Like speed dating, but for cannabis: Event seeks to educate canna-curious Vancouverites

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      These days, Flower & Freedom founder Bethany Rae champions cannabis education and uses the herb as a way to enhance her healthy lifestyle—but her view of the plant wasn’t always so positive.

      Though the entrepreneur and lifestyle brand owner says she spent most of her 20s feeling “a bit guilty” for consuming cannabis in her youth, she’s chosen to fully embrace its medicinal and therapeutic characteristics, opting to use it in place of over-the-counter painkillers and other treatments for pain, muscle recovery, and more.

      “I personally became really passionate about seeing consumer education in our society when I rediscovered cannabis as an adult,” the self-taught specialist told the Straight by phone earlier this week. (Rae’s writing is occasionally featured online in the Straight’s cannabis section.)

      Her latest undertaking, the Elevate Experience, is an interactive event that will bring experts and entrepreneurs to Vancouver for an evening of herb-centred enlightenment.

      Rae says it’s perfectly suited for individuals who might still have reservations about the plant and its therapeutic applications. Industry members and those who might be a little higher on the learning curve are certainly welcome to attend but are encouraged to bring a friend with less experience.

      “The event is open to everyone,” she said. “It’s designed to be a friendly, safe environment for you to invite your coworker, your mother, your sister, or someone who wouldn’t see themselves going to a cannabis event or a dispensary.”

      Rae will host while drawing on the knowledge of 10 locally based cannabis companies to discuss topics like microdosing, strain selection, vaporizing, skin care, edibles, and more.

      “We’ve broken the evening up into 10 different topics, so throughout the evening, guests can move between each space. It will be a bit like speed dating, but for cannabis,” she said.

      With the exception of topical treatments, which are not thought to cause euphoria, the Elevate Experience will be a consumption-free event. Guests will, however, get to see, smell, and feel most of the other products on hand—and even try special noninfused samples by Gracenotes, an edibles manufacturer specializing in cannabis-infused gourmet chocolates.

      Highlighting some of the sessions planned for the evening, Rae said a representative from Nanaimo-based licensed medical cannabis producer Tilray will discuss the latest in cannabis research and explain what happens when the compounds in cannabis interact with cells in the human body.

      A representative from Aurora Cannabis, another licensed producer that happens to be headquartered in Vancouver, will host an interactive session on strains and terpenes, the chemical compounds in cannabis responsible for its unique aroma.

      Vancouver shops including Aura Health Studio and Dispensary and the Village Dispensary will be represented as well, in modules about cannabis and fitness and cannabis for seniors and the aging population.

      Rae said she’s looking forward to hosting her first educational evening for canna-curious Vancouverites, but more than anything, she’s excited for guests to discover the potential benefits of “intention-based” cannabis consumption for themselves.

      “It helps me optimize my health through the way that I live, and it helps me be a better, more connected person in my relationships,” she said. “Only when I understood all of these things instead of just consuming it willy-nilly did I realize how it could be part of my healthy lifestyle.”

      The Elevate Experience takes place next Thursday (October 12) at Soundhouse Studios (33 West 8th Avenue). Find tickets here