As David Chao walks into the glass conference room, there’s nothing unusual about him as an investor. He’s tall, middle-aged with dark hair and clutching the expected techie accessory: a smartphone.
But there’s one unusual detail about Chao: He’s a medical marijuana user.
Chao first gave cannabis a try a couple of years ago, after a cycle of painful stomach and lung problems he couldn’t relieve through traditional medicine. One day, as they sat around playing video games, pal Blake Krikorian, a co-founder of Sling Media who recently died of a heart attack, suggested Chao look into alternative treatments such as medical marijuana.
“I actually got a prescription and I tried—since I still can’t smoke—half of a 10-milligram chocolate,” Chao told Fortune of his first taste of medical marijuana. Because of asthma, Chao was prescribed cannabis in the form of a chocolate instead of smokeable formats.
“Within an hour and a half, it took the edge off my pain,” he said, adding that the dose was small enough that it soothed him but he was far from being high on the drug.