One perspective we have not had an opportunity to engage, until recently, were patients that did not have an interest in a TED-style event or conference. Their stance on not being interested in these types of events was due to the specific feeling that there were not enough new patient-centered developments in the industry to attract patients, and make them willing to invest both their time and money so they could attend.
Understanding this perspective has allowed us to shift the conversation from, “Here’s a great idea for an event that can serve patients” to “How can we position ourselves to listen to patients that feel disengaged, and what are their feelings or ideas in regards to attending a event of this type?”
It is important to us to create a space where patients can not only feel comfortable voicing support for an event of this type, but also allow them to voice criticisms of these types of events – so that we can understand what is important from a patient perspective. The details of this industry may not be of interest to all patients. Those patients may not necessarily care about the biological history of strains, or presentations on the business aspects of the industry, and the feelings of being pressured to buy certain products makes those patients feel like their wallets are prioritized over their health.
We found, through our discussion, that some of the topics that seemed as if they would be engaging to patients that are typically incurious about cannabis conferences included:
- A product review seminar that covers the types of products that either assist with ingestion or inhalation, and that includes not only a representative from the manufacturer of the product but also several patients who have experience using that product.
- An educational seminar about smoking devices, especially geared toward specific medical conditions and how some conditions limit inhalation methods.
- An inclusive patient roundtable where patients are free to speak from their unique medical experiences.
- The intersection that exists for cannabis patients that are also pet owners. In this presentation / conversation there would be a discussion of the positive and negative effects of cannabis for pets, and a portion of the discussion dealing with the ignorance that some veterinarians may have concerning cannabis use for pets, and cannabis use for patients who are pet owners. Understanding animal safety and knowing which questions to ask could be extremely beneficial for not only having product in a home where a pet is present, but also give patients the ability to more confidently engage their pets medical providers in case of accidents.
- How to handle cooking needs with cannabis based ingredients, and how to “turn product into food” in addition to avoiding common mistakes when dealing with preparing ingestible products.
- A presentation that includes having a conversation with a doctor that has been certified to prescribe medical cannabis as a treatment option and with a doctor who is hesitant to become certified. Providing the two opposing views could be beneficial for patients who are unsure about seeking medical cannabis as a treatment option.
- Keynotes and presentations that not only talk about the benefits of cannabis as medicine, but also what to watch out for in terms of possible interactions with other medicines
Additionally, in speaking with patients who may not initially be interested in an event of this type, we also learned about their experiences in other medical dispensaries – and how that contributed to them being indifferent to an event or conference. Some of these weaknesses included:
- A dispensary environment that is too relaxed and unprofessional in how they engage with patients. While creating an inviting and safe environment is important, going to an extreme can make some patients feel uncomfortable – especially due to unwanted conversation that prolongs the time to receive medication.
- Showing items on the menu that are no longer in stock – which prevents a patient from efficiently and quickly receiving their medicine.
While we at Peake ReLeaf are eager to initiate plans for patient-centered medical cannabis conference or event, it is important to draw the attention of patients who have had bad experiences with the industry previously, because we can present them with a positive experience and help them feel more secure about their treatments.
Also, we can speak to patients who have been uninterested in developments in the industry because they don’t feel that they’ve been the demographic that these developments target, or have targeted in the past.