Crossing Paths on the Road to Relief

Guest Post by Anne Falk* 

 

Running, yoga, therapy, meditation, and the Xanax my doctor prescribed was not enough to keep away my night terrors and panic attacks.  PTSD can make my days difficult; dark hours of the night are worse.  Panic attacks during the day were just as awful because I can feel it coming.  When it hits me as I sleep, I wake up in the tight grip of terror.  It is primal and intense, feeling such intense fear, that thrashing about and bruising my arms on my headboard and bedroom walls are comforting just because they connect me to physical reality, where I am safe in my home.  The night terrors leave me exhausted and afraid to attempt to sleep.  As sleep deprivation builds, I lose coping ability for my busy days as a working mom.  I was suffering despite working so hard to be healthy.  I’d read about marijuana being prescribed to treat PTSD and was aware it had recently been added to the State of Illinois’ pilot program for medical cannabis.  When I asked my primary care provider about medical marijuana, my doctor was very supportive and offered referrals to physicians who have helped other patients through the State of Illinois certification process.  She can’t prescribe marijuana, despite it being legal in our state, because of conflict between her employer and federal regulations.

I found a dispensary listed online in Naperville, in the same strip mall where I’d attended beer festivals.  The familiar location felt safe to me so I called them, and quickly dissolved into tears as I left a voicemail about my PTSD and need for help.  The staff returned my call and gave contact information for prescribers and background checkers with kind encouragement.  When I called the doctor referred by the dispensary, I was so scared. I hate going to new doctors, especially to spill out the terrible truths that keep me up at night.  I was afraid that, despite the record of my years of treatment through psychotherapy and prescription medications, I might not be qualified under the state’s strict medical cannabis certification program.  More than I’d felt for any appointment which could require me to rehash my trauma history, I was anxious as I left a voicemail. I was praying for relief from this suffering.  I was hoping for a medication that could ease my insomnia, panic attacks, and the deep muscular pain caused by being hyper-vigilant.  He called back and answered my questions and we set a time to meet when I could also have my fingerprints taken.  We made an appointment for Sunday morning at 9 a.m.  He had practiced for over 20 years with a large health system and recently developed a separate small practice for medical cannabis patients.  By developing a new medical cannabis-focused practice, he created a separate corporation without the potential conflict of his other employer.  He informed me that his fees would be cash, the state accepts checks and cards, and that dispensaries accept cash.   I hadn’t anticipated how banking regulations impact this sector of healthcare.  Our phone chat was informative and reassuring. 

My new doctor’s office was 25 miles away from Naperville.  I walked in to see the doctor and his demeanor instantly soothed me.  He was gentle, soft, and almost maternal.  His office was full of children’s artwork gifted to him.  It reminded me of my own children and students.   He took my history and read over the paperwork from my physician.  He filled out the paperwork for the state and explained the certification process.  I asked him lots of questions and agreed to participate in twice-yearly surveys to contribute to medical cannabis research.  He assured me that my application would be approved and within a few months, I would have access to safer, more effective medicine than I’d ever experienced. We spoke of my graduate studies and I felt seen as a person who has much to contribute and has a genuine need for assistance.

In the room next door, I sat to have my fingerprints taken.  I’d done that many times as a teacher to verify that I have no criminal history.  I was beginning to relax more deeply when I overheard the next patient giving his street address to the doctor.  The unusual street name caught my attention.  He was a neighbor from Naperville.  Not just from the same town, commuting 40 minutes to see this doctor, but from the house next to the one I’d slept in the night before.  My boyfriend’s next-door neighbor had the 9:30 appointment after my 9 am slot.  I started laughing out loud.  It was so very strange and comforting.  Even if he and I had both sought medical marijuana, that would be an interesting coincidence.  The synchronicity of our appointments felt like divine comedy.  It felt normalizing to encounter the same man in this new context.  Stigma and shame are part of the baggage we can leave behind as our communities and governments move past prohibition. Lots of your neighbors are hurting.  Some of us have found our way to relief through medical cannabis.  Please check out the list of qualifying medical conditions and talk with your healthcare provider if you or a loved one may benefit from medical cannabis.


*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Illinois Women in Cannabis.


How to fight Illinois' opioid epidemic? Legalize pot.

Click here to read the full article by Dina Rollman, Founder of IWC.

 


Cannabis Healing: Sacred Plant Medicine in 2017

Guest Post by Bobbi-Lee Williams* 

Humanity’s relationship with sacred plant medicine is as deeply connected with the birth of consciousness as the plants themselves are rooted into the Earth. Called entheogens, this class of plant life has long been a guiding light for our species. Cannabis in particular has been a helper of human evolution since before history began to be recorded. It was used by ancient civilizations as religious sacrament, healing medicine, and prized for it’s infinitely useful fibers. In fact, our hunter-gatherer days were highlighted by the discovery of these consciousness altering plants and fungi that were the catalysts for creating art, agriculture, religion, and culture[1]

Modern science has proved to us what the ancients intuitively understood: The body is hardwired to accept and be supported by Cannabis in the form of brain receptors uniquely suited for cannabinoids. When we consume Cannabis we are actively supporting the Endocannabinoid System in its duty of regulating our body’s energy usage[2]. This system is our natural defense against illness, imbalance and helps to provide a sense of well being. However, the proliferation of environmental toxins, fast food diets, and pharmaceutical interference have all worked to overwhelm our body’s natural ability to heal itself. This is one reason why Cannabis decriminalization is so crucial. If we are to truly rise up in the face of bigotry, hate, and media dictated fear, we must take personal responsibility for our health. Mindful use of this plant medicine is a powerful key to our collective healing as a species because it offers us therapeutic tools for the entire being: mind, body and soul. 

Because of Cannabis’ inherent usefulness and many healing properties, it has been subject to varying degrees of prohibition by those who would rather us stay in the Dark Ages. It continues to be demonized by the control systems of the modern corporatocracy. To those of us on the “inside”, it is obvious why they don’t want the healing power of Cannabis unleashed on the population. If we were all satisfied and healthy, then their lures of mindless consumerism and fear mongering would cease to be effective bait. This empowerment of the individual is everything they are afraid of because it threatens the status quo’s bottom line. It is time to reject this handed-down mindset and reclaim the ancestral practices by consciously partnering with Cannabis to restore the health of humanity on all levels. 

The way forward requires a look at the big picture. Sacred divine wisdom lives within the heart-space of each one of us. Cannabis awakens this inner wisdom and calls for us to remember what we are and where we came from. As Stephen Gaskin said, “You can use cannabis as a sacrament--not as an end in itself, but as a holy tool to help you to experience reality. Cannabis opens you up and leaves you compassionate”. He is speaking of the conscious exploration of the altered mental state that Cannabis imparts. It is an intensely personal journey with rewards that blossom into every part of one’s life. In my experience, the cultivation of compassion, towards self and others, is deeply healing and creates great change in whomever it touches. This is exactly the kind of shift needed to help us evolve past the modern day fear-based lifestyle. 

Those of us who have chosen to embrace Cannabis must continue to bear the good news by acting with integrity, love, and compassion, especially towards those who oppose us. Despite the massive effort to keep us sick and discouraged, we are healing! We are shattering the stigma by rising up healed, peaceful, and whole. This plant ally is a clear “I Love You!” from Mother Nature. In this way, She gently reminds us that Love really is the answer. 

References 

  1. Herer, Jack. “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”. Chapter 10: Myth, Magick, and Mystery. http://jackherer.com.s216995.gridserver.com/emperor-3/chapter-10/ 1985.
  2. http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system

*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Illinois Women in Cannabis.


Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor

"Let the Buyer Beware"

This article is to prevent cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries from becoming victims of uncouth business practices. Check with your bank's Compliance Officer prior to signing any type of contractual agreement with third party vendors regarding adherence to banking laws and regulations.

Why the exorbitant banking fees?

As per the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970, financial institutions are required to perform enhanced due diligence on any business deemed high risk. The term "high risk" covers a wide spectrum of businesses including any business engaging in the medical cannabis field.

Although the State of Illinois suggests banks conduct a few extra steps above and beyond current guidelines for high risk customers, in reality the process requires little that incurs substantial costs. However, some are using this opportunity to charge you high fees simply to open a business account. Why?

How do I get cash to the bank?

That is up to you. There is no law requiring the use of specific vendors for cash/product delivery. If in the original application process you indicated the use of armored car service, security company, etc. you have the right to request an amendment to your plan. Seek out the competition and do not yield to coercion.

How smart is a smart safe?

Some of my clients have been approached by payment processing companies, kiosks, smart safes, and ATMs which at this time may not work. In most cases those funds flow electronically through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) by means of national banks under federal jurisdiction. After contact with some of these vendors, I learned that alternate names were used to conceal the fact that the business is engaging in the marijuana industry. If the bank becomes aware business may cease and you will be stuck with a contract for a product that does not work.

Additional questions: Who is insuring the money in the kisok/smart safe? Who is responsible for a software glitch? Who maintains the software and IT security so that your store data doesn't get hacked? After all, the Target breach was through a third party HVAC vendor.

In conclusion, research your options and contact a non-biased individual who is not financially motivated, but an expert in banking laws and regulations as well as the medical cannabis industry.

CannaBankingQueen@gmail.com

#CannaBankingQueen


Welcome to the Illinois Women in Cannabis blog!

We founded this organization a year ago so that women would be at the starting line of Illinois’ newest industry, rather than playing catch up.   Now, in September 2015, a big milestone is approaching – cultivators are about to harvest their first crop of medical cannabis, dispensaries are getting their shelves ready for product, and soon registered patients will finally be able to purchase medical cannabis.

There are so many men and women whose hard work has made this milestone a reality – government regulators who designed the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program and its rules, patient advocates helping patients get the certifications from doctors and get through all of the paperwork, and business operators committed to providing safe medicine to patients.  It is because of the common goal of all of these constituents – to make medical cannabis safely and consistently available to Illinois patients – that Illinois is poised to reach this milestone.

And this is only just the beginning.  IWC is excited to see the industry launch and then develop.  And we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that as the industry develops and matures, it does so with women at the forefront of innovation and with women in the trenches day to day.

Our committees are hard at work planning networking events.  We are planning free educational events to help patients and physicians learn about the program. We are reaching out to employers and asking them to provide us with job openings to post on this site. We are also reaching out to women throughout the State so that they are aware of all the opportunities out there.  We also want to hear from you – what can IWC do to help you succeed in this industry?

Thank you for visiting our blog.  Please check back regularly for updates on all things related to women in cannabis.

Sincerely,
Dina Rollman
Co-Founder, Illinois Women in Cannabis



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