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Locally produced podcast is finding its place in the cannabis discussion

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Dauphin is home to a unique podcast focussing on a variety of topics related to cannabis, with Trevor Shewfelt, the pharmacist and Kirk Nyquist, the nurse.
Reefermedness, The Podcast covers stories about cannabis from recreational and medical perspectives, as well as the stigma of the recently legalized drug.
“And Reefermedness refers to reefer madness, reefer mellow and reefer medicine, it fits all of the m’s out there. So when you look at our podcast, one of the things we’re trying to do is explore stories,” Nyquist explained.
“And my criteria for the stories I bring to the team, it must meet one of those three pillars. For me, it has to have the recreational mellow, or be medicinally focused, or it has to be madness, which is stigma. And what’s happened, sometimes, we’ve brought stories to each other and asked where does it fit.”
Shewfelt planted the seed for the podcast in 2017, before recreational cannabis was legal.
“It was going into our care homes, back when my pharmacy was still allowed to do care homes. And the doctors were getting me to fill out the paperwork to get the medicinal cannabis to the care home patients,” Shewfelt explained.
“It was just one of those, ‘why don’t we just get it to come to the pharmacy and we’ll deliver it with all the other medications.”
But once he looked into it, Shewfelt learned there was no way cannabis would be allowed to be in pharmacies.
“And I thought that’s very strange, we deal with everything from chemotherapy, which is literally designed to kill the tumor faster than the patient, so it is literal poison, to fentanyl, to all these other medications. But for some reason cannabis can’t go into pharmacies,” Shewfelt said.
“Then I called my friend Kirk and I said, ‘we both listen to a lot of podcasts, do you want to do a podcast about cannabis? I think there’s some interesting stories here’.”
As recreational cannabis was not legal at the time, the pair had to contact their respective professional colleges, to declare their intent to discuss cannabis in a podcast. Neither were told not to and the project was on its way.
Shewfelt had a contact at 730 CKDM and producer Rene Hübener assists the pharmacist and the nurse in putting each episode together.
The long-term goal of the project, Nyquist said, is to request their colleges consider the Reefermedness podcast as continuing education credits for other nurses and pharmacists.
“So we’re actually trying to develop something here that is truly a professional approach,” Nyquist added.
“What we did realize was that when we looked at podcasting as being a vehicle, we knew there was a lot of competition. For example, we recently got on I Heart Radio, but I think when I’ve counted all the cannabis-related podcasts that came under the keyword cannabis, we were 247.”
Over the last two years, Shewfelt and Nyquist have completed 34 episodes, covering a wide variety of topics.
“It’s been all over the map. From early episodes, we had Dr. Sheri Fandrey from the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, because we did really want this to be about harm reduction,” Shewfelt said.
“In these early episodes, recreational cannabis was not legal. But we have gone everywhere from having economists talk about taxation, human resource specialists and school boards talk about cannabis in schools, psychologists talking about addiction, hemp farmers, CBD researchers, the CEO of Pharmacists Manitoba, which is a pharmacy advocacy group.”
“We traveled to Colorado before legalization, we’ve traveled to Vancouver Island, met endocanabinoid researchers. We’ve had stories come to us from California,” Nyquist added.
“Our very first episode (post legalization) we cooked with cannabis, Carefully Cooking with Cannabis, and that was risky. You think about it, a nurse and a pharmacist, are we promoting cannabis? So that’s the fine line that we’re walking on.”
“But we think we straddled that nicely, because a lot of medicinal patients use edibles to dose themselves and so what better way to figure out how they do that than to try to do it ourselves,” Shewfelt agreed.
A compounding pharmacist, Shewfelt weighed, measured and diluted cannabis, for the episode.
Reefermedness, The Podcast is a passion project for both Nyquist and Shewfelt.
“We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t interesting and we wouldn’t be doing it if we weren’t learning. Because this has been a learning journey for us,” Nyquist said.
Shewfelt and Nyquist bring different ideas of health care and cannabis to the table.
“The pharmacist tends to be very science-based in his analytical approach to cannabis, I tend to be more on the social science side. So we bring these stories together into the studio and we basically discuss them together,” Nyquist said, pointing out the on air discussions are not scripted.
“We go in prepared for the story and then challenge each other and talk to each other about what we learned from the interview. And that’s what I think is the dynamic of the podcast, it’s our two approaches to this subject matter.”
“And we certainly don’t agree on everything, which I think comes across well to the audience,” Shewfelt added.
As work on the podcast has progressed, Nyquist noted, the opinions of the two hosts has changed.
“I went in there gung-ho, sort of pro-cannabis, cannabis is good. Trevor went very cautionary. As we progressed through it, my idea of cannabis slowly changed to that it’s not just a recreational thing, it is a medicine,” Nyquist said, adding at one point, Shewfelt declared on air, if he had to recommend alcohol or cannabis to his kids, he would recommend cannabis.
As the number of episodes grow and as the knowledge of the two hosts expands, the pharmacist and the nurse have a long list of topics they have yet to explore.
From the use of cannabis in professional sports, to Shopper’s DrugMart and cannabis in the pharmacy, the pair are nowhere near running out of topics.
“One of the things that I’ve really found interesting about this whole process is how, as we followed different stories and talked to different experts, how much stigma is connecting a lot of these stories,” Nyquist added.
“I want to be around long enough that when we’re talking about cannabis the stigma is gone.”
With over 11,000 downloads and approximately 500 to 1,000 downloads a month, plus a great sponsor with medical marijuana data company Strainprint Technologies, Reefermedness continues to carve a niche in the podcast world.
Look for Reefermedness, The Podcast at reefermedness.ca, or on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
“If you’ve never listened to a podcast, call us, we’ll tell you how. But if you listen to podcasts right now, you should be able to type reefermedness into any podcast app and we should pop up,” Shewfelt added.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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