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Podcast: What's Your Why?

Join medical cannabis industry experts Hannah Deacon and Professor Mike Barnes as they sit down with leading voices from the sector to explore how they found themselves in the world of medicinal cannabis and why it matters to them. What’s Your Why looks beyond commercial forecasts to make space for open and honest conversations with the people at the heart of this emerging and ever-evolving industry.
Listen on Acast & Apple Podcasts.


What's Your Why is sponsored by Curaleaf Laboratories, the UK-leading expert in the manufacture and distribution of EU-GMP medical cannabis as part of Curaleaf International, the world’s largest cannabis company. Curaleaf’s wealth of medical cannabis experience, combined with a network of supply and distribution partnerships throughout Europe and the UK, mean that it is uniquely positioned to meet the rapidly growing demand for cost-effective, consistent, premium quality medical cannabis products in the UK.


Episode 07

Kieran 'God In The Grass': What's Your Why?


Kieran is a patient advocate and host of the YouTube channel ‘God In The Grass’.  Having struggled with his mental health since the age of 12, Kieran had tried every conventional pharmaceutical and therapeutic approach to manage his symptoms which included severe anxiety and obsessive He says in his own words, his doctors had ‘washed their hands of him’.

In this episode he opens up about his personal struggles and shares how medical cannabis has not only improved his health and quality of life—including helping him quit alcohol—but has given him a passion and purpose.

Kieran 'God In The Grass': What's Your Why?Maple Tree Consultants
00:00 / 01:04

Episode 06

Callie Seaman: What's Your Why?


Callie is a formulation chemist with over 20 years experience in the hydroponic industry. Whilst completing her degree in biomedical sciences she worked for GlaxoSmithKline within the drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics department, before going on to complete a PhD in fertiliser chemistry and setting up a liquid fertiliser manufacturing company.

Now an established professional in the field of medicinal cannabis, working with cultivation facilities across the globe, Callie recently set up Sunnyside Consultancy, helping new businesses navigate the cannabis space.

Callie Seaman: What's Your Why?Maple Tree Consultants
00:00 / 01:04

Episode 05

Pierre Van Weperen: What's Your Why?


In this candid interview, Pierre speaks openly about how his personal struggles have given a sense of optimism and a drive to improve things in everything he does, whether that’s for his own loved ones or patients more generally. That is also why he is chairman of the board of the Dutch MS patient association.

He speaks about how this inspires GROW’s focus on the patients who can benefit from medical cannabis and the work by his team to drive awareness, lobby for regulatory changes, and source the best products and innovations for patients and prescribers. 

Pierre Van Weperen: What's Your Why?Maple Tree Consultants
00:00 / 01:04

Episode 04

Tom Cross: What's Your Why?


In our latest episode, Hannah Deacon and Mike Barnes welcome barrister Tom Cross and his personal commitment to using his legal expertise to advocate for vulnerable groups, and the intersection of law, policy, and human rights in contemporary society. 

In this episode, we talk to Tom about his efforts to make law more accessible through his podcast, Cross Examination, and his  significant role in navigating legal challenges in medicinal cannabis, particularly regarding access for children.

Tom shares his journey to becoming a barrister and how  the complexities of public law and human rights intersect with his work in medicinal cannabis cases. 

With thanks to Curaleaf for supporting this episode of the podcast. 

Tom Cross: What's Your Why?Maple Tree Consultants
00:00 / 01:04

Episode 03

Melissa Sturgess: What's Your Why


In our first episode of 2024, Hannah Deacon and Professor Mike Barnes spoke to Melissa about her life before cannabis, from growing up in Australia to a high-flying career in the mining industry (much of which was spent being the only woman in the room). 

Melissa founded Ananda Developments after reading an article about cannabis on the off-chance. At its UK manufacturing facility, the company is focused on developing cannabinoid medicines for the treatment of complex, chronic inflammatory pain conditions. 

Hannah and Mike also hear about the many ways she 'reinvented' herself throughout her career, from selling sports memorabilia to negotiating 'exhilarating' underground mining deals in South Africa and being asked to make the tea in a boardroom full of men.

Now she is fully committed to helping establish a robust medical cannabis industry in the UK and enabling patients to have consistent access to high-quality medicines.

Melissa Sturgess: What's Your WhyMaple Tree Consultants
00:00 / 01:04

Episode 02

Katya Kowalski: What’s Your Why?


In this episode, Hannah and Mike went right back to the beginning of Katya’s journey, discussing her childhood and teenage years living in the UK and Prague, and her decision to study psychology at the University of Bath.

It was while at university that Katya developed an interest in drug policy, tackling an essay on the relationship between cannabis and psychosis (ironically, getting one of her lowest marks!)

Her interest in the subject didn’t wane however, and after completing her MA in Health Psychology, she went onto do an internship with Volteface. Here, she has carved a role for herself over the last few years, becoming a prominent spokesperson on UK drug policy.

Katya opens up about the highs and lows of working in the field of medical cannabis - including the myriad of issues with the current UK model - as well as how the campaign for wider access can co-exist alongside that of recreational use.

Katya Kowalski: What’s Your Why?Maple Tree Consultants
00:00 / 01:04

Episode 01

Emma Matthews: What’s Your Why?


Emma’s son Louis was 13-years-old when he had his first seizure. He was later diagnosed with a rare genetic condition which causes severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy. As Emma explains in more detail in this episode, Louis was prescribed dozens of different antiepileptic drugs, all of which failed to control his seizures, some of them even exacerbating them. In 2017 Emma and her family moved to Holland so that Louis could access legal medicinal cannabis treatment.

Now 19, Louis has been seizure free for over two years and is excelling in a Fine Art degree. But since the family moved back to London in 2022, Louis has been refused a prescription for medical cannabis through the NHS, leaving the future of his access to what has been a life-changing treatment, uncertain. 

Emma shares their heartbreaking story with the podcast to highlight the challenges they - and o many other patients - have faced in accessing Medical Cannabis in the UK, despite it being legal to prescribe since 2018.

Emma Matthews: What’s Your Why?Maple Tree Consultants
00:00 / 01:04
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