Founder of Inferno Coffee in Edmonton, veteran and firefighter Stephen Hughes is passionate about spreading awareness when it comes to CBD and how it has helped him alleviate symptoms of PTSD.
Tell us about your history with cannabis.
My history with cannabis goes back to when I was a teenager. I was never a heavy smoker, however I was surrounded by many friends growing up who enjoyed consuming cannabis. My connection to cannabis became very intimate during the later stages of my life when I began to learn more about CBD.
How did you discover CBD? What do you use it for?
Being surrounded by cannabis for most of my life, it did have a large impact on my life even though I wasn’t using it as frequently as others. It was about three years ago when I first heard about CBD. I started to hear people talking about the differences between a compound called CBD and its effect on the human body compared to the more commonly known compound THC.
It really started to pique my interest when I heard about how CBD was able to help people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was having my own difficulties with PTSD, so this really hit home for me personally. The more research I did, the more I began to fall in love with cannabis and the CBD compound. Being a firefighter, I was very surprised to find out that CBD was also great to use for inflammation. The nature of the firefighting job is very physically demanding. Your body is working very hard while fighting a fire, but firefighters must also remain physically fit and train off the job to maintain a high level of fitness. I found that CBD was able to help my body recover quicker after intense workouts.
One study, in particular, turned me into becoming a very open CBD advocate. This was the study of CBD’s effects on patients fighting cancer. Firefighters are three times more likely than the average citizen to get diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime due to the exposures that comes with the job. This can be from smoke off-gassing from their equipment after a fire, exposure to chemicals and other carcinogens, and many other random events that may happen during a firefighter’s career. Every time I hear about a study relating to CBD combating cancer, I am amazed. I still do not understand how after so much money has been donated and continues to be raised for cancer, there still is no cure. I truly believe that CBD will play a major role in the near future in changing this.
What’s one thing you’d like people to understand about cannabis/CBD?
This is a very tough question. Cannabis has so much to offer us as a society. It is vital that we educate people on how cannabis can be beneficial to their lives. Education about cannabis, and talking about what effects this plant has on our bodies, will be crucial when it comes to changing the negative stigma associated with this beautiful plant. There has been so much negative publicity about cannabis over the years that the only way to change this negative stigma is by discussing the cold hard facts.
To answer the question directly, I want people to understand the medical benefits of CBD. For the person that is hesitant to try CBD, I want them to understand that there are no psychoactive effects associated with its consumption. We have all bared witness to the opioid crisis that has been taking place across Canada and the United States. Despite this, people are still being prescribed opioids for pain management. I have personally witnessed people become addicted to opioids after being prescribed the drug for treatment of their back pain. What if CBD can cover ¾ of what those drugs can do for a patient? Through education, we will start to see a more health-conscious world of people who actually understand what medicines they are putting into their bodies.
What’s one thing you’re looking forward to when it comes to adult-use cannabis legalization in Canada?
I personally feel that adult-use cannabis legalization is long overdue. It is going to be a great sight to see when a customer can go to their local dispensary and buy a product that will help them relax and fulfill any medicinal needs. The biggest excitement that I have personally is the expansion of CBD use in the recreational market, with the inclusion of CBD-infused products. With our company Inferno Coffee, we are working hard to expand our product offerings and gain a solid foothold in the emerging cannabis industry. As we already know, coffee comes from a naturally grown plant. So with Inferno Coffee, it only makes sense that we move into the cannabis industry in order to bring our customers the enormous health benefits of another extraordinary plant.
What does it mean to be a “CBD” advocate?
I take being a CBD advocate very seriously. There is so much false information on the internet that makes it extremely important for us to back up any information we use with real facts. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and what I am looking to do is share with others my own personal experiences using CBD and how it has positively impacted my life. As I had stated earlier, I feel that education is extremely important, and that is why we started Ignite By Inferno: “It’s time to spark the conversation about CBD”. Through Ignite we are using our social media platforms to educate our followers on the benefits of using CBD. By starting this discussion, it gives people a direct path to an organization that may be able to help answer their questions. We are constantly collecting as much resources as possible, in hopes of helping a person so that they can make a truly educated decision with regards to using CBD.
Story by Odessa Paloma Parker
Photo courtesy of Stephen Hughes
The preceding is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to condone the use or consumption of cannabis. For more information, please refer to our disclaimer.