Promoting positive use on Canada bike trip

Alison Becker and Mathieu Leblanc love three things; bike touring, camping, and cannabis.

They have combined all three things into a cross Canada biking trip from Victoria, B.C. to Halifax, N.S. to celebrate the future legalization of marijuana, including an over night stop in Humboldt on July 17-18.

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Even with the subject matter, people were friendly and they made some friends at coffee row before heading on to Quill Lake, Wadena, and Canora.

For Becker and Leblanc, cannabis helps them with rest and recovery from the day while also offering Becker a way to focus, she says.

The pair bike around 100 kilometres a day and Becker says microdoses of either edibles or smoking cannabis helps her focus on the positives of the trip.

This is not the first trip for Becker and Leblanc with the duo doing the trip three years ago with cannabis being a major part of their rest and recovery and pain management while biking. However, they did not feel comfortable being vocal about their own use.

The pot world changed after they returned to their hometown of Nelson, B.C., and they felt they owed it to the industry to talk about how it has benefited them, says Becker.

With legalization occuring this year, they thought it would be fitting to do another cross-country trip to celebrate.

“Over the years, we just thought how cool would it be to do a trip across Canada again to promote a healthy, active, cannabis infused lifestyle?”

Not all people who smoke marijuana fit the couch potato stereotype, says Becker.

While there is anecdotal support regarding cannabis as pain management, particularly cannabinoids or CBD products, Dr. Peter Butt, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Health Region addictions consultant, says there are few medical indications to support the claims.

As family physicians, they are guided to prescribe cannabis in cases of neuropathic pain; pain caused by damage to the nervous system only if other pain management systems have not been effective, he says.

However, legalization will open the door for researchers to start conducting clinical trials regarding cannabis use as a pain management system, either proving or disproving the anecdotal evidence coming in.

“In the future, there’s going to be some good cannabis based products that are of pharmaceutical grade. They won’t be smoked, that’s not a delivery system that’s risk free.

There is great promise in different cannabinoids, different ratios of the different compounds in the different delivery systems but we’re not there yet.”

This would not be happening without legalization, says Butt.

For Becker and Leblanc, they enjoy challenging the stereotypes and stigmas that come from cannabis use.

“We’ve met a lot of people on the backroads and stuff…they’re super excited about what we’re doing and you get this level of respect, especially from farmers. Sometimes it’s hard to get respect from farmers,” she laughs.

Becker and Leblanc will be on the road until September and will be raising money for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a federal non-profit that provide assistances for the cannabis community to challenge current marijuana laws.

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