Less than 8 years ago, I was completely stuck.
I was 60 lbs overweight.
I had debilitating chronic pain issues.
I drank waaaay too much.
I was addicted to prescription pills.
I was buried in debt and was making no money.
All in all, I was devastatingly unhappy.
I was constantly looking for some miracle pill or diet to save me from my own life and I had no idea how to stop doing the things that were keeping me stuck.
When I look back at that time in my life, I feel incredibly lucky. I could have been stuck there forever, but I trudged my way out of that situation. And while I do feel lucky that I made it out, it wasn’t easy to do it on my own.
I love that I took it upon myself to take responsibility for my own health, but it wasn’t fun or fast or focused. Things held me back for years without me even being able to see them and move forward.
It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted to help others avoid some of the deep, dark and dirty pitfalls on the healing path. And I set out to trying to figure out how to best help people.
I became a yoga teacher, then got my health coach certification, but I knew that it would be a disservice to people if I couldn’t integrate cannabis into those practices. I truly believe in that plant’s magical healing powers, and wouldn’t be here without it. So when I came across the opportunity to become a Holistic Medical Cannabis practitioner, I jumped in feet first.
Becoming a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner
During the past few months, so many of you have reached out asking about this whole Cannabis Counseling / Health Coaching thing and how it came to be. I’ve been getting lots of emails asking where I did my training and if it’s really a dream job (spoiler alert: yeah… it is.).
Not only do I get to work from anywhere at any time (like almost every other web based business person), I love that I get to help people in a way that is fun for clients and interesting to me. I also get to stay focused on raising a kid and helping on the farmer’s farm during the summer.
And even though this is a relatively new niche in health and wellness, I find it easier to find clients and have to work less while earning enough to support my little family. And because very few people are doing this right now, the demand is high enough that I sometimes have to turn people away because I don’t have time in my schedule. What this tells me is that there is a lot of opportunity for people who want to do this for a living.
If you’re the person that all of your friends and relatives come to for advice or information about cannabis, becoming a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner would probably be a really fulfilling gig for you.
I love talking to clients about cannabis while doing the other work (health coaching) that I also love. I always said that cannabis is a gateway drug to health and vibrant living and now I get to help the people I work with really experience that one on one.
What I learned from the Holistic Cannabis Academy’s Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner program is how to break down complicated science and myths about cannabis. And from there, I was able to weave actionable advice into my existing health coaching program.
So when people come to me for help with cannabis, they also get transformation. And when people come to me looking for transformation, they also learn how to use cannabis to support that transformation by decreasing inflammation, reducing pain levels, accelerating weight loss (after we tame the munchies of course), and repairing damaged cells.
After doing the Holistic Cannabis Academy program for the past few months, I can’t imagine going back to being a regular health coach. While I love doing that work, there’s something that’s so much more exciting and fulfilling about this for me. I wanted to share what a day in the life looks like so you can see if it’s something that you want to spend your life doing too.
What does a Cannabis Counseling Session with a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner look like?
If you’re a massage therapist or yoga teacher, the way you engage with clients around cannabis will probably different for you, but if you’re a certified health coach, your first Cannabis Counseling session will look a lot like a Discovery Session. At least, that’s how I decided to structure it. Here’s a behind the scenes look at how I designed my Cannabis Counseling sessions so if you’re a health or life coach (or want to be one), you can see how cannabis fits into the equation.
A Cannabis Counseling session takes the same amount of time as a Discovery Session (about 1-1.5 hours). Treating it as a DS allows you to draw out some of the underlying issues that your client is dealing with, find out exactly what their goals are, craft a specific action-oriented plan for the client addressing cannabis and proactive lifestyle changes, and answer any questions they have.
When a client books a Cannabis Counseling session, I send out my normal intake form that is modified to ask about the client’s experience with cannabis so far, and to find out if anything has or hasn’t worked for them in the past.
Then I usually do some extra research on the specific issues they mentioned in the intake form. Next, I listen to the corresponding lesson from the Holistic Cannabis Academy. Even if I’ve listened to it a few times, doing a recap helps me tune into the issue so I can suggest an effective plan during the session.
Then, I put together some questions that help me narrow things down further and I create a flexible plan of action that will shift as the client answers those questions. This all takes about an hour or two, but most of it is listening to one of the HCA lessons, so I do that part while doing my chores. As I get more comfortable with the process and have really absorbed all of the information in the modules, I think client prep will take me about 30 minutes or so.
I go through my normal sequence of uncovering the problem and desired state goal setting that I learned through Health Coach Institute (holla HCI peeps!). This process helps me really understand where they’re coming from and where they want to go.
I wouldn’t do a straight cannabis counseling session without doing the discovery session process first, because I feel like it’s enormously valuable for the client to see what’s stopping them and to know exactly how they want to feel by the end of the session. Otherwise, you and the client will have no baseline for whether or not they are moving toward what they want and away from what they don’t want. It sounds basic, but I believe it’s a necessary step.
When we get to the cannabis counseling part of the session I like to say something like, “In my experience, cannabis isn’t a one-size-fits-all-cure-all kind of medicine. We need to support the work that the cannabis is doing with a couple of other lifestyle changes to really get results quickly.” This sets the stage and opens up the client’s mind to a more holistic way of thinking about cannabis for healing and transformation. We can’t make the weed do all the work. Then I assign a few action steps that are unrelated to cannabis.
Now I’m not going to give up all of my transformational coaching secrets in this post, but I do want to say that the first session is special. If it’s the only work a client does with me, I feel like it is still powerful enough to change their lives.
And I love this process so much, that if it was the only thing I did for the rest of my life, I’d be stoked. Even writing about doing it fills me with joy and excitement. When I get emails asking for a session, I get crazy giddy (which you probably know if you’ve ever sent me an email about it).
How to Become a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner?
I searched high and low for a cannabis training program that would complement my skill set and passion for health and wellness but until last year, I kept coming up short. There was stuff for budtenders and growers, but I felt like I already knew most of the curriculum.
Then, the Holistic Cannabis Academy came along. The first time I saw the syllabus, I thought… “I don’t know jack” and I knew I wanted to explore all of those topics in depth. For me, several of the modules helped me directly and helped me guide my clients. I learned about microdosing (changed my life), balancing THC:CBD ratios (changed my life) and terpenes (ditto).
I had a client with sleep issues, so I spent one morning listening to both of the modules that address anxiety and insomnia. The Cannabis and Yoga module by my personal hero Dee Dussault (author of Ganja Yoga) changed the practice for me. The Ayurvedic module by Prashanti Di Jager was mind-blowingly inspiring. And learning about the endocannabinoid system in such clinical detail in several modules made me feel like a mad scientist.
Beware: your friends will get sick of hearing words come out of your mouth when you’re becoming a HMCP. It’s all you’ll want to talk about.
One of the other benefits of HCA is that everyone who goes through the full course to become a Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner has to have another certification under their belt. This means that the certificate holds its value if you’re a Health Coach, Yoga Instructor, Accupuncturist, Massage Therapist, Doctor, Registered Nurse, etc. and that the market won’t be flooded with practitioners (especially ones who don’t know what they’re doing).
Is being an Holistic Medical Cannabis Practitioner a Dream Job?
I’ve been chasing dream jobs for as long as I can remember.
Writer? You mean you get to sit around all day and type jokes and look up stuff and get paid? What a dream job!
Yoga teacher? You get to lay around all day and breathe and sweat and get paid? What a dream job!
Health coach? You mean you get to talk to people on the phone all day, change lives and get paid? What a dream job!
Internet entrepreneur? You mean you get to do nothing all day and get paid lots of money? What a dream job!!!
And what I will say about dream jobs is that they’re always that (a dream) until you start doing them. Then, they become jobs. No matter what you do or what level you rise to, there are always things that you have to do that you don’t want to be doing. There’s still the tech stuff, the accounting stuff, the interpersonal stuff, the time management stuff, the hit a wall stuff, and the “I can’t believe I agreed to do this 6 months ago” stuff.
But what I can say is that after doing this for even a short time, is that I wouldn’t want to be doing any other job. I find it incredibly rewarding and I only want to figure out ways to do more and help more people.
I have a flexible schedule so I can still hang with a toddler and a farmer every day, most of the day. I wear daisy duke’s to work and I work from anywhere that has the internet and phone service.
I can still do yoga, write, health coach and be an internet entrepreneur (whatever that is). And I still have the time to make my fam jam delicious whole food meals and clean my own house on occasion.
I hope that helps clarify what this is and what it looks like for those of you who have been asking about it.
Did that just make more questions bubble into your brain? Let me know in the comments below!