Flower & Free­dom founder Bethany Rae brings a night of herb-cen­tred ed­u­ca­tion to Van­cou­ver with the El­e­vate Ex­pe­ri­ence.

The Georgia Straight - - Contents - > BY AMANDA SIEBERT


These days, Flower & Free­dom founder Bethany Rae cham­pi­ons cannabis ed­u­ca­tion and uses the herb as a way to en­hance her healthy life­style—but her view of the plant wasn’t al­ways so pos­i­tive.

Though the en­trepreneur and life­style brand owner says she spent most of her 20s feel­ing “a bit guilty” for con­sum­ing cannabis in her youth, she’s cho­sen to fully em­brace its medic­i­nal and ther­a­peu­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics, opt­ing to use it in place of over-the-counter painkillers and other treat­ments for pain, mus­cle re­cov­ery, and more.

“I per­son­ally be­came re­ally pas­sion­ate about see­ing con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion in our so­ci­ety when I re­dis­cov­ered cannabis as an adult,” the self-taught spe­cial­ist told the Straight by phone ear­lier this week. (Rae’s writ­ing is oc­ca­sion­ally fea­tured on­line in the Straight’s cannabis sec­tion.)

Her lat­est un­der­tak­ing, the El­e­vate Ex­pe­ri­ence, is an in­ter­ac­tive event that will bring ex­perts and en­trepreneurs to Van­cou­ver for an evening of herb-cen­tred en­light­en­ment.

Rae says it’s per­fectly suited for in­di­vid­u­als who might still have reser­va­tions about the plant and its ther­a­peu­tic ap­pli­ca­tions. In­dus­try mem­bers and those who might be a lit­tle higher on the learn­ing curve are cer­tainly wel­come to at­tend but are en­cour­aged to bring a friend with less ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The event is open to every­one,” she said. “It’s de­signed to be a friendly, safe en­vi­ron­ment for you to in­vite your co­worker, your mother, your sis­ter, or some­one who wouldn’t see them­selves go­ing to a cannabis event or a dis­pen­sary.”

Rae will host while draw­ing on the knowl­edge of 10 lo­cally based cannabis com­pa­nies to dis­cuss top­ics like mi­cro­dos­ing, strain se­lec­tion, va­por­iz­ing, skin care, ed­i­bles, and more.

“We’ve bro­ken the evening up into 10 dif­fer­ent top­ics, so through­out the evening, guests can move be­tween each space. It will be a bit like speed dat­ing, but for cannabis,” she said.

With the ex­cep­tion of top­i­cal treat­ments, which are not thought to cause eu­pho­ria, the El­e­vate Ex­pe­ri­ence will be a con­sump­tion­free event. Guests will, how­ever, get to see, smell, and feel most of the other prod­ucts on hand—and even try special non­in­fused sam­ples by Gra­cenotes, an ed­i­bles man­u­fac­turer spe­cial­iz­ing in cannabis-in­fused gourmet choco­lates.

High­light­ing some of the ses­sions planned for the evening, Rae said a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Nanaimo-based li­censed med­i­cal cannabis pro­ducer Til­ray will dis­cuss the lat­est in cannabis re­search and ex­plain what hap­pens when the com­pounds in cannabis in­ter­act with cells in the hu­man body.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Aurora Cannabis, an­other li­censed pro­ducer that hap­pens to be head­quar­tered in Van­cou­ver, will host an in­ter­ac­tive ses­sion on strains and ter­penes, the chem­i­cal com­pounds in cannabis re­spon­si­ble for its unique aroma.

Van­cou­ver shops in­clud­ing Aura Health Stu­dio and Dis­pen­sary and the Vil­lage Dis­pen­sary will be rep­re­sented as well, in mod­ules about cannabis and fit­ness and cannabis for se­niors and the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Rae said she’s look­ing for­ward to host­ing her first ed­u­ca­tional evening for canna-cu­ri­ous Van­cou­verites, but more than any­thing, she’s ex­cited for guests to dis­cover the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of “in­ten­tion-based” cannabis con­sump­tion for them­selves.

“It helps me op­ti­mize my health through the way that I live, and it helps me be a bet­ter, more con­nected per­son in my re­la­tion­ships,” she said. “Only when I un­der­stood all of these things in­stead of just con­sum­ing it willy-nilly did I re­al­ize how it could be part of my healthy life­style.”

Bethany Rae brings B.c.-based ex­perts and en­trepreneurs to her evening of cannabis ed­u­ca­tion next Thurs­day (October 12). Mary­beth Laf­ferty photo.

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