Article by High! Canada
High! Canada Magazine was lucky enough to speak with Stephanie Karasick – Founder of Strainprint and we were honoured to ask her a few questions.
Tell us Stephanie, about how you personally became interested in cannabis?
In the summer of 2014, I got my prescription for medical cannabis. I’d been diagnosed with PTSD, and battled anxiety and depression for years. I was nervous about trying it, but after a few days, everything changed. For the first time in my life, I was able to find joy and peace. I began noticing that certain strains worked better for me, so I began taking hand-written notes, which turned into a robust journal of my medical cannabis experience. My journey to find peace in life was the genesis of Strainprint. I wanted anyone who uses cannabis as medicine to understand what works best for them.
Tell us about how that led to an active career for you in the Canadian Cannabis space?
I never really expected to have a career in the cannabis space, it just sort of happened. I was fortunate that my husband has a business that develops websites and apps and was able to get a prototype of the idea built. The following year we brought some incredible partners on, so we could build it properly and get this tool in the hands of patients across the country. It took us well over a year to get the software to a point where we could launch it. (Free on the App Store and Google Play) Recently, we launched Strainprint Analytics, which is essentially a dashboard of all of the data that’s been collected, and it’s going to help businesses, researchers and government, to better understand how cannabis is working for people treating for different symptoms.
Have you faced any adversity or specific challenges while creating this new type of business model and if so how have you passed over these particular obstacles? Of course, every industry has its share of people who have different motivations and beliefs, and that’s how I see it. We’ve had people tell us they’re building the same software, don’t see the value in what we’re doing, or are still trepidatious of legalities surrounding this space. Those interactions generally fuel me to push harder and to do better.
Advice to other women entering the Canadian Cannabis industry?
My biggest piece of advice is to follow your gut and be nimble. The industry changes by the minute and those that are successful are able to roll with the punches and adapt quickly, or even capitalize on the constantly changing market. It is still a male-dominated business, but I believe if you stick to your convictions and not let yourself feel less than, you can have a beautiful and rewarding career, where you get to see people getting well.
Three things you think every Canadian needs.
1. With legalization just around the corner, this is a time that Canadians should use to learn about cannabis. Very few people understand this plant, as we all grew up being told drugs are bad, and cannabis is one of those drugs.
2. Advocate for your health. Your doctor wasn’t trained about cannabis in med school, and likely has reservations about you using it in place of traditional medications. If you feel this is a viable option, tell your doctor to refer you to a clinic where you can get seen by a healthcare professional that has spent years learning about cannabis.
3. Also, I think every Canadian needs a toque, it’s a wardrobe staple for me and the entire Strainprint team. They are now available on our Strainprint Shopify!