Strainprint Patient Profile: Natashia Hrushka Jewett

“Strainprint is an app I wish I had throughout my whole medical cannabis journey,” says Strainprint user Natashia Hrushka Jewett, 32, “Strainprint to me is more than just a mindful minute or an app that keeps my medical diary.”

Natashia’s story is unique, yet so common amongst medical cannabis users.  

“I have been using cannabis for a good portion of my life,” says the young Canadian mother, “I was introduced to cannabis in my youth but never used it more than recreational, or so I thought. I was self-medicating my anxiety and depression for a few years before I even realized that I was doing so.” This is a journey we at Strainprint hear all too commonly. “For years I was dealing with anxiety and depression without even realizing it and that cannabis was there helping me cope.”

After a work-related vehicle accident, Natashia was left unable to work, with a bevy of prescription painkillers, that only resulted in more pain, depression and anxiety, while she continued to self-medicate with cannabis. “I was lucky to have my best friend and boyfriend by my side,” says Natashia, “He was the one who made me realize I was self-medicating.”

Becoming an ACMPR Patient

This was 8 years ago, and now Natashia is an ACMPR patient, after navigating her local medical system and finally finding a doctor that was willing to work with her pain with cannabis.

“Cannabis woke me up with the help of my prescriptions,” she says, “I started volunteering, upgrading my education, working out again, and even talking about trying for a family.”

Then she had another accident on the way to volunteering and suffered a torn hip flexor. “I went down the rabbit hole after that,” Natashia said about her experience.

At the same time as her accident, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. “Again, I wish Strainprint had been there through this. I would have been able to realize that I was hurting both emotionally and physically with Strainprint a lot faster.”

What Natashia is referring to is Strainprint’s 30 million data points generated from the over 700,000 tracked medical sessions  by users who have entered in information about their cannabis strains, sessions, and their results. This feeling of being overwhelmed and not being able to properly target symptoms with cannabis is what led Strainprint’s founder Stephanie Karasick to create Strainprint to “use cannabis better”.

Finally, it was time to start a family. With the help of her doctor, and cannabis, Natashia was able to remove her medications and get down to two pills a day. “The Strainprint app would have been helpful with the ability to track when I take my cannabis, helping me reduce my other medications much more effectively.” Despite this, she became pregnant and couldn’t be more delighted.

Sadly, Natashia suffered a miscarriage, and instead of prescription medications, she dedicated herself to living clean through mindfulness and cannabis use. “Mindfulness and cannabis were there to help me through my anxiety, depression, and pain.”

A New Hope with Cannabis

A bit over a year ago, Natashia and her partner were pregnant again and had decided to use cannabis to support her high-risk pregnancy with the supervision of the doctor. 9 months later, a beautiful baby girl was born, and Natashia decided to go off all medications, including cannabis while she breastfed.

Post-breastfeeding, Natashia’s fibromyalgia symptoms flared up again. “It hit me like a belly hits the water when you do a belly flop,” she describes.

Eager to do more research on how cannabis can treat symptoms of fibromyalgia, Natashia turned to an online group called SheCann: Empowering Canadian Women, a community of Canadian medical cannabis users who provide information on medical cannabis, and provide each other support in the medical cannabis journey.

This is where Strainprint came into Natashia’s medical cannabis journey to treat her fibromyalgia.

Her Strainprint Journey

Natashia was pleased with how easy it was to track her cannabis sessions and to pinpoint almost every detail of her cannabis experience so that it could be shared with her doctor. Her favourite feature of the app? “The incredible Snapshot!” she says.

“Snapshot helps me and my doctor see my progress,” she describes, “I can see when I start to tip in my pain and mental health management and so can my doctor. We can work together using Strainprint. Strainprint’s Snapshot is something I look into at least once a month and send my doctor who medically prescribes me cannabis once every 3 months.”

She and her doctor use Strainprint for troubleshooting treatment with her symptoms. “Just recently I used Strainprint snapshot with my doctor to see that we needed to up my medication. We were able to see I had a flare up and that a 1:1 ratio was helping me combat the flare-up.”

For Natashia, Strainprint has made all the difference in her journey from self-medicating to embracing “using cannabis better” in collaboration with her doctor to ensure she is using cannabis to her optimal benefit.

“Strainprint is one amazing app that I’m glad I have in my toolbox. Mediation, communication, and medication this is what Strainprint is for me and can offer other users as well. It’s just a couple of clicks away.”

 

Can Cannabis Help You Lose Weight?

While it’s been long rumoured that cannabis use leads to “the munchies” and subsequent weight gain, weed and weight loss may have a surprising and promising partnership.

An age-old assumption that is held about cannabis users is that they often succumb to “the munchies” and end up making poor food choices, risking gaining weight as a consequence.

Using cannabis doesn’t need to be a pathway to embracing the munchies; in fact, more are turning their attention to the ways that weed and weight loss may go hand in hand.

Preliminary Studies
Cannabis needs to experience a disassociation from the image of the stoner eating Pringles on the couch while playing video games. A 2011 study from the American Journal of Epidemiology concluded that, “people using cannabis are less likely to be obese than people who do not use cannabis.” This is supported by studies showing that cannabis users have trimmer waistlines and lower-cholesterol.

A 2015 study examined the effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on maintaining a healthy weight in mice. The study found that THC causes changes in the gut microbiome (a microorganism connected to weight) that are assumed to contribute to healthy weight. Overall, it showed that the THC treatment, over a period of 4 weeks, reduced weight gain, fat gain, and energy intake in obese mice.

Cannabis & Exercise

More in the cannabis community are showing the benefits of connecting cannabis to the exercise routine, promoting the way that weed leads to weight loss. Some athletes microdose pre-workout to bring a state of relaxation and focus to their training routine (without getting high!). Cannabis topicals can help with muscle recovery and reduce inflammation and can protect sore muscles or joints during the workout process. Further cannabis dosing helps reduce the inflammation and associated pain with sports injuries or soreness.

Taking this approach requires the cannabis user to see cannabis as an enabler, and to thoughtfully choose strains that will boost energy and bring focus. People will usually choose a sativa strain like Durban Poison or Harlequin before a workout while relying on an indica-dominant strain for more low-impact activities like yoga.

Appetite Suppressing Strains

Munchies are a real thing, but there are actually strains, cannabinoids, and terpene profiles that help reduce appetite, rather than make you hungry and grab for anything in the fridge.

Some examples of what to look for in appetite suppression include:

• Strains that contain THC-V (tetrahydrocannabivarin) deliver an energetic and euphoric high along with appetite-suppressing qualities. One high THC-V strain some users can access is Black Beauty. A more common route to strains that suppress appetite are those rich in the terpene humulene that has a similar effect to THC-V with appetite. Strains high in humulene include Sour OG, Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, and Skywalker OG.

• Strains that combine high levels of THC-V and humulene, like Green Crack, will pack an energetic punch while preventing you from reaching for the fridge;

• Cannatonic is a helpful appetite suppressant because it gives the user an upbeat feeling with its high CBD content and low THC content. Those who want a bit of a pep in their step in a social situation but don’t want to opt for a sugary alcoholic drink may find Cannatonic will produce the same relaxing effect of having a few drinks;

Either Humulene and THC-V (or both) are what to look for in appetite suppressing strains. Using THC-V for the first time can be an eye-opening experience for the most seasoned cannabis user due to its potency and feelings of euphoria. Use these strains within a safe environment and mindfully dose to assess the effects.

Change the Conversation

The modern cannabis consumer has an opportunity to change the stigma associated with cannabis; it’s not something that makes you lazy, but rather, when used intentionally, it can help in goals achievement. While the studies on weed and weight loss are preliminary, the dialogue around the potential for cannabis and weight management is certainly growing.