Emma Chasen has a mission to educate people on the science behind cannabis, so that they may take charge of their own healing. After graduating from Brown University in 2014, with a degree in Medicinal Plant Research, Emma went on to coordinate clinical oncology trials with the Brown University Oncology Research Group. When her supervisor refused a cannabis trial in favor of another expensive pharmaceutical drug, Emma quit and headed across the country to Portland, OR. She found her way to Farma, the popular Portland dispensary that takes a more scientific approach to cannabis; rejecting the indica/sativa binary and instead focusing on chemotypes to determine effect. There she has been able to study the plant and help patients reframe their relationship with cannabis as medicine. She is now the Director of Education at Sativa Science Club and seeks to spread her educational program through teaching, writing and consulting.

Emma Chasen was recently named Portland’s Best Budtender of 2016 and featured in Newsweek, MG Magazine, Stoner Magazine, High Times Magazine, and Teen Vogue for her work with cannabis and patients. Her mission is to educate people on the science behind Cannabis so that they may take charge of their own healing as well as to address the need for training and education of budtenders, medical professionals, and the general public.

Tell us about your typical day.

I am a cannabis educator and industry consultant. I work with many different companies and brands to try and bring the best cannabis education to the industry. Because of this, each one of my days is different, which I love. Some days, I’m teaching cannabis science courses with Sativa Science Club. Others, I’m working on developing educational marketing campaigns for cannabis brands. And sometimes, I even get to film fun videos and be a part of exciting new projects to help shed the negative stigmas associated with cannabis.

What's the biggest misconception about the marijuana industry?

There is still a lot of negative stigma surrounding the legal cannabis industry. Many people who I speak to about my work are surprised that I am a cannabis user and can still be so motivated, productive and mission driven. People still believe that cannabis users are lazy, unethical, unintelligent shmucks. And that is so far from the truth. People working in the legal cannabis industry are some of the most motivated, resilient and intelligent people I know.

What's one prediction you have for the marijuana industry five years from now?

Five years from now, many states will have adult use programs and I believe the federal government might have a hand in the cannabis industry, as well. We may be looking at legalization on a federal level, which will bring about all kinds of new, exciting challenges.

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Photo: Emma Chasen

What is one change you'd like to see happen in the cannabis industry?

The cannabis industry needs more education if we want to advance. There is a vacuum of training in this industry and that is unacceptable. Workers, especially those on the front lines of the industry interfacing with patients, must be comprehensively trained in cannabis science, patient care and compliance. It is a disservice to patients to not have the option of engaging with informed staff when trying to find answers regarding cannabis consumption. That is why I am so adamant in my pursuit to bring quality education and training to the industry.

What is your go-to munchie?

I love Cheez-Its. They are seriously addictive. I call munchies ‘bottomless pitting’ because my stomach literally becomes a bottomless pit, especially when Cheez-Its are around.

What's your favorite (and least favorite) way to consume cannabis?

My favorite way to consume is with edibles! I love chocolates, gummies, tinctures, you name it. My least favorite way to consume is vape cartridges. I don’t hate them by any means and I appreciate how easy they are to use discreetly, they’re just not my favorite.

Tell us the story of the first time you consumed marijuana.

The first time I consumed cannabis it was to impress a girl. I was 18 and a freshman at Brown. She was 20 and a junior. She was so cool, and funny and smart and she invited me to smoke with her. Of course, I said yes. I took a few hits and pretended to be way higher than I was, so we could cuddle in her bed. We did end up making out and then dating for the next two years. So, turns out, I didn’t make a complete fool of myself! Our relationship didn’t last but my love for cannabis only grew from that first time.