Dr. Mara, @RxLeafMD is the CEO and Founder of RxLeaf, the first physician-led medical cannabis information website for patients, healthcare professionals, producers, and distributors to come together to learn, share, and engage in authentic conversation about this important medicine.
We caught up with Dr. Mara and she told us some pretty interesting things about her and her company RxLeaf.
Ganjly: What is your background and what made you decide to pursue a career in cannabis?
Dr. Mara: I have been a physician for over 20 years as a family physician. I started prescribing cannabis when I began to witness a growing trend of patients reducing their need for opioids and other medications in favor of cannabis. This peaked my interest and encouraged me to do further research on the plant to the point where I felt comfortable enough to prescribe it. And the results from these patients, the healing that they experienced, definitely pivoted my attention toward more cannabis learning. If I had to put it down to one thing, I would say it’s the results that changed the course of my career. In patient after patient, across a wide spectrum of conditions, cannabis medicine has proven to be a key element of healing for my patients. How could I ever ignore that?
Ganjly: How many employees does RxLeaf have and what kind of traits do you look for when hiring new members?
Dr. Mara: We have a team of 5 writers with backgrounds in research and science, including 2 with PhDs in related fields. Our editor has a degree in Biomedical Science. Then there is an outstanding PR team headed by Kate Manson from Wikileaf. And a very talented local photographer who has been working with some of the patents to visually tell their story. I think what RxLeaf offers is a physican-led experience in medical cannabis, with a solid backbone of experienced writers and researchers. That’s what we want in new members of the team – a passion for healing and for cannabis medicine, but also to arrive from a position of learning and be willing to offer that learning to the RxLeaf community.
Ganjly: What is the most challenging experience you have had in the cannabis industry so far?
Dr. Mara: That would have to be running up against colleagues who flatly refuse to consider the merits of cannabis medicine. It’s frustrating, because the research is there, the personal accounts of healing are there. There have been so many challenges in bumping up against the stigma of cannabis use, but it’s getting better. We’ve been preparing this website and concept for almost two years now, and even in that short time frame, I have witnessed enormous shifts in perspective – from the public, to my patients, and especially to the physicians that I work alongside. The industry itself has been very welcoming. RxLeaf is offering a niche experience for patients and physicians and also for those who just want to know deeply about the medical aspects of cannabis. I think it’s what’s been missing from the cannabis space and people have been very welcoming.
Ganjly: What is your proudest moment since you started down this path of being an entrepreneur in the cannabis space?
Dr. Mara: That would definitely be the moment the site when live. It happened about 3 weeks ago now, totally without fanfare as we wanted to make sure any bugs were worked out…just this private moment of accomplishment. As anyone in a start-up knows, there are a lot of sacrifices made and a lot of mistakes, but also there are these victories, these moments when you sit back and say, ‘Yeah. That’s right. I did.’ Now, I am so excited to bring this out into the light and truly build a community of learning and healing. It’s the culmination of a lot of things for me and for RxLeaf.
Ganjly: Do you have plans for new products, services or events and would you be willing to drop any hints about what we can expect from RxLeaf in the future?
Dr. Mara: Oh definitely. You can expect local events that cater to patient needs, conferences for the medical community. We have laid four phases of development and I’ll stop there otherwise I’ll give too much away.
Ganjly: What is your advice for hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs who are considering joining the cannabis industry? What are the positives and negatives they should expect?
Dr. Mara: I would say that it’s very important to find your niche. What is it that you, and only you, are uniquely able to offer those seeking knowledge or product within the cannabis space. There is a lot of flux right now and almost a rush on cannabis, maybe that’s the negative? But, I think this will even out as the dust settles and what will be left are those who thought very deeply about their brand and their product and why they wanted to get into cannabis. There are many, many opportunities, but so too, there are many, many takers. Find your niche and be the very best at it.
Thank you for doing the interview Dr. Mara! We are looking forward to your local events and conferences and we are curious as to what RxLeaf will be doing in the future. For those who are new to RxLeaf, go to their website and read the stories of cannabis patients. They are really inspiring. To know more about Dr. Mara and her company, go to RxLeaf.