As we watch the cannabis industry grow and flourish, we need to take a moment to really consider what we are doing to legitimize the medicinal benefits of cannabis as medicine. When a patient enters one of Missouri’s medical marijuana dispensaries for the first time, it is our job as advocates and employees to recommend the best medication for the patient’s desired effects and needs. 

Currently, the product labels of a lot of our cannabis items list very minimal cannabinoid information and little to no terpene information at all. It is our responsibility to teach our staff and industry to recommend medications to improve our patient’s quality of life. How can we accomplish that goal without the proper armory of knowledge on our products? Without terpene testing included on the products, we are missing a massive opportunity when making recommendations to our patients. 

 

The value of terpenes in the medicinal aspect has been tested and research has been conducted. Terpene properties produce result in  medicinal benefits including:

Anti-inflammatory 
Anti-cancer cell growth 
Anti-nausea 
Anti-seizure 
Sedative 
Anti-microbial 
Anti- anxiety 
Bone strengthener 
Antioxidant 
Gastro-protective 
Anti-coagulant 

And so much more.

While we can research general cannabinoid and terpene information based on cultivar, think of how much more we could individualize the recommendations based on patients needs if we had these categories on all of our product labels. 

Let me give you an example; imagine a patient comes into the dispensary looking for recommendations for their severe anxiety. A staff member recommends an indica cultivar because it is a “downer”. Little did they know this cultivar yields a high percentage of the terpene limonene, a terpene whose properties energize and promote brain stimulation, now even though as an industry we want to help our patients we have just recommended a medication that may only increase their symptoms. 

The first thing we heard from the industry when we discussed terpene testing at a MoCann Trade quarterly meet up earlier this year was that most cultivators found the testing to be too expensive for their business plan. For their part, the Department representatives stated they had not been approached regarding requiring terpene testing on products and how it could improve the patients quality of life. On average the cost to add terpene testing is $50.00 per METRC batch which equates to roughly $1.00 per eighth. Aren’t properly educated recommendations for our patients’ worth at least that?

I wake up everyday in hopes to educate just one person that has been blinded by the stigma of cannabis for too long. If we truly want to change the culture and misperception of cannabis in general society then we need our industry’s front line workers to be armed with relevant information regarding cannabis as medicine.

We as licensees are so quick to put all of our focus and energy on building sales in the medical market that we have missed the boat with training and education. I encourage licensees to remember our industry is new and young, only roughly 3.2% of the state’s population even holds a patient medical card at this point. Invest in your businesses future sales by creating a culture of education now.

 

Suzanne Morrison | STL Cannabis Services

Suzanne Morrison is a Committee Chair at JAINE, a cannabis industry training expert, and the founder of STL Cannabis Services. With over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, and a track record of success and innovative training, Morrison brings a unique perspective an skillset to the cannabis industry. Morrison’s work is a result of her passion and commitment to educate on the medicinal benefits of cannabis and destigmatize the plant.

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