This week's Social Spotlight is shining on Wikileaf's very own Chanel White. Chanel is our Client Relationship Manager / the life of the office. She is quite possibly the most passionate person here when it comes to destigmatizing cannabis and preaching its medicinal benefits - and for good reason. The fact that Chanel is even here with us today is a miracle, made possible in large part by the healing properties of cannabis that she discovered after consuming for the first time. Chanel graciously shared her tale with us not to be a martyr or receive sympathy. In fact, she made it very clear when we started the interview process that she is not defined by her story, and there is so much more to her than her disease. Instead, Chanel hopes that her story can be a beacon of light to those who don't see an end to the tunnel and that it can help to destigmatize cannabis and help others to see it as a viable option for improving their own quality of life.
Why do you choose to consume?
I choose to consume because cannabis took my suffering from mandatory to optional. Cannabis has impacted my life immeasurably. To understand that a little bit, you need to know some of my background. In 2011, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive autoimmune disease and told that I had ten years to live. Doctors did everything they could for me and I still went into widespread organ failure and lived many years of my life attached to a feeding tube and an oxygen tank and a central line pumping medication into my heart. When things started to get really rough a couple of years ago, Doctors said you have two options: you can go out quietly, or you can go out swinging. I said "Give me the bat! Hell yeah, let's do this!" So we went through a year of chemotherapy, and then I followed that up with a bone marrow transplant, so I have a fresh new immune system. Not only did I live, but we saw incredible results, and because of that I'm, now medical device free, and I'm here at Wikileaf. As you can imagine, my disease caused me to have a very low quality of life, especially when you add in the treatments they were using to keep me alive. Cannabis really provided me with a quality of life. It erased my nausea and assisted with my pain. It quieted that anxiety of wondering if I'll wake up in the morning. It gave me the first night's sleep I've had in years. It calmed my depression. It was just this incredible medication that covered all these things that pharmaceuticals couldn't do for me.
How did you transition from using cannabis to working in the industry?
I started working for Wikileaf because, as a patient, I felt that very heavy stigma. I myself, when my doctor first prescribed it, was like "I don't do drugs!" After my second round of chemo I was just cycle vomiting, was so unbelievably miserable, and finally just said: "Give me all the things." I went to my first dispensary, and from that point, my life was just changed. And I knew that if I was ever a functioning human being again, and if I lived through all of this, I wanted to do nothing more than to destigmatize this plant. I started attending conferences and started making myself a part of an industry that I wasn't a part of, and that's when I met the Wikileaf crew. I just expressed my interest in the plant, and in the company, and in the medicinal properties, and the easing of patients' suffering, and just knew that this was where I wanted to be.
How does your family feel about you working in the cannabis space, and how the plant has affected you?
My family is very supportive of my cannabis consumption. They were actually the first people to push me to try cannabis. I'd come visit, or they'd come over to my house, and they'd be like "Ya know, have you tried cannabis yet? Have you tried weed?" I even had an uncle who told me "Smoke the ganja!" They were pumped when I finally tried it. It definitely took some trial and error. I had a few edible disasters because no one told me not to eat the whole candy bar! My family has been nothing but supportive, and they have loved watching the progress I've made and the quality of life improvement I've had with cannabis.
What's the best piece of life advice you've ever received?
That's tricky because I've been given a lot of life advice. I think it's just to be grateful in every circumstance. No matter what's happening in life, find the things that are attainable to you, and don't focus on what you can't attain. If you base your happiness on something you can't attain, you will never be happy. So find something that works for you, adapt, adjust, and accept your circumstance, and make it work for you.
What's your favorite way to consume?
My preferred method of consumption depends on the ailment I'm trying to treat. I use topicals for any joint or muscle pain. My overall preferred method is vaporizing dry flower. I love the experience, I love the taste, I love the smell, and I love that it's immediate. I'm what you would call a lightweight, so one puff and I'm good.