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Tackling the myths and misconceptions of medical cannabis

US healthcare company, Veriheal, helps us tackle misinformation around medical cannabis.



Tackling the myths and misconceptions of medical cannabis
When it comes to cannabis we know there’s a lot of misinformation out there.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Veriheal, a US healthcare company providing education and wellness resources, helps us tackle the myths and misconceptions around medical cannabis.

When it comes to cannabis we know there’s a lot of misinformation out there.

So for patients looking to explore whether cannabis could be an option for them, the internet can be a daunting place to turn to for advice. 

Veriheal is a US healthcare technology company, providing credible cannabis education and wellness resources for patients, to help make the transition a little bit easier.


Anthony Dutcher, chief marketing officer, Veriheal

Founded in 2017, it has helped hundreds of thousands of patients across the US connect with prescribing doctors and the firm hopes to eventually bring the platform to those in the UK.

A lot of patients visit Veriheal to address concerns and educate themselves on medical cannabis before taking the leap to access a prescription. As such, Anthony Dutcher, the company’s chief marketing officer, is no stranger to the many misconceptions people might have about starting a plant-based medicine. 

He sat down with Cannabis Health to help us tackle some of them.


CH: Before we start, can you give us a quick introduction to Veriheal?

Anthony: Veriheal launched September of 2017 and its entire ecosystem is rooted in patient education and advocacy. How can we put the best information out there to make the process as painless as possible? 

I think it’s important to separate Veriheal from the medical practitioners. Veriheal is the tech platform which aims to streamline the conversation between the patient and the doctor. Our customer service team can’t give medical advice, but we can get on the phone with someone and relax them as much as possible and reassure them that this is a legal medicine in their state. Veriheal is making it more readily accessible to have that conversation.

Now we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of patients across the nation, not to mention those who don’t necessarily book an appointment but through our resources, are able to access valuable information. It’s been rewarding for us just to hear these patients’ stories, to be able to facilitate that is really humbling.


CH: Okay, so first of all, is there enough research and evidence to be prescribing cannabis for medical conditions?

Anthony: The evidence is growing, but it’s still in its infancy and I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface yet. It’s great to see the programmes that are now becoming available and through colleges, the doors that are opening for students to get a better understanding of cannabis – in terms of the business – as well as the chemistry of it. It also comes back to the issue of how do you supplement a study with a placebo of cannabis? It’s hard to replicate.


CH: Is cannabis addictive?

Anthony: I’m not a medical professional so I can’t back this up with my own research, but every report that we’ve analysed and repurposed on our blog points to no, at least in terms of the physical effects of cannabis.


CH: Will cannabis make me unproductive?

Anthony: Oh, the lazy stoner stigma. We’ve read plenty of reports that actually point to the opposite of that, that people are innately more active when they are taking cannabis, especially for medical reasons. We’re not talking about recreational use, although there is some overlap, but due to whatever relief the cannabis is providing, whether it’s emotional or physical in nature, the medical user is able to go about their  daily activities, without their symptoms looming over them.


CH: Is cannabis a gateway drug?

Anthony: People always will point to the fact that there needs to be more data and I firmly agree there needs to be way more research reported on cannabis, but with it being a schedule one drug and that research is restricted. It’s something we’re really pushing for, the intimate understanding of the chemistry of this plant and its interaction with humans and our bodies. 

We’re partnering with new agencies, as well as non-profits to make this reporting more accessible and also more accurate. The plants and products that have been analysed in some of these existing reports are not up to date with the latest products on the markets. In my professional opinion, I would say no, but we do need more research.


CH: What if I have a negative reaction to cannabis?

Anthony: I’m a big advocate for journaling and closely monitoring the effects, especially in the medical sector, with so many unknowns, that’s a very important element. But also, having regular follow ups with your doctor and health professionals.

The Veriheal platform carries out regular surveys and feeds back to the prescribing physicians. We also have a personalised consultation service, where patients check in with a coach who can review their daily journals and see the effects of a particular strain or terpene and cannabinoid combination. We’re ultimately looking for how we can mitigate the negative effects and increase the positive ones. 


CH: What advice would you give to someone considering medical cannabis but who might still be unsure?

Anthony: Definitely speak with a physician, we offer coaching sessions before you even go through the initial consultation, so patients can get a little bit more information. I would also say that self-education is key. A big reason for our success in putting peoples nerves at ease, is allowing them to review the studies and read everything we’ve written about their specific condition. Self-learning is very important as we wait for this dawning of research reporting to come and in the meantime there’s plenty of trusted resources they can turn to that are backed by the latest science.

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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