Cannabis – yes we said it! Some of you may be thinking, “wow, can she say that?”. Listen up Girl Gang, Cannabis is legal and making a positive impact on our economy. Many women are entering the Cannabis Industry, ending the stigma around the word and how a successful business can run with it. Safe and appropriate cannabis use requires education, and that is where Totally Blunt comes in!
We sat down (virtually!) with Dana Baranovsky from cannabis education company, Totally Blunt. This amazing company is a pioneer in the growing cannabis wellness movement by ending to stigma around cannabis, and helping women empower their wellness routines and businesses with cannabis.
What is Totally Blunt and what is the platform’s primary focus?
TotallyBlunt is a cannabis education company helping women empower their wellness routines with Cannabis. We’re rooted in science, providing reliable information to women to help them make informed decisions about cannabis and their health.
Basically, we’re changing the conversation and helping reduce the stigma around women using cannabis!
What’s your background and what led you to create Totally Blunt?
Well, I’ve always been fascinated with nutrition, herbs, and supplements and how they can be used to prevent and treat diseases and optimize our health. But it wasn’t until I began researching cannabis during my Masters's degree that I began seeing cannabis in the same light.
I learned about the hundreds of active molecules in cannabis and their therapeutic potentials. It was around this time that I began incorporating cannabis into my wellness routine and using it to help manage anxiety and sleep.
Many of my friends were curious about cannabis, especially women, and their questions inspired me to create Totally Blunt.
Now Totally Blunt caters to the novice and expert who want to learn more about the health benefits of cannabis.
What are your views on how society perceives cannabis?
I believe there is a lot of stigma around womxn using cannabis. I don’t think society has fully grasped that cannabis is used beyond getting high and that everyone who consumes cannabis is a stoner... That is simply not true! Womxn have been using cannabis for centuries and they continue to do so. Some use it as a way to manage anxiety and sleep, others use it to manage chronic pain, and some canna-mamas use it to relax after a long day with the kids.
With my platform, I aim to help break down those stigmas by having candid conversations about how modern-day womxn are using cannabis.
As someone who has a background in nutrition, what kind of information can you offer about the health benefits of cannabis and where the research is going in regard to cannabis therapies?
Cannabis has over 400 active compounds and CBD and THC are some of the most well studied.
These cannabinoids have been studied for anxiety disorders, depression, sleep, chronic pain, and inflammation to name a few.
It is important to note that during cannabis-prohibition, it was really difficult for researchers to get approvals to study cannabis. Therefore, the total body of research is still quite small. But research looks very promising, especially when it comes to the benefits of CBD.
More specifically, what kind of benefits does cannabis offer for women?
Fundamentally, I have found that womxn are different from men in how they use cannabis, where womxn are more interested in the health benefits of cannabis.
Many womxn are using CBD during the day to manage anxiety and chronic pain. Note that CBD is non-intoxicating so it doesn’t interfere with day to day activities.
Cannabis is also really great for sleep for a number of reasons, including it helps ease anxiety and pain-related sleep problems and also helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Which leads to improved sleep quality and increased energy levels during the day.
One of the biggest reasons womxn turn to cannabis, is to help with period pains (dysmeorrhea)! Anecdotally, cannabis may be the most effective therapy for relieving pain. Try it out!
And last but not least, let's not forget all the womxn consuming cannabis as a way to relax after a long day or lighting up just to get high and to feel the intoxicating effects. If used responsibly, there is nothing wrong with that!
For those who are just getting started with cannabis for therapy (whether it’s anxiety, pain management, PTSD, neurological diseases or disorders…) where do you think the best place to start is?
It’s best to understand cannabis and it’s uses before diving in; however, if you don't have any pre-existing conditions and you are looking to elevate your wellness routine then you should begin by experimenting with cannabis products.
Know the difference between THC and CBD. THC is intoxicating and is the molecule in cannabis that gets you high, whereas CBD is non-intoxicating.
This is important to know in order to understand how to pick out good quality, effective, and safe products.
And lastly, identify what you want to use cannabis for – is it for sleep? Is it for chronic pain? What is your ‘WHY?’
A cannabis clinic in Canada has trained doctors and nurses that can advise you on how to use cannabis safely for your medical condition. They’re really great and are easily accessible.
For serious conditions: If you're considering using cannabis for a serious condition you should consult with your doctor because cannabis can possibly interact with your medication. Personally, I've found is that doctors are not always well versed in cannabis therapies and typically just advise patients to “stay away from it”. If that’s the case, please know that you can turn to a cannabis clinic for reliably, medical information.
Recreational Use: If you don't have any pre-existing conditions and you are looking to elevate your wellness routine, then you can begin experimenting with cannabis products!
Based on what you want to use it for, you can start to narrow down a potency (amount of THC and CBD in a product) and a product type (edible, oil, vape, etc.) See my Instagram page for more info on what types of products are available @totallyblunt.ca
If you are still needing assistance, you can download the “choosing a product tool” through this link to help you go through this process.
What are your top recommendations for integrating cannabis into your daily routine?
I cannot say this enough.. Educate yourself about cannabis and it’s uses!
It is simple. Start slow, listen to your body, and adjust dosing accordingly. I really recommend starting with CBD products and low THC products if you’re a beginner. Remember, like anything there can be side effects. For example, THC has intoxicating effects and some side effects including paranoia and anxiety.
Take a holistic approach to your health; cannabis is not a cure-all. For example, if you’re looking to use cannabis to help you sleep, you should practice good sleep hygiene, and if you want to use cannabis for anxiety, be sure to practice mindfulness and meditation.
And remember! I highly recommend that you find reliable sources of cannabis products. Why? Because they legally have to verify that the product has passed quality tests. I advocate for legal products only!
And remember, you don’t have to get high to reap the benefits of cannabis. THC free products are widely available in Canada and have lifechanging, positive qualities.
What would you say to someone who is looking to get started, but curious about the differences between CBD and THC based therapies?
For someone who is cannacurious, I always recommend becoming familiar with the plant.
THC and CBD are both endocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that give very different effects when consumed. THC is the intoxicating compound that causes the high. CBD is not intoxicating and can make you feel more relaxed. Understanding the effects of both of those compounds can help you make better decisions on what products to choose.
I recommend following my Instagram page @totallyblunt.ca if you want to learn the basics.
Do you have any recommendations for companies to go to in order to make high-quality, inspected, parasite-free cannabis?
In Canada, all legal cannabis products are held to a really high standard by Health Canada. Each batch of cannabis products has to be tested for pesticides, microbial, heavy metal contaminants, and solvent residues. If batches don’t cut the quality test, they can’t be sold. Simple.
I like to pick my products mostly based on THC and CBD content and then I narrow down based on the brands I like and trust.
What are your top cannabis resources? Websites & social platforms welcome.
Leafly has really great Cannabis 101 information from explaining how cannabinoids work in our body to how to make cannabutter.
Lift & Co. is a great resource for finding product reviews on different strains of cannabis and brands in Canada.
Is there anything else you would like to share in regard to cannabis education?
Yes! The experiences people have when using cannabis can vary a lot! It’s a personal journey so take time to find what works for you. My personal and professional recommendations are to start with low doses, especially of THC and increase gradually, and allow this process to take time.
And if you have any questions, let me know at @totallyblunt.ca on Instagram.