Jessie Gill, Cannabis Nurse at MarijuanaMommy.com
Jessie Gill, RN is a cannabis nurse with a background in holistic health and hospice. After suffering a spinal injury, she reluctantly became a medical marijuana patient then quickly transitioned into an advocate. Her site, MarijuanaMommy.com educates about cannabis while challenging the stigma against marijuana use.
She’s been featured on Viceland and her work has appeared on VICE, GoodHousekeeping, Cosmopolitan, MSN, and more.
Check out Pretty Pipe Shop: https://prettypipeshop.com/
[00:00:01] You're listening to Thinking Outside the Bud where we speak with entrepreneurs investors thought leaders researchers advocates and policymakers who are finding new and exciting ways for cannabis to positively impact business society and culture. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.
[00:00:30] Welcome everyone this is Thinking Outside the Bud. I'm Bruce Eckfeldt. I'm your host and our guest today is Jessie Gill and Jessie is a registered nurse and in the cannabis space, we're going to learn a little bit about her background and I'm excited about this. I'm excited about this aspect of the cannabis space as healing medical tool. And I'm excited to learn about that and learn about the story. So Jessie welcome to the program.
[00:00:49] Thank you so much for having me Bruce. It's a pleasure to be here.
[00:00:52] So let's let's hear about the story. How did how did you get into the kind of a space. I'm curious to hear the journey you've had and we can talk a little bit about marijuana mommy and what you're doing with with your project now.
[00:01:02] Well it has been a very very interesting crazy journey.
[00:01:06] And you know I never expected to be cannabis nurse or to be in this space at all. I am a former hospice nurse. And in January of 2014 I was injured in a weird bizarre work accident. And you know my life instantaneously changed and I suffered a cervical spinal injury and a great deal of nerve damage. And I started this you know process through the traditional health care system to just try to get better to try to restore my wellness.
[00:01:36] And you know I I did everything that they told me to do. What took all the medications went to all the appointments. Nothing helped. And eventually I had a multi-level spinal fusion and that actually made me worse. So I lost the ability to drive the range of motion decreased I developed swallowing issues. And you know I was I was living they kind of wrote me off and they said that's it that's all they could do that I would never get any better. And I was living life completely dependent on medications opiates and valium around the clock plus a whole bunch of other meds. And you know at this time I was still trying every other option out there. And then you know somebody suggested cannabis and I was like that's ridiculous. I am a hospice nurse I'm a pain expert like I treat other people's pain like if morphine is not helping me. Marijuana is not going to do anything. And you know I wrote it off. I was a little annoyed and my mother was like you've tried everything else. And my mom's also a nurse. She's like you're trying floatation therapy you're trying all these supplements like why wouldn't you try that. So I was like OK. You know she took me. My parents took me. They got me cannabis and it was amazing it was that exact same day I was able to stop the opiates and the volume and replace that completely with cannabis. And then slowly I was able to get off of the other medications. So it's just transformed my life and I mean it's not better. You know I still have tons of limitations. I still can't drive. I still have you know deal with chronic pain but my quality of life has skyrocketed and dramatically improved. And yeah that's how I got started.
[00:03:13] So that was 2014 2015. It sounds like you were kind of going through that part.
[00:03:18] Yeah. So I've been a cannabis patient for three years and this past November it was my three year anniversary. So yeah I had a lengthy battle with pharmaceuticals before switching over to cannabis but now I'm off of everything it's been really really remarkable.
[00:03:33] Great. Good for you. Yes.
[00:03:35] Actually my I similarly had fused 0 4 0 5 as 1 through injury. Kind of somewhat of a freak fracture of my 0 5. So yeah it was kind of similar kind of similar thing in the opioids were I did not like I did not like at all. And I was constantly searching everything from tumor wreck teased to all sorts of physical therapies and things like that but cannabis was very very fun and helping helping with recovery and getting me back and I feel I've had more or less complete recovery but I guess that's what I get I get a piece of it.
[00:04:09] I got a piece of what you've been going through. That's fantastic.
[00:04:12] Joe and especially I hear a lot of stories of these sort of people who you know would not have guessed you know a thousand times that they would have been a cannabis user.
[00:04:21] But I have gone through some kind of situation some kind of event I'm not completely cannabis naïve that I had gone through a period where I used it regularly you know in my younger years and I had a lot of negative associations to it. And you know in retrospect I'm 100 percent sure that I was self medicating at the time but you know it's funny like when I stopped taking cannabis I switched on it. I literally went to my doctor and I wasn't going to use that anymore. And like I need something for my anxiety for my nightmares. And you know I sit and I took it right up until I eventually went to volume and then then back to cannabis. It's it's wild. It just happens.
[00:04:57] Well it's fascinating just with this you know the way that it's you know obviously kind of getting legalized but also it's getting into kind of more and more different parts of the culture and different people are using it and dealing with that kind of stigma the kind of historical pot culture seeing that can transition into these different segments that are now adopting cannabis use in different ways.
[00:05:15] So tell us a little bit about how your so you've had this experience this personal experience. What are you doing with.
[00:05:20] How are you extending that and what are your what are your goals your missions around helping other peoples with their journey stories do you know at the time I was already writing and blogging about health and a lot of family health.
[00:05:33] So it just kind of naturally transitioned into sharing my story about cannabis and then discussing the research and you know I'm totally a science geek I love research I love science that's my passion so I just incorporated a lot of that into marijuana mommy and marijuana mommy is a website that's designed to teach patients and potential patients how and why to use cannabis. So yes we share a lot of things like of course all the information on medical benefit. But I also do things like products that are really transforming patients lives and making the medication you know easier. Or recipes or you know how do you extract cannabis oil at home all of those things and it's done in a very stigma free.
[00:06:15] You know this is what it is. And this is OK kind of attitude. So it's very very relatable to like you know a specific niche group of people who are looking for for answers not only answers but also comfort.
[00:06:28] Yeah. So tell me a little bit about the segment or who is your audience or who do you really want to speak more most directly to in terms of the website and the content that you're developing. Who do. Who do you most resonate with.
[00:06:39] Most definitely patients. And it's funny you know when I started out I expected it to be more female focused but it really really hasn't been. You know definitely appeals to women and parents you know because that's so relatable that aspect of me. But it's really I think just being a registered nurse and teaching openly and and honestly with personal experience that really really resonates with a lot of people who are really just starting to explore this plant as a possible medicine. You know what a lot of people who are interested in. OK well let me start with a little CBT and you know then they kind of get their toes wet and then eventually die right then.
[00:07:18] And what do you think are some of the challenging things here. It certainly as this market kind of expands and moral and people become interested in it and wanting to try it it is tough.
[00:07:28] It's tough to get involved it's really confusing both from a knowledge point of view kind of a science point of view but also the cultural point of view you know where do I buy it. How do I buy it. One of my buying off and I take it things like that. What do you think sort of guide me there a little bit. Some other things that you suggest to people who are curious and you know they've got their toes toes by the under the water and there they're thinking about you know dipping them but what are they. What do you suggest they do.
[00:07:52] So of course it all depends on on the state. You know I'm always big on you know respecting the law. You know I can provide a lot of direction for New Jersey but you know it really really depends on the state of whether people have access and how you know easier or affordable it is to to access that medication. CBT is so much easier CBT almost everybody can purchase online. Of course you know I offer a lot of product guidance because there's a ton of junk on the market. There are some amazing excellent brands out there and even some incredible craft brands. You know I think dosage guidelines something a lot of people need to pay more attention to. So I do offer things like that in my classes and my and on my site.
[00:08:34] Talk to us a little bit about the CBD THC approach because it's that the CBD stuff is bean bag I will say in the last twelve months maybe maybe 18 months but it's it's really kind of taking off.
[00:08:45] How do you help people understand kind of these big categories of types of cannabis products and how to kind of navigate them.
[00:08:52] Sure. You know CBD the biggest difference between a CBD based product and then full spectrum medical marijuana is just the THC content. It's just how much THC has and the appeal of the CBD is that it's non intoxicating. And you'll hear a lot of people say it's not psychoactive it is psychoactive. But people are just confused about what that means if psychoactive because it can help relieve anxiety it can help affect your mood. It doesn't make you feel funny like THC does. So you know a lot of people are just so scared of THC they're so scared I don't wanna get high. You know and the CBD is a great way to kind of introduce that you know then you're it's cannabis. People don't want to call it cannabis they want to call it hemp but it's the same plant. The only difference is really the percentage of THC so CBD product has zero point three percent THC or less than that. It can be legally considered industrial hemp.
[00:09:45] Yeah yeah. And I think the labelling and the classifications are still getting worked out but I think that's very. There's no regulation or structure whatsoever. One of the one of the big downsides of actually not very legal is that if we don't we don't have good controls around it.
[00:10:00] That's absolutely the truth. Yeah. So there's a lot of junk on the market unfortunately a lot of pesticides.
[00:10:06] Well so it's just going to ask. So when you're kind of looking for these products and you're doing your research online or looking at products online what is some of the big things you suggest people look at in terms of you know selecting a product or what to look for.
[00:10:19] Question testing is super important. You want to be sure that your your products or your brands are doing that testing of every batch of product. Many you weren't looking at you know not only the potency that they're promising but you also want to look at pesticides and heavy metals anything like that.
[00:10:38] So making sure that that's it's free of everything bad. Yeah exactly.
[00:10:43] Exactly. And any makes any sense of usage. I mean say you know if people are actually going to start taking some of these things how do you advise people start with some of this stuff because I think that's always a big issue of people. Some people seem to be supersensitive some people not sensitive at all. One person's initial doubts maybe someone else's unpleasant experience. What do you advise people.
[00:11:05] So with CBT and THC it's a little different with CBT. Don't get that. You know with THC too much THC is going to cause can cause a panic attack. It's going to cause you know overconsumption issues you don't get that with CBD. We can go up to really really high doses of CBD. It's going to get all cause sedation fatigue THC. You definitely need to use more caution than CBD CBD. I usually go with the realm of caring has excellent dosage guidelines and they recommend 25 milligrams twice a day to start. If somebody is trying clinically to utilize CBD oil you know for a clinical purpose now like you said everybody is so individualized as some people will do great with that twenty five milligrams twice a day. Some people that personally I take over 300 milligrams twice a day. But when you really look at you know a lot of the doses we have currently on the market are pretty pretty conservative and they tend to be around you know 25 milligrams sometimes even less. But if you really look at the research the research really shows like 600 to 800 milligram doses. So we know we can go up high. Of course it's you know it's expensive. So people should really use the lowest those that they can to get the most benefit. But it's really about trial and error just trying it seeing what works for you increasing or decreasing based off of your feelings.
[00:12:24] Yeah yeah. Good advice.
[00:12:25] I think it's going to help helping people kind of enter the space I think is one of the biggest challenges we have as the industry I 100 percent agree it's one of my greatest challenges in what I'm doing because I'm trying to reach potential patients. And you know this industry you can't advertise any the things though except one the cannabis related areas and I'm like that's not totally my market. So yeah it's frustrating.
[00:12:48] So let's talk a little bit about that. I mean I think this is I think you know understanding the different aspects of Canada's different products and usage and things but I'd love to hear a little bit about your journey actually creating you know creating your products or selecting your products creating your content. What has been I guess to start with what's been the most interesting part of all this for you as you've kind of gotten into it from a business person like as you as a creative things.
[00:13:10] What what what has been the most fun or most engaging for you as you've gotten into this doing classes teaching teaching at events and doing a lot of like grass roots and going out there and running CBT classes and Kat introduction to cannabis classes and I'm like going in to like health care providers and doctor's offices and chiropractors and pharmacies and being lit. I have a class in your area. It's free come and I'm getting like such an amazing response especially from like the health care field it's really really cool. And you know a lot of that probably like related to our New Jersey our health commissioner has just been awesome with his education and he's tapping into the health care professionals and trying to get them on board with CBT and cannabis.
[00:13:50] So it's just it's really cool to be getting that positive response that I love impacting other people's lives. And I love easing suffering and that's what I really was passionate about in hospice and to lose that you know was really really devastating. And now you know through marijuana mommy and through my classes I'm finally like reaching patients again and I'm easing suffering again and I'm doing it on a much more massive scale.
[00:14:13] So that's really really been incredibly rewarding for me.
[00:14:17] So these classes you're you're getting health care providers coming in learning about how to integrate cannabis products into their treating or helping their patients.
[00:14:26] Not exactly the goal of my classes but it may go that way because I'm getting so much interest you know I'm really targeting potential patients themselves. So yes I'm going into these classes and I'm saying look you probably have patients that would potentially benefit from learning about this. I'm a nurse.
[00:14:41] I'm teaching a free class send them over but yeah I am getting a lot of you know physicians and nurses and pharmacists coming.
[00:14:50] I'm curious because I think one of the things that I've noticed that I think is it's a bit of a challenge or it's a bit of a paradox of our situation because you know doctors and nurses aren't really kind of prescribing cannabis.
[00:15:02] They're sort of authorizing the use of cannabis. But it's really up to the patient to kind of go and find their own prescription or dial in their own kind of thing and so they end up kind of lost in this. How do you how have you seen health care professionals kind of approach that you know that issue or how. How are we. How do you see that playing out.
[00:15:22] I guess that's that's a good question because you're right. And most of the health care providers who are recommending cannabis are have a very very limited knowledge of it and they really can't coach or guide you know a lot of them rely on the bud tenders to recommend strains and you know they just kind of direct people to outside resources which is exactly like what are the things marijuana mommy is for.
[00:15:47] Yeah yeah. Because I think it's a it is a certain gap in the process. I mean you know it's big heart how to connect to the actual sort of diagnosis side of the equation with the actual treatment.
[00:15:58] Again the right now Scotians are relying primarily on the community to educate them. So you know group Facebook group messages Facebook groups stuff like that. It's really that's where people are getting their their most valuable information.
[00:16:12] Yeah good. So you're doing in-person classes showing up to your in-person classes like what are you noticing about the people that come where are they are they or are they users already or are they just thinking about it are they are they curious.
[00:16:24] Most of the people you know I get a lot of people who will know me from the industry and will come you know just to get more information about that about CBT specifically or whatever the topic is. But primarily it's people who are who have heard about it you know who have thought about it who are Garrard of trying it and want to know more. And you know but usually they're ready to start you know they just need that little bit of extra encouragement and you know like you've already mentioned doctors and nurses they don't really know.
[00:16:54] It's just like oh well maybe try it maybe it'll help scary. Yeah yeah I know. I mean I've tried it. They did great so that could be scary.
[00:17:02] You know they kind of want more information like show me the research and that's kind of what we do in the class. Like here's what it says. The FDA says it doesn't do anything. There's no health benefits whatsoever.
[00:17:12] But here's what research shows that where you're pulling the richest guy you know in the U.S. I mean we have to do such a dearth of actual data around 10 of us. Mean I know some of the other countries have been doing some more research over the last decade or so. But where where do you tend to go to find you know good reliable research on the impact effects of cannabis.
[00:17:33] Well you need academic journals and that's where it would I go to. So it's the research all around the world that Israel and Canada have been great. We've got a lot of it's going to be a while before we have any reality united. You know us research coming out but you know hopefully yeah.
[00:17:49] But at least thank goodness for these other countries because we do have a lot of really amazing stuff coming out.
[00:17:54] So it's pretty remarkable and awesome to finally have that concrete data that you know people can dive into the US analytic types love to say is everyone that you found in your kind of teaching and people you've come across that are not necessarily good candidates for for cannabis use for for one reason or another.
[00:18:15] So you know that's that's a really tough question. Good question. So no I mean there are people who are definitely more at risk for issues. So one of the issues we look at with cannabis and one of the things we have to consider is that there is a potential a very small potential for drug interactions. So just like just like with grapefruit juice it can cause you know an elevation in the blood of a specific medication and it can cause the body to not really absorb it how debates can behave the same way because of the way it is metabolized by the liver and it tends to be genetic. And most of the medicate it doesn't affect most medications but there are some. So I always encourage patients who are using like Pacific anti-depressants to utilize caution you know as they're in antibiotics you would want to use caution but those like it for like for example level Quinn but they tend to like when patients are on Lubbock when it tends to be a lower oral dose and you can tend to go up you're able to go up higher. So but it's just it's something to definitely be aware of because the patients are potentially if their blood has an elevation of a specific medication they're at a higher risk of experience side effects from that medication. So just something to definitely be aware of. Some people consider genetic testing because that can shed a little bit more light on how they might respond. But for most people they never experience a problem.
[00:19:37] Yeah I think one of the interesting things about about cannabis is that it is the side effects overdose sides are so low compared to so many other things that there no overdose on overdose.
[00:19:49] Yeah it's not even as deadly as caffeine. I mean it can kill you. It was always so much water you can die from drinking too much water. Yeah it's amazing. You can't die from too much cannabis yet. I personally believe that we are making it more and more more concentrated and eventually concentrate the right cannabinoid and it will prove fatal. But you know I think we're a ways from doing that.
[00:20:13] Yeah yeah it is. It's interesting how the science behind it has evolved so quickly and certainly industrial engineering side of it is is increasing.
[00:20:22] So I you know in terms of where you're going with marijuana Mommy what are some of your goals kind of chickens where where do you want to take the content. Where do you want to take a business. What what's your bigger picture in terms of the impact and growth that you want to see.
[00:20:36] Good question. So I'm adding a lot more video to marijuana mommy because people tend to respond to that. You know I'm trying to introduce more and more personal stories and more and more faces so people can see like everyday average people who are using cannabis you know and have had some amazing results.
[00:20:52] My goals for marijuana not me is to convince a third of the population to try cannabis because a third of the population at one point in their life try opiates. I really passionately strongly believe that cannabis should be a frontline medication and before anybody is prescribed opiates they should try cannabis. So that's really what I hope to sway society at that point and we will see it's about 100 million people roughly in something like the goal so well.
[00:21:21] So let me ask one other one. If you had someone who is thinking about getting into the cannabis business or getting or getting into the kind of the eco system where do you see needs where do you see people needs for entrepreneurs. People want to start businesses and opportunities for them to create you know solve problems. Address market needs. You know this industry is growing so quickly I'm always curious about where are the new kind of problems are showing up and where there's new opportunities for good businesses. Do you see anything right now in terms of question.
[00:21:53] There's so so much there's so many opportunity and basically anything can kind of translate into specializing in the cannabis industry. And so people don't have to start out with you know opening a dispensary or even like starting a retail shop like nobody has to do that like people who are accountants can just kind of start Segway ing into specializing in cannabis. People long cleaning companies can segway into specializing in cleaning dispensaries or cleaning cultivation facility. So there's so much room right now in the space that anybody can really can really specialize in kind of segway into it.
[00:22:26] I think that's smart. I think that's you know kind of taking what you do exceptionally well and the rest of the world and figure out how to apply it because the fact is kind of I mean cannabis isn't is everything it needs banking it needs training it needs cleaning service and you know marketing brand and there's all these different areas and all of us that need to happen now is really the time for people to do it.
[00:22:45] Like I yeah I hear some people saying like Oh should I get involved. Yes. And you should do it because now it looks like it's ready to explode like before for the you know to be one of the first. You don't wait until it's overcrowded.
[00:22:57] You know what an any. I know you're based in New Jersey any kind of prognostications or sense of what's happening on
[00:23:05] You know in terms of the market here. I know we're all waiting for those things.
[00:23:10] You know I have a great deal of fear that New York is going to pass us and legalize furs. New Jersey we were hoping by actually to by December 17th that we would have a vote on the bill but nothing happened. I don't see it really half being voted and legalize recreational cannabis for until the spring or summer and then I even think after we get the votes it's gonna be a long time before we actually see recreational dispensaries where we bury our medical marijuana program is very very restricted and very very difficult here. We haven't even gotten that expansion in place so I don't know. Our governor is very pro our new administration is very very pro that not not all of the legislators are onboard. So we'll see. We can only pray. Yes exactly. It's painful.
[00:23:59] And that's part of the process. One of the things I've seen the more kind of successful cannabis entrepreneurs I think have kind of navigated this drama fairly well.
[00:24:08] You know you've bent out of shape but I think it is well in and keeping yourself prepared and not overly you know not to get too far ahead of your skis but that's you know I grab a lot of time to do that. You have the time. But hopefully all all that will come and if New York I think New York New York is gonna have some pressure on the jersey. I think that once one side goes it's going to push. I think back to the other one's gonna be right behind it. And there's lots of other states too I know that there are those are going to be huge.
[00:24:39] We're gonna be like nine that I forget. We have like nine million people I think yeah that significant going to be a huge huge major market.
[00:24:49] Yeah that's exciting. All the more reason to get involved is very exciting. This is really great to Jessie. Yeah well I I will. I come out so like some people will find out more about about you about marijuana Mommy what's the best way to get more information go to MarijuanaMommy.com.
[00:25:07] Awesome. I'll make sure I'm sure.
[00:25:08] Make sure the link is in the show notes here so people can click through often and I have a newsletter people can sign up for and then I keep posted on all my classes and everything else.
[00:25:17] Perfect perfect. I'm always always looking for good sources of content for folks. People are pretty hungry for information. Yes they are needed.
[00:25:25] I appreciate it. Good. Jessie there's been this has been a pleasure. I think so much for the time. I really enjoyed the conversation. I look forward to keeping in touch.
[00:25:32] Thank you I really enjoyed talking to you. Thank you for having me on.
[00:25:36] You've been listening to Thinking Outside the Bud with Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt to find a full list of podcast episodes. Download the tools and worksheets and access other great content. Visit the Web site at thinkingoutsidethebud.com. And don't forget to sign up for the free newsletter at thinkingoutsidethebud.com/newsletter.