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  • Post Time Posted April 02, 2019
When Charlie Thompson smoked his first joint at 13, he didn’t feel anything at all. Thompson thought, “Why is this such a big deal?” But a few years later when he tried it again, he felt its psychoactive effects and knew he had found something he wouldn’t dismiss so easily ever again.

Today, Thompson, 44, uses cannabis primarily for his attention deficit disorder (ADD) and to help calm his mind before sleep. In an interview, Cannvas.me learned how this medical cannabis patient from Toronto prefers to consume cannabis, how his work in healthcare has offered new insights into the cannabis industry, and what his parents think of cannabis as medicine.

How do you feel cannabis helps you?

I mainly use it for ADD management. It is the only way I've found to relax my mind and prepare it for sleep. I have had some success with melatonin but to get to melatonin, I have to first want to sleep. I have used a sleeping prescription for times in my life when I have needed something stronger, but I am very aware of the addiction opportunities with this drug. I find cannabis to be the best because not only does it help me sleep, but also helps to wind down and be calm and relaxed while still awake.

What’s your preferred way to consume cannabis?

I prefer smoking specifically, in a pipe, because it helps keep the dosage down and I can see what I'm working with. I have found with edibles it is both hard to gauge the strength of, and also sometimes nauseating. I have not had a good experience with them.

What kind of challenges did you face when you were open with family and others about your cannabis use?

I’ve heard lots of, ‘You are addicted, you can’t get off cannabis, right,” but I’ve gone days without it and it’s not a big deal. I’ve actually smoked cannabis with my mother before, since she’s become a lot less conservative about the issue. But my dad…I won’t mention it to him because he thinks cannabis can ruin someone’s life.

Do you use cannabis to help treat anything else?

For bad migraines, which I don’t get often, and it’s not about mitigating the pain but about stimulating appetite. I don’t feel like eating when I get those migraines. And cannabis gives me my hunger back so I can eat during those tough moments.

You worked in healthcare. Can you tell me about that experience and what you saw in relation to cannabis treatment?

I was a medical assistant in a family health clinic and did non-invasive testing on patients, assisted in procedures, instrument sterilization, front line work as well as processing and directing referrals. I have watched the family doctors I work with get over their own fears and stigma around the use of medical cannabis and I'm sure this opened them up to speaking more freely with their patients.

I have seen likely a 300 percent increase in referrals for CBD and medical cannabis and am so pleased to hear the positive impacts this has made on so many lives.

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