How Can the Dispensary Help Solve the Fentanyl Crisis?

How Can the Dispensary Help Solve the Fentanyl Crisis?

Last week we published a blog post that touched upon the controversial topic of opiate addiction and the potential role of cannabis. We know that cannabis can treat many conditions and provide countless therapeutic effects, but what about the dispensary? How can the dispensary industry and community help those suffering from opiate/methadone addiction? This post is going to take a look at the fentanyl/opioid crisis happening in BC and how the dispensary can fit into the big picture solution.

Fentanyl Fatality in BC

We are facing fentanyl crisis here in Vancouver. The overdose death toll is record breaking, with an average of 4 deaths a day and there seems to be no sign of it slowing down. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, save for the fact that it is 50-100 times more potent. It is prescribed to patients to treat pain that is not responsive to other opioid therapies, breakthrough cancer pain or those recovering from surgery. But the massive amount of fatal overdoses caused by fentanyl are not just occurring in those who have prescriptions, which tends to be the case with prescription opioid overdoses. Fentanyl is also used to cut illicit street drugs such as oxycodone, MDMA, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. All of which have a strong presence in Vancouver as it is. Dealers use fentanyl because of its potency in low amounts and how easy it is to synthesize. But it is this incredible potency that makes a fatal overdose so very likely, even simply having skin contact with the drug can result in fatality. Fentanyl, like heroin and other prescription opioids, pose a massive risk for addiction, plus its ease of accidental overdose makes it that much more of a concern for public safety.

The Cycle of Addiction

When people face their addiction to painkillers like fentanyl or other illicit opiates, they are oftentimes referred to methadone clinics for treatment. Methadone treatment is very controversial since the drug is as addictive as prescription and illicit opiates and yet, is used as treatment for people with such addictions. Given that party and street drugs are being laced with Fentanyl on a regular basis these days, the chances of quickly developing a serious addiction are high. The chances are higher that you’ll accidentally overdose. Methadone clinics are provided to help addicts get off their drug of preference, giving them a clean and safe environment to take their prescribed methadone which alleviates the gruesome experiences of withdrawal. While methadone is very effective in reducing drug use, it is also just a replacement addiction which will eventually require weaning.

We must recognize the limitations of methadone and approach addiction from a holistic approach. Meaning, we must address the problem in its entirety, not just solve one branch of it and leave the rest hanging.

Breaking the Cycle with Cannabis

Harm reduction and withdrawal management can be achieved with the use of cannabis. Although not yet supported scientifically, cannabis treatment is already being used by addiction specialists as a means of intervening and reducing harm. A study in Vancouver recruited 124 users of crack cocaine and analyzed the relationships between cannabis and decreased crack use. The study showed that after a period of using cannabis participants reported using crack about half as often as before. While we wait for more studies to find the biological reason why cannabis has this effect on addicts and the brain we must not dismiss the observable and anecdotal evidence. Cannabis, although not fully understood, is a much less harmful drug than all of the addictive street drugs combined. As addicts journey down the road to recovery and sobriety they need all the support they can get in order to heal. If cannabis is a viable option for this, it is prudent that we take advantage of it.

How Can the Dispensary Help?

In a previous post we mentioned a study done in Vancouver where methadone patients were given capsules of lab-tested THC along with their treatment. The study revealed that many participants were able to significantly reduce their daily methadone use. But the study also noted that many of the most successful participants had positive relationships with the dispensary staff and that this could very well influence the efficacy of treatment.

It is well known that recovering addicts require a certain kind of support system and good relationships in order to make a full recovery. The dispensary community is just that, a community. A community based on compassion and sharing, and such values are inherent to cannabis culture as a whole. Not only are dispensary staff helpful and supportive, they are also trained and understand the use and applications of medicinal cannabis. Having a cannabis expert provide this service is invaluable and further dispensary training and education should only be encouraged. CannaReps provides a workshops mentorship program for this purpose. We have also created the Cann Help Deck so that dispensaries, and the public, can have easy to reference information about medicinal cannabis indications and dosing. Knowledgeable budtenders are able to provide unique insights that can only come from experience. By having such an experienced support system and community behind them, addicts in treatment have a significantly better chance of success and recovery.

Many dispensaries operating in Vancouver are providing much more than just a dispensing service to medical users. They are also a place of non-judgement, acceptance, and understanding. They end up building relationships with their regulars, getting to know them as people, and becoming personally invested in their road to wellness.

The Community

There are a couple notable dispensaries benefitting the Vancouver community with their socially conscious practices and programs. Two of the most commendable dispensaries are Eden and The Village. These shops not only provide top quality cannabis products, but also serve the community by participating in social assistance and harm reduction programs. With heavily discounted flower available to those who are homeless or low-income, these dispensaries embody the true meaning of community. In fact, Eden is working with UBC to study and research cannabis as an opiate substitute.

When program participants and recovering addicts walk into these dispensaries they are greeted by warm and familiar faces. There is an authentic exchange and an atmosphere that eases tensions, allowing them to receive their medicine in a safe and peaceful environment. These kinds of relationships and settings encourage patients to maintain treatment consistency. These socially responsible dispensaries should be the new benchmark, what all dispensaries strive to be.

With a positive sense of community and continual training, dispensaries can make a real difference in cities dealing with fentanyl fatalities and widespread opiate addiction.

Welcome to CannaReps!
Please read and submit the following Waiver & Release to continue your enrolment confirmation.

WAIVER & RELEASE (the “Release”)

This event is conducted by CannaReps Consulting Ltd. (“CannaReps or Company”). Please read and submit below.

I am an attendee at an event hosted by CannaReps (the “Workshop“). I release CannaReps from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage or injury, including death, that may be sustained by me while participating in the Workshop.

I understand and agree that:

  • Any cannabis or cannabis products that I bring to the Workshop is from my personal supply and was lawfully purchased.
  • I will not possess in excess of thirty (30) grams of cannabis, unless I am lawfully permitted to possess more under the applicable regulations. If I am in possession of medical cannabis, I will not share my medical cannabis.
  • I will not distribute, sell, display, consume, or lose custody of the cannabis or cannabis products that I bring to the Workshop and will adhere to all applicable laws, and regulations.
  • Any promotional material I bring to the Workshop is in accordance with the applicable laws, and regulations. I will include the promotion of the safe consumption of cannabis.
  • CannaReps reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to eject, disqualify, or remove any exhibition or person for the contravention of any applicable laws and regulations.
  • The use of cannabis or cannabis products may impair your judgment, ability to react. By law, you should not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence. Please read the statutory rules and regulations surrounding cannabis in your jurisdiction for clarification.
  • Any advice or recommendations given by CannaReps is for informational and educational purposes only and CannaReps does not warrant or guarantee the completeness or correctness or the information provided.
  • I freely and voluntarily accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers, and hazards associated with attending the Workshop.
  • I certify that I am over the age of 19. This Release shall be effective and binding upon my heirs, next of kin, executors, administrators, assigns and representatives in the event of my death or incapacity.


Any confidential or proprietary information or material relating to the Company’s operations or business which I obtain from the Company or its officers, employees, agents, suppliers or customers or otherwise by virtue of my participation with the Company or by the Company’s predecessor. Confidential or proprietary information or material includes, without limitation, the following types of information or material, both existing and contemplated, regarding the Company or its parent, affiliated or subsidiary companies: corporate information, including contractual licensing arrangements, plans, strategies, tactic, policies, resolutions, patents, trademarks, printed or digitized materials, handouts and brochures. Including any marketing information including sales, investment and product plans, customer lists, strategies, methods, customers, prospects and market research data. Including trade secrets; technical information, including drawings, designs, personal information (the “Confidential Information”).

I understand that the copyright and proprietary interest of any material provided to me belongs to CannaReps. All shared experiences from the Workshop are to remain confidential and private. I agree not to disclose any of the information learned during the Workshop outside of the Workshop except with others who attend the Workshop. I will not use any audio or video recording equipment during the Workshop, unless CannaReps approves of the recording and filming by providing prior written consent. I understand that any audio or video recording made during the Workshop is the property of CannaReps. I will not use CannaReps’ information for business or commercial purposes, without first obtaining the prior written consent of CannaReps.


I understand, acknowledge and agree that all copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, intellectual property rights, and any other rights arising from any designs, and all of the work products and materials conceived, developed or created by the CannaReps and any rights ancillary thereto (collectively, “Intellectual Property Rights”) which were solely or jointly with others, conceives, designs, creates, derives, develops or makes in the course of or in connection with the work with CannaReps shall belong solely to CannaReps. If you haven’t already, you shall promptly disclose to CannaReps in writing any and all Intellectual Property Rights, conceived, created, derived, developed or made in the course of or otherwise in connection with my participation with CannaReps, whether alone or with others, and whether during work shop hours or through the use of facilities and properties of CannaReps.


I agrees to indemnify and hold harmless CannaReps, its officers and directors, employees and its affiliates and their respective successors and assigns and each other person, if any, who controls any thereof, against any loss, liability, claim, damage and expense whatsoever (including, but not limited to, any and all expenses whatsoever reasonably incurred in investigating, preparing or defending against any litigation commenced or threatened or any claim whatsoever) arising out of or based upon any false representation or warranty or breach or failure by me to comply with any covenant or agreement made by me herein or in any other document furnished by me to any of the foregoing in connection with this transaction.


Notwithstanding the immediately preceding paragraph, I consent to and grant CannaReps, the Workshop, and its assignees, the right to photograph and record me, my name, voice, appearance and likeness and other material furnished by me for use on trusted online media which include, but are not limited to, their website and social media pages. My hereby release said matter in perpetuity to CannaReps without prejudice and acknowledge that this consent is freely given without expecting compensation.

By submitting my email address below, I agree to receive electronic communication from CannaReps including personal course information, news, updates and promotions regarding CannaReps’ products. I understand that I can withdraw my consent at any time.


Protecting your privacy is important to CannaReps. This Privacy Policy (“Privacy Policy”) set outs the ways in which we use your information and how we ensure its protection.

CannaReps will only collect personal information (“Information”) that will allow us to provide, enhance, market or improve our events and services. Information is collected by means of registration for any CannaReps sponsored event or service. Information collected may include name, age, gender, address, email address, payment information, and geographical information.

CannaReps may share Information. CannaReps retains the right to share Information and other statistics with our partners, prospective advertisers, and other third parties for the purposes of improving, protecting, enhancing, and promoting our events and services. CannaReps may also disclose information to our affiliates, agents, contractors, and service providers in order to facilitate the functioning and maintenance of our events and services. We will not sell any information to advertisers or other third parties.

This Privacy Policy only covers the treatment of Information and other non-identifiable information gathered by CannaReps. This Privacy Policy does not apply to the practices of any third-party services. CannaReps does not take responsibility for the content or privacy policies of any third parties. CannaReps recommends that you review the privacy policies of any third-party service providers or events you access, use, or register for through our events or services.

This Privacy Policy has been established to help you understand our commitment to protecting your privacy. CannaReps reserves the right, at any time, to change or replace any portion of our Privacy Policy. You will be notified of any changes, if we believe, they materially impact your experience at our events or services. Continued use of our services after any change to the Private Policy constitutes an acceptance of those changes.

By submitting this Release and providing Information during the registration process, including the Exhibitor’s Agreement, you consent to the collection and use of your Information for these purposes.

If you have any questions or concerns please email us at