I am very curious about the Treating Yourself expo that takes place in Toronto on June 3-5 in Toronto. Marco Renda, the show founder, generously agreed to answer my questions. I am so glad he did because it’s hard for most of us to get the real inside info on what’s going on with medical marijuana in this country. It’s still a bit of a taboo.
Me: As a teenager in the 70’s I never imagined one day there would be a whole trade show for pot. I know it’s legal, with a prescription. Is this something that you just ask your family doctor for?
Marco: Yes you can go to your family doctor and ask them if they would be willing to fill out the Health Canada forms to allow you to use cannabis as your medicine. Your Doctor will need to fill out these forms every year as the permits are only valid for one year.
Me: During chemo and many treatments, I thought about asking one of my many doctors for a prescription for marijuana, but I feared I would lose the respect of the Doctor, and therefore, I would put myself at a disadvantage. It’s a very vulnerable time. Do you think doctors judge you when ask for a medical marijuana prescription?
Marco: Yes I do believe that some Doctors do in fact judge you when you ask them for prescription for cannabis. The majority of the Doctors here in Canada WON’T sign the forms as they DON’T want to be the Gatekeeper.
Me: Does marijuana really help chemo patients? Are there any negative side effects?
Marco: Yes cannabis is an extremely effective medicine to help cancer patients deal with the side effects of chemo. The only side effect that I am aware of is having an appetite which is what you are after any ways as with the side effects of chemo you don’t want to eat food.
Me: I’ve heard of the so called “the munchies”. So it’s important to have healthy snacks on hand…
When chemo is over, do patients get to keep their prescriptions for the rest of their life?
Marco: Yes I have known several patients to continue using cannabis well after they stop chemo. As a matter of fact most patients that I have come across swear that they have never felt better as the side effects from chemo lasts well after the patient has stopped taking it.
Me: I have to agree with that. The effects of chemo last for years.
What other types of illness and disabities do doctors prescribe marijuana for?
Marco: There are several ailments that dr recommend cannabis use: HIV/AID , HEP C , Fybromialgia , Epilepsy , ADHD , PTSD , MIGRAINES , plus many more.
Me: Can you actually buy pot at the Treating Yourself expo, if you have a prescription?
Marco: NO! Cannabis sales is strictly PROHIBITED at the TY Expo.
Me: OK. That’s clear.
How about seeds? What kind of paperwork do you need to buy seeds? And to grow marijuana?
Marco: Yes you can purchase seeds at the expo. There isn’t any paperwork needed to purchase cannabis seeds at the expo. To be able to grow medicinal cannabis legally you have to either be a licensed patient or a Designated Grower. Both the patient growing their own as well as the Designated Grower who grows for patients that are unable to, have to reapply every year as all permits are only valid for one year
Me: Is there a difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana?
Marco: Well actually it’s the same but the quality can be different as those who purchase cannabis for recreational use buy it from the Black Market and they are only interested in moving product not interested in the quality of the cannabis that they are selling.
Me: What sort of venders will be at the Treating Yourself Expo? And what will your average chemo person like about the show?
Marco: There are over 100 vendors displaying goods such as vaporizers, seeds, clothing, nutrients, grow equipment, Compassion Clubs, publications, etc. While there really isn’t a way for me to know who is a chemo patient and who isn’t, I can tell you is that those who attend vary in age from early teens coming with parents to senior citizens looking for alternative medicine.
Me: I wonder if your average chemo person will feel comfortable at the Treating Yourself Expo? In your estimation, what percentage of people attending are patients, and what percentage are recreational drug users?
Marco: Every patient that attends the Treating Yourself Expo will feel EXTREMELY comfortable as the event is geared to them and their needs. I would have to say that 70% of those attending are patients and or caregivers and the balance being recreational users and curiosity seekers looking to get educated on the benefits of cannabis as medicine.
Me: Are there any legal implications, or other dangers to people attending Treating Yourself?
Marcus: No! At last years expo we had all kinds of undercover police roaming around and NOBODY got harassed or arrested. The police are only interested if people are distributing cannabis at the expo which it isn’t
Me: Do you see pot’s future in medicine beyond treating symptoms? Current studies suggest that marijuana may contribute cancer prevention. What do you think?
Marco: Absolutely! Cannabis is being researched by many scientists in other countries.
Me: Do you think pot will ever be legal in Canada?
I guess we need to find an understanding Doctor… and attend the Treating Yourself Expo! Thank you so much Marco for answering my questions.