Navigating the great big world of medical cannabis can be difficult. Especially when you’re first stepping into it.

There are over 100 licensed producers in Canada, each with their own unique products and identities.

It’s important to find the product and brand values that are right for you – and that’s what Consult and Grow is all about.

David Selema, vice-president and founder of Consult and Grow, is constantly helping medical cannabis patients find the LP that’s right for them.

We sat down with David to discuss how to choose the LP that’s best for you.

Green Relief: Thank you, everybody, for tuning in with David Selema, here with Consult and Grow from the lovely province of Quebec. David, welcome.

David Selema: Thank you, thank you.

GR: So, for us in Ontario and for the rest of Canada, can you tell us a bit more about Consult and Grow and what you do?

David: Well, Consult and Grow is a consulting firm specialized in patient acquisition for the licensed producer. So, we work with a lot of Canadian patients seeking an alternative medicine and alternative treatment for a medical condition, and we help them choose the right producer that best fits their needs.

GR: So, when somebody comes into the clinic, do they often have a producer in mind or are they relying on you to choose one for them?

David: Most of the time they come with an idea of the one producer they love because they have the most marketing tools. But they don’t have the greatest products, so it’s our job to do a proper education because it’s not recreational clients we see. It’s patients with medical needs and their medical needs cannot be fulfilled by any producer. You need a certain type of genetics, sativa, indica, whatever works the best for you, for your condition. You need to understand the cannabinoids you need, the terpenes you need, for your medical condition. And if you haven’t consumed cannabis for the past 20 years, how could you know, right? So, it’s our job to do that education and help them choose the right producer. Definitely.

GR: So, following up to what you were saying about how you choose the producer for the client based on their medical condition, how involved are you with other producers? You must know their product lines very well, but do you lean towards a certain producer, or does it really truly depend on the patient that comes in?

David: We like to visit our producers that we work with. We like to see the crops, and how they’re taking care of their plants, how they manage to make the products, and what they put in their products. I think it’s really important to ensure the best quality for a patient that is really sick. So, to limit the amount of producers, we’re going to literally work with every producer that can fulfill the patient’s needs.

David: Now, we’ve seen a lot of clinics that choose one specific producer, and they bind to it, and they talk about them like they’re God, basically. But when you actually look at their product, there is something shady behind that relationship, because there is definitely not enough product to satisfy the entire medical world. 50% of the prescriptions given for cannabis are for pain management, right? I haven’t seen so much pain management product in those licensed producers, so for sure there is something else going on.

GR: Yeah. And moving on from just pain, what are some other medical conditions that people are coming in with?

David: It’s a broad spectrum because people often come as a last resort. They have tried several different types of medical treatments, pharmaceutical treatments. Some doctors have given them breadths of pills every month: ten pills a day. Convert it to month, it’s 200 pills a month. You have a pill for your medical condition, and then another one for the side effects, and another one for the side effect of the side effect. It’s terrible. So, those people tend to get sicker because they face a prescriber that just gave them more medicine all the time. So, they’re desperate and they come to us in need of an alternative treatment that is more natural, that will help them reduce the amount of opioids they take. That’s a big problem.

David: We have a lot of Crohn’s disease and Lyme disease patients. Now we start to see more and more kids because parents bring their kids. Now they know about the cannabinoids other than THC. They know that there is a topical solution. It doesn’t have to get their kids high. So we have been able to help kids with brain tumors just last week.

David: We have epileptic children – and adults, too – and what we see more and more is elders. Because, I think, we had a big stigma until the past few years. Now that stigma has been broke apart by the research, right? Medical research. The media is talking about how cannabis is good, finally, and not a drug that is poisoning people. It’s finally helping people. So, now those elders are turning to us and they’re, like, “Really? I can take cannabis and I’ll feel better?” And they actually do. Muscle spasms, Parkinson’s, we have tons of those. So, a little bit of everything.

GR: Okay. So, when somebody comes into the clinic, like you said, being their last resort, they’re in a probably sensitive state of mind-

David: Extremely.

GR: So, there is a high degree of trust that they have to have in you, that you have to establish right away. So, for somebody that hasn’t gone to a clinic, or is maybe apprehensive of going to a clinic, what does that process look like?

David: So, when somebody comes in, the first step to help build a relationship with the consultants. They will listen. When you’re facing someone that is sick, you need to listen to them. That’s what you need to. A lot of the time they’re also very isolated. When you’re sick, you tend to be at home, you cannot move much, so family tends not to come visit you anymore. So, you need to listen. That’s the first step. We listen to them, we fill out a medical application, we take as much recent information as we can about their medical condition, the type of medicine they’ve been taking. We also take their medical reports, diagnostics, scanners, everything we can, to build a prescriptions list.

David: And we will be able to pass that to a registered nurse. The registered nurse is not prescribing anything, she is just, basically, continuing the education with the patients. Making sure they are aware of the process, they understand how they will be able to take cannabis without getting high, if they are not looking to actually have the psychoactive effects. The different solutions, the licensed producers who are screened, who all grow good flower. All the different options available.

GR: You mentioned before looking for producers that have higher quality products, or, you know, good manufacturing processes. And not naming names, but what do you look for in terms of your criteria for evaluating, “Yes, I would recommend this producer to my clients.”

David: Well, as a medical grower myself – my partner, too, we have been growing for years. I’m epileptic, I’ve been using medical cannabis for eight years, I’ve been using CBD myself for six years, and it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. And now to help patients, basically with that, we are able to understand when we visit licensed producers if they’re doing a good job from the beginning. We see the molar, we see the baby, we see the vegetation plant, we see their flowering pots. And when the plant is yellow and facing the floor? Well, really there is a problem in that cycle.

David: Now, when it comes to the finished product, we look at the way it’s trimmed, if it’s flowered. We’ll look at all the oiling process, if it’s oil. Most of the time, we’ll see a lot of mistakes due to not enough experience in that specific field, especially when it comes down to medical products, right? So, that’s where our attention is. The product we’ll deliver for the patient, do they have the medical value and benefits they should have?

GR: Okay, so, a customer comes in, or a patient comes in, and you’ve recommended them a producer, and they go and try the cannabis. How does the relationship look afterward?

David: Very interesting. Well, what we noticed from different clinics is that there is no customer service, there is no follow up. And that’s a problem because a lot of doctors that we work with want that follow up. They want that follow up to make sure that the use of medical cannabis will actually help the patient, right?

David: So, what we do is that our registered nurses will do follow-up calls after a month, just to see if they passed their first initial order. And if they did, are they satisfied? If not, we are going to continue the educational process. And we let them know that they can call us back anytime to actually do a change with the producer, or anything.

David: Now, we have great relationships with a lot of the licensed producers, so we are able to track if our patients are actually ordering the medical cannabis or not. That allows us to contact them and understand why they didn’t, or why they don’t do it anymore. Is it because of the quality? Is it because the product they want is missing? We can gauge and answer accordingly.

GR: So, David, thank you for your time. I mean, I know we are running out of time here, but for those watching and listening at home, how do they get to know more about Consult and Grow and you personally? Where do they go?

David: So, we have an online website, right? 2018, it’s the best way to talk about yourself. Our website is consultandgrow.ca. We explain all the service we provide. You can apply if you are a new patient and you want to order from Green Relief one day, or any other producer. We’ll help you do that.

GR: Awesome. Thank you.

David: You’re welcome.