’s not covered by insurance. And it’s like 20 bucks to grow his medicine.
Derek Sherer: Yeah. And I thought about that, that 24,000 and it just made me think like, “Wow, how much is mine?” That number just put out there like his is a lot, but some are probably a lot more. But still just a lot of money in itself.
Tim Pickett: And people are going to look at that, and they’re going to say, well, it’s like a bad habit. They’re going to compare it to smoking cigarettes. If you quit smoking cigarettes, you’ll save all this money. That’s different. It’s a medicine. It’s not the same thing, right?
Derek Sherer: It is, right.
Tim Pickett: We have people with chronic pain that require this substance. And we subsidize that with insurance for all other medications, but we have no way of subsidizing it for cannabis, right?
Derek Sherer: Yeah. It’s just amazing. If people were able to grow it, I think it would just… it’s so much more of a benefit. Just being around the plant, I’m sure you guys have felt that change, and just being around the plant, you just feel a difference and everything. But yeah, it’s medicine. And if a person can grow their own medicine, why not? You know what I mean? I wish diabetics could make their own insulin. That would be amazing. There’re just certain things, it’s like, why restrict those things? But again, I don’t know. It’s new.
Tim Pickett: Yeah. We’re not the people who make the rules. We’ve got to live by those rules.
Chris Holifield: Hopefully. Hopefully, one day here in Utah, they’ll at least allow the people that are way out in the boonies, allow them to at least grow.
Tim Pickett: Yeah. And I think it’s my understanding, there’s going to be another retail license that gets out there. And that’s supposed to be designed for the rural market, so that there’s more access in those parts of the state that really have had a hard time with access so far. Because if you look at where you’ve got to travel to, anywhere south of Provo, you got to go to Provo, you got to go to Deseret Wellness. There isn’t anybody south of there. There will be, but still, man, it’s a long time coming to get these guys open.
Chris Holifield: Yeah. The program has been up for a little over a year now. And so, it’s yeah, all those patients down there. You’re pretty much forcing them to cross state lines. And it’s a terrible thing. It’s a terrible thing. You think of all these people that have never broken a law in their lives, willing to risk their lives to go get their medicine across state lines, because they have no other way. That’s a terrifying thing to think of.
Tim Pickett: Sure. And this is legitimate. You talk about coming off of opioids. And I can talk about 70% of my patients are reducing their other medications, by using cannabis as an adjunct, as an addition to their medications. It’s a big deal. We want more of that data. We want to drill down on that, but that’s a huge number.
Derek Sherer: Completely.
Tim Pickett: Seven out of 10 people using less other medications, whether that’s alcohol, opioids, sleep Ambien, with less long term side effects, in most cases than the other harsh, harsh medication. But then again, the issue is price. You got to go buy it on your own. You can’t even use tax deductible funds, like your health savings account to go buy it.
Derek Sherer: Yeah. Little things like that that would really step up and make a big difference. Yeah, and people are going to have to start looking at this. I know probably, medications are a little bit cheaper. Yes, you can use your insurance, but 2020 itself, I can see a lot of mental illness coming out from a year alone, and people requiring cannabis. That was a tough year for everybody. Everybody should have got a qualifying condition card just that year alone, just to help us through it.
Tim Pickett: Right. Like if you survived 2020, you qualify.
Derek Sherer: Yes, yes.
Tim Pickett: That should have been in the legislature.
Derek Sherer: Completely, completely.
Tim Pickett: I love it. The 2020 qualifier.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, it should be, it should be a qualifier for everybody. Because yeah, it’s something that people really need to open their eyes on. It’s not the taboo dope that it used to be before, and I know that people used to throw that word around, and call cannabis dope. And that’s probably one of the biggest pet peeves of mine. It’s not. It’s so much more. And it’s on its way. I’m happy to see it, always happy to share my story with anybody.
Derek Sherer: And anybody who’s suffering, who hears this or anything like that, they can feel free to reach out to me because I’m always there to talk. But just like I tell everybody, I’m in it as much as you are. I’ll help you as much as you want to help yourself. Because it has to come from within. A lot of people are scared. But there’s better options for everybody. And this was the one for me that completely saved my life.
Tim Pickett: What about your family and friends? Are they pretty supportive of you using cannabis or do you keep it hush hush?
Derek Sherer: You know a great question. My mom and dad, bless their hearts for going through what I went through and everything. It’s something no parent should have to go through having a child as an addict. It’s terrible, but we made it through it. And they’re huge, huge supporters. My mom was really the… it’s drugs, she’s never taken drugs in her life, never smoked a cigarette, she has wine from time to time and everything, real, strait-laced upbringing, and everything.
Derek Sherer: So, something like what I was going through and cannabis, it was just all wrong and all bad. So, she got to see what I went through. And she got to see what cannabis did, and she complete, I can’t even say the word 180, it’s an understatement. She’s so supportive of it. It warms my heart just to hear how onboard she is with it. She tells people how much it saved my life.
Derek Sherer: She’s fully supportive. She doesn’t look at it differently now. Years ago, if she would have found out how I educate my kids on it, she would like, wow, they’re absolutely not so wrong. But yeah, my mom, she was the biggest change. My dad has always been supportive. He uses it himself, also for his depression, and everything. But for her, she didn’t understand it.
Derek Sherer: She never understood the benefits of it. My friends, yeah, they see what it did for me. So, they have no choice, but to see that it helped. They always have questions about it. Tim was talking about what strain did you use and everything. And at that time, I was getting it from friends. But that’s the great thing now is I know exactly what to use.
Derek Sherer: So, it can help a lot of other people by educating them. But I do have a couple family members that are, how do I really put it, not necessarily judgmental towards the fact, but they don’t understand it. They’re not educated themselves yet. And that’s all I can say about it is that they just don’t know enough to fully understand what it’s doing. They’ve always seen other things as other options.
Derek Sherer: So, they still don’t believe that this is the end-all be-all for me or anybody else. But yeah, for the most part, everybody is super, super supportive. They know how passionate I am about it. My kids constantly asking me different things. We watch shows, like I was mentioning before. So, yeah, full-on support from those around me.
Chris Holifield: I love it.
Tim Pickett: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. And I think that the family members, you talk about who aren’t supportive, you’re right. It’s this really, a lack of education, but it’s got to be a lack of willingness to admit, or to maybe not admit is the right word. But it’s this understanding that you don’t know. This this acknowledgement of something you don’t know about. And so, I’m going to go out and find out about this, right?
Derek Sherer: Yeah, yeah.
Tim Pickett: It’s thinking, and I guess that’s judgmental to say, yeah, if you don’t think cannabis can be medicine, then you think you know, but kind of you really don’t. You got to be willing to learn.
Derek Sherer: Yeah. These are the same people that are the wine versus weed kind of things. They partake quite a bit in the alcohol, and see that as, “Hey, it’s right, what I’m doing, it’s legal what I’m doing. Well, it’s also legal what I’m doing also.” But this is something that’s new that you guys have seen taboo for so long. I don’t like to get in debates too much.
Derek Sherer: But it’s something that I will always debate people on, I feel. I feel like I’ll always stick up for cannabis. And I can argue with everybody, but what good does it really do for somebody who doesn’t really want to learn themselves? Alcohol, you look up top 10 dangerous drugs in the world. Alcohol will be top three in every single list that you find. You will never see cannabis close to-
Chris Holifield: Yet alcohol is legal.
Derek Sherer: But it’s legal.
Tim Pickett: Yeah, but alcohol is legal. To turn this a little bit, do you feel like there’s some danger to excessive cannabis use? Do you feel like people can get into using too much, and really not be good for their health? Do you feel like you ever got into that spot?
Derek Sherer: Great question. I don’t feel that I’ve ever really got into it myself. I’m a firm believer and that it’s really not for everybody. But at the same time, I fight that it’s not for everybody, because I think for the person that tries something that experiences something bad, whether it’s high anxiety, paranoia, you just hear all these stories where it’s just a terrible experience, or they use in an excess, and something changes.
Derek Sherer: I think those people need to be educated on what they’re using, and maybe find out what we’re talking about, what works best for them. Maybe you’re taking a 30% when you don’t need a 30%. You need something lower. Maybe you don’t even need THC. Maybe you just need CBD. I understand people play with cannabis as it’s like alcohol, so people will partake in it just for fun. But at that point, also, it’s still good to educate yourself on what you’re using.
Tim Pickett: Yeah. You don’t — you don’t go to the bar and just say, “Hey, just light me up.”
Derek Sherer: Yeah, you don’t, you don’t.
Tim Pickett: “Give me three hits of that.”
Derek Sherer: Exactly. Great. Yeah, great.
Tim Pickett: You’re right. You order a drink because you know what’s in it, you know the taste.
Derek Sherer: You know, exactly.
Tim Pickett: Right. It’s the same. It’s got to be the same a cannabis from a recreational standpoint, right?
Derek Sherer: Absolutely, absolutely.
Tim Pickett: You got know what you’re doing. And I bring that question up, because I do think in my opinion, there is an access to cannabis use. I think people can use too much. I’ve definitely met some patients who, in my opinion, they use too much. If you’re using a gram a day, and you don’t have serious cancer pain, or something, man, lowering your tolerance could be beneficial to your health.
Tim Pickett: So, this balance, cannabis is a substance, the endocannabinoid system is a system that tries to find that balance. That’s really what we’re trying to do with medical cannabis is we’re trying to bring the body back to homeostasis, that evenness. And so, I think that in any case, and the Mormon Church is really into this with the word of wisdom, and that is finding this balance, no excess.
Tim Pickett: So, I don’t know, I’m getting a little on my soapbox here. But I think you can use too much. But on the other hand, educating yourself about what to use and how to use it. That’s okay. That’s a good thing for people.
Derek Sherer: Absolutely. Anything can be used in excessive points. It comes down to personal control at that point. But yeah, I 100% agree that people need to know exactly what they’re using, because that’s when I think it can get out of control and out of hand. It doesn’t even become medicine at that point. You’re just rolling the dice, and just figuring out, “Hey, let’s see where this goes, and let’s see where it takes you.” Just like you said, here, bartender, fill me up. Nobody does that.
Tim Pickett: Right. You don’t know what-
Chris Holifield: Surprise me. Surprise me.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, nobody does that.
Tim Pickett: That’s a bad idea. Yeah. That’s a bad idea for no matter what you do. So, now, you’ve come all this way, what’s next for Derek? because I know you’re really now working in the industry.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, I am.
Tim Pickett: Is that what’s next?
Derek Sherer: Yeah. It’s a blessing. I don’t even feel that I go to work every day now. I truly don’t, and I know that it’s a blessing all around. My kids see this excitement, my fiancé sees this new side. It’s just what’s next for me is just to keep on going, keep educating myself, and I would love to continue to help educate other people as to, like we talked about, cannabis is not the entrance drug.
Derek Sherer: It is the exit from a lot of things. And people need to look at it different. So, what’s next for me? The sky is the limit with this. I truly feel more at home being in this industry than I’ve ever felt in anything in my life. You can ask my dad. It’s been a struggle for him, I’ve had every job underneath the sun trying to find my way, trying to find my home, and this is it. So, I’m just going to continue to grow, no pun intended, or pun intended, because I may be growing one day.
Derek Sherer: But yeah, I know that this is something that is it’s beneficial for me in so many ways other than just being a medicine. I love being around it. I love educating people. I love what you guys do. This type of podcast is so needed to educate people from all stories that you guys have, business people to patients to whoever. Everybody needs to tell their story about how this has helped change, shifted, done anything in their lives because this is a life-changing situation.
Derek Sherer: And being in the industry itself is life changing for me. This is a career. This is not a job to brag about. I’m not just a pothead trying to make a point. I’m here to help heal, and educate, and show people that it works because I wouldn’t be here having this conversation with you great fellows if it wasn’t for cannabis. It’s a fact.
Chris Holifield: I’m grateful for cannabis. I’m glad to be sitting here with you chatting and finding your story, man.
Derek Sherer: Appreciate it.
Chris Holifield: Are you on Instagram? Can any of our listeners connect with you through Instagram, or anything, or do you have a website, or let’s share some of that information?
Derek Sherer: Yeah, I am on Instagram. It’s DJ_Deuce, D-E-U-C-E, 801 (@dj_deuce801). One of my other passions, DJ and stuff. So, yeah, I’m on Instagram. And like I mentioned, anybody who’s going through the struggles can definitely reach out. I’m always happy to lend an ear, to help out.
Chris Holifield: Yeah. I’m going to get you on our Facebook patients’ group if that’s okay.
Derek Sherer: Absolutely.
Chris Holifield: And then, utahmarijuana.org, we’ve got a Facebook group, a patients’ group that people can reach out to others, and in just get a sense of what this is like for somebody else, get a little bit of back and forth. I think a lot of people, they need that here. There’s a little bit of isolation here, especially. You don’t want to go talking to your neighbors in some cases.
Derek Sherer: Yeah. It’s hard. It’s hard to reach out. It was hard for me. I had to reach out to my inner self and have that conversation with me. But yeah, I’m always here for anybody who needs the help.
Chris Holifield: Yeah. Cool. So glad I brought you on the podcast or that we brought you on the podcast.
Derek Sherer: Yeah. The take two. The take two.
Chris Holifield: Yeah. I know it’s been a couple of times. Last week, we tried, but my internet was out. I apologize about that.
Derek Sherer: Yeah, it’s all good, it’s all good. I like the take twos. The number two is very synonymous in my life. So, it fits now. So, I’m happy.
Chris Holifield: Perfect. Very cool. Well, anything else you want to ask him, Tim, or anything else you want to bring up, Derek, before we wrap this episode up, or anything?
Derek Sherer: No, I think I’m good. Again, congrats to the one year. You guys are doing an amazing thing. I literally can’t get enough of this podcast, and listening, and shout out to everybody who’s been on here. I enjoyed all the stories all across and always looking forward for more.
Chris Holifield: Maybe eventually, one day, we can get everybody together, and we can all just have a big day and vape together, right?
Derek Sherer: Hey, that’d be awesome. Looking forward for that.
Chris Holifield: [crosstalk 00:47:09] but we can’t do that here in Utah.
Tim Pickett: Yeah, I’m thinking 4/20/2022.
Derek Sherer: Oh, I like it. I like it.
Chris Holifield: Oh, man, we better have a 420-party when-
Derek Sherer: Yes, we should.
Tim Pickett: Just a little while longer.
Chris Holifield: Very cool. And everybody can go listen to all the other episodes of the podcast at utahmarijuana.org/podcast. You can listen to them right on the website, or you can subscribe to the podcast in whatever podcast app you listen to all your other podcasts in, and leave a review if you haven’t left a review in Apple Podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Anything else you guys want to say, or let’s wrap this episode up, and go on with our lives, I guess?
Tim Pickett: Yeah, I guess so. Well, thanks everybody for listening.
Derek Sherer: Of course, shout out to everybody in the industry, everybody in my work, you know you who are. You guys have a great night. Keep on doing what you’re doing.
Tim Pickett: Stay safe out there, guys.