SPRINGFIELD — Helping patients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, insomnia or chronic pain has earned Lauren Enman the nickname the “Cannabis Queen.”
“I have never felt more sure of where I belong career wise,” said Enman, a patient advocate with Revolutionary Clinics’ medical marijuana facility in Somerville.
The nickname came courtesy of a satisfied patient, and Revolutionary Clinics has seized on the nomenclature’s appeal with ads that feature Enman, 33, “wearing” a digitally-applied white crown.
Enman’s job is to discuss patients’ health problems and answer questions about marijuana and its effects and try to determine which kinds of medical marijuana products would suit them.
Patients must display state-issued medical identification cards to get inside such dispensaries under Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations.
Here’s a Q&A The Republican did with Enman Tuesday by email:
Please describe what Revolutionary Clinics does.
Revolutionary Clinics provides medicinal cannabis products to registered medical marijuana patients in the state of Massachusetts. We are trained to have the knowledge and education in medicinal marijuana to serve patients and help them navigate the product offerings and choose the appropriate treatments to help relieve their symptoms or ailments.
When did the facility open in Somerville and Cambridge?
The Somerville location opened in November, and the Cambridge facility is set to open at the end of this month.
Please describe what you do — do you meet in person with folks, chat by phone? Are you the first point of contact for folks visiting Revolutionary Clinics?
Patients visit our dispensary in person but also can call if they have questions or concerns. When patients visit the dispensary they are first greeted by a security guard who makes sure they are valid medical patients by checking their state issued identification card. Once they are verified they are greeted by our lovely receptionist who makes sure they are currently active with the state program, haven’t exceeded their maximum purchase for the month or otherwise abused the system, and are then allowed into the facility to make their purchase. Once they are in the facility, that is where myself and our other patient advocates greet and guide them with their questions and concerns and complete their transaction prior to picking up their products as they leave.
What are the most frequent concerns and questions that folks bring to you?
A good majority of patients who visit the dispensary come with questions about managing anxiety and depression, insomnia and pain relief.
Despite the state of Massachusetts approving marijuana for recreational and medical use, stigma around the drug remains. For example, the West Springfield Town Council Monday voted override a decision by the mayor and impose a ban on recreational marijuana sales in town. But advocates, people in the industry sense the stigma is weakening. Can you please discuss your thoughts on that?
As an advocate myself, I am constantly doing what I can to help educate people about the benefits of the cannabis plant as well as helping people understand the medicinal values it can provide. I have turned many people (including family members) who were completely against cannabis into believers (and supporters!) just through education. There is endless research being done showing how helpful cannabis can be for all types of debilitating conditions such as MS, arthritis, depression and PTSD. It is also refreshing to see more public figures recognize the possible benefits of this treatment. As we educate the masses about the benefits, it is also important to remind people that the residents of Massachusetts voted in favor of medical marijuana in 2012 and then again reaffirmed their support by passing the adult use ballot question in 2016. In places like Colorado, we have seen how the billions of dollars in tax revenue is contributing to improvements in education, housing, addiction treatments and other benefits for their community. Massachusetts will also benefit greatly from the influx of taxes from this newly legalized industry.
Do you have a medical background?
Like most patient advocates, I am not a medical doctor, but I have been trained in medical cannabis practices through my experience at Revolutionary Clinics and at a prior dispensary in Massachusetts.
What are the qualities you have that make folks comfortable to discuss such issues with you?
I have worked for over 15 years in different industries that were all very customer service oriented. In those years, I worked across the country, with many different types of people in many diverse work settings which helped me learn how to excel within various situations. Also, in college, I majored in psychology which I feel has given me a unique perspective and expertise in helping my clients and patients.
How many clients do you deal with daily?
It could be as few as 20 but could be up to 50-100 on the busier days.
What is an average work day like for for you?
When I first arrive at work, I like to know what we currently have available to patients (if anything new has been added to our menu, what has sold out, etc.) so that I am providing the correct information when I begin helping patients. If I have noticed we have new products or maybe have been replenished in something that I know certain patients have been waiting for, I will make sure to contact them to let them know. As the day goes on, I will provide my help and education to returning patients as well as new patients. A new patient could be someone who has visited other dispensaries and is new to ours in particular, or it could be a patient that has never been to a dispensary before and may have never even used cannabis. If there is a patient who requires extra help and guidance, we can then provide one on one consultations to help them feel comfortable as they start their medical cannabis journey.
How did you get the nickname “Cannabis Queen?”
I had helped a patient during her very first dispensary visit and when she had returned for her next visit she told me that every single thing I had helped her pick out was exactly how I had described and provided the exact relief she was looking for. She then forever referred to me as her “Weed Queen” and said she would be coming back for my expertise from then on.
Where were you born and raised and how did you wind up in this current job?
I was born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire and went to school at the University of New Hampshire. When I graduated college I moved around a bit, including a couple years in Las Vegas, but ultimately ended up in Salem, Massachusetts, a place I had been in love with ever since I was a kid. As I began my life as a resident of Massachusetts, I found out about the medical cannabis program. I have dealt with depression and anxiety as well as severe migraines for a good portion of my life, and was looking to find alternatives to taking the medications that I had been on for years. I decided to take action and become a medical cannabis patient, and as soon as I got my card I visited my first dispensary. The day that I visited my first dispensary was the day that I knew that this industry was where I belonged. I was trained and became a patient advocate a few months later and have been in the industry ever since. I have never felt more sure of where I belong career wise. I am so fortunate to have found my place in this industry, and look forward to the bright future that we have ahead of us.
Full story is available here.