MIND AND BODY-ALTERING
medicines such as cannabis and psychedelics have an ancient connection to healing and recovery. They also have a nearly century-long prohibition from both medical and non-medical use for decades. Psychedelics and cannabis have re-emerged into our mainstream discussion due to the recent legalization in many states across the United States as well as many countries throughout the world.
With these recent changes in the access and the use of cannabis and certain psychedelic medicines, such as psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms, LSD, DMT, Ibogaine and Ketamine, more and more people are becoming curious about the business of working with these substances. Because of the current legal re-introduction of these ancient medicines to our society, entrepreneurs, professionals and various health practitioners such as myself are immersing themselves in education and experiences to advance themselves within the emerging cannabis and psychedelic industries. To do this, they’re following the most common way to engage in the community: attending events, especially larger conventions.
In the past several years, I’ve attended dozens of cannabis and psychedelic conventions in pursuit of growing my own mental health and alternative medicine practice and related ancillary businesses. Being an alternative practitioner means that I practice with both westernized traditional methods and also worldly perspectives using holistic tools and plant-based medicines that address mental health concerns.
Early on in my development as a cannabis clinician, I began attending cannabis conventions and conferences to primarily network and promote my new medical marijuana program. However, the convention offered much more than a place to promote. I found a place to expand my ideas and become inspired; create and meet new connections, partnerships and relationships; build community in a safe space; learn about new perspectives and new opportunities; advance my education and exposure through continuing education and professional speaker panels; and learn about all different aspects of the industry. Based on my experience, I assembled five areas of note every attendee should keep in mind as they plan their first or their fifth trip to a convention.
As a psychotherapist, I once was immersed professionally in a community solely of mental health professionals, prior to attending events in other niche industries. As a startup entrepreneur at that time, my goal in attending my first convention was to meet new people, learn, and keep an open mind. I had no clue that attending my first convention was going to be life-changing for me and my business. From that point on, going to professional conventions was an important part of my business plan to promote the growth and continued development of my businesses. Your goals may be different, but make time to define what they mean to you so you can get the most out of attending a conference.
Tickets and Pricing
I’ve seen cannabis and psychedelic convention tickets range from $50-$3,000. The price of the tickets reflects the number of days you are attending the convention and the programming that the convention offers. All conventions offer different programming, but the main attractions are the vendor floor, the speaker panels and the networking sessions. You can also expect media rooms for media interviews and promotion; ‘experience rooms,’ where you will be able to engage in different therapeutic or healing experiences using cannabis or psychedelics; and also after parties and nightlife experiences incorporating the mind-altering plants.
The vendor floor(s) presents dozens to hundreds of different cannabis and psychedelic-related businesses. You’ll meet people who do just about everything with these plants, such as cultivating the plants, manufacturing and selling related products and all type of ancillary and professional services. You can expect to be given samples of all types of related products and merchandise too, so expect to leave with bags. You’ll also find art exhibits, entertainment and unique food vendors.
The panels consist of experienced speakers, professionals and celebrities who present on different topics related to the industry. Panels are usually an hour long or more and some of these panels offer continuing education credits for professional licenses. Speaking panels are a great way to enhance your insight through experienced professionals on niche topics. Learning from other industry professionals and gaining their knowledge and experience can be invaluable. You will meet interesting people, entrepreneurs, practitioners, and healers from all different professional and skilled backgrounds. Watch out for celebrity appearances too because many people want to engage in the emerging cannabis and psychedelic markets.
Every convention offers different networking opportunities but you can expect networking lounges and events that give you an opportunity to connect and promote throughout the convention day. Then nightly, expect various events, afterparties, mixers and dinner parties, some lasting until the late hours of the night. All these opportunities allow you to engage and socialize with new people, also while incorporating these mind-altering ‘high’-inducing plants.
Every convention offers something different and the quality of experience you have is based on what you make of it and how you plan for your event. Conventions usually put out a program and speaker schedule prior to the event. Planning your days can help you maximize the potential of your convention experience. As I did when I attended my first convention, all that is required is an open mind and a desire for growth.