As countries all over the world recognize the medicinal benefits of marijuana, a sea of anecdotal and scientific evidence is presenting itself to reinforce what cannabis-lovers have known for a long time — the plant treats and heals. It is also a very effective way to decrease the number of opiates that have been overprescribed for decades.
Many of these stories are similar, in that they begin with a patient who has tried everything in the pharmaceutical realm to treat their illness. But with little progress made or a mountain of unpleasant side-effects, they turned to cannabis to fill the void.
One such success story is that of Danny Sloat, who had serious issues with chronic pain before he discovered cannabis. Danny gained a significant amount of weight as a side effect of the 19 different medications he was taking and it looked like there was no relief in sight. Then, Danny’s father urged him to try cannabis and his whole world changed, he said.
What came next was the creation of a company called AlpinStash, which to this day prides itself on making clean, quality cannabis products that are helping heal others.
Marijuana.com sat down with Danny to discuss his story and how it led to his current profession as a cannabis cultivator.
MJ: In your early 20’s you started suffering from chronic stomach pain, which doctors treated with increasing doses of opiates. Can you tell us a little about that?
DS: Yes, I had stomach issues and then developed a nerve impingement issue called thoracic outlet syndrome and a non-cancerous base of skull tumor that had to get removed all in the same time period.
The first time you tried medicinal cannabis for these conditions, do you remember what strain it was and what relief it provided?
It was either Mango or AK47. Those were my two first purchases but I don’t remember which one I tried first.
[The cannabis] definitely provided pain relief, which at that point the opiates had stopped doing. It’s the classic thing where opiates help pain, but the more you take them the more you need. The other thing cannabis provided was a means to escape mentally from the situation I was in. It put me in a positive headspace and allowed me to have a mental break from dealing with pain and being stuck in such a rut for so long.
So the combination of physical pain relief and mental breathing room was very important.
When did it first occur to you that marijuana could actually be the long-term answer to the challenges you were having back then?
I don’t remember specifically but probably the second or third time, which was probably days after I started.
As time went by, I got off medications and my head began to clear. It was like, ‘oh wow, this problem was caused by the medication I was on, and all the weight that I had gained was caused in large part by all the medication.’
How did these experiences lead to you getting into the cannabis industry?
The first dispensary I went to, the purchase I made came with a free clone and then the subsequent purchases I made also came with free clones. Gardening had been something I had been interested in and had done on and off and I had found [it]very therapeutic.
I very quickly realized the value in [growing cannabis]for myself, and because of that, I realized the value for other people and that it wasn’t just hippies trying to get cannabis legalized. If it made me better, it could make anybody better, is how I felt.
When did you decide to finally start your company, AlpinStash?
Right away pretty much, because I had those plants. I figured if I could teach myself how to do this really well, I’m going to have a future [in growing].
The other issue that I faced is that because my medical issues started when I was 21, and I believe I was 28 or 29 when they resolved, I didn’t really have a career path or any idea of what I wanted to do.
I remember I was watching some sort of documentary about [cultivation]and they had a seed breeder there talking about cannabis genetics and there was $2 million worth of seeds behind him. So I [realized]I can do something that I love and find very therapeutic and potentially make an actual living. I focused on that and it was the start of what became AlpinStash.
My goal then was to open a facility and sell not just flower but also genetics.
Can you describe exactly what AlpinStash is?
We are a small, family-owned and operated cannabis facility. We have myself and three employees, one of which is my fiance.
We’re completely devoted to quality and clean products [using]a sustainable, natural nutrient system, as well as handcrafted soil that we make here. All the flower is hand-trimmed and glass-cured and we offer unique and novel genetics, both THC and CBD, most of which we make in-house.
We’re beginning to see some traction in people recognizing the quality and having repeat customers. It’s been kind of an uphill battle and it is definitely a long-term strategy. To offer a connoisseur product in which we don’t cut corners, those are things that your average consumer, right off the bat, doesn’t necessarily recognize.
Do you have any specific plans for the company moving forward?
We are rolling out some new products this year. We’re going to be offering seeds of our unique strains and clones through our cloning partners.
We’re also going to be offering high-end joints, both regular and with glass tips, as well as kief-infused.
Based on your experiences of healing yourself using cannabis, and now creating products to heal others, what do you think is the future of cannabis? Do you think humanity is eventually going to come back to this medicine and embrace it again?
Yes, I think humanity will [but]I think that it’s going to be in a commercialized way, unfortunately.
I think that hemp will make a huge impact. Things like fiber, and protein, and hemp cream, and all the hemp uses I think will be huge.
All the medicinal benefits of cannabis will be a lot more recognized, but we’ll see an industrialization and commercialization of those things.
As Danny and others like him spread the word about the healing properties of cannabis, while trying to erase the stigmas of yesteryear, governments everywhere are considering marijuana reform.
Perhaps if the momentum continues, a combination of large companies, craft growers, and even personal cultivators will permeate the industry and marijuana will be considered more than just a commodity — it will be seen as an effective natural medicine.