From Traumatized to Trauma Healer
You might know me as Dr. Ross, the author of Vitamin Weed. That neuroscientist that speaks at cannabis conferences on the science of the endocannabinoid system and the medical benefits of cannabis. You may have heard my story about using cannabis to heal fibromyalgia.
It’s time to go deeper. It’s going to get raw and vulnerable in here, ladies.
We often talk about cannabis to heal physical pain. But we rarely talk about the fact that your body can cause physical pain to distract you from the emotional pain you just can’t handle.
And that’s what happened after I developed PTSD after I was raided by the LAPD in 2013 at my home for writing Vitamin Weed & being a loudmouthed cannabis advocate, I spent 2 days in jail, was charged with conspiracy, and fought a year-long case that was brought to trial. After the raid I spent an entire week rocking back and forth and crying in my closet and under my desk after I got out of jail. I jumped every time I heard a police siren or loud noise, which in LA, is every 5 seconds. While I survived the false charges brought upon me, my financial, physical, and mental health did not survive.
I moved to Denver and I went on a healing journey with cannabis where I went from wheelchair to walking to traveling around the world with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses. My physical pain used to be at a 10 daily, and now with the exception of the rare stress-caused flare, my pain is at 3 or lower most days. I decided to move back to Los Angeles 5 years after that LAPD raid that destroyed my life, and I wasn’t ready for what came next.
After cannabis healed my physical pain, I was finally able to start feeling again. And this meant the negative feelings too, that emotional pain my brain was trying to protect me from. It wasn’t just the raid, I started to feel all the trauma in my life, from childhood abuse, to dealing with instant-fame from starring on Big Brother, a reality tv show where people basically cyberstalk you for 3 months, to divorces, past addictions, cutting off my family, the death of my brother, and much more.
It was depressing. I was anxious. My career was stalling. I was the worst friend ever. I didn’t know who I was in the world without my physical pain. I felt more confident being a physically ill patient than a mentally ill patient. And I felt all the shame, guilt, and bad feelings from acknowledging my coping mechanisms that I used to survive in the past. I felt alone. And completely hopeless.
You see it doesn’t matter what diplomas you have, where you’re born, none of that. We all go through some hard shit.
I’m here today to share with you how I use cannabis to heal from trauma and how I use it to heal other women with trauma.
Using cannabis for mental health is still a controversial concept. Before Dr. Sue Sisley started her clinical trial on using cannabis for PTSD in veterans, the narrative was that cannabis causes schizophrenia and psychosis. That’s right, psychiatrists were telling the public and their patients that cannabis caused mental illness, not treated it. Today, some hip mental health professionals might accept their patients using CBD for anxiety or maybe even mild depression, but most will tell you cannabis is the problem, not the solution.
Cannabis, like any psychedelic is all about set and setting. It’s about where you are using it, who you are using it with, and why you are using it. What is your intention? Is your intention to heal with cannabis? To reprocess trauma and leave baggage behind? Or is your intention to numb yourself? To hide from a past that’s too painful to deal with?
I think safe spaces for healing trauma with cannabis, where women can share without being judged, be supported without being held back are key to healing the deep wounds we have as people and as a society. And I’ve found that with This Is Jane.
“She needed someone to heal her, so she became a healer”
I’m so proud to not only be a participant in This Is Jane Project, but an advisor to this budding nonprofit as well. I’ll be sharing more about the science of cannabis and trauma, how cannabis helps us rewire our brains, and my personal journey of healing with cannabis in future monthly blog posts on This is Jane.
I hope to not only be resource to This Is Jane, but to all the Janes who need a shoulder to lean on as we put in the hard work to step into our highest selves.
Let’s heal together.