The team at Bloom City Club saw it too many times: patient showing up at the dispensary with a doctor recommendation but no idea what to do with it.
Julie Barron, cannabis counselor and dosing specialist at Blue Sage Health Consulting, explains: “A person would get a doctor recommendation for medical cannabis, but often all the doctor would say is, ‘I recommend cannabis for this specific condition.’ The person would then show up at the dispensary overwhelmed and completely unsure of what to do next. What product do they buy, how much do they take, how often, and for how long?”
Not that budtenders aren’t knowledgeable. On the contrary, she credits most budtenders—at Bloom as well as other dispensaries—as being incredibly knowledgeable, but notes that their focus is more often on the products themselves. “They may not be the right person to ask about medication interactions and specific complex health conditions. There seemed to be no one to help.”
Dori Edwards saw this problem as a gap in the industry and co-founded Blue Sage Health Consulting with Allison Ireton. According to Julie, “Blue Sage Health fills this gap between doctors making the general cannabis recommendation and the client purchasing the product at the dispensary. There may be a few professionals giving one-on-one cannabis advice, but we are not aware of any companies doing the comprehensive work that we are doing at Blue Sage.”
Blue Sage was launched as a resource and education partner for Bloom on August 1, 2016. Its name comes from Bloom’s general fondness for the Blue Sage plant. “Its healing properties as a medicinal plant are in line with our company’s philosophy of natural healing. We also like the idea that Blue Sage gives sage advice.”
Their target patient is anyone interested in natural healing or alternatives to pharmaceuticals. “Our clients are usually patients seeking guidance with a tailored plan for safe medicating. They are typically new to medical marijuana or have a complicated medical history that warrants an in-depth appointment to inform them about various aspects of provisioning, like dosing, mode of ingestion, or side effects with other prescribed medications. We see quite a few people who want to use medical marijuana as a means to either decrease or discontinue traditional medications like opioids, for example.”
From Naropa to Blue Sage
Julie has been Blue Sage’s counselor and dosing specialist since September 2017 but she has worked at Blue Sage since February 2017 following simultaneous careers of over twenty years in the cannabis and counseling industries that were influenced by her life-transforming, path-changing experience at Naropa University.
I went to Naropa for their music therapy program, but that program was intertwined with the transpersonal counseling psychology program, so I ended up getting an incredible education/training in both that resulted in a dual Masters degree. I rarely use my music therapy degree these days, but I use my transpersonal counseling degree every day! Naropa helped me change the way that I look at the world in general, and it laid out a very different approach to how I counsel clients as well.
Coming to Blue Sage was for her a natural progression: “I have used cannabis in my own healing journey as well as to help my daughter overcome serious health issues. At Blue Sage, I could combine counseling and cannabis and help other people—patients as well as the community at large—to achieve the healing that we have been able to achieve by incorporating this incredible healing plant into our lives.”
Foremost among lessons she wants to impart to patients and others is that CBDs are safe and effective. She notes a study that documented over one million deaths due to FDA-approved drugs over a ten-year period, from 1999 to 2009. Deaths from cannabis during that time: 0.
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound from the cannabis plant. It can be used to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain, reduce inflammation and seizures, lower blood sugar levels, suppress muscle spasms, and much more. CBD is available over the counter; you do not need your medical marijuana card to purchase it.
To emphasize her point, she notes that there are no endocannabinoids in the brain stem. Why is that significant?
Because there are no endocannabinoid receptors in the brain stem, taking cannabis does not interfere with essential body functions necessary for life , like breathing or heart function. There are opiate receptors in the brain stem and that is why someone can have a fatal overdose from taking too much of them. To date, there has not been even one reported death from a cannabis overdose.
But she is adamant that products be accurately labeled. “Labeling is incredibly important! I would not purchase a product that is not labeled properly. You want to know how much cannabinoids are in that product, how much is in any particular dose, and any other ingredients.”
How It Works
Consultations at Blue Sage Health Consulting consist of a one-hour initial session and follow-up care. During private consultative sessions, patients learn answers to initial questions, like:
- How often will I have to take my medication?
- What strain is recommended?
- What dose should I take?
- What will be its side effects?
“In addition, we offer drug review and interaction prevention, review and application of relevant research, individualized protocols and dosing instructions, and assistance with a visit to the dispensary to help with product recommendations.”
Follow up consultations consist of answering any questions the client may have while using their protocols, discussing side effects, and fine-tuning dosing and product recommendations.
Blue Sage Health Consulting is open from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday and one time a month on Saturday. For more information or to set up an appointment, call 734-585-7063 or go to bluesagehealth.com.
Ken Wachsberger, editor of Bloom Blog, is an author, editor, and book coach and the founder of Azenphony Press. He is the author of the just-released Ken Wachsberger’s Puns and Word Plays for the Job Seeker.