Connecting the Dots with Nikki Lawley: resources for the medical cannabis patient

medical cannabis resources

The beginning of my medical cannabis journey was extremely overwhelming. There were no guidebooks on how to “do the cannabis.” There was not one person that could give me all the answers I needed. I had to take my health and my cannabis journey into my own hands. It is still overwhelming to this day however, I do know how to navigate much better five years into this journey.

Figuring out where to go for accurate information on cannabis is often the most challenging part for people starting down this road. How do you know who has the right information? What site on the internet is valuable? 

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I was lucky to discover a book called The Medical Cannabis Primer by Dr. Ruth Fisher. That was my guiding tool of understanding plant medicine. I highly recommend this text to anyone who’s curious about using cannabis for wellness.

I also found Strainprint to be great for journaling my condition and finding products—at least in Canada. So much of medical cannabis is trial and error, and Strainprint makes it easy to track what works for you and what may not be your best option.

And while these resources are great , it’s often other patients who hold the key to knowledge.

Lean on the community for support

I would love to say doctors are your best resource for patients. However, this is not the case as many physicians are never taught about our endocannabinoid system and how it works. Becoming aligned with other patients and people with experience in cannabis medicine is so much more valuable than trying to talk to a doctor. 

For many, these resources can be tricky to find. I recommend searching for support groups in your state or country whether on Google or social media. Don’t be shy—reach out to others who have been down this road before. You’ll likely find these allies are more than willing to help and may have resources you may not be aware of.

These groups will make you feel less alone, and less overwhelmed. The plant can be very confusing. Even as a nurse, I had never heard of medical cannabis in my training. No one taught me in nursing school about this amazing system we have in our bodies. 

I also encourage people to share their stories and experiences. The amount of value that people gain by being able to personalize, and relate to others, is so undervalued. Many large companies don’t see the value in the patient voice which is really frustrating. If it was not for the patients and the legacy growers, there would be no adult use market. We must consider this when building organizations or creating new medical programs. We (the patients) are the experts.

A call to action

My hope is that basic education around the plant continues to evolve. We need to understand the “why” behind cannabis, what it is, and most of all, the different forms of consumption and use cases of plant medicine.

We truly need a single site that encompasses all of these areas that we just talked about. Somewhere people could go that addressed each state and country—both the laws and the products that are available, and a list of resources for patients to link up with each other by condition or symptom.  

Bottom line: the current state of cannabis education is disjointed—no pun intended. We must keep advocating for universal knowledge, for the healthcare system to acknowledge the endocannabinoid system, and for patients’ voices to be heard.

This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState. The statements within do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GreenState, Hearst, or its subsidiaries. The author is solely responsible for the content. Always consult a healthcare professional before beginning a medical cannabis regimen.

nikki lawley

Nikki Lawley is a patient advocate, speaker, and founder of Nikki and the Plant. She personally discovered cannabis as medicine after suffering a life-changing injury while working as a pediatric nurse. Nikki resides in Buffalo, NY.