WeedMD is finishing the year with a series of significant announcements. Just in December alone, they have entered into a $30 million bought deal equity financing; confirmed a supply agreement with Jarlette Health Services a long-term care and retirement provider; secured a license from Health Canada to sell cannabis oil and were added to a benchmark index for medical cannabis ETF.
Business of Cannabis had the opportunity to speak with WeedMD’s CEO Bruce Dawson-Scully about how improving quality of life is at the heart of WeedMD.
Business of Cannabis: WeedMD is staking its ground on serving the medicinal market – especially for older Canadians. From your experience, what do you think the keys are to opening the door to older Canadians to utilize cannabis for medicinal purposes?
Bruce Dawson-Scully: Actually, what many people, even those in the industry don’t realize is that the door is already open. In long-term care homes it’s common to have patients who are relying on 12-14 different pills daily. Hearts and minds have changed on medical cannabis since seniors are looking to find options that can alleviate symptoms and improve their current daily drug regimes. As a result, the senior demographic is both highly accepting and curious about the benefits of medical cannabis.
BofC: Tell us a bit more about the education program that is being used to explain medical cannabis to this demographic?
BDS: Education is really at the heart of what we do at WeedMD. We provide tailored materials to patients, medical providers, families and to care home staff so that each group has an understanding of how medical cannabis can help improve quality of life and to do so in a way that meets internal benchmarks and policy initiatives.
BofC: What remains the biggest hurdle in uptake and what does the industry need to do to help close this knowledge gap?
BDS: There’s still a lack of understanding in terms of how the science of cannabinoids works – but I believe that the industry, certainly WeedMD is actively working to change that. For instance, alongside the educational materials we provide, we also create access to education. For instance, we bring our programs into care homes and long-term facilities for patients who aren’t able to leave.
BofC: What’s a component of the current cannabis story that you think has been missed?
BDS: Since education is at the core of our work, the need for research really stands out. As a result of criminalization, we are only just starting to scratch the surface of medical cannabis research here in Canada – and in order for Canada to fully take its place as a global leader in the cannabis sector, this is a component that needs to change.
BofC: You come from an interesting background, can you tell me a bit about your career journey? What advice do you have for others that are looking to enter the cannabis sector in Canada?
BDS: Improving quality of life is what has defined my career. Before I moved into the cannabis sector, I spent 22 years as senior management in the long-term care industry. There are similarities to the cannabis sector in that both are highly regulated and with strict compliance requirements, both also provide the opportunity to be a way of humanizing quality of life.
BofC: What are you excited about for 2018?
BDS: The improved options for product delivery – currently the primary ingesting options are via dried flower or oils added into food but the growth of options like mists, topicals, edibles, vape pens mean patients will have a new range of choices to better serve their needs.