Everything has a Black history. Like most other things, Cannabis history has been largely distorted based on who writes the books and the laws. Cannabis has been a part of Black culture since the time of our ancient ancestors, and the racially motivated prohibition of cannabis and the War on Drugs continues to stifle the growth of Black families and communities for generations.
Is cannabis the answer to the rising maternal mortality crisis?
After my beautiful surprise of a home birth with my first son, Messiah, I was rushed to the nearest hospital where I had to get stitches for third degree lacerations (including what I know now as the Husband Stitch) and where I spent the first two days postpartum. It was ridiculous. We barely ate or slept the entire time. My first shower and trip to the bathroom was a horrible experience in a sterile, cold environment with nurses coming in and out every two hours. What I remember most from that experience is when I asked the nurses/doctors for pain medication, they told me the only two options I had were, Tylenol or Oxycodon. I was in a lot of pain and I knew that Tylenol would be of little help. I was in so much pain, not from giving birth, but from these stitches that the OB violently sutured. I knew from childbirth education classes, that narcotics interfere with breastfeeding and bonding, and isn’t safe for the baby. So I couldn’t understand then why a highly addictive narcotic was being offered to women immediately after giving birth.
Our body’s works really hard after birth regulating hormones, contracting the uterus, producing breastmilk, releasing the placenta, allowing us to love on and care for our babies. If women are given addictive drugs at such a sensitive time, the risk of dependency is so much greater! I’m thankful that I knew better, that I knew to look up the names of the drugs they offered me, and that I was able to deny them even though I was in so much pain and even after being repeatedly offered the narcotics. Still, however, I suffered in pain and in silence after giving birth for a long time because I refused harmful pharmaceuticals.
This shocking reality is why I advocate for cannabis consumption during postpartum, especially. Cannabis works by binding to receptors in our body and alleviates the cause of pain, it doesn’t numb the pain like synthetic chemicals. Plus, there are no side effects. Safe cannabis consumption is important for pregnant & nursing mothers and we deserve access and education for natural pain relief to aid any discomfort related to pregnancy and childbirth. Traditionally, cannabis in various methods of consumption was used to induce labor, to speed up a stalled birth, for a faster and easier birth, and to stop hemorrhage, as well as treating symptoms related to postpartum depression and psychosis.
So to answer the question, can cannabis be used to address maternal mortality?
For me and more many other families who choose cannabis,
the answer is yes.
Exactly a month ago, I sat in the doctor’s office with my fiancé and our two sons, as a woman I’d just met told me that a biopsy and ultrasound of my thyroid and neck was suspicious of thyroid cancer. I smiled. Surely, she’d made a mistake. A week prior, I had brought in a CT of my neck from three years ago when I had first noticed the lumps there. I thought it was due to swelling from having several wisdom teeth extracted and thought nothing more of it. Until now. The lumps are still here. Not painful, but somewhat noticeable. Still, I thought maybe it had something to do with giving birth or breastfeeding. Afterall, our body’s change so much & postpartum thyroiditis is a thing.
So I went to Johns Hopkins, I scheduled an appointment with otolaryngology. The surgeon did a scope of my throat and didn’t notice anything unusual. After viewing my CT scans he tell us that we should probably prepare ourselves for The C-word. “I see it all the time, I’m not worried. If it is cancer, don’t worry, we can have a small surgery to remove the thyroid. It’s the common procedure in this case,” He says and gave me the information for an endocrinologist, who apparently only took clients seven months out. With his referral, he assured me, I’d get an appointment the next week.
So here we are, sitting in a small examine room, as this woman, the endocrinologist, tells me, in otherwise perfect health, the one thing that I never imagined would change my life forever. She goes on and on about the surgery, the 4 week recovery, and the radioactive iodide that would follow. Plus, the hormone pills and lifelong doctor visits after that. The entire time, I’m smiling, half listening trying to keep Mars and Messiah entertained. Completely unbothered by the news. In fact, I thought and still think, the whole thing was hilarious. Serious, but funny, and sad in the way providers attempt to plant fear in patients in order to get their consent to thousand dollar surgeries and treatment plans even though natural healing and cures exist. So, I just smiled.
Before now, I’ve used cannabis to treat self-diagnosed anxiety, depression, and maybe PTSD. Nausea and insomnia, and whatever else. But I never really considered myself as a cannabis patient. I gained cannabis knowledge and experience in the Industry with the humble intentions of inspiring others to use cannabis to heal themselves! My use of cannabis has been mostly recreational with medicinal benefits. Now, everything is different.
When I told the doctor of my intention to use medical cannabis, his response was the generic response that most doctors are required by hospital protocol to give, as to be expected. I will be using cannabis to treat thyroid cancer. I’m currently in the process of becoming a medical cannabis patient in my state. While I know there is a lot of fear, and shame, and whatever else associated with cancer, and with cannabis use, that often leads people into fear based thinking—I am excited for the opportunity to use RSO, a highly concentrated cannabis oil, along with other herbs (plus an alkaline vegan diet, fasting, and exercise) to heal my thyroid and my body, mind, & spirit. & most importantly, to share my journey—because clearly my throat chakra is all fucked up!
Surgery, especially removing such an important organ as the thyroid, is not an option for me and will never be the best choice, regardless of what Western medicine diagnoses. While I know many people are unaware of the healing power of herbs and of cannabis, especially in killing cancerous cells and improving thyroid function, I’m conscious! Healing is a natural, mind-body-spirit phenomenon so I’ll be healing and balancing naturally. “How can you heal if you’ve never healed?” the universe asked me, in the midst of my shame and embarrassment. So, I’m healing. & happy.
I’m grateful. I was challenged originally with whether or not to tell people. I was crippled slightly due to the fear of shame and embarrassment. People tend to plant their worse fear onto others and often neglect evidence based information in the process. There are so many people who, would never question their doctor, their diagnosis or treatment and even asking for a second opinion is blasphemous. For them, there is nothing to research, no alternative to consider because “whatever the doctor says, goes.” I’m not one of those people. I don’t ever want to put on a facade like everything is perfect and these moments aren’t challenging but my happiness is absolute, not relative. I’ve had far worse moments, and have overcome triumphantly a whole lot of shit that many people should never live through. I’m not interested in being an advocate for surviving cancer or fighting cancer in any traditional sense. Surviving, fighting, and treating cancer is not healing or curing it! I also don’t want to be quiet about the fact that more people (young, black, and women) are being diagnosed with cancer and dying from carcinogens in our environment and in our foods while cures like cannabis, are being suppressed and stigmatized, especially in Black communities.
Becoming a medical cannabis patient will make me a better caregiver! I’ll be crafting my own medicine, herbal infusions, and edibles to heal MY body. I hope to be transparent throughout this entire time, to aid in my healing. I’ll be sharing my journey here, and doing videos and demonstrations via patreon. I’ll be hosting educational workshops and events to elevate cannabis healing and break the stigma associated with cannabis. Join me!
How are you using cannabis to heal?