This is Utah in the Weeds, episode 28. It features a very special guest, Zac King, who is a Medical Cannabis patient. Zac is a regular listener to the podcast.
He had been listening to other podcasts while working as a plumber, but Utah in the Weeds just caught his attention. As he lived in Utah, he loved the fact that the podcast was about Utah, particularly as a cannabis user in Utah.
He wanted to be legit, and when he saw that they were looking for patients who had had experience with the program, he felt that he would love to share his experiences on what he regarded as a very neat podcast.
Though there are six pharmacies open in Utah at the time of this podcast, Zac has only bought from Wholesome as allowed by his authorization letter. Zac loves the very friendly and knowledgeable staff at WholesomeCo who could answer all his questions about terpenes, different minor cannabinoids and Delta-8, substances that had helped to change his life. He's found it great to be able to do so legally.
Zac refers to the proposed bill in Utah that will deal with Delta-8 and the total permissible THC levels. He believes that it is in reaction to a ruling by the DEA about including Delta-8 as it was not something they necessarily approved of. He points out that had the MORE Act been passed, this would not be an issue at all.
Unfortunately, the negative and outdated ‘Anslinger mentality’ still informed stereotypical attitudes to the use of cannabis and problematized people's access to the plant and its beneficial health products.
Zac got introduced to cannabis in 1997 when he was 13 years old. He heard different things from different people about the ‘herb’. A paintball injury to his eye left him with major migraines and continual pain. He had at that stage joined a new group of friends who used cannabis. He tried it and enjoyed it.
However, when he went to seminary, he stopped using it, but at college he was introduced to more liberal attitudes and freedom and the rule of law. And he started to rethink his decision to stop using cannabis, as it helped for all sorts of things like his pain.
He’d heard of Medical Cannabis before, but having grown up in the small town of Lewiston, Utah, was still influenced by the stigmatized view there of cannabis as a bad, dangerous, and scary thing. In reality, he found it helped with his pain and stress levels and had no negative side effects like other medications he had been prescribed.
He went to school to be a nurse. He was a CNA for five years, and worked with people that were quadriplegics, as well as hospice patients. Because he had suffered so badly with his eye injury, he felt that he wanted to take away the suffering of others.
He started to learn a little bit more about cannabis, and when Colorado legalized cannabis, he started using cannabis again. However, he was also drinking. The suicide of his wife spiraled him down into becoming an alcoholic.
He was given the opportunity to become a plumber, which he did, but he was still drinking and struggling to figure out his life. Then, on an occasion when he was using mushrooms, he had an epiphany. He realized that he had lost his true self and needed to completely change his life, and he started doing that.
On 4/20 of this year, he had been three years sober from alcohol and was also off all prescription medicines. He had been taking six different pills for pain, nausea, and PTSD. All he uses now is Medical Cannabis. He really feels that he wants to be ‘free’, and that this wonderful plant with all its amazing benefits has changed his life and helped him find his Savior.
Zac says straight out that he would be dead. He was suicidal. The dreadful migraines that he had were never really helped by pills and compresses, but with certain strains of cannabis the relief is amazing. It enables him to live his life and function without being ‘high’.
Zac is convinced that he owes his life to his family, his Savior, and the remarkable properties of this beautiful plant. He feels very strongly that the life-changing potential of Medical Cannabis MUST be made available to patients because it’s so remarkably effective. He believes that is why God gave us the plant.
Zac says that having developed some tolerance actually works to his benefit. He uses a 50/50 balance of CBD flower and THC flower, which helps with his pain and also with his PTSD, but he is not overwhelmed. He gets his CBD flower from the farms, because it can't be bought in Utah even if the plants have been tested and found to be lower than 0.3 THC in content.
As a Medical Cannabis patient, it puzzles Zac that he is not allowed to grow his own cannabis, or have access to a grower in Utah that is ordained by the State, and is allowed to legally supply him. Home-growing probably scares the authorities because they would not have control over it.
Zac no longer smokes cannabis. He bought a Pax 2 vaporizer that he uses with a tincture. He still gets all the terpenes and medical benefit for pain and anxiety relief from his cannabis without having to combust it.
Being sober enabled Zac to create a really in-depth study of the Hampton cannabis world lately. He has used online sources like Leafly and Weedmaps to good effect. Whenever he encounters a new strain, he researches it and the effects it has. So far, he has only encountered positives regarding the cannabinoids he’s come across, with even things like flavonoids being three times more potent than aspirin.
Even though the law has been passed, there are still problems about pharmacies dispensing Medical Cannabis - as Zac discovered when he was trying to find alternatives to using IHC. He had to ‘shop for a doctor’ to obtain a letter authorizing his use of Medical Cannabis alternatives. He very much appreciates being able to be honest now about using Medical Cannabis.
In conjunction, he is also just trying to live a healthier lifestyle with pro- and prebiotics, multivitamins, CBD, mushrooms, and other healthy microbes. He emphasizes the benefits of producing one’s own food and wishes that this could be extended to hemp and cannabis as well to everybody’s mutual benefit.
Zac believes that it basically just boils down to knowledge and education. He first had to come to feel okay about using cannabis himself before his family came to accept it. Now his church has actually come out with a stance saying that they support the use of Medical Cannabis. This seems to hold true in general as well, though recreational use is still discouraged, with some stigmatization still prevailing.
At this time availability is also still an issue, though there is a great need for Medical Cannabis. Medical Cards and letters should be accepted without any problems. The relevant knowledge and science needs to be shared widely which should make for more acceptance and less prejudice.
Zac confirms that cannabis is very unaffordable, which is very unfortunate particularly in view of the fact that there is a black market out there. Zac believes that the biggest issue is that the supply is not nearly adequate.
The growers, like Tryke, Wholesome, Zion, etc., should be encouraged to commit to higher levels of production. Dragonfly is rumored to have sold their license. There are simply not enough growers in Utah. The story behind well-known Redbeard Farmer no longer producing should be established.
Zac says that he would love the chance to let ‘this herb teach the world’ and find out more about different phenotypes and varieties, like hot lavender, to establish just what this herb can offer.
So if the law would permit it, and the opportunity presents itself, he would take up growing in a heartbeat, but understanding and building one’s knowledge is the biggest key, and he would love to hear what the different growers say about it. He emphasizes the amazing potential of the cannabis plant for improving people’s lives.
Zac says that Lamb's breath and Durban Poison are amazing, as are the Kushes and Chemdog. He'd love to try some of the older landrace strains, like a Thai Stick would be amazing, as would the sativas and the indicas.
Zac’s in-depth knowledge about cannabis is clear in his discussion of the different cannabis varieties. It is also clear that he is serious about the use of Medical Cannabis and that he uses it as a tool and as a medical device. For instance, he uses it to relieve his severe migraines and restore the balance of his endocannabinoid system.
Yes, it did. It took him three years to figure out how to use cannabis properly, but it helped him to give up alcohol. In this process, he utilized Plain Jane hemp cigarettes, but he stopped using those when he stopped smoking cigarettes. He also replaced vaping nicotine with vaping cannabis cartridges. Cannabis just gave him the boost to overcome his addictions and no longer need conventional medicines.
Zac would advise them to go to Google for information about where to buy legal hemp flowers and a wide variety of products all over America that can be shipped to Utah, though they are not available in Utah itself.
Zac started finding out about legal hemp through a guy who did reviews on Black Tie CBD. In this way, he discovered that a variety of legal hemp products were available, including CBD oil and CBD flower.
Zac would like to see Utah become the new Mecca for Medical Cannabis with better utilization leading to lower prices. There will be hugely increased demand when all the authorization letters are converted to cards, and people become even more aware of the beneficial effects of Medical Cannabis.
They’ll look at people like Zac, and say, “Hey, this guy used to be a drunk, and now he is living a good life and he’s not a jerk. And he's nice, and he works hard and he's happy.” And they will want access to the same benefits. Zac confirms it’s an exit drug, it’s uplifting, and it can be used for good.
Chris can be found on his I am Salt Lake podcast website.