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What to Expect in This Episode

Episode 68 of Utah in the Weeds features an interview with Adam Toller, a Qualified Medical Provider with Utah Therapeutic Health Center. Adam told us about the start of his career as a physician assistant in gastroenterology, or the “gut-to-butt” field of medicine, as he describes it. [5:43]

Adam says his Medical Cannabis patients are much more grateful for his services than his previous patients. [14:38]

When Adam began working for Utah Therapeutic Health Center and recommending cannabis for patients, he had never used cannabis himself, but he began to wonder if it might be helpful in treating his foot. Adam suffers from a condition called Morton’s neuroma, which causes nerve pain and inflammation between his toes. So he spoke with one of his fellow Qualified Medical Providers at Utah Therapeutic Health Center. Adam’s QMP recommended cannabis for him, and he finds cannabis is helpful in relieving the pain. [16:18]

Now that Adam uses Medical Cannabis himself, he finds it helps him understand and empathize with his patients better than he could before. [19:37]

Adam also talked about the support he received from his Mormon family as he entered the cannabis industry. His parents even wrote a letter to Sen. Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City) calling for an end to Utah patient caps, which put limits on the number of patients for whom a given Qualified Medical Provider can recommend cannabis. [26:46]

Adam told us a little bit about his work at Utah Therapeutic Health Center’s Provo clinic and his working relationship with Deseret Wellness, a cannabis pharmacy adjacent to the clinic.[31:41]

Adam, Tim, and Chris wrapped up this episode with a quick discussion on workplace drug testing. [40:30]

Resources in This Episode

Podcast Transcript

Chris Holifield:

Welcome, everybody out. This is episode 68 of Utah in the Weeds. My name is Chris Holifield.

Tim Pickett:

I’m Tim Pickett, medical cannabis expert. Today, we’re interviewing another medical cannabis expert, QMP Adam Toller, who’s a QMP for Utah Therapeutic Health Center, but has a great story, Chris.

Chris Holifield:

Oh, man. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, but the fact that he works in Provo, so he’s dealing with Utah County patients, and to me, that just fascinates me. I don’t know why.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. I think that’s the epitome of the program, right? You get a super conservative state, you go right to the heartland of conservativism, of that kind of people. We all think, “Well, there, it’s Utah County,” right? So you go right down to Provo and go in there. The great thing about Adam is he’s a conservative guy. When I met him, and you’ll hear this through our interview, but you’ll hear his background and his experience, his relationship to cannabis and how that’s changed over time. It’s just really great for people to hear, especially if you’re a QMP or you know another provider out there, have them listen to this. This is how people learn that cannabis is really medicine.

Chris Holifield:

Absolutely. How is Cedar City going for you? I know you got that location opened up down there.

Tim Pickett:

Oh, yes. Cedar City is going. School’s going to start. We’ve got a billboard that says, Feel better, utahmarijuana.org, right as you’re traveling down right in through Cedar City. It’s a fun town. I went down there to help them set up and do some events. The people down there are super receptive to it, met some of the city council members. We’re were trying to be good neighbors to everybody. We’ve never been in a college town, so that, I think, is going to be interesting when school gets back in session, but Cedar City is great.

Chris Holifield:

Have you been busy? A lot of people getting cards down there?

Tim Pickett:

Our first day was pretty busy. Second day, wasn’t quite so busy. We’re open two days a week down there.

Chris Holifield:

Okay.

Tim Pickett:

I think it’s a little hard for us to find QMPs down there who live down there because everybody knows each other, and so I don’t know whether or not it’s just medical providers don’t want to be the one who are writing cards for people and doing those evaluations. So right now, we’re bringing in one of our QMPs down for a couple of days a week. But if you know anybody out in the community, St. George, Cedar City, and they’re looking for experience in the cannabis space, reach out to us, especially QMPs, medical providers. We’ll teach you how to do this and what medical cannabis looks like legitimately.

Chris Holifield:

Then, we got to wish a happy birthday to Wholesome. They just turned one year old.

Tim Pickett:

Oh, yeah. They just turned one, and by the time this launches they’ll have their anniversary event, party, food trucks-

Chris Holifield:

That was a fun event. It was a fun-

Tim Pickett:

Yep. Tons of people right across from Costco there in Bountiful.

Chris Holifield:

Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

Yep.

Chris Holifield:

Anything else before we get into this conversation with Adam? Anything else you want to talk about?

Tim Pickett:

I don’t think so. This is a good interview.

Chris Holifield:

Utahmarijuana.org/podcast, Go listen to all the podcast episodes right there and share them on Facebook and Twitter and all those social medias. So anyway, let’s get into that conversation with Adam Toller. This one’s a good one, you guys. Enjoy. Do you have anything you want to mention before we start yapping here, Tim, or anything, or … ?

Tim Pickett:

I don’t. Adam and I talk, not all the time, not as much as we used to, that’s for sure.

Adam Toller:

No. Now that I’m isolated down here in-

Tim Pickett:

You are kind of isolated-

Adam Toller:

… Happy Valley. We don’t talk quite as much.

Chris Holifield:

Well, that could be even an interesting place to start. So you work out of the Happy Valley clinic?

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

That’s what we should call it, The Happy Valley Clinic.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. That’d be a better one than The Provo Clinic. That just sounds so generic.

Chris Holifield:

So how long have you been working with Tim and how did that the relationship start?

Adam Toller:

So I’ve been working over a year with Tim and the relationship, well, it was interesting, right, Tim? You almost didn’t-

Tim Pickett:

Yeah-

Adam Toller:

… hire me, right?

Tim Pickett:

This is going to be a fun conversation because Adam and I we know each other for more than a year here. The first time you came into the Millcreek office, you were wearing a shirt and tie. It’s the first thing that I-

Adam Toller:

I was wearing a suit.

Tim Pickett:

You were wearing a suit.

Adam Toller:

Yeah, man. I was dressed for business.

Tim Pickett:

So here you come with this shirt and tie with this suit on. My initial thought was, “Oh, wow. I don’t know if you’re going to fit in here. This is not that type of medicine, man. I don’t know.” But so what’s the thought process there?

Tell us a little bit about your background in medicine.

Adam Toller:

Oh yeah, for sure. So I graduated from Toledo, Ohio back in 2014, should go back. In fact, let’s go all the way to the beginning of my college years. So I graduated Weber State up in Ogden, in athletic training, and then I went over to Toledo, Ohio got my degree in physician assistant studies. Then, after that came back here to Utah and tried forever to get a job. Nobody likes new grads here in Utah when it comes to getting a job as a physician assistant, have one two years or more experience, at least.

Tim Pickett:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Toller:

So went down to Arizona, and I worked down there basically for five years doing gastroenterology down there, so anything gut-to-butt, as I always said to my patients.

Chris Holifield:

From gut-to-butt.

Adam Toller:

Yeah, I always said that it was my crappy job. Then I moved up here for another job in GI, started working at that office. Things just did not work out. I wasn’t jiving well with other people there. The hours that they promised me were way off and they had me work a lot more and I’m like, “Man, this is crazy,” and so I quit. I quit right before COVID hit not knowing, unbeknownst to me that this whole pandemic would come to be. But after the pandemic hit, it was really tough, really tough to find a job. I searched and searched and searched, and finally something came up, right? I saw this cannabis clinic come up.

Adam Toller:

I applied to the position and it was actually another cannabis clinic that I applied to and something seemed really fishy, really off with it, so I’m like “No way. I’m not going with this guy.” So I was looking on LinkedIn one day and Tim’s face popped up saying that he was the owner of the Utah Therapeutic Health Center. I thought that was very impressive that here we have a PA who’s running their own clinic, because it’s super hard to run your own clinic as a PA. You got to have a supervising physician by law. So I was super impressed by Tim and I just messaged them and said, “Hey, do you have any clinic openings?” Then, he said, “Yeah,” and I ended up calling the office, eventually getting an interview with Tim and showed up shirt, tie, suit, just like any other office, I thought.

Tim Pickett:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Holifield:

I probably would have shown up that way too, though.

Tim Pickett:

It does make sense-

Adam Toller:

Right.

Tim Pickett:

I remember at the time we met and the whole clinic wasn’t even set up, right?

Adam Toller:

Not exactly. No. Things were still very much in the beta stages.

Tim Pickett:

The beta stages.

Adam Toller:

My wife’s a programmer, so all I hear is that kind of terminology. But when I got there, I was like, “Okay, this is cool.” I love the startup culture. “We’re going to work out some kinks. We’re going to get together and figure things out.” That’s one thing that drew me to the clinic was, “This is startup culture.” That’s awesome and hell, you’ve done an awesome job and you’ve really picked up a business there and it’s just thriving, Tim. It’s been awesome.

Tim Pickett:

Do you remember the first time you saw a patient and you were like, “Hey, here you go. I’m going to write you a recommendation for a schedule one substance?”

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Actually-

Chris Holifield:

You put it so eloquently.

Tim Pickett:

Right. Because I know how I felt.

Adam Toller:

Were you pretty scared?

Tim Pickett:

Scared to death.

Adam Toller:

Really?

Tim Pickett:

I mean just terrified, just terrified. But I also have the additional that I own the place, so-

Adam Toller:

That’s true.

Tim Pickkett:

… I feel like that’s probably a little different, the liability question’s a little different for me than maybe you, I’m guessing.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. For me, it wasn’t that big of a deal. From what I remember reading on the state education, it said that if your state has made it legal and you’ve gone through the proper training and you’re approved for it, you can’t get sued over it, really if you’re prescribing it or recommending it-

Tim Pickett:

Recommending it, right.

Adam Toller:

If you’re recommending it, then you’re fine.

Chris Holifield:

What made you even want to work with cannabis? What made you even think, “Okay, this would be a fun job.” What’s your history with cannabis? Can we go there? Can we go back a little bit?

Adam Toller:

Absolutely. So when I started out, I had zero history with cannabis.

Chris Holifield:

Really?

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Absolutely none. I came from a good little Mormon family and as such, never dabbled in it. I was a pretty straight arrow and whatever the church says I do. Cannabis was not on the radar until after I actually started working then, all of a sudden, got approved by the church saying, “It’s okay for health purposes” but I had zero-

Chris Holifield:

But what made you want to get a job in the industry?

Adam Toller:

So, first off I thought that cannabis was an interesting medicine. I’d heard about some things that it could do like, “Oh, it helps out with cancer,” or, “It helps out with nausea.” I ran into a lot of people that took it for their nausea when I was in Arizona and they would always tell me how well it did for them and how wonderful it was. That kind of piqued my interest. But honestly, I went in there saying, “Okay, this is probably going to be a temporary thing. I’m not 100% sure what’s going to happen. There’s this whole patient cap thing. I don’t know if Tim’s going to keep me around. I don’t know what’s going to happen.” So I kept it just being open-minded and that I would just experiment with it, see how I liked it, ended up loving it. It’s one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had, hands down.

Tim Pickett:

Do you think it’s the patients? I know when we see patients there, there’s just a difference, compare patients in the GI clinic to comparing seeing patients in a cannabis specialty.

Adam Toller:

I think I was faced with a lot of anger and, honestly, out of the five years that I’ve worked, I can only count on one hand the people that have thanked me when I worked in GI. I’m not kidding. It was hardly anybody. It was more about the people that I was working with that made it satisfying to me. I liked the people and some of my co-workers and everything. But honestly, GI, in my opinion, wasn’t the greatest job. It was very thankless and you worked hard. It wasn’t a lot of straightforward quick diagnosis because it’s in the gut, and so you can’t readily see anything. So you got to do a lot of probing and a lot of tests in order to figure anything out, so a lot of brain power going into it. When you finally figure something out, you give them pills, they’re out the door and if they’re doing good, they don’t come back. But if they’re having trouble, they’re coming back and they’re complaining to you or I’ve had patients yell at me and everything.

Tim Pickett:

The problem with traditional medicine is you’re so limited, there’s just a lot of conditions that there’s not really a great solution for.

Adam Toller:

True, very true.

Tim Pickett:

In GI, don’t you feel like you were-

Adam Toller:

Especially GI-

Tim Pickett:

Especially GI-

Adam Toller:

Especially GI-

Tim Pickett:

You’re trying a medication and then you try another medication.

Adam Toller:

You can try so much crap and almost none of it works.

Chris Holifield:

No pun intended there, right?

Adam Toller:

When it comes to GI. Yes. Right.

Tim Pickett:

Describe it different now in cannabis, seeing patients and evaluating and doing that.

Adam Toller:

For me, what I see is I see a lot of people, I get at least a few ‘thank yous’ a day every day that I go in, “You guys are awesome. I absolutely love you.” It’s crazy how thankful and grateful people are just to be able to get their hands on this stuff. In addition to that, cannabis just helps out with so many different ailments that you can see turnaround in a bunch of different scenarios. I do a lot of the follow-ups and I love doing the follow-ups. That’s probably my favorite, is hearing people’s stories of how they’re getting better and how it’s helped them so much with their arthritis or their headaches, or even stopped drinking alcohol. I’ve heard people just completely stop after just being complete alcoholics and saying that cannabis has actually restored their marriage and made life better for them. It’s just an awesome medication to be able to hand out and I think that it’s super helpful and I absolutely love the cannabis space. It’s just so much more relaxed. Everyone’s happy. Everyone’s thankful. It’s just such a reverse from what I came from in GI.

Chris Holifield:

Now, are you cannabis patient now yourself then? Have you used-

Adam Toller:

Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

Have you used cannabis, then? Because you mentioned a little bit earlier in the conversation, that you didn’t use cannabis.

Adam Toller:

Correct-

Chris Holifield:

… at all.

Adam Toller:

So it’s so when I came around to it, so I’ve had something called Morton’s neuroma in my foot for years. I used to go rock climbing all the time and hiking and years of being in some tighter shoes and shearing my foot putting on those lateral forces it created Morton’s neuroma, which is basically an inflammation in between your toes that causes nerve pain that radiates up through your toes. Sometimes, it feels like you can be walking on a pebble and it’s just very uncomfortable. I’ve had this for years and after working in the cannabis space for, gosh, how long was it? Probably about seven months-

Tim Pickett:

Yeah, it was a while.

Adam Toller:

… seven months probably before I decided to pull the trigger on it. I’ve been taking ibuprofen, Tylenol, and it just never really did anything for it. Sometimes I’ve really hurt during the night and it would wake me up during my sleep. So I decided to finally just pull the trigger. I was like, “You know what? It’s there for me. I know that it works. I’ve heard so many people talk about it.” I contacted Sarah, one of the nurse practitioners at our office and said, “Hey, can you help me out?” So she helped me out and I got to say, it is what a lot of people are preaching about. It’s a wonderful medication and it’s really helped me out as far as my pain.

Chris Holifield:

But it took you seven months. You obviously were scared of trying it. Is that what it was?

Adam Toller:

Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

Here, you’re recommending it to people, though-

Adam Toller:

Right.

Chris Holifield:

… but you were scared of taking it?

Adam Toller:

Yeah, I was, I was recommending it.

Tim Pickett:

The old adage is, “Well, I don’t take Percocet and I write prescriptions.

Adam Toller:

Exactly.

Tim Pickett:

… but I don’t take it.

Chris Holifield:

I apologize. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just…

Tim Pickett:

I know.

Adam Toller:

No, no-

Chris Holifield:

I find that so interesting.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. When patients would ask me, “Well, have you taken it before?” I’d tell them, “No, but I’ve written plenty of prescriptions for GI medications. I know exactly what they do and I don’t take them.” So that was my insight to it was I know enough about it and so I don’t need to take it just to have that experience, and that was my approach to it. But I’m so glad that I did actually got on cannabis, not only because it helped my pain, but because I can understand a lot more where the patients are coming from, especially when you’re trying to avoid those negative highs where you start to have the world cave in on you and you get a bad panic attack.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. So you feel like, because I’ve always preached this and it’s hard to say out loud in the medical community a lot, but there’s something about somebody who understands the use and what’s happening in the brain from an experience standpoint, to explaining it. Now you’re like, “Oh yes, I can totally explain this in a way that I understand a little bit better.”

Adam Toller:

Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

You feel like that’s the case?

Adam Toller:

Absolutely. I feel like not only can you explain it better, but you can empathize with people a lot more and understand where they’re coming from. I think that’s one of the most basic human connections that you can have with somebody is just that empathy. So I feel like I can connect better with patients now, now that I’ve actually gotten on cannabis.

Chris Holifield:

Did you vape it or edible or let’s talk about that first time.

Adam Toller:

First time? First time was a vape. I remember doing the vape and going, “Oh my gosh, what did I just do?” That was my first initial reaction. I remember going downstairs, sitting on the couch and suddenly it just hit me like a ton of bricks. It just came in super strong, super fast, and I remember turning towards my wife and my eyes were wide and my mouth was a bit open, and I’m like, “Is it supposed to feel tingly?” Then all of a sudden, my body got heavy and I started melting into the couch and I was just laughing, just started laughing uncontrollably. I don’t know how much I took. I don’t think I even took that much, but man, it definitely knocked me down pretty good when I very first took it.

Chris Holifield:

That’s awesome.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Luckily, I avoided any panic attack or anything like that. I didn’t get to that point, but oh man, I just laughed giggled the whole hour that I felt hit and then it started slowing down and got out of it. But when I came out of it, I was like, “What just happened? Oh my gosh.” It felt like a dream and I never had that sensation before being conscious and having everything feel like a dream or the time warp feeling like I’m just going to be in this present moment forever. I remember going to the bathroom and sitting there on the toilet thinking, “Am I ever going to get out of here? Am I ever going to get off the pot?” Just going, “Oh my gosh.” It was crazy, but again, good experience to be able to empathize with patients and I can see why they want to avoid that.

Chris Holifield:

It’s important to share the story so listeners that haven’t tried it yet, or, there they’re like, “Oh, what’s that first experience going to be like? Is it going to be … ? But you’re a perfect example, Adam, on even when you don’t know what to expect, you’re still smiling and you’re just chilling and relaxed and happy.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

It’s not like it’s painful, or-

Adam Toller:

No, it wasn’t painful at all. Not at all.

Tim Pickett:

No, but you’ve also got somebody around you who cares about you, who you’re being honest and open about it with.

Adam Toller:

Right.

Tim Pickett:

But I feel like that is probably some, if not most, of the paranoia and the anxiety coming from, “Oh my gosh, I’m not supposed to be doing this,”-

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

… where at least you didn’t have that, and that allows you to flow through the experience a little better.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. I definitely appreciated my wife being there for me. I remember apologizing a million times to her, but she just kept saying, “It’s okay. It’s okay,” reassuring me. But that kind of support and coming from someone who loves me and who supports me in everything, that was a really big help. I would say that if you’re trying it for the first time, have someone there, someone that you trust and who can talk you through and help you, and just in case. Hopefully, it never comes to that, but..

Chris Holifield:

Have you become an expert on what works for you and what doesn’t?

Adam Toller:

Oh yeah. I know exactly what will work for me now and I’m such a lightweight. I’ve got to admit, I’m such a lightweight, guys.

Chris Holifield:

Hey, that’s nothing wrong with that, man.

Adam Toller:

Just like the tiniest little puff off of a vaporizer, I’m done. That’s it.

Chris Holifield:

Oh, I’m jealous.

Adam Toller:

Probably, that’s it and I’m done until it wears away, which is about a couple hours. I’m done for a couple hours. So I always tell people that if they’re lightweights, that’s good. You’re economical. You don’t need much-

Chris Holifield:

Yep.

Adam Toller:

You can last a really long time. I bought a gram vape cart of a forbidden fruit back in April and I still…

Chris Holifield:

Get out of here.

Adam Toller:

About half of it’s left, man.

Chris Holifield:

Whatever.

Adam Toller:

Yeah, It’s serious.

Chris Holifield:

Rub it in, man. Rub it in.

Tim Pickett:

What a way to rub it in. That’s funny, Chris, that’s funny.

Adam Toller:

Yeah, just the tiniest-

Tim Pickett:

Oh, wow-

Adam Toller:

… little bit, man and then I’m gone.

Chris Holifield:

But this is the important for people to know. You’re not in the average category of making a purchase a month or two purchases a month, but you can try, you can try cannabis for a condition and heck, even if you were getting a prescription ibuprofen every month, you’re actually saving money now because-

Adam Toller:

Right.

Chris Holifield:

… a one gram vape cart lasted you, shoot, six months?

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Chris Holifield:

That’s so crazy.

Adam Toller:

I know, super light.

Chris Holifield:

You end up having to buy more stuff just to try different feelings, because maybe one would make you more awake and one would make you more sleepy-

Adam Toller:

Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

So you almost have to have a couple-

Adam Toller:

I’ve tried some different things like some sativas, some indicas and I’ve tried some gummies lately. I like the gummies, for sure. They’re nice. They definitely don’t seem to give you that ability to relax or the high feeling super quickly. You got to wait a little while for that, but once it does come in, it’s nice to be able to have that pain relief and relaxation for quite a few hours. So usually, I just take them at night before bed.

Chris Holifield:

Have you tried any of the creams or lotions or anything?

Adam Toller:

Yeah, I have tried the creams-

Chris Holifield:

Or the balms, I guess.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Yeah, the topicals With that, it helped a little bit, not nearly as much as when I get it systemically. I always say that it’s great for arthritis, things like that, where you can directly apply it. But for some reason in my foot, it doesn’t reach deep enough to get that nerve, as far as I can tell.

Tim Pickett:

How’s your family about this, your wife? You grew up here, you went to Weber State, you’re from here. Like you said, grew up a Mormon boy, how does this whole job in this industry and then starting to use it a little bit, how’s all that mesh together? How’s your family, I guess?

Adam Toller:

Yeah. So my wife’s fully supportive of it and she, basically, has been since the beginning when I started reading up on it and sharing the information that I found, she became a full supporter of it. As far as my immediate family, with my parents, they’re very much so strictly Mormon and with time and education and things that I’ve been telling them, they’ve come to be full supporters of it, actually. They’ve written senators about patient caps-

Tim Pickett:

Yes. They wrote Senator Vickers.

Adam Toller:

Yes.

Tim Pickett:

Yes.

Adam Toller:

Yes.

Tim Pickett:

An amazing email she wrote to Senator Vickers.

Adam Toller:

Yes. That was awesome.

Tim Pickett:

Yes. If she listens to this, a shout out to your mom, because that was epic, right? That’s what it’s going to take is real people emailing the state senators, their state congressmen, and saying, “Hey look, we need a couple of things tweaked,” right?

Adam Toller:

Absolutely.

Tim Pickett:

Like for you, you become really good at this. You could see a lot of patients and you could take care of a lot of people and there are people who come and say, “Yeah, I want to see Adam.” They should be able to see who they want to see.

Adam Toller:

Yeah, exactly. Their friends or family have a good experience. They had a great connection with me. They trust me, they have a good relationship. They want to be able to have that too, and that totally makes sense.

Tim Pickett:

Sure.

Adam Toller:

They want my knowledge. They want my expertise. They want my help. Absolutely, a patient should be able to. I don’t know any other businesses that have a product cap or any other kind of cap where you can only make so many a year, according to law.

Tim Pickett:

Chris, you can only do 275 podcasts ever-

Adam Toller:

Lifetime.

Chris Holifield:

That I don’t get where they even got that model from. Are there any other states that do that? Any other medical states? Maybe we’ve talked about that, Tim, but…

Tim Pickett:

It comes from the Suboxone model, right? There’s another drug in the system that has patient caps to it, and I think it’s a 100 or something like that. I don’t know the number, but apparently there is somewhat of a precedent for it with another drug.

Chris Holifield:

What is the reason for that other drug? What do they feel that-

Tim Pickett:

That drug is super, super scary way scarier than cannabis.

Adam Toller:

I agree to that.

Chris Holifield:

It’s still a cap, though, but I don’t understand still, what is a cap going to prevent just so the doctor’s not out prescribing that drug to everybody, I guess?

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. I guess that Adam could put out a shingle and be like, “Okay, great. 600 bucks for a card. I’m going to write them all day long, everybody who pays.” Did you hear there was somebody who was meeting people in the parking lot taking-

Adam Toller:

Yes.

Tim Pickett:

Taking 500 bucks cash and then disappearing.

Adam Toller:

Yes. I…

Tim Pickett:

… Write their recommendation and then they’d disappear.

Adam Toller:

I met a patient that had that.

Chris Holifield:

For cannabis?

Tim Pickett:

Yeah.

Adam Toller:

Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

In Utah, there’s a QMP who’s meeting people in parking lots at Office Max or something.

Chris Holifield:

Wait, what?

Tim Pickett:

Charging them 500 bucks, and then they do the certification, but now they can’t get a hold of the person.

Chris Holifield:

Why would they…

Tim Pickett:

I think is pretty rare. I think this was in the very, very beginning.

Chris Holifield:

Okay. I was going to say, come to you for a lot cheaper.

Tim Pickett:

Oh, yeah, and you can find us.

Adam Toller:

And we give you good advice like, “Don’t buy from a QMP in a parking lot.”

Chris Holifield:

I was going to say, do you find people, once they come in they’re ready to do it, or do you find yourself, do you have to talk people and do it at all still? They come in and they have that appointment with you and they’re like, “Oh, I still don’t know if I should be doing this.”

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. We get that.

Chris Holifield:

Then you have to, “Okay,” you have to talk them through it a little bit. Do you find that a difference of that in Utah County than Salt Lake or not really? It’s probably about the same, huh?

Adam Toller:

Probably about the same. I’d say the good majority of people who come in already are experienced.

Chris Holifield:

Okay-

Adam Toller:

A good majority. I’d probably say around 90% have experimented with it at least once in their life.

Tim Pickett:

Do you interact with the pharmacy staff just because you’re in the same building more?

Adam Toller:

Oh, yeah. I see them more. Sometimes, I’ll ask Josh questions.

Tim Pickett:

Josh Fitzgerald, the head pharmacist at Deseret Wellness.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. He’s a great guy and it’s nice to always see how the circuit closes. We’re the opening of it and it’s nice to see the end part of it. They’ve been wonderful to work with and they’ve always helped me out with all my questions down there. They’re great people.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. That office is right in the same building as Deseret Wellness in Provo. It’s 222 Draper Lane and it’s right off the Center Street exit right there. So our office where Adam works mostly is right there in that same building and Deseret Wellness is in the other entrance. I do think working there, the communication between the QMP and the pharmacist is beneficial for the patient, because there’s a lot of times the pharmacist will come around and come in and people can change their purchasing ability or they can have questions answered right there from the QMP side. You can talk to the pharmacist. I love that.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s a great relationship to have with them. It’s really beneficial, like you said, just for the patient and so that they have more clarity and they know both sides of it, what the provider is saying and what the pharmacist says and so it’s good to close that loop.

Chris Holifield:

What are your thoughts on adult recreational marijuana use?

Adam Toller:

Adult recreational? Personally, I’m not really for it quite that much. I do think it should be medical. I think that it is a medicine and you could see the benefits of it. It helps out with your pain. It helps out with your nausea. It helps out with so many different ailments and symptoms. It sounds like a medicine to me more than something that is, just for fun.

Tim Pickett:

You’re not all the way there yet. Do you think that you’re going to change based on where you’ve been over the past year, because, obviously, the attitude from today is different than it was a year ago?

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

Right?

Adam Toller:

That’s true.

Tim Pickett:

Do you foresee that it continues to modify or do you just basically keep an open mind?

Adam Toller:

For me, I don’t know if I foresee it in the future. I would say that I’m open and I realized that I can change just depending on the facts and evidence that are brought before me. I think that I’m pretty much solidified in that point of view for right now, but if there’s something that comes along that tells me different then, I don’t have any problem rejecting that and adopting the new idea.

Chris Holifield:

It’s always hard to know what you’re going to think in the future. We’re always evolving and at the beginning of the conversation you were even saying how you didn’t even use it for seven months.

Adam Toller:

Right.

Chris Holifield:

I’m sure when you started there, you weren’t like, “Oh well, eventually, one day I’ll be vaping this stuff.”

Adam Toller:

Nope.

Tim Pickett:

Right?

Adam Toller:

I didn’t plan on it.

Tim Pickett:

I think we still have QMPs in this organization that definitely aren’t card holders or aren’t consuming cannabis. Hopefully, you would never know, right?

Adam Toller:

Right.

Tim Pickett:

Hopefully, the education they would give and the advice they would give is so good that you would never know that they aren’t just smoking bowls all day, an expert level consumer.

Chris Holifield:

…these big bong rips…

Tim Pickett:

Which, I think is possible. I think it’s a little harder, like you’ve mentioned, Adam. It’s a little harder to get that understanding without being a consumer, but it’s pretty cool to listen to somebody come all the way from traditional, all the way to where now we’re looking to change the rules so that you can do this full time.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. Honestly, this would be my dream job, if that were possible. I absolutely love the patients. I love the atmosphere and I love the people that I work with. So really, it almost doesn’t seem like I’m working because I got everything rolled up into one job and it’s awesome.

Chris Holifield:

Man, he makes that job sound so good, Tim.

Tim Pickett:

Cut right there, Chris, cut right there.

Chris Holifield:

I was going to say, man, let’s put that into a commercial.

Tim Pickett:

Right.

Chris Holifield:

Wow.

Tim Pickett:

That’s awesome, Adam. I appreciate you so much. I appreciate you being willing to come record with us. This has been really fun.

Adam Toller:

Yeah. It’s been way fun.

Chris Holifield:

One more time question, though, before I forget, is there a qualifying condition that you wish you they would make a qualifying condition?

Adam Toller:

All of them?

Chris Holifield:

Yeah, all of them.

Adam Toller:

Let’s say-

Tim Pickett:

Oh wait, let the medical provider decide whether it’s a good medicine for their own patient, right? “Oh, wait. That’s novel.”

Adam Toller:

That might be a great idea. Honestly, what I see a lot of is from what patients tell me doing follow-up, sleep. Sleep is a huge one. A lot of people are getting better sleep on cannabis.

Chris Holifield:

Right? I am.

Adam Toller:

It helps out with people’s anxiety and it seems to help out a bit with ADHD. A big one for me that I see is actually alcohol reduction. So many people have such significant alcohol reduction after they get on this stuff. It’s absolutely amazing to hear their stories. Like I was saying earlier, they can go from straight up alcoholics to where they don’t drink anything at all, or there’s always some in between. But for the most part, the majority of people, they’ll tell me, ” Yeah, I have stopped drinking so much.” I always say, “Well, isn’t it amazing?” Because the real question here is why do people drink? Why do people drink heavily, I should say?

Adam Toller:

The usual answers are, they got depression, they got anxiety, they want an escape, they have as sleep problems, so they think it’ll help them out, get to sleep. There’s a whole host of reasons for it. All of a sudden they get on cannabis, cannabis starts fulfilling those reasons, then drinking goes way down. I feel like it is such a help for people who are struggling with that. Like I said, I’ve heard people literally say to me that it saved their marriage and their life getting on cannabis.

Chris Holifield:

That’s awesome.

Tim Pickett:

It is awesome.

Chris Holifield

I agree with everything you said.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. The sleep, the anxiety, I’m starting to come around to that too, because we’re watching this data flow in and the research is out there and then we’re solidifying that research with the data that we’re getting, where people are reporting, “Yeah I’m qualified for pain, but my anxiety is way less. So not only am I using less pain medicine, but less benzos, less other things, and I feel just a lot better.” You realize that maybe people are taking their pain medicine both for pain, but also for anxiety to dull that, I guess you’d call it, traumatic pain, or that mental anguish things too, right?

Tim Pickett:

Yeah.

Adam Toller:

It helps so much with yeah mental anguish.

Tim Pickett:

Well, we’ve got a little ways to go, I guess, on the law.

Chris Holifield:

How nice would that be if it opened up, how many even more patients there would be out there? It would just explode.

Tim Pickett:

Yeah. There’s been some states that have adjusted their qualifying condition lists and watched their programs really expand because they’ve added anxiety, because of COVID or something like that, right? Their board said, “Wow, we’re seeing a lot more people really worried about stuff and maybe cannabis is helping, so they expanded and the program really took off with those just because people, they’re able to become legal for use that they’re probably already doing-

Chris Holifield:

Exactly.

Adam Toller:

Yeah.

Tim Pickett:

… and then contribute to the Utah economy instead of the Nevada economy.

Chris Holifield:

Amen, there. We can definitely use the money.

Tim Pickett:

We could use the money.

Chris Holifield:

Let’s keep that money here.

Adam Toller:

I agree.

Chris Holifield:

Well, cool. I appreciate you coming and doing the show or recording the show with us, Adam. It’s good meeting you. I don’t know, any other questions you want to ask him, Tim, or anything else you want to chat about, Adam, while we got you here?

Adam Toller:

I got a story for you guys, right? So one of my neighbors, they encouraged me to apply for a job recently, so I applied. I don’t know. I wasn’t really set in it. My heart wasn’t set in it, but I applied to this job as a physician assistant and everything was going great, nailing the interviews, doing everything just right. They really liked me. Because I got an email saying, “You will be drug tested,” yada, yada, yada. So I told them, “Hey, well I got a Medical Cannabis card.” All of a sudden, things turned south super fast. It wasn’t that the company had issues with me. The company’s policy that was in place was accepting of providers with a medical cannabis card.

Adam Toller:

However, the docs that I was going to work for had issue that I had a cannabis card, that I even was a promoter of cannabis. They basically said, “Well, you’re going to have to tell people that they can’t do their job because they’re on opioids or because they’re on cannabis, and are you going to feel comfortable doing that? You’re probably not going to feel comfortable doing that.” And it was really, it was almost sad to hear that there’s still a lot of prejudice out there against people who use cannabis, even though that they’re doing it the legal route and the medicinal route.

Chris Holifield:

Oh, there’s still a lot of prejudice out there. There’s still a lot of it-

Tim Pickett:

Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

Most people aren’t as lucky to have jobs that allow it.

Tim Pickett:

The three of us, we’re neck deep in cannabis talk all the time and this is what we do. So we think, “Oh gosh, everybody around us must be the same,” but as a matter of fact, you’re constantly running into barriers against the industry and against the people inside it, still. There’s more work to do than I even thought.

Chris Holifield:

I was working a job for 12 years that they drug tested me left and right.

Tim Pickett:

Wow.

Chris Holifield:

That was up until four or five years ago that I stopped working there. Then, I know for a fact I still got friends that work there, they’re still drug testing them left and right. So it is what it is, and that’s just part of it. You get used to it, you get used to getting drug tested and you get used to being like, “All right, there’s a waste of money-

Tim Pickett:

Right. Yeah.

Chris Holifield:

… for the company, for this job.

Tim Pickett:

Sure.

Chris Holifield:

I see it online. I see it in the cannabis groups, in the Utah cannabis groups even, the medical cannabis groups have been, “Hey, do you know anybody who is hiring that isn’t drug testing?” Luckily, Amazon doesn’t drug test anymore for marijuana-

Tim Pickett:

Unless you’re a driver, I think.

Chris Holifield:

There’s very few jobs that don’t.

Tim Pickett:

That’s a good story to end with right there, that there’s still work to do.

Chris Holifield:

There’s still work to do. Let’s get out there and hustle and get out there. How can people get a hold of you, Adam? I guess they can come visit you at the-

Adam Toller:

The Provo Clinic.

Chris Holifield:

The Provo Clinic.

Adam Toller:

I work there Wednesdays. Every Wednesday, I’m there at the Provo Clinic, so come drop by, glad to see ya. We’ll be happy to have a chat and help you out on your cannabis journey.

Chris Holifield:

utahmarijuana.org

Tim Pickett:

utahmarijuana.org.

Chris Holifield:

You think I would know this right now, Tim?

Tim Pickett:

You’ve got it in your head, utahmarijuana.org-

Chris Holifield:

Ah, man. It’s been a long day-

Tim Pickett:

… /podcast.

Chris Holifield:

… /podcast.

Tim Pickett:

… if you will-

Chris Holifield:

… /podcast is where you listen-

Tim Pickett:

Yes-

Chris Holifield:

… to the podcast. Go there and listen to it and share it with your family and friends. You can share it right there on the website.

Tim Pickett:

Then, come see Adam and down there right next to Deseret Wellness in that same building. Thanks, guys. Stay safe out there.

 

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