Joe Dolce is the CEO and Co-Founder of Medical Cannabis Mentor, a state-of-the-art online medical cannabis education for healthcare providers, dispensary personnel, and patients. Joe also wrote the book Brave New Weed and hosts the Brave New Weed podcast.
In this written Q&A, we ask Joe about his background, how he co-founded Medical Cannabis Mentor and how their curriculums help and guide their students in the cannabis industry.
Check out the full interview below!
Ganjly: Tell us a bit about your background and what is your relationship with cannabis?
Joe Dolce: I began to use cannabis when I was quite young–probably as a way of avoiding the tortures of adolescence. We now call it self-medicating but back in the 1970s, it was just getting high. I smoked a good deal through Northwestern University and New York University, but cut way back when I reached my 30s and 40s. In my 50s I rediscovered the plant but realized that I knew almost nothing about it. That’s when I decided to try to convince book publishers to send me halfway around the world to answer my questions. The result was my book, Brave New Weed, an exploration of the plant, the endocannabinoid system, and how it worked its magic on the mind and body. I’m still exploring this topic on the Brave New Weed podcast and I still thank Harper Wave publishers for making the journey of a lifetime possible.
What is the origin story behind Medical Cannabis Mentor?
While on book tour, Dr. June Chin approached me and told me she had loved my book. Anyone who even reads a book, let alone loves it, is a goddess (or god) in my eyes, so I invited her for coffee in hopes that she would continue to lavish me with praise. It turned out that we had a lot in common. I had accumulated tomes of research about the medical effects of cannabis and she had been treating patients with it for over 15 years and had accumulated tomes of information about protocols, how it works differently with men and women, and how to speak to patients about it. We both wanted to spread the knowledge to practitioners, dispensary personnel, and patients, and thus, the idea of MCM was born. Then the hard work began.
What is the mission of Medical Cannabis Mentor?
To spread the knowledge about how to dose and deliver medical cannabis to achieve optimal relief from what ails you. For example, as research shows, millions of people suffer from pain, sleep, and stress. Cannabis is safer and as effective as any pharma treatment on the market so we want to ensure people know about it and know that it an effective wellness option. But you must know how to use it properly or you might give up or use the wrong amount which could make you very unhappy.
How do the courses prepare individuals to work in the cannabis industry? Who are the ideal candidates to enroll?
We have courses for healthcare practitioners, CME level courses for practitioners looking to get credits for expanding their knowledge, and for dispensary personnel looking to be at the top of their game. Cannabis Therapeutics is our foundational course for all healthcare providers. It has great, evidence-based information on dosing, delivery, clinical pearls, nomenclature, the long and storied history of medical cannabis, how it can be used to stem the opioid crisis. It’s practical and thorough. Counter Intelligence is our course for people who work in dispensaries. It is in use in one of the largest multi-state operating cannabis companies and surveys give it an astounding 95% approval rating. Even though the courses are tailored to different levels of users we strive to make them fun, engaging, and dynamic. We also cite everything with research so anyone who wants to dive deeper into a topic has an easy reference.
Who developed the courses and methodologies and what makes Medical Cannabis Mentor different from other educational platforms?
Dr. Chin and I collaborated on the creation with other medical professionals. The fantastic Dr. Swathi Varanasi and Dr. Godfrey Pearlson (also the author of the amazing book, Weed Science) are co-creators on Cannabis Science and Therapeutics for Pharmacists. Dr. Dave Gordon, another integrative physician, co-authored Cannabis Therapeutics with us. All of these people have huge brains and bigger hearts and I’m so appreciative to have them on our faculty. I learn something every time I speak to them. And trust me, they all do this for love, not money.
Have you had feedback from students who completed your courses?
As mentioned, our ratings top 95% satisfaction. Just writing that sentence makes my heart flutter and puts a very wide smile on my face.
What challenges did you face in building the courses?
Sifting through 23,000 published studies and turning the dry-as-dust tone of academic research writing into approachable English and fun motion graphics. That was big but the even bigger challenge is what we’re currently engaged in: We have partnered with MBODY360, a digital healthcare tech company to turn the education into an app that dispensaries can deliver directly to patients to guide them toward optimal dosing and relief. MBODY360 has refined the technology and it is currently being used by over 15,000 functional medicine practitioners, so we know it works and we can deploy it quickly in the cannabis space. We are now in talks with dispensary partners and practitioner groups to pilot this groundbreaking program. That will help us realize the ultimate mission of Medical Cannabis Mentor.
How could our readers learn more about Medical Cannabis Mentor? www.MedicalCannabisMentor.com. We are rebuilding the site as I write this. Anyone interested in learning more can also reach out to me directly through the site.
How do you foresee federal legalization influencing the intersection of higher education and cannabis?
The more accepted medical cannabis becomes the more will want to know how to use it. We want to be an essential element of legalization, acceptance and helping people feel well. That is our highest aim. Thanks for helping us along that path by running this interview.
Thanks again, Joe, for answering our questions! Learn more at MedicalCannabisMentor.com.