Lately, I've had the opportunity to share my journey into my work through The Cannabis Doula across various platforms and podcasts. It has been such an honor and privilege sharing my story. I started consuming cannabis as an undergrad in college, ten years ago! When I first found out the true medicinal benefits of cannabis, I began using cannabis more intentionally despite the negative reactions and opinions of some associates and family. Growing up in Chicago, I experienced a lot of violence, despair, and lost too many friends due to various injustices that affect the lives of Black people, many of these can be treated with cannabis. I found smoking cannabis as an effective and natural way to alleviate many of the symptoms I experienced related to anxiety, depression, and PTSD, while at the same time allowing me to build stronger relationships with others who also used cannabis regularly and with intent. Not only that, it helped me to focus and excel in academics and as a leader on campus and in my community. I also found that many of the families that I was supported, whether it was teens I encountered or their parents---we were all discretely consuming cannabis. Cannabis is often a closeted-culture for most people, especially women in communities that have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs and cannabis prohibition.
Families who have traditionally used cannabis do not have access to quality cannabis, nor do they have access to the education, support, and care that they deserve in order to safely consume cannabis as medicine. This must change in order for justice and equity in the cannabis industry to actually exist. Black families are still being criminalized and stigmatized for their marijuana consumption, many people with petty drug charges are still in jail and or labeled as felons, while people in affluent communities are cashing in on the CBD trend. I see this disparity especially in reference to birthing families, whereas some families are receiving support, safe access, and education on cannabis, others are being shamed and given fear-based speeches on illicit drug use, and having their children taken away.
Women are so often shamed for our cannabis consumption that we are forced to consume in secret, or at the expense and distribution of men. Educating women on safe cannabis use is important, not only because childbearing women influence the majority of health-care decisions for their entire family, but because cannabis is so often used for recreational purposes, it is increasingly necessary for women to know how and when to safely consume and choose quality cannabis. I may not be the only one who has heard stories of women, or have experienced first-hand, becoming too intoxicated after smoking cannabis or consuming an edible at a party, and not recalling being raped or pressured or led into a dangerous situation. For these reasons alone, culturally-competent cannabis education especially centering women and families is crucial, and it's our mission.
I was called to doula work after becoming pregnant while working at a licensed medical cannabis cultivation center in 2015. Facing stigma and discrimination, I began empowering and educating women and families who consume cannabis, especially during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. In 2016, I started my journey as an independent birth doula and childbirth educator, training with DONA and Lamaze International, and certifying as a Hypnobabies® Hypno-Doula, a comprehensive childbirth education and medical-grade hypnosis program that supports families in having a pain-less, joyful birthing experience. As a doula, I've studied traditional and holistic birth practices, certifying in Natural Holistic Remedies and Herbs and Nutrition in the Southern Tradition for Pregnancy and Postpartum.
With a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Studies and an emphasis in Family Social Services from Northern Illinois University, I've had the pleasure of serving and educating families in a variety of capacities over the years, culminating into me starting my own business Happy Brown Baby LLC, where I offer family support services, doula services, and a variety of family-centered educational support, centering Black women and families.
I am committed to learning and educating our communities about holistic cannabis consumption and reclaiming traditional birth practices (that can safely include cannabis) through The Cannabis Doula courses, workshops, and events. I am a Certified Professional Interpener, studying the art and science of cannabis, a certified cannabis consultant and educator, with several certifications from leading cannabis education platforms such as Green Flower, Cannabis Training University, and Trichome Institute.
I'm a full-time mama of two happy, healthy toddlers and a registered medical cannabis patient in Maryland, combining my love and knowledge of cannabis with my drive to support and advocate for the health and wellness of women and families! When I'm not studying birth, or cannabis, you'll probably find me at the library with the boys or scavenging for books at a bookstore. I love books, birth, babies and cannabis! I'm currently quarantined with some of the most amazing library books...so much to read and all the time in the world. I hope you and your family are doing just as well!
Join me in reclaiming cannabis and Shatter the Stigma associated with your cannabis use. Schedule a consultation now to begin using cannabis holistically. Learn more about harm reduction and managing risks associated with your individual use, plus tips for talking to your doctors about cannabis. www.thecannabisdoula.org
Melanie Julion, HCHD
Choosing Cannabis is a Health-Care Decision and a birth choice. Holistic support for women, birthing people, and families who choose cannabis | @TheCannabisDoula
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