Mindfully Medicated Patient Profile – Joya Halls
#MindfullyMedicated Patient Profile – Joya Halls
Our first guest, Joya Halls, may need no introduction for many in the cannabis world- but we’ll take a moment to introduce her nonetheless. Joya has worked tirelessly in the cannabis space helping others for some time now, and most recently with us here at Strainprint! Joya loves working in the cannabis field, but more importantly when she thinks of cannabis she sees herself first as a patient.
Underneath that helpful, happy smile, Joya suffers from a chronic pain condition called trigeminal neuralgiaaffecting the trigeminal nerve, which essentially carries sensation from your face to your brain. People who suffer from TN often feel excruciating pain from even the mildest sensations or touches to the face area, including brushing your hair or even your teeth. Even as I spoke with Joya, she had to breathe through some of these painful sensations she calls “zaps”.
Joya, how did your journey with cannabis begin?
It’s a funny story, well kind of funny. My dad had MS and he had a cannabis plant in the closet when I was growing up and I didn’t really know what it was when I was young. When I was a teen he would ask for my help making edibles and stuff so I grew up with cannabis as medicine in my home, and now I make edibles all the time, so cannabis has come full circle for me!
I was put on Gabapentin to help control the pain from my trigeminal neuralgia but I always felt woozy, kind of like drunk feeling and really giddy; I didn’t like it at all and wanted to get off of it because I didn’t like the way it made me feel, but wasn’t sure what options there were. At the time I was working in an addiction centre and would watch patients taking the same thing as I was, getting hooked on pain medications and moving from illegal substances to prescription Methadone and I just knew there had to be something better for my pain out there.
I had my eye on medical cannabis because I had heard it was good for nerve pain. I did some research and found out I could order CBD from CW Botanicals in Colorado (this was back when it was still legal to import CBD in Canada without special authorization to do so) and I found it really helped. After watching the cannabis industry growing in Canada for a while, I got a job at a licensed producer and that’s when I got my first cannabis prescription.
What does a day in the life of Joya look like?
I get up and the first thing I do is check the weather because it drastically impacts my pain levels; depending on barometric pressure I can have a lot of extra pain. My daily dose starts the same every day, 25mg of CBD every morning and I will adjust based on the day, the weather, or how I’m feeling but always at least 25mg of CBD to start with.
On days when I have a lot of pain, I work from home or load up on CBD oil, then vape when I get to the office to get through the day. Cannabis helps me function with a clear head and keeps pain levels manageable but, each day is different depending on my sleep, the weather, stress, or even hormone levels so I adjust as needed.
Before cannabis, when I was on Gabapentin I always felt overly giddy, and kind of drunk or woozy, or not sturdy might be a better way to describe it; but now, with cannabis, I feel confident and comfortable with driving and working. There are no side effects anymore like when I was on pharmaceuticals and if I have a bad day and need more CBD there are no dependency issues and it’s not hard on my liver so I can medicate as needed.
What do you think needs to be done in order to get rid of the stigma surrounding cannabis?
I think there needs to be more public education and a lot of the restrictions need to be changed. I’d love if the government would allow for cannabis education on TV or in print – somewhere other than online. The government could easily direct the cannabis narrative and bring it to the forefront as a viable medicine for everyone with pain but that’s so hard with the current restrictions.
What does being Mindfully Medicated mean to you?
The way I look at cannabis is not about feeling high but using cannabis to bring yourself back to normal. It’s not about getting “high” or “lit” just start low and go slow and find your normal or that baseline of managed pain.
How has the Strainprint App benefited you?
I find it really interesting to go back and look at the products you have tried and notice the different efficacy. It’s easy to think CBD is CBD but when I see that one product had 29% efficacy and the other has 45% why would you choose the product with less efficacy. The Strainprint app helped me get better value from my medication.
Rapid Fire with Joya
Favourite Terpene: Linalool – it’s calming, relaxing, just feels great!
THC or CBD: Ohhh that’s hard CBD with a hint of THC
Favourite strain: Girl Scout Cookies
Favourite Munchie: Prosciutto
Favourite show to watch medicated: Brooklyn 99
Favourite Album/Band to listen to medicated: Genesis
Despite the struggles that Joya goes through on a daily basis, struggling with the pain Trigeminal Neuralgia presents, she speaks with strength and conviction- especially when she talks about how much cannabis has helped her manage her pain (and get her life back) and even as she speaks of her plans and dreams for the future. We appreciate Joya taking the time to be the first in our #MindfullyMedicated series and look forward to many more stories like hers in the future.