TIGARD, Ore. -- As a doctor at Tigard-based American Cannabinoid Clinics, Rachel Knox said her job is taking the guess work out of medical marijuana
“Patients have been using cannabis like throwing darts at the wall,” said Knox. “They hope it lands on that bull’s eye which is their medical condition, whether it's pain or cancer or anything in between.”
That notion was something digital marketing professional Rick Bakas could relate to. His mother, a medical marijuana patient, has multiple sclerosis.
“It took us about 10 years to find the right cannabis product for her, but once she found it, it changed her life,” said Bakas. “We don't want people to have to take 10 years to find the answer to whatever their ailment is. We want someone to find it in one conversation with ABBI.
ABBI is a new cannabis chatbot. Bakas developed ABBI as an extension of his California-based website WeedHorn—a media and education resource for medical cannabis users.
Bakas designed ABBI to be accessed through Facebook Messenger to connect with its 1.3 billion daily users.
“People don't need to download new technology or learn something new, it's a form of communication we're already using,” said Bakas. “ABBI allows access 24 hours a day to get some of those basic questions answered.”
Bakas sought out Knox and her fellow practitioners to answer those questions by providing ABBI with a database of medical cannabis information. Konx’s sister and parents are all doctors at AC Clinics, specializing in the treatment of medical conditions using cannabis and cannabinoids.
“You can come to ABBI and ask general questions like ‘what kind of cannabis do I need to treat anxiety?'” Knox said. “ABBI will talk back to you as though she was texting you a response.”
Knox stressed that ABBI doesn't diagnose conditions, just provides information, which she said is badly needed.
“In cannabis medicine there's just this huge gap between information on how to use cannabis medicine and the supply.”
Since ABBI launched on April 20, Bakas said the chatbot has provided more than 5,000 medical cannabis recommendations to users.
“It's helping people and it's solving a problem and it's free,” said Bakas. “That's the best thing, it doesn't cost anybody anything.”