• Jennifer, COO Leaf411

I'm Not That Girl Anymore

I'm just not. But as I looked at myself in the mirror last week, my tear-stained face and heavily burdened heart begged to differ. There she was, staring back at me. I thought I had left her behind, that I had somehow beat my PTSD. Healed. Mental illness was no longer a part of my life. But suddenly my PTSD was back, rearing its ugly head again.

The timing was terrible—isn’t that always the case? I was heading up to the mountains that weekend to spend time with my family who I hadn’t seen since the COVID shutdown. I’d missed them so much and been excited for that trip for weeks. And yet, I was struggling to find any happiness or joy that day.

PTSD: When an Unwelcome Visitor Returns

My first experience with PTSD came after a terrible car accident 11 years ago. A lady ran a red light and that decision changed the course of my life forever. Seven years after the accident, I was still on 13 different pharmaceuticals for severe chronic pain and PTSD. My quality of life never improved, my pain never went away, and the side effects from the pills were immense, but I just learned to adjust to my new “normal” and move forward.

When recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, I went to my prescribing physician and asked about using cannabis as an option to get off some of my medications. While he was happy to give me more pills, he wanted nothing to do with marijuana.

“It’s Federally illegal. I know nothing, and I want nothing to do with it,” he told me.

While that experience with my doctor was not a positive one, it was a pivotal moment. Instead of just taking “no” for an answer, I became obsessed with learning about cannabis therapeutics for myself. There was a lot of information out there, but trying to decipher fact from fiction felt like a full-time job! 

Eventually, I  was able to discontinue all the pharmaceuticals that had been prescribed following the car crash. The cannabis plant gave me my life back! But I wrongly thought that my path to healing would be nothing but an upward trajectory. In fact, it’s more like a roller coaster with ups and downs.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Axell

When PTSD reared its ugly head again due to the increased stress of COVID, the cannabis products I had been using successfully for years were no longer working.

I needed help.

Fortunately, the landscape has changed in the 11 years since that car accident. This time, I had access to cannabis-trained registered nurses through a revolutionary (and FREE) nurse hotline. These trusted and trained health professionals could look at my cannabis regimen and identify what needed to be changed to help better manage my PTSD flare-up.

Even Experienced Cannabis Consumers Can Use Help Sometimes Leaf411 is a nonprofit organization that operates the country’s first free cannabis nurse hotline. Anyone can call 1-844-LEAF411 and speak to a cannabis trained nurse to get answers to their health-related hemp CBD and marijuana questions. Together with my business partner, we co-founded and built the service that I wish had existed when I needed it the most. And now, in fact, I needed this very service!

Even as an avid consumer who considers herself relatively well-versed in cannabis therapeutics, I was at a loss and so grateful to speak to someone who would listen to me, not judge me, and could guide me through the changes I needed to make to my cannabis regimen.  Once I followed the Leaf nurse’s guidance, I began feeling better, and was able to fully enjoy my much-anticipated weekend with my family.

I understand that asking for help is hard, especially when you’re in that dark place and feel like you’re drowning. I want you to know, though, that there is hope.

Having a healing anecdote to share about your journey confronting, managing, and healing with cannabis? We'd love to hear from you.

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