Ep. 453: Don Fertman

July 29, 2019

Another great conversation with Don Fertman as he shares stories about his past struggles with alcohol addiction, providing a framework to talk about cannabis, addiction, and moderation: “I got myself together and got myself to work, but now I felt like even more of a failure. My self-loathing, my self-hatred, my sense of disgust with myself and my drinking, and that fear of impending doom, this constant feeling of like being in a car crash in slow motion, and I know I’m going to my destruction, and I see it happening, and I’m in it, but I’m powerless, I can’t do anything about it, it’s just happening because I can’t stop it, that was all in my brain that day.”


Seth Adler: Don Fertman joins us, welcome to Cannabis Economy, I'm your host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on CannEconomy.com, that's two Ns and the word economy. We've got a ton of direct insight on CannEconomy.com these days, including a basically monthly column from Don Fertman and I, called The Audio Files, where we discuss addiction and music, or music and addiction, whichever you want to slice and dice it. This is an audio version of one of those, although this is slightly different, this is Don's story as opposed to focusing on a musical act of some kind, which is what we usually do. Anyway, first a word from Bedrocan, and then Don Fertman.

Speaker 2: Bedrocan is a patient driven, global pharmaceutical minded cannabis company. Their entire end to end process is GMP certified through Dutch and ultimately European authorities. Bedrocan is the market leader in Europe for medical cannabis, and has been the sole supplier to the Dutch government for 16 years. Through the Dutch government, Bedrocan provides product to 15 countries currently. As a science based company, Bedrocan invests in clinical research. The Laden University conducted a double blind placebo controlled clinical trial on fibromyalgia with Bedrocan products, which yielded promising results. They are now working on a followup to that study.

Speaker 2: Bedrocan is also working on the extent to which cannabis can reduce our reliability on opioids. Bedrocan believes that clinical research is key for the future of the company, standardized product, the industry, and the patient. Visit Bedrocan.com for more information.

Seth Adler: Here me now? No, hold me ... hold me now.

Don Fertman: Hold me now.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Fertman: Baby, hold me now.

Seth Adler: Oh no, that's a different ... I'm talking about like the ... "stay with me".

Don Fertman: Well, won't you stay with me.

Seth Adler: Are we signing the same song?

Don Fertman: I don't know. Hold me now.

Seth Adler: Yeah.

Don Fertman: Baby hold me now.

Seth Adler: No, no, that's ... it's almost the same, but it's different.

Don Fertman: Okay.

Seth Adler: Which is almost true of everything.

Don Fertman: Yeah, right. Well think about it, they have ... there's eight major notes, so how much can you do?

Seth Adler: Right. And you're-

Don Fertman: And another five that are the sharps and flats and that's about it, so ...

Seth Adler: Is that really it, it's just 13?

Don Fertman: Yeah, yeah. So how many-

Seth Adler: How could that be?

Don Fertman: How many songs can you make out of that?

Seth Adler: It turns out a lot.

Don Fertman: Yeah.

Seth Adler: Don Fertman. It's backstory time, because you and I have been talking about addiction through music, or using music to talk about addiction. Take your pick, it doesn't matter.

Don Fertman: Well, it could go either way and sometimes it goes both ways.

Seth Adler: Exactly. Exactly.

Don Fertman: Because it all ties together, that's just the point of this whole thing, is that with music, and musicians, and what they get involved in, and how music can enhance life, but so can drugs and alcohol, how drugs and alcohol can ruin lives, and how music can tell that story.

Seth Adler: Yeah. And so it starts with music, it ends with music. Starts with your own person and how ... what, is it a question of strength?

Don Fertman: It's not a question of strength. It's really a question of willingness. It's a question of willingness once one becomes addicted, because the reality is the addiction just kind of takes over, and no matter what strength you have, that's kind of push out the window. So the willingness to ask for help, the willingness to be able to say, "I really have a problem." That's really what comes into play there.

Seth Adler: Now, you and I began this conversation many moons ago, and I said if addiction is your bag, what is your kind of mindset on cannabis? And essentially my take was evolving. And we've talked about this a couple times, but I want to make sure it's here.

Don Fertman: And my take continues to evolve, because I think about cannabis and the legalization thereof, I think about alcohol. Alcohol is available everywhere. And many people drink alcohol socially, and go home and everything's fine. And some people become addicted to alcohol, I happen to have been one of those people. When it comes to cannabis, the first time I ever got stoned, I was the happiest guy in the world, I laughed, and laughed, and laughed and looked at myself in the mirror with my friend, Klaus, the famed cartoonist, Klaus [Chansen 00:04:49].

Seth Adler: Who we've also talked about here.

Don Fertman: Yeah, and we ... we then wanted more, at least I wanted more. I wanted to do that again, and again, and again because I saw it as an escape. And for many people, it's a social thing. And maybe enhances a moment, or an evening, and then they can put it down and walk away. I don't see it the same as putting a needle in your arm with heroin, let's say. Things that are not only addictive, they're designed to be addictive. They go right to the receptors in the brain that ultimately creates the addiction. And at the same time, people are looking for opportunities to be social, opportunities to share with one another, and sometimes drugs and alcohol can, say, enhance that.

Seth Adler: Lubricate.

Don Fertman: Lubricate, yeah, a little big of lubrication, social lubrication can be a good thing for some people, it would be great if gee, we were all ultimately lubricated naturally. But that doesn't always work that way. And when things are used in moderation, I don't see a problem with that.

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