Pamela and I met a few months ago at a cannabis yoga retreat up at Geyser Peak Ranch. Her warm and inviting nature quickly drew me in and I knew it was only a matter of time before I would consider her a friend. When you both run cannabis related businesses, live within miles of each other and have kids, two of which were born on the same exact day – you’ve definitely got a few things to talk about!
This week we get techy with our article 3 Engaging Apps for Cannabis Users, so what better
opportunity than to introduce you all to THE queen of cannabis tech, HelloMD co-founder, Pamela Hadfield.
If you haven’t heard of HelloMD, it is the number one resource for getting your doctor prescribed medical recommendation, all from the comfort of your own home. You also get to interact with their online community to ask questions and find support, as well as browse products.
They have amazing plans for the near future and I for one, can’t wait to utilize the platform in my daily life!
To get your medical recommendation today and save $10, click here.
OOV: What did you do before you got involved in the cannabis industry?
Pamela: I’ve worked in the tech industry for the past 20 years, primarily as a User Experience consultant.
Oov: How did you get into cannabis? Where did it all start?
Pamela: I suffered from terrible migraines from the time I was 14 years old. Over the years, I saw many different doctors, some western, and tried different treatments like acupuncture, herbs and chiropractic. Nothing seemed to help with the pain or with prevention. In fact, the traditional medication given for migraines made me feel worse and alternative treatments seemed to have no effect. At a certain point, I accepted that Vicodin was my best option for pain management.
Unfortunately, my migraines worsened, and as a result I took more Vicodin, which began to worry me. I felt I was on a fast path to addiction. A friend mentioned I should try cannabis, and as it seemed like the only thing I had not tried, I agreed.
Immediately, I was able to better manage my pain when a migraine hit and within 6 months I was preventing them altogether. I have not had a full blown migraine in over 3 years. At that time, my co-founder and I had a telehealth platform in the traditional healthcare space. After an ‘ah-ha’ moment, we transitioned that business, almost overnight, into the cannabis space. We have not looked back since.
Oov: What would you say has been the most difficult aspect of being in this industry? What are some roadblocks?
Pamela: There are many difficult aspects about being in this industry. For instance, there are always big unknowns: Will the federal government rescind the Cole Memo? [The Cole Memo primarily inhibits federal prosecutors from cracking down on state-legal marijuana businesses.] Will the changing nature of regulations make my business too difficult to run 6 months from now? Will our bank continue to want to do business with us? These are just some of the common issues you deal with when you have a cannabis business. My co-founder, Mark, says that being an entrepreneur in cannabis is the triple black diamond of starting a business. I tend to agree.
Oov: What motivates you to be a leader?
Pamela: I am motivated to be a leader within the cannabis industry because my life was completely changed as a result of having access to education about it and uninhibited access to a high quality medical dispensary. Marijuana is what I often call “the medication of last resort”. Most people have misconceptions about who consumes cannabis and why, most of them being negative.
There is absolutely no reason why every doctor and nurse should not be educated in regards to the potential cannabis affords. It is my belief, based on widely available, current research, that marijuana, in its many forms, can largely be used as a tool for health and wellness.
Cannabis even has the potential to get us out of the opioid epidemic which is claiming upwards of 45 lives a day in the United States. New research conducted by NIDA even states “Access to medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with lower levels of opioid prescribing, lower self-report of non-medical prescription opioid use, lower treatment admissions for prescription opioid use disorders, and reduction in prescription opioid overdose deaths.”
These are some of the reasons I am motivated to be a leader within this industry.
Oov: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to break into the industry?
Pamela: Honestly, I would probably encourage them not to break into the industry if they were trying to start their own business! It takes a certain type of person to thrive in this industry. It’s a combination of fearlessness, solid previous business experience, excellence in execution, and a good idea and a lot of luck. Most people I talk to have the misconception that it is easy money and/or that it is really easy to get hired into an already up-and-running business. Neither of those are true in my opinion.
Oov: If you are a parent, how do talk to your kids about cannabis?
Pamela: I’m the mother of three young girls and when we broke into the cannabis industry, I was very worried. My first thought was that my girls might be ostracized because their parents were in the cannabis industry. Thankfully, this turned out not to be true! Secondly, I battled with how to have a conversation with them regarding both my work and cannabis as a recreational drug. Fortunately, my experience with thousands of patients at HelloMD over the years has made that conversation easy and has also bolstered my passion as to why I am in this industry to begin with. To me the conversation is now easy.
First and foremost, cannabis is a crucial medicine for many people, like their mom. I take it every day so that I can continue to function with optimal health. Second, cannabis is also a drug that can be used by adults, not only for health and wellness, but for relaxation, to quell anxiety, etc. But it is for adults, not children. At the end of the day, my children, your children, everyone’s child, at some point will have access to marijuana when we are not around. It is literally everywhere. The conversation we have at home is incredibly open and due to this, my hope is my girls will not react against a feeling of prohibition, but will act with a sense of knowledge and trust given.