My Cannabis Story by Cara Luhring


My cannabis story begins in November 2014 while driving home from yet another fruitless visit to the endocrinologist.

 

Most stories start as mine does, I had been suffering from ill health for some time. I had gotten the diagnosis for my spondylosis with bone spurs to explain some of the issues I was experiencing but not all. It was the frustrating process of playing guinea pig with your own health and our current healthcare system that opened my mind to the possibility I could use cannabis for more than trying to sleep or relax.

 

I had gained an uncomfortable amount of weight, suffered from nausea and digestive problems in addition to lack of appetite and energy. Exercising sometime causing me to fatigue even greater. No physician could diagnose me but couldn’t deny the effects I was suffering from. Thyroid panels came up with varying results, nothing ever conclusive enough to explain my condition. It was at my last endocrinologist visit, they had misplaced my lab results and my MRI scans. I was given a prescription for thyroid medication with no diagnosis or data to justify said Rx. (I’d like to quickly segue here to note those who speak to how anyone can get a script for cannabis, seems to be anyone can get a script for anything.)

It was driving home, paper prescription still in hand, thinking to myself, “I need a bongload.”, reaching my tipping point. I don’t think I ever turned in that prescription, I began researching cannabis as medicine in treating my ailments. I knew it was working on epilepsy, and cancer why not give it a try for my health problems? From that point on it was rough going, lots of stuff out there, fortunately I had a small indication to what was legit and what wasn’t. I am grateful for my familial ties to the Emerald Triangle and appreciate the sacrifice made by this plants pioneers more than most. I understand the love these folks have for the plant and the land. It was that education and support I used as a compass to navigate my journey.

 

I began reading everything, researching people and products. Helpful information was so hard to come by and resources thin. Plenty of culture references but actual science and data, that was a mite more challenging, and a little confusing at times. I am thankful for the experience and what it has taught me about the industry and about researching.

 

By this time I acquired my Doctor’s recommendation, I found a local MD online and scheduled an appointment. I immediately got the sweats when I realized what building this office was in upon arrival. My old employer, my Dad’s disability attorney, both were in the same secured building. Of course the good Doctor was on the top floor. I made it all the way to the waiting room without freaking out, then while sitting there uncomfortably who else but the security guard marches off the elevator into the waiting room to talk to the receptionist. Now I don’t know why that freaked me out but it did. All he wanted was change for the vending machine on that floor, apparently it is stocked differently. In hindsight I still felt like I was doing something wrong because I was programmed to believe it was wrong and made me a bad person for using it. So the security guard triggered that anxiety and I was grateful for his quick departure.

 

Once I was called back to the actual office I was seated on a couch facing a few cubicles each with a chair and computer monitor/keyboard. I was given some preliminary forms to fill out before seeing the doctor. I was told the computers were for people to come in and do their appointment by video when the doctor was out of the office, and/or for those who didn’t have computer access.

 

The doctor was a nice enough man, he listened just long enough to hear what he needed to to and began moving through prescribing medical cannabis. I was hoping for a little more guidance and support but I left disappointed. When I requested a referral for a dispensary I was told to check “WeedMaps”. Super duper. The assistant told me to take a variety of flyers and business cards by the door for local services. I sat in my car and went through each card filtering with WeedMaps, 2 were closed down, and 1 was less than 2 miles away. That made the decision for me, closest and still operating wins.

 

I immediately began questioning my decision upon arrival, again, I had come this far I wasn’t giving up now. I wanted some medical grade cannabis and goddamit I was coming home with some, TODAY.  I parked in front of what appeared to be a vacant four unit, two story office complex, the address was written on cardboard and stuck in the window of the office on the 2nd floor. I trudged up the stairs and across the building to be told I needed to park across the street and go into the storage facility over there. Something about the city doesn’t allow visible signage for cannabis businesses. Awesome, that is super helpful, thanks city government.

 

As I get to the storage place I see two twenty-something teens smoking in front of the unit, they see me coming and I assure them I am there for the right reasons. He walks me into the waiting area where I present my papers to be verified. I think there was a chair, maybe a plant, the other guy just came in and sat on the floor against the wall. After it was verified I was a patient he took me through a steel door into a closet size room with a glass display case filled with large glass jars full of cannabis, a menu with specials and deals handwritten on a 12×14 white board and a room beyond full of bags of cannabis. I was allowed to smell each strain, he weighed out my order, took my cash and gave me a little white prescription bag stapled shut with my cannabis inside.

 

I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT. I bought cannabis like I buy produce, it was GREAT! I felt empowered, I was so confident, so sure I could convert any police officer who may inadvertently pull me over and discover my legal medical cannabis. Even buying it from a shady storage unit I knew this was high grade flower and this was only my first stop, I was energized. I had no idea the possibilities.

 

Admittedly the next time around I wasn’t feeling as brave about attempting another cold visit to a brick and mortar, I decided to give the delivery route a run. This was nice, I found a couple of services I liked but also had a better grasp of fair market value and recognized the price gouging so I was on the lookout for a consistent producer with fair pricing.

 

I came across such a delivery in May of 2015, as I began to get to know the owner who was also the delivery man he shared with me his struggle with promoting his delivery service. It began with me giving him suggestions, advice and recommendations. That led to me becoming his Social Media & Marketing Manager, it was in that capacity I came across Pediatric Cannabis Support which led me to my first networking meeting. Also my first in-person experience with Direct Cannabis Network when they hosted their first CED talks in San Diego. Those 2 experiences provided me with the base network for the local cannabis industry that I have today. It is a small community and as luck would have it I happened upon the biggest emerging brands.

 

This was also empowering, to see all of these people actively pursuing careers in the cannabis industry. All manner of professional services one doesn’t consider when thinking of cannabis. I saw this as an opportunity to contribute, but how? What I had recognized is that there was no place for my peers, many whom were closeted about their cannabis use. I suggested that I start a Mom’s group, I had some community organizing experience, why not? Sounds fun right? A club of like minded people should be easy enough, plus I can have my boss sponsor and in turn get him the promotion he was looking for. Turns out it wasn’t just that simple after all. After evaluating my situation and the cost benefit of working with a delivery service I left my position as Social Media and marketing manager for the delivery business.

 

Cannabis immediately changed my life for the better, I was pain free for the first time in years, I was overcome with joy. I have a degenerative condition that will only worsen and now I found a way to manage my pain that didn’t deteriorate my quality of life. It was beyond my wildest expectations, I began feeling much better immediately. Wanting to be more physical and move more, I began losing weight and craving healthy foods again. Cannabis allowed me to gain back control over my health and my life, learning about the components of the plant and how they benefit my body were exceptionally appreciated when I began choosing products. Understanding the synergy allows me to know what I need to treat and how.

 

I continued to pursue building a Mother’s group, I hosted mixers in my home and educational events to help educate the public. It became obvious I was onto something and many women wanted to join and be a part of what I was doing but weren’t mother’s. Here I was trying not to be any kind of discriminatory and I had cut out a huge section of women, so I changed it to a women’s group and then understood what I was doing was building a cannabis sorority. And that is what I continue to to do today and everyday.

 

Thank you for your time.