Have you ever tried to keep track of how certain strains of cannabis affect your body and mood, along with details such as the dosage and method of consumption? Or, maybe you've thought about doing that… and just never got very far with actually implementing the idea. We understand, maintaining a journal like that can be difficult. But, when using cannabis to treat a specific ailment, it’s important to keep track of how each variation of the medicine affects you so you can zero in on the most effective strains and dosages for you.

That’s why we were excited to learn about a new app called Releaf that not only makes it easy to keep track of all that information but also generates visual analytics and reports from your data, helping you to recognize successful patterns in your usage that you can share with your doctor. And, if that weren’t helpful enough, Releaf also keeps you up to date with what’s working for people who share your symptoms! Don’t worry, they totally respect your privacy and don’t share any identifying information — they share only what’s necessary to help you figure out what cannabis strains and methods work best for you.

The inspiration to build this game-changing app came when Releaf’s creator, Franco Brockelman, learned that his mom had been silently struggling with chronic pain for years. It turns out that she suffers from an advanced form of Psoriatic Arthritis, which can attack any joint in the body, and, if left untreated, can cause permanent joint damage.

“She’s always been the toughest person I know,” Franco told Hopegrown, “so the fact that she was able to hide it for so long didn’t surprise me. But sometime in early 2015 it became undeniable: she simply couldn’t move around like she used to, and I became aware of how severe her situation had become.”

Franco with his mom, Nancy, in March 2016

Let’s let Franco tell the story in his own words…

“In my mom’s case, the arthritis crept up without warning, leaving her with debilitating pain. She tried everything available to combat the pain: chiropracty, acupuncture, natural remedies, over-the-counter products, and of course, prescription pain medication. Nothing worked well enough and the pain continued 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At night, she had immense difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and was dependent on her medication just to get her through the night. She spent most of her time in bed.

I decided to talk to my mom about a pain treatment option that had previously been unavailable to her: cannabis. Unsurprisingly, she was initially opposed to it. The stigma of “marijuana” is difficult to ignore, especially by someone who’d managed to steer clear of drugs and alcohol throughout the course of her life. But as time went on, her condition worsened, and she began exhibiting symptoms of depression due to her bleak outlook on the future. She decided to give cannabis a try.

Long story short, it worked for her by helping ease her pain and discomfort, but her path to relief is by no means clear-cut. Cannabis is a complex plant with hundreds of pharmacologically active compounds and the number of different strains available growing rapidly. Because the varying compounds within any given plant affect everyone differently, it has been exceedingly difficult to provide generalized dosage instructions to those who are using cannabis to treat their ailments. To make matters even more complex, many new users of legal cannabis are completely unfamiliar with the plant and have no idea what to expect. Many report feeling reluctant and a bit afraid.

From the start, I’ve been building this app with my mom in mind. At the heart of Releaf is a straightforward method that helps you navigate your sessions with cannabis, minimizing the currently inevitable guess-and-check work required to determine what works best for you. Soon after you take your first puff, Releaf becomes a friendly home base for you to record your symptom levels, positive & negative feelings/effects (such as energetic, talkative, hungry, anxious, cozy), and thoughts. At the conclusion of a session, you will be presented with a personalized in-depth session overview showing your experience and feelings over the course of the session.

Ultimately, Releaf will work with you to find patterns in your data and allow you to favorite sessions and cannabis strains to share those details with your doctor and dispensary. With better information, it will be easier to find the best treatment plan possible. And, as other patients with similar ailments are having success with specific strains or equipment, Releaf will let you know! This results in less work for everyone on the path to feeling better.”

Want to try Releaf for yourself?

We’re excited to announce that the beta version of the app will be available as of May 2nd! Visit http://releafapp.com/beta/ to be one of the first to join the Releaf Community and share this with any friends you know who could also benefit from Releaf.