Family Physician Shows Benefits of Medical Marijuana Through Book, Courage Of Cannabis


( ENSPIRE Interview ) Courage Of Cannabis Promotes The Medical Benefits of Marijuana

ENSPIRE Contributor: Ava Girardi

Dr. Bridget Williams, MD, family physician, author, and CEO of Green Harvest Health is on the mission to end the controversy around the use of cannabis and show the benefits it can provide to patients. Through her new book, Courage in Cannabis, Dr.Williams is changing the lives of people by using cannabis for its medicinal properties and entrepreneurial benefits. In her book, she features 18 individuals who discuss how cannabis has changed their lives for the better. These people explain their continuous fight to use cannabis and legalize it in states across the country. 

Dr. Williams has been in medicine for 20 years and practices at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. During her medical experience, she has spent time in medical cannabis and integrative clinics in Ohio. With her passion for promoting cannabis and its benefits within the world of medicine, she has developed CBD lines and a product development business. At Green Harvest Health, where Dr.Williams is the CEO, where individuals can get their cannabis card, register for coaching with Dr.Williams, and buy CBD. Dr. Williams also has created a nonprofit, Cannabis Can, which focuses on removing the stigma around the use of cannabis. 

Dr.Williams has a passion for educating people on the use of cannabis, so wanted to write a book that was based on storytelling. Even though Dr. Williams believes in the importance of evidence-based medicine, she wanted readers to be engaged in a story without the numbers or statistics and use real-life stories from users of cannabis. 

“There is a lot of struggle, shame, and guilt in the cannabis experience and being able to provide an opportunity for others to resolve their difficulties and celebrate their empowerment is meaningful for me as a physician and a life coach,” said Dr. Williams.

After Courage in Cannabis was published, it received positive attention from its readers and was awarded #1 bestseller, Best New Release, and International Bestseller on Amazon. In the book, Dr. Williams also features a foreword by Kevin Greene who is the COO of Cleveland School of Cannabis. Some other authors in the book are Pediatric Cannabis Advocate Dr. Jennifer Anderson, MD, CBD Pioneer Joe Brennan, and Cannabis Entrepreneur and Investor, Khadijah Adams. 

ENSPIRE Magazine spoke with Dr. Bridget Williams to learn more about her career and her book, Courage in Cannabis: 

What sparked your interest in cannabis and how has it benefited your life?

“My interest in cannabis began with one amazing patient approximately 15 years old that was courageous enough to ask what did I think about utilizing marijuana as medicine for her recently treated breast cancer and her newly diagnosed diabetes. Respectfully, I thought she was nuts! During that time, many patients were asking about many homeopathic treatments and practices, so it was not uncommon for me to research an herb or trend in supplements, but she was the first to ask about cannabis. Despite my initial reservations, I gathered information about this distinctive plant. Much to my surprise, there were incredible medicinal possibilities for this unjustly villainized plant. I supported my patient on her journey as she made edibles and inhaled cannabis and I researched dosing and created titration schedules. Over months, I saw her body fat decrease and her blood sugars become balanced. She was sleeping better, her productivity at work was improving and her stress was incredibly better. From there, I knew I needed to know more. When medical cannabis was legalized in Ohio, I became a certified cannabis educator and life coach. It was time to provide the care I felt my patients requested. To do so, I opened my own offices and supported patients with personalized care by providing empathy, education, and encouraging empowerment.”

“What I did not expect was what cannabis would do for me. Cannabinoid medicine had fascinated me for years. I knew if it were ever legalized in my area, it would provide a medical alternative that could change lives. However, for me, it gave me freedom from the confinements of traditional health systems. It brought together my desire to help patients reclaim and own their wellness and potentially get off some medications that often become a crutch. Cannabis allowed medicine to make sense to me again when I was close to leaving the medical profession entirely. I was burnt out and had lost faith in our current health systems that have replaced the art of medicine with pharmaceutical medicine. My days were filled with pressured 15-minute visits that pushed a pill for every diagnosis.”

Courtesy of Dr.Williams

In what ways does Cannabis help people medically?

“Cannabis helps people on multiple levels. First, cannabis works with our Endocannabinoid System which oversees every other system in the body to bring homeostasis. Cannabis provides CBD that stabilizes and repairs the ECS and THC mimics our natural endocannabinoids to also improve our functioning. There are also over 100 other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, each with unique characteristics that provide medicinal benefits. Second, based on the incredibly benign safety profile of cannabis, it is an effective medication that allows patients to use it according to their own bodies’ needs and adjust dosage independently. Cannabis provides empowerment. Third, the more research we access, the more we learn about the medical possibilities of cannabis. We know cannabis is effective for pain, forms of anxiety, insomnia, and many other symptoms and conditions. CBD specifically has been found to be helpful for seizure disorders. It is important to work with practitioners that not only know cannabis well but also can review other diagnoses and medication interactions to provide a higher level of quality care.” 

Why do you think cannabis receives so much negative attention from our society?

“Cannabis receives such negative attention because of three main reasons.

1- Reefer Madness: if you want to control people’s beliefs and attitudes about anything, introduce fear. Irrational fear has an incredible influence on the human brain. The propaganda of “Reefer Madness” in the 1930s is still effective today.

2- War on Drugs: The poorly executed attempt to control the illegal drug market in this country in the 1980s destroyed families, and neighborhoods and led to significantly lengthy imprisonment terms and sometimes death.

3- Racism: the war on drugs and “Reefer Madness” worked because it selectively discriminated against black and brown people. This propaganda was fueled by spreading fear of minorities in this country and feeding into a stigma around cannabis that has never been lifted to this day.” 

Could you discuss your book and the information it will give readers on cannabis?

“Courage in Cannabis is the first in a book series that brings authors together to tell their own stories about how cannabis changed their lives. The book has stories ‌everyone can learn from. The authors are doctors, lawyers, patients, parents, and caregivers. Activists, legacy growers, entrepreneurs, and educators all provide their stories as well to provide stirring stories that only they could tell. Readers will learn truly how cannabis affects lives, how it is everyday people that support this amazing plant and it will inspire them to discover their own cannabis stories.”

What do you think the use of cannabis will look like in the future, and do you think the surrounding stigma will still be present?

“As pharmaceutical companies feverishly create synthetic and FDA-approved cannabinoid preparations, there will be more and more support for the cannabis concept. Insurance will cover these medications and more of the general product will be utilizing them and possibly not even know that the medication they are taking is based on cannabis science. Consumers will purchase cannabinoids at health stores much in the same way they purchase vitamins. In the more distant future, all of this will lead to cannabinoid medical teams in hospitals that physicians will consult with to add cannabis medications to a patient’s regimen.”

How can people become more educated on Cannabis and know its benefits?

“There are so many ways to become educated now it needs to be the right fit for your needs and lifestyle. If you are unsure if cannabis really makes a difference, start with the amazing accounts in “Courage in Cannabis” available on Amazon. It is moving to read or listen to the experiences of the authors in their own words. If you are looking for bite-size content, is the Cannabis Hub, and it has informative short videos from cannabis leaders that can start you on the path of more knowledge. Last, if you are interested in something more formal or entering the cannabis industry, I highly recommend Cleveland School of Cannabis and Harrington Institute for structured content that can be the springboard for a new career.”

Through Dr. Williams’ work of sharing the medical benefits of cannabis and her passion for educating people on how it ‌impacts people’s lives by sharing the stories of many users, she is changing the culture around cannabis, allowing it to be seen as positive. As a physician at the Green Harvest Health cannabis clinic and the publication of her work, she works to allow people to see the benefits of cannabis through personal stories rather than statistics or numbers. Allowing readers to see the impact it has had on real people is much stronger than just numbers. 

To learn more about Green Harvest Health, you can visit the site here. Also, check out the Courage of Cannabis site here to learn more or purchase the book. 

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