Like at many other cannabis companies across Ohio, employees at Columbus-based processor Beneleaves are also among the more than 160,000 active registered medical marijuana patients in the state. Three patients who’ve gone on to a career in the cannabis industry at BeneLeaves shared their stories with MedicateOH about how their passion for the plant has changed their lives.
By sharing patient experiences and testimonies like these, MedicateOH hopes to inspire Ohioans to explore plant-based medicines and pharmaceutical alternatives.
Jamie Dodd, Diabetes
November marks Diabetes Awareness Month and cannabis plays a key part of many diabetics’ health journeys. Jamie shared her story of her diagnosis with juvenile diabetes and how cannabis improved her quality of life. Also known as Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes is a chronic and painful condition where the pancreas makes little or no insulin.
Even after decades of research, type 1 diabetes (T1D) still has no cure. However, the painful condition can be managed by controlling the amount of sugar in the blood using insulin, diet, and lifestyle to prevent complications.
Jamie’s older brother first taught her about the medicinal qualities of marijuana and opened her mind to the possibility of it helping her diabetes pain. One summer in Michigan, she tried a strain of Sour Diesel. It was love at first toke as it gave her such an uplifted sense of being. Not only did Sour Diesel alleviate the stress she carried daily from trying to control her disease, but it allowed her to function throughout the day without experiencing the vast amount of physical pain she had unknowingly become accustomed to. Says Jamie: “Without a shadow of a doubt, my experience with medical marijuana that summer paved the way for what my career and passion in life are today. It’s the driving force behind the work I do.”
Patient Advocates for Sickle Cell, Chronic Pain
Broderick Randle and Tiffany Startup from Beneleaves also shared their cannabis story and journey with us. From two different patient perspectives, both found healing with medical marijuana.
Broderick, Sickle Cell Anemia
A patient who uses cannabis to manage Sickle Cell Anemia, Broderick was diagnosed about a year after birth. Both he and his sister (who also has Sickle Cell Anemia) were prescribed high-dosed oral opiates or IV medicines such as Dilaudid, morphine, and oxycontin.
Sickle Cell Anemia is part of a genetically-inherited group of disorders, in which red blood cells are contorted into a Sickle shape causing excruciating pain at times in areas all over the body.
Once Randle discovered the many medicinal benefits of this plant, he began to self-educate on MMJ. The more he learned and researched, the more he discovered how wrongly misinformed most of the public was on cannabis. He decided he could no longer stay quiet.
“While learning to embrace the usage of cannabis for healing and wellness, I had to also learn how to speak up and out about my story,” explained Randle in a recent interview.
As a patient and advocate, his goal is to create more general awareness of Sickle Cell Anemia and how medical cannabis can ease symptoms. “The time is now to let the world know how my quality of life has drastically improved in numerous ways! Sharing my story allows those who may be dealing with like to be able to relate,” said Randle.
Tiffany, Chronic Pain
For Tiffany, cannabis has provided relief from physical pain and discomfort for more than two decades. She first found her way to cannabis for relief from excruciatingly painful (physically and mentally) menstrual cycles. Once it was made legal in Ohio, Tiffany sought out the program for relief from tapering off SSRIs, sleeping meds, and pain meds which took a toll on her body.
“I think we as patients, industry workers, advocates, etc. Need to speak up more about how cannabis is helpful. We have people from all walks of life in our dispensaries. It’s not just a bunch of ‘hippy stoners’ like some people think. We need more documented proof that cannabis is safe and is helping us,” explained Tiffany.
Recently, she used RSO in her recovery as she underwent L4-S1 fusion surgery. Her doctor remarked on her results, so she invited her surgeon to tour Beneleaves’ facility, where many of the cannabis products she used during her recovery are made. Unfortunately, the stigma around cannabis still permeates, and her doctor declined the invitation. “We (Beneleaves) have an FDA-ready facility. It is a lab setting. More doctors need to come to see what our industry in Ohio is doing.” she later said.
MedicateOH Cannabis Chat to Feature BeneLeaves Patient Advocates
Jamie, Broderick, and Tiffany will share a bit of their stories live during our Thursday, November 10th audio-only Chat Session on the Clubhouse app with the University of Cincinnati Introduction to Hemp and Medical Cannabis students. We invite members of the community to join us for this special episode of MedicateOH Cannabis Chat.
Thanks to the team from BeneLeaves for sharing their stories. To highlight your cannabis company’s employee patient-advocates, reach out to us at medicateOH@gmail.com.