“I think of Cannabis as a vitamin now.” Matt Kovarsky – Northwest Leaf Budtender of the Month
THE NOVEL TREE
1817 130th Ave NE Suite B, Bellevue, WA
Novel Tree is divided into two shops under one roof: recreational and medical. Being on the medical side, how has your formal education prepared you for this role of Cannabis educator?
I wish college programs for Cannabis had existed when I was in school. There are multiple universities that are taking the lead on the growing aspect, but I don’t know if there are any focusing on the cannabinoids, terpenes and medicinal benefits – so there are still huge gains to make there.
On the Leaf Life Podcast show titled Higher Education, we interviewed a professor at Oregon State University who has a class called Reefer Madness in Mass Media. If you were to teach a class, how would you approach it and what would it be called?
I think it would be called Endocannabinoid Studies. The endocannabinoid system that all these terpenes and cannabinoids are interacting with is important, and having talked with doctors, they are still not teaching it in medical school. So, there’s this giant system of the body that oversees maintaining homeostasis and balance that is vital to health, and people in the medical industry aren’t being educated about it – which is ridiculous. There are some doctors who are educating themselves because they are interested in the results, but it’s moving very slowly. If I were to go back to when I was in school, I’d focus on biochemistry, physiology and important systems of the body. That’s what I’m doing now just by reading papers, but there’s only so much information available.
What papers are you reading?
White papers as much as possible, PubMed. It’s where medical papers are published and where a doctor would publish research done on Cannabis. Dr. Ethan Russo has been one of the best resources we have in understanding the endocannabinoid system and being able to explain it to people. The Leaf Life Podcast, as you mentioned already, is a great place to get a lot of information – and Northwest Leaf, of course!
Thanks for the plug, Man! Thanks for what you guys do!
How difficult is it to legally advise someone who comes to you with different ailments?
I think of Cannabis as a vitamin now. Our body produces chemicals very similar to THC and CBD, and by using phytocannabinoids we can enhance how our body is naturally dealing with pain, stress, sleep, anxiety, etc. What’s tough is that everyone has a different endocannabinoid tone. Everyone’s body is different, their chemistry is different and their response to stress is different. So, we have a good understanding of where to start with people, but the dosage matched with their preferred method of consumption is unique to the individual. Hence the reason why we have so many different products to offer, and therefore effectively pair the product to the person.
What music do you listen to?
Tool, Queens of the Stone Age and Jay-Z, those are my top three.
If you shared Cannabis with Maynard James Keenan of Tool, where would you lead the conversation?
I’d talk to him about wine because he’s got a vineyard and I know there are a lot of similarities to growing Cannabis outdoors and growing grapes. You can have two vineyards next to each other producing very different things. Well, it’s the same with Cannabis – where you give 10 different growers Blue Dream and you’re going to get 10 different results.
interview by MIKE RICKER @rickerdj | photo by DANIEL BERMAN @BERMANPHOTOS