Why Cannabis Education Is So Important
Suppose you woke up one morning, and when you opened your eyes, this is what you saw:
Suppose you then went to, say, CVS, pulled a pair of glasses off the rack, put them on, and this is what you saw:
The glasses obviously help a bit, but not a lot. How much would you be willing to pay for these glasses for the improvement they bring? Probably not much. For the sake of argument, let’s put a value of $5 on your willingness to pay for the improvement these glasses would give you.
Now suppose you go to see a doctor. He puts you in the chair, examines your eyes, puts a bunch of different lenses in front of you and ends up giving you a pair of glasses that enable you to see like these:
What a difference! So, how much would you be willing to pay for these glasses? Again, for the sake of argument, let’s put a value of $100 on your willingness to pay for the improvement this second pair of glasses would give you.
The same product – a pair of glasses – creates radically different results for you when you try a randomly chosen pair versus a pair that is tailored to meet your particular needs.
Cannabis is just like glasses – you get radically different results when you use some randomly chosen cannabis product rather than a product that’s tailored to meet your particular needs.
This extremely simplistic example provides several important lessons about cannabis:
- Just as there are a zillion different pairs of glasses out there, there are also a zillion different cannabis products.
- Many pairs of glasses you try on will do nothing for you (e.g., the ones with “fake” lenses), and many others will actually make you worse off than you are without them, by blurring your vision. Similarly, while some cannabis products may induce no effects whatsoever, some may actually induce unwanted effects (e.g., panic, paranoia, or social anxiety; drowsiness, lethargy, or fatigue; dizziness; etc.).
- The chances of you finding either the wrong pair of glasses or the wrong cannabis product are much larger when you don’t know what you’re supposed to be looking for.
- When you or your doctor/retailer know what to look for and you find the right pair of glasses or the right cannabis product for you, the results can be life-changing.
In a system without personalization, where most consumers simply grab a product off the shelf, not much value is being created for anyone: Since most products are not very effective, consumers generally have a low willingness to pay. In this case, growers and manufacturers have no incentive to produce high quality products, and retailers have no incentive to train salespeople to help customers.
In contrast, in a system where personalization matters, then promoting personalization – through education by consumers and/or retailers – creates untold value for everyone: Consumers are willing pay high prices for products that generate a lot of value for them. Growers and manufacturers thus have every incentive to produce the high quality products that meet customers’ needs, and retailers are motivated to match customers with those products tailored to meet those customers’ needs.
Cannabis is personalized medicine.
Members of the cannabis community must foster and promote cannabis education to help cannabis market participants better understand and appreciate:
- Differences across plants in compounds
- Differences across forms of use in bioavailability, onset, and duration
- Differences across consumers in THC tolerance, medical conditions, and set and setting
Only with education will all members of the cannabis community be able to achieve the amazing potential the plant has offer so many of us.
In short, cannabis education is a positive sum game: everyone wins with education!