Extracted Episode 2: Getting Educated with Emma Chasen

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In our second episode of Extracted, we talked with cannabis educator extraordinaire, Emma Chasen. Emma is the CEO and co-founder of Eminent Consulting based in Portland, Oregon. Her company offers educational training programs for cannabis industry professionals. We were thrilled to have her on the podcast to share her extensive knowledge. In our first episode with Jamie Shaw, we discussed the limitations of what can and can’t be said in the Canadian retail environment post-legalization. In this episode, we take a deeper dive into the science behind this fascinating plant and get educated on why secondary compounds hold the key.

The need for standardized education.

As a former budtender and dispensary manager, Emma knows how important it is for people in the industry to be knowledgeable, and be able to convey their knowledge to consumers. As she points out, this is a consumer-driven market and the majority of consumers are uneducated when it comes to cannabis. To complicate matters, consumers are going to a budtender who doesn’t always have access to the knowledge they should. “How do people know what they’re getting?” Emma asks emphatically.

Emma points to a need for “comprehensive standardized education” in the industry. At the very minimum she says budtenders should have a “fundamental understanding of cannabis science.”

“How do we educate at all points so that we can do better by the people and do better by businesses as a result?”

THC & CBD aren’t the full picture.

Emma reiterated something we heard from Jamie Shaw in our first episode – that the breakdown of THC and CBD on retail packaging simply doesn’t provide enough information to consumers. Hopefully these regulations will evolve but in the meantime, it’s up to consumers to know what they’re buying.

“It’s like going into a wine shop and just looking at alcohol content. That’s not how wine shopping works, so that’s not how cannabis shopping should work either.”

Some quick terminology.

We talk a lot about the secondary compounds in cannabis on our podcast and how they can affect a consumer’s experience. As Emma mentions, cannabis is “a complex plant” and getting acquainted with these secondary compounds is vital as we move forward. So before we go too far, let’s take a moment to define some of key terms.

  • Terpenes – A plant’s essential oils (such as pinene, limonene, and many more) that give cannabis distinct flavours, aromas, and effects.
  • Cannabinoids – Active chemical compounds in cannabis (such as THC, CBD, and 100’s more) that dictate the level of ‘high’.
  • Entourage (or Ensemble) Effect – When all the secondary compounds in cannabis work together synergistically to create a balanced experience.

“There are so many secondary compounds that we don’t even know about yet.”

More to learn.

There’s still a long way to go. We’re so proud of the steps Canada has taken as the first G7 country to approve legalization. What’s more, Canada’s strict quality control standards for pesticides is very impressive. As Emma points out, “Canada is off to a great start.” However, there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of the information that’s currently available.

Get to know your grower.

Beyond researching online, and listening to podcasts like this one and this one, what can consumers do to get vital cannabis knowledge? Emma’s advice is to investigate your source. Get out there and get to know your local cannabis producers, ask them questions about their process and their ethos.

The Great Illuminator

As you’d expect, cannabis means a lot to Emma Chasen. It’s why she affectionately refers to the plant as “The Great Illuminator.” Emma sees cannabis as a helpful tool to get to know ourselves. She sees the tremendous potential of cannabis to move our society forward to a path that is more local, clean and helpful.

“Cannabis has potential to lead us in a more revolutionary direction in regards to awareness in how we treat our earth through agriculture, and how we treat our bodies through healthcare.”

Be sure to listen to the episode to hear more of Emma Chasen’s insights into cannabis science, education, and the Canadian landscape.