Strainprint is proud to announce our latest member of the Strainprint team, Ashleigh Brown. Ashleigh has come on board to be Strainprint’s Community Manager and Patient Liaison.
Ashleigh’s own journey as a medical cannabis patient as well as the Founder of SheCann: Legal Medical Cannabis Empowering Canadian Women gives her the unique opportunity to deepen the connections she has with fellow patients, as well as channel her empathy, love of learning and all things data into helping patients use cannabis better, and mindfully medicate.
Q: When and why did you start using medical cannabis?
A: I received my medical cannabis prescription in August 2016. I started using medical cannabis as a last resort, really. In 2009, I began having seizures, and by 2016 I had exhausted all of my medical options. At my worst point, I was having 150-180 events per month. I had the cognitive functioning of a 70-year-old with senile dementia. Using medical cannabis has changed all of that. I still have seizures, but they no longer number in the hundreds. I have around 12-15 per month now. I am able to care for my daughters, attend their school events, and I am able to work again.
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I start every morning with the same few words to myself: ‘let me be of service to people in the ways they need me’. I am passionate about helping people, and what I have learned is that at the core of so much of our human experience is a need to just feel seen. I am passionate about serving people, and I am humbled to be able to do so during some of their darkest and most challenging times.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I have always been a voracious reader. My nightstand is never without a stack of novels and works of non-fiction, and my Kobo goes with me everywhere. Words are some of my favourite things. I also love to spend time outside with my partner and my two daughters: last year my partner and I purchased a tandem bike, so we could hit the open road together…and embarrass the kids!
Q: What has been a defining moment for you thus far on your medical cannabis journey?
A: I began using medical cannabis at the suggestion of my best friend. Frankly, my first reaction was a bit dismissive. I had used it recreationally and it hadn’t helped. She told me to ‘forget everything I thought I knew about marijuana’. It was the best advice anyone could have given me, and it is the same advice I now give to others every day. Making the mental shift from ‘recreation’ to ‘medication’ is something that happened as a result of that support.
Q: What is the more unexpected thing you’ve encountered along your journey?
A: The biggest surprise in all of this, especially since I began my journey as an advocate, is how many people have these amazing stories of recovery, healing and hope. I am happy to say that my story is not unique: it is one of thousands of accounts of how using medical cannabis has improved and changed lives.
Q: What would you say to your younger/less experienced self?
A: “It gets better.” I love being in my thirties, because enough time has passed that I understand that life happens, but we can and do grow through the challenges. If my younger self was open to listening, I would remind her, and really anyone else, that you have survived 100% of your days. That’s a perfect record.
Q: If you weren’t doing this and could do ANYTHING what would you be doing?
A: I am so happy with my life right now. This all feels like a perfect fit, for me, my family, and my purpose. I can’t imagine doing anything else. But if I had to choose? I think I would work at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. I could scoop poop there for eternity. It is not only one of the most beautiful places on earth, the work that the staff and volunteers do is monumental.
Q: Talk about your involvement with SheCann and why it is such an important forum/platform
A: When I founded SheCann in June of 2017, myself and a handful of other female patients had no idea how it would all unfold. We started the community in order to have a safe space to ask questions, and access resources and support around medical cannabis, without the stigma.
SheCann is a special Canadian Facebook community. It defies the stereotypes of most social media groups. There is no negativity, or hostility. We welcome vulnerability, curiosity, and compassion. We are patient focused, but we also welcome and encourage members of the medical cannabis industry to join us; including Licensed Producers, and clinics. We work closely with groups like CFAMM on the issues that matter to us as patients.
Our members are committed to advocating for themselves and others, and as legalization approaches, we want to speak up on issues that affect our access to medication.
We are stronger together. It is amazing and so empowering to learn more about our medicine by sharing our experiences. There are no stupid questions, and there are no invalid perspectives.
Q: What awards has SheCann/Yourself received?
A: The team and I were blown away to receive 3rd place in the Best Social Media Account-Facebook category at the Canadian Cannabis Awards in November.
Q: What does your daily life look like, beyond work?
A: We have a really diverse and amazing blended family. My daughters are 9 and (almost) 13, I have three brilliant, compassionate and wonderful adult step kids who have equally wonderful partners and spouses, and we have two granddaughters who never fail to keep us all smiling.