What exactly are cannabis coaches, and how can they assist in closing the cannabis knowledge gap?

Andrea Meharg, a cannabis science education partner at the Cannabis Coaching Institute, told The Cannigma this week, “My greatest worry is always that someone would try cannabis once and have a very negative experience with it and then never be open to trying it again.”

Meharg spoke with The Cannigma with Corinne Tobias, CCI’s co-founder, and Program Director, on the relevance of cannabis coaching in this golden period of legal pot and how their own experiences as patients led them to become Cannabis Coaches.

“I was a patient trying to learn all I could about utilizing cannabis to assist me with my problems,” Tobias said.

Tobias, the author of three cannabis cookbooks and the famous cannabis and health website Wake + Bake, said she “started to understand how much contradictory and contradicting information was out there” while conducting research. Even as a patient, it was quite difficult to navigate.”

Tobias, who was using cannabis to alleviate pain and degenerative disc conditions, discovered a knowledge gap and that “people needed a lot more assistance than they were getting from physicians and dispensary workers, and so it became sort of an obsession.” How can we best assist people in navigating this plant? Because it shouldn’t be the consumer’s responsibility to conduct all of this study and know everything.”

Tobias said it took her years to find out which cannabis products worked and didn’t work for her, and her choice to work in the health and wellness sector was partly motivated by her desire to assist others on their path.

Tobias wrote Wake and Bake in 2013, started coaching in 2016, and co-founded the Institute two years later.

Meharg, like Tobias, started her path as a patient when she took cannabis to help her get out of a deep depression.

“It was cannabis that got me out of my sadness and helped me transform and turn my life around.” I shared Corinne’s difficulties in that it took me a long time to find out what was working. My family doctor was against [cannabis], and my cannabis doctor couldn’t give me any practical advice.”

When you consider the legal cannabis market in 2021, it’s easy to see why folks like Tobias and Meharg are attracted to coaching.

Why do medicinal marijuana users need assistance?

Consumers looking to use this plant as a health and wellness tool may easily fall through the cracks with so much variety on the shelves.

“Since launching my website, I’ve received hundreds of queries regarding cannabis, so I know that people are trying to find a consistent method to consume this plant.” Going to a dispensary, for many individuals, adds to their confusion, and they don’t know where to turn,” said Tobias.

How does the average shopper determine what will work best for them and effectively?

How can medical cannabis patients be certain that they have the information and assistance they need to identify the drug that will work successfully and consistently without credible, well-informed counsel from healthcare professionals?

How do they decide when it comes to edibles, tinctures, smoking, vaping, and topicals? How will they know whether to take a nano CBD product or a full spectrum CBD product? What about adding CBG, CBN, or Delta 8 to the mix?

Also, how will they know what dosage to take and when to take it after locating a prescription that works for them?

Even though cannabis is a very safe drug, people may find themselves swimming through a lot of misinformation and taking years to discover something that works for them.

Cannabis and cannabis-derived drugs may interact negatively with some prescription pharmaceuticals, and not all cannabis products are effective for every illness or patient.

For example, a high-THC formulation might benefit a patient suffering from arthritic pain, but it could also exacerbate their anxiety or paranoia. CBD contains anti-inflammatory characteristics that may assist with various inflammatory health issues, but large amounts can produce nausea. A delta 8 vape pen may be appropriate for a smoker but not for someone who has never smoked.

Furthermore, some patients may benefit from a certain THC to CBD ratio and may lack the knowledge or time to figure it out via trial and error.

A doctor’s certification to prescribe medicinal marijuana does not imply that they have the time or skill to provide patients with practical, actionable guidance.

This is where having a cannabis coach may help a lot.

What is the role of a cannabis coach?

Tobias explains, “A Cannabis Coach is a well-trained, experienced, and credentialed Health Coach that specializes in cannabis instruction.”

Cannabis Coaches are knowledgeable

Cannabis Coaches are knowledgeable about how the plant functions in the human body and can assist others in navigating the dispensary shelves.

Qualified Health Coaches know how to ask the correct questions, promote habit change, and assist their clients in remaining consistent and tracking what works over time.

“We’ve noticed that when these two tools [health coaching and cannabis education] are combined, customers experience far superior benefits beyond what they see when they supplement with cannabis alone.”

According to the research, creating a supportive relationship accounts for 35% of client improvement outcomes.

Every cannabis coach’s work looks different daily. They might spend their days providing cannabis consultations, creating material, inventing recipes, organizing cannabis clubs, collaborating with healthcare experts, holding seminars or retreats, or working one-on-one or in groups with their customers.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all job. Our students are launching YouTube channels, collaborating with physicians, authoring books, and hosting cannabis culinary seminars.

Cannabis coaches aren’t therapists or psychiatrists. Still, they use some of the same abilities, such as listening to their clients voice their worries and assisting them in achieving their objectives.

Cannabis coaches aren’t medical specialists either. They cannot provide certification for a medicinal cannabis license or diagnose any health issues. They may, however, assist individuals in medical conditions in obtaining their cards.

A cannabis coach, according to the creators, is someone who is an advocate for cannabis and how it can assist people, as well as someone who is confident in answering a wide variety of questions about the plant and knows “how to support someone while they make changes in their life successfully.”

According to the Institute, it requires more than simply being enthusiastic about cannabis and being able to provide cannabis advice. To assist customers through such a dynamic plant medicine, you need a deeper understanding and a unique set of talents.

What does it take to become a cannabis coach?

The six-month Cannabis and Health Coach Certification Program at the Institute is a four-module course that lays everything out for you.

The courses cover everything from the nuts and bolts of how cannabis works to how and why it affects the human body and how to start a coaching practice to educate others about cannabis properly.

The “Success Primer Series,” a video series that gives the skills and processes that may help someone enter the cannabis industry, kicks off the program.

The program’s Cannabis Educator Training component involves a deep dive into cannabis research to give coaches the knowledge they need. The anatomy of cannabis, vital cannabis ingredients, cannabis and the human body, endocannabinoid dysfunction, and public education skills are covered.

The Foundations of Coaching lesson discusses how to build up a coaching practice and the ethical and professional principles that coaches employ to “keep in their own lane” while delivering the greatest possible assistance and education.

The Cannabis Coaching Practicum module contains an 8-week cannabis and health coaching program to offer prospective clients tips on keeping clients on track with their health objectives and assisting them when things don’t go as planned.

Finally, the Business Fundamentals module instructs aspiring coaches on how to set up and price their sessions and how to find new customers. Students also get complete wrap-around assistance from teachers through twice-monthly calls and a welcoming and supportive online community with other students, grads, and staff.

For a limited period, from September 24 to September 26, 2021, the institution is also offering a free video training course called “3 Steps to Launching a Successful Cannabis Wellness Business,” which includes a workbook with a business plan and a cannabis business beginning checklist.

Creating a community that is “fun, supportive, and engaged.”

The curriculum includes three highly qualified graduate mentors and Elise Keller, a guest faculty member specializing in cannabis and cancer. Keller is a breast cancer survivor and a graduate of the Clinical Cannabinoid Medicine Program and the Medical Cannabis Institute. In addition, she is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

The Institute’s entire professors, staff, and ownership are all female — and this isn’t by chance. Because women are underrepresented in leadership positions in the cannabis sector, the Institute says it is “carving out a space for women in this industry” by attempting to create a network of successful female cannabis entrepreneurs who can aid one another and transform the industry’s face.

The Institute also claims to be dedicated to creating a “fun, supportive, and involved community” and that students may keep in touch with previous, current, and future coaching students even after they graduate.

Does every dispensary have a cannabis coach?

Tobias and Meharg both said that the Institute’s objective is for each graduate to establish their own cannabis company. But, if Tobias had his way, every shop in the nation would have a cannabis coach on staff.

“It is critical that those who provide access to this plant understand how it functions in the human body.” “Unfortunately, they don’t,” Tobias remarked, adding that most budtenders are only trained to sell retail products. “When someone comes in and says they want to sleep better, their understanding usually stops at what bud is labeled ‘Indica’ on the shelf. We must improve our patient care.”

As the cannabis market grows, people “ask inquiries, but they don’t know what questions to ask most of the time.” And, more often than not, budtenders lack scientifically sound solutions,” Tobias remarked.

While it may be tempting to talk exclusively in clichés about our glorious age of legal cannabis, the need for consumer education has likely never been greater.

“It’s likely that people need a cannabis coach today more than before.” Because although we now have more access to knowledge, it is not always good. And it’s quite difficult for a layperson to traverse,” Meharg added.

Cannabis Coaches are forging a safer, simpler, and more effective method for patients and the general public to learn and use this plant as a new profession in a growing area.

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