Connecting the Dots with Nikki Lawley: why consistency matters in medical cannabis

nikki lawley consistency in medical cannabis

Cannabis connects my dots when I find the right product. What that means is the product I choose is relieving my symptoms in a way that improves my quality of life. I use cannabis for three specific areas of symptom relief: anxiety and depression, chronic pain in my head and neck, and improving cognitive function. 

It’s truly amazing when you finally find a flower strain or edible that works. When I find something that eases my symptoms, I will often immediately go back to the dispensary to repeat that experience. But sometimes, they say the product is unavailable or out of stock.

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It is beyond frustrating for a medical patient; many times, these products are discontinued because they just don’t sell to the masses or they are of a lower potency. It’s a real challenge to find something that works, and when you do find it, you just want to get as much of it as possible, keeping in mind that product quality only lasts so long. 

There is one trick to help prevent this problem: when the product is still in the package, I focus on certificates of analysis, also known as COAs, so that I know what I am consuming. COAs showcase the testing lab results of each product. I note the terpenes and cannabinoids if listed so that I can hopefully find a product that is similar in terpenes and cannabinoids. But sometimes, the COA is not available.

Having repeatable experiences when you’re using cannabis as medicine makes a difference. I don’t want to try 400 things to find one that works. I know what I’m looking for based on test results. This helps so much when you have budtenders who understand that a strain name means very little, and at the end of the day, the test results are what get you the information you need to find a consistent product.

Border battles

There’s also the issue of interstate commerce—or lack thereof. My symptoms don’t understand state or country borders or lines. The lack of reciprocity in state medical programs is a huge issue. Some states, like Nevada, Maine, and Hawaii, will allow people to use medical marijuana cards from their home state to purchase products. However, it’s not a guarantee. Reciprocity should be considered in each market when legislators are drafting regulations. 

It’s also technically against the law to bring regulated cannabis from one state into another. For example, I live in New York. When I travel to Pennsylvania, if I bring my medicine because I can’t access the Pennsylvania medical cannabis market, I am in violation of federal law. This is a huge problem. 

It is my hope that we can create a unified market across the country with consistent products and regulations. Patients aren’t looking to break any laws—we’re just looking to feel better. 

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.

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.