This is a guest post from Stephanie Karasick, Founder and Chief Creative Director of Strainprint Technologies Inc.
In August 2014, I nervously sat in the waiting room of the Cannabinoid Clinic, one of the first medical cannabis clinics in Toronto. I was ready to give cannabis a try, but felt very unsure about what I was embarking on. I had no guidance, just hope, based on my handful of “recreational” experiences with weed in my 20s, that this was worth a shot. I was 42 and had suffered from chronic depression and anxiety all of my life. I’d been on and off a handful of psychotropic medications and therapy. Cannabis though? Was it safe? Would people judge me? Was I going to become one of those stoner people? Would it even help? I left that day with a recommendation for a gram a day, split between two Licenced Producers, and a quick lesson on how to grind up and vaporize the buds.
The answers came. Yes! Cannabis did help! In fact, it was the only thing I’d tried that allowed me to feel present and happy. I blindly bought a few different strains. It was only a matter of a few days and I realized that not all cannabis worked the same for me. The CBD one did little, while the one with the peppery smell at 12% THC was like a ray of sunshine. I started taking notes. I’d jot down the time of day, amount I was taking, the temperature I vaped at, and most importantly, how I felt each time, before and after. I did this for 6 months. I learned about terpenes and irradiation and transparency (most Producers at the time chose to be “proprietary” and not show lab reports.) I learned that there weren’t enough useful resources for a patient like myself, trying to figure all this stuff out. I wished there was an app, like my Fitbit, that could help me track all these variables and really see my progress. It simply didn’t exist.
Creating the Strainprint App
I needed to create this app. As luck would have it, my husband has a business that builds apps and sites for sports teams. I convinced him to give me access to one of his developers and build a prototype. Strainprint was born. A friend of mine was in the tech business and loved what he saw so much that we joined forces (along with a few other smart folks), decided to put our own money into developing it and get it out there!
The first version of Strainprint launched in 2017, with the guidance of medical advisors to ensure we were creating something extremely useful. We also built a loyalty program to reinforce the behaviour of tracking. Since then, we’ve helped thousands of patients keep track of when they medicate and figure out which cannabis products work best for them. Millions of anonymized data points of peoples’ experiences get sorted through a robust software to make sense of it. Researchers, doctors, and growers can gain more insight into this amazing plant’s ability to relieve so many symptoms. Slowly, the use of cannabis as a medicine is being considered by people who once shunned it. The evidence is all in the data.
Shelter x Strainprint
But there is so much more to be done. Companies like Shelter get it. They know that people rely on the products they sell and they want to be able to provide consistency, availability, and transparency to their patients. They’ve aligned with quality growers who care. And so the learning continues. Nothing makes me happier than when we hear from patients telling us how much they get out of tracking. If you’re genuinely invested in learning what’s working best for you, and have trouble remembering how you felt last time you medicated, you’re not alone. There’s an app for that, it’s free, and you can download it here.
Bonus: Enter the activation code FINDSHELTER when you set up the app, and you’ll get access to special coupons ;)