Budtender Interview #23 - Emma - Farma - Oregon
Budtender | Oregon
What's your name?: Emma
What state do you currently work in?: Oregon
Care to share where you work at?: Farma
Recreational, Medical or Both?: Both
What do you do within the cannabis industry?: Budtender
How long have you been in the legal cannabis industry?: Since September 2015.
What is your most favorite aspect of working within the cannabis industry?: We are in the process of re-discovering how important this plant is to us. We share such a rich evolutionary history with cannabis, and now we are in the position to research its chemistry and take our understanding further. There is so much to discover about cannabis and our relationship to this plant medicine; the healing potential of this plant, for ourselves and our planet, is incredibly exciting. There are few industries left where there is still so much to be discovered. I feel lucky to work in an industry with so much knowledge left to unlock.
What were you doing before the getting in the cannabis industry?: I received my undergraduate degree in Medicinal Plant Research from Brown University in the spring of 2014. Then, I went on to coordinate clinical trials for the Brown University Oncology Research Group. After my boss disregarded a cannabis trial in favor of another toxic, big money, big pharma drug, I quit. I’d always had a personal love of cannabis and studied its chemistry on my own. I knew I wanted to break into the marijuana industry, so I packed my car and drove across the country from New York to Portland.
Cannabis edibles is a touchy subject in the media. How much do you recommend to a first time user and why?: I think edibles can be a really great way to medicate if you dose correctly. For a first time user, I recommend a 10 mg dose. It’s a low starting dose, but users can always take more if they feel no psycho-activity after an hour of ingestion. If anxiety does arise, it helps to have either CBD flower or a CBD edible nearby. Ingestion or inhalation of the CBD will help alleviate the negative experiences induced by the overdose of THC.
Have you ever ate too many edibles? Have a story to tell?: I love edibles and I’m a high doser, so it usually takes me about 50-75 mg to get to that sweet spot. When I was first figuring out my dosage I tried one square of the Alaskan Thunder Fuck Peak Chocolate bar (~25 mg of cannabinoids) and I didn’t feel much. So the next time I ate three squares of chocolate and I hysterically laughed, like laughed until I cried laughed for a good 10 minutes while trying to describe a Russian cheese calzone as a crunchwrap supreme. It was the most cerebral, loopy, euphoric high I’ve ever had and I loved every second of it.
Do you have a favorite edible company? If so, explain why.: I’m a huge fan of peak extracts. Their dark chocolate is delicious and strain specific! So I can get a really uplifting high, as described in my previous answer. Also, Leif Medicinals is an amazing company with a variety of products from edibles to topicals. Recently, we just brought in their medicated and caffeinated white chocolate. With two flavor preferences, Coffee/Cacao and Chai Latte, and over 100 mg of THC in each bar, this edible is delicious and the synergistic effects of caffeine and THC are to die for! And for a CBD high, the Toro Bar is magical. I ate the entire bar for back pain and I found such pain relief without psychoactive effects. Toro makes the best CBD edible that I’ve found.
Have you seen a patient/consumer's health improve since using cannabis? If so, explain!: I absolutely have. It is one of the most rewarding parts of working in this industry. We are providing people with the best plant medicine to help them safely and healthfully care for themselves. I’ve seen patients with MS, bi-polar disorder, insomnia, OCD, PTSD and opiate addictions completely turn their lives around for the better because of cannabis. It is the best feeling in the world, to help someone actively heal themselves.
Working within a shop can provide from some interesting stories. Do you have a awkward story of a customer's request or a general funny story while working in a shop/grow/kitchen?: Too many to share! But there was one awkward interaction that stands out. I was working a Friday night shift, so I was super high energy to meet the demands of the crowded store. A customer came up to my counter, and I immediately asked if he needed help. He mumbled, what I heard to be, “Something arousing”. I exclaimed in my New York accent, “Oh something arousing! I’ve got just the strain for you! These Animal Cookies...” Before I could continue, he cut me off and hurriedly said, “No, No I said I’m just BROWSING. “ All of my coworkers had been watching this exchange, as my loud, accented yell of “arousing” drew their attention. Everyone burst out laughing and I turned bright red, apologizing to my customer between breaks in my embarrassed laughter. We eventually got on with his transaction, and to my credit he did buy a gram of Animal Cookies because of my initial, unwarranted suggestion.
Where do you see the cannabis industry in 5 years and why?: I hope the cannabis industry will start the revolution of integrated medicine and sustainable agricultural practices. I think we will live in a world with less of a stigma attached to marijuana usage and more research available to us on the biochemistry of the plant. Therefore, I hope it will have a more legitimate place in the medicinal field and more respect as an incredibly powerful plant medicine. I also hope that growers do continue to follow the local, small batch, organic model. This could be a way to help transition our agricultural system from the destructive mono-crop culture to the local, organic method. I truly believe the cannabis industry has the potential to revolutionize our world.
What do you prefer when it comes to flower?: I prefer the uplifting, euphoric strains. People usually think of these as Sativa. I am counter-indicative in that heavier, relaxing strains have a tendency to induce social anxiety. I like the uplifting, euphoric strains because I like the energizing and stimulating high that it provides. For the most part, I want to feel upbeat, social and productive. However, I have learned to love the relaxing strains for sleep. Also, I’m not describing the flowers’ effect based on the Indica/Sativa/hybrid model because this vocabulary speaks more to plant morphology and genotype than chemotype and desired effect.
In your opinion, what company is the industry leader in your state?: I believe that Farma in Portland is the industry leader. We take an evidence based approach to Cannabis, rejecting the Sativa/Indica/Hybrid model because of its inaccuracy when describing effect. We use our own classification system based on chemotype of each strain to more accurately and correctly help customers predict what effects they may experience. We take in flower from only small, local organic growers. We also have our in-house grow, Newcleus, which is using an organic living soil system to grow flower. It is the most advanced biodynamic permaculture there is and it produces flower with the most delicious, clearest highs I’ve ever experienced. Both Farma and Newcleus are a model for how others in the Cannabis Industry should operate.
Do you have an all time favorite strain? Explain why you like it so much?: I love the Colombian Malawi from Newcleus Nurseries. I call it the perfect wake and bake strain because it’s better than a cup of coffee in getting me out of bed in the morning. It is the clearest, most productive high I’ve ever experienced. Uplifting without any jitteriness or anxiety. It’s perfect.
If you could change one thing about the current cannabis industry, what would you change and why?: I would change how much misinformation exists about cannabis and its users. Still there is such a large stigma attached to Cannabis usage and so little research to provide evidence that this plant medicine has incredible benefits. It’s frustrating to have so many “professionals” in the cannabis industry espouse such incorrect information.
Why are you excited to work within the cannabis industry? What kind of opportunities have opened up for you?: The positive side of knowing so little, is that there is so much to discover. I am incredibly excited to not only be privy to future research, but also have a hand in conducting some studies. I have had the opportunity to be on a Medical Cannabis Research Advisory Board and begin to formulate studies, such as cannabis’ efficacy treating neuropathic pain. I also have gained experience trimming because of Newcleus Nurseries. And of course, I continue to work to be the best Budtender available to our patients. Eternal gratitude to my Farma Fam for providing me with such opportunity to use my skills in so many different facets of the cannabis industry.
What is the #1 thing you are grateful for today?: Today, I am grateful for the amazing life I get to live.
Have any hobbies? Care to share them with us?: I love to perform - singing and acting. And I’m really in love with trees, so I hike often.