This article originally appeared in the February, 2019, edition of Natural Awakenings San Diego.
Cathy Bliss, Director of Community Outreach for Mankind Cannabis, a fully licensed adult recreational and medical cannabis dispensary, loves that her focus at Mankind is to inspire, build community and educate others on the many health perks of cannabis.
“Every day, more and more people are becoming cannabis curious and discovering the vast array of benefits this amazing plant has for both body and mind. As Community Outreach Director, I’m always out there talking to people. Did you know that the largest growing population seeking out cannabis is the 55 and older crowd? While a lot of them used marijuana recreationally in their youth, they’re now interested in it for health reasons,” explains Bliss, a former professional ice skater. “I was so focused on being an athlete in my teens and twenties that I totally missed the boat on the recreational marijuana scene. By the time I discovered cannabis, I was looking at it from a plant medicine perspective.”
Bliss shares that she knows that newbies and those rediscovering the world of cannabis can find it hard to navigate. “I totally understand. In 2008, My husband and I, both holistic health advocates and curious about the health benefits of cannabis, went into a dispensary and walked out with an edible. Unfortunately, we weren’t instructed on how to use it and I ended up taking way too much for my body. It was a really rough night,” she recalls. That’s why she loves that Mankind Cannabis has made it part of their mission to educate the community on cannabis use.
After her experience with the edible, Bliss dove into educating herself on cannabis and, through experimentation, discovered ways to ingest the plant that worked best for her body. About a year later, when her son, James Schmachtenberger, co-owner of Mankind Cannabis, suggested his family consider medical marijuana as a possible career path, she and her husband agreed. The trio opened their first medical marijuana business and have been enthusiastic supporters of the movement ever since.
Now that she’s been in the industry for a decade, Bliss is even more convinced of this plant medicine’s remarkable health-promoting abilities. “Cannabis can help counteract so many medical issues and I have the amazing opportunity to help educate people who are dealing with conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and depression. I love talking to moms with kids who have cancer and autism and hearing how cannabis drastically improves their children’s lives. I also enjoy talking to nurses and educating them on how and why cannabis works so well for so many different conditions.”
With so many products and strains to choose from, Bliss knows that it can be a challenge to find the right match. Her advice? “Try a little bit of a lot of different things until you find the strains that work for your body,” she affirms. “Everybody is unique, so it’s important to find out what works for you. An edible might be a more ideal fit for someone older or a kid with autism. If you’re in pain, one hit off of a vape pen and your pain disappears. You can find strains that keep you awake or relax you. You have so many different options based on your individual needs at the time.”Bliss recommends taking a lot of notes while you journey to find what works best for you. “Become a biohacker,” she suggests. “And by all means, come in and check out our style. We love welcoming customers into our shop. Come in and talk to our consultants. We have an amazing amount of product and variety and we’re always happy to help you find something that works for you. Our shop is interactive, open, friendly, and everything is out-in-the-open so you can touch the products yourself. Ask as many questions as you like and stay as long as you like. We’re a very non-intimidating shop and love to be of service.”
As part of her mission to educate the public, Bliss would be remiss to not mention Mankind Cannabis’s upcoming podcast. “I’m really excited about it. It will be a chance for me to talk directly to the community about their health issues. I can interview the moms whose kids are experiencing relief with their health challenges so that other parents can hear their perspectives. I want it to be an open forum and will invite input from the community on topics you’d like to see covered or people you’d like to have interviewed. It’s just another wonderful way we can all get to know more about this wonderful plant medicine.”
Bliss also recommends watching the free documentary film, Marijuana Movie which can be found online at MarijuanaMovie.org. “My son, James, was the executive producer on this fantastic film. I highly suggest it for those cannabis curious folks who would like some extra assurance that consuming marijuana is okay,” she says.
Mankind Cannabis is located at 7128 Miramar Rd., Ste. 10, in San Diego. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call 855-MAN-KIND or visit MankindCannabis.com.