Our guest, a cannabis coach, and Physician Assistant, shares her journey of discovering the benefits of cannabis after a breast cancer diagnosis and how she is now using her expertise to help others navigate the world of medical cannabis. We dive into the science behind how cannabis can alleviate pain and discuss the ongoing need to educate people on its potential benefits as an alternative to prescription drugs.
Table of Contents
- Release Date: Monday, June 17th, 2023
- Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 32
- Special Guest: Shoshana Church, PAC and founder of CannabisRemedy.org
Listen To The Episode
Click the play button above to listen to the episode.
Listen to all podcast episodes →
Breast Cancer to Cannabis Coach: How A Physician Assistant Found Relief with Shoshana Church
Why You Will Love This Episode
In this episode, we are joined by a special guest, Shoshana Church, a Physician Assistant with expertise in cannabis who is committed to tackling the opioid crisis with natural remedies.
Growing up in the 70s, Shoshana was taught that weed was a drug, and it wasn’t until later in life that she discovered its medicinal properties.
After receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in 2015, she decided to get certified for the medical use of cannabis in Illinois. She experienced firsthand how it can be used to manage various health issues.
Shoshana has since dedicated herself to becoming a cannabis coach and educator, helping individuals navigate the use of cannabis for chronic problems, particularly in the area of women’s health.
As a Physician Assistant, she aims to open up conversations between patients and providers about the benefits of cannabis as a potential alternative to opioids.
One of the most interesting parts of our conversation was when our guest shared her personal experience with using homemade cannabis suppositories vaginally for pelvic floor dysfunction and dyspareunia. She was amazed at the results, and we delved into the science behind how cannabis can help alleviate these issues.
We discussed the stigma surrounding cannabis and how there is a growing need to educate people on its potential benefits. She even shared her insights on how to approach these conversations with healthcare providers and tips for individuals who want to try cannabis for the first time.
Overall, this episode was a fascinating discussion on the potential uses of cannabis for various health issues, and our guest’s unique perspective as a Physician Assistant and cannabis coach brought a wealth of knowledge to the conversation.
Tune in to learn more about how cannabis can be a game-changer in the fight against the opioid crisis.
Shoshana: I am providing education from both realms, conventional and the plant medicine world. Hopefully, people will sit back and go; it’s okay. We can do these two things, but let’s focus more on the cannabis and let’s focus less on the pharmaceuticals, synthetics, and stuff. It’s just so bad for us.
Announcer: Welcome to the Well With Cannabis Podcast, a show dedicated to telling the life-changing stories of those who live well with cannabis all while teaching you how to do the same. Meet your host, Emily Kyle, a registered dietitian nutritionist turned certified holistic cannabis practitioner. Emily changed her life for the better with the help of the cannabis plant, and now she’s committed to helping others do the same.
Tune in each week to hear heartwarming stories and gain the knowledge you need to feel connected, inspired, and supported on your own cannabis journey. Whether you’re a new cannabis consumer or a lifetime lover, you’ll benefit from these uplifting tales of real-life journeys that will show you how you, too, can live your best life well with cannabis.
Disclaimer: Hi there. Before we jump into today’s episode, I wanted to share a note on potentially sensitive content. The episodes on the Well With Cannabis Podcast are created for adult audiences only. We will, at times, cover sensitive topics, including but not limited to suicide, abuse, mental illness, sex, drugs, alcohol, psychedelics, and the obvious use of plant medicine. Explicit language may be used occasionally. Please refrain from watching or listening to the show if you’re likely to be offended or adversely impacted by any of these topics.
The information on this show is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. If any of the content on this podcast has brought up anything for you, please reach out or speak to a professional or someone you trust.
Emily: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Well With Cannabis Podcast, and we have a really special guest today. I am so excited. She is a physician assistant, and I am really excited to hear her journey with healthcare in cannabis. So welcome, Ms. Shoshana Church. Thank you for joining us today.
Shoshana: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
Emily: I am so intrigued because you are a physician assistant, and you are working. Are you currently working in the cannabis space as a cannabis coach?
Shoshana: Correct. That’s correct, yes.
Emily: Which I think is such amazing work. We’re going to get to that. I want to talk about your upbringing with cannabis because it’s very similar to a lot of people’s experiences, and I’d love for you to give us a little background.
Shoshana: Okay, of course. I’m a little considerably older than a lot of people, but I grew up in the sixties, late sixties, and seventies when a lot of people were experimenting with cannabis, and it was completely illegal. I started smoking when I was 15. I don’t really recommend that. But at the time, that’s what it was. It wasn’t a daily thing or anything like that. I did use cannabis regularly until I was about 34. And then when I turned, when I was about 34, I had kids, and I felt with the message that they were receiving about cannabis and school, say no to drugs and the DARE program and all that stuff.
Shoshana: I really felt like even though we didn’t sit around and smoke in front of them, I felt totally guilty. I was very paranoid, and I thought, “Oh God, one little thing could go wrong. I could lose my kids, my home, my reputation, everything.” I just wanted to stop, but I had a really hard time stopping. It wasn’t like; it was, I think, more of a habit than anything else. Something that my husband and I shared together. It was I was like saying, I’m not going do this anymore. And he was like, no, you’re no fun anymore and all that kind of stuff. I did end up stopping, and I got saved.
Shoshana: Because of that, I went to my mom’s church, and I was desperate, and I’m like, I need to quit. I’m a loser parent and all this stuff. “God, if you’re who you say you are, then just get this off my back.” And literally, that’s exactly what happened. It was May 6th, 1990, and Jesus just came in and turned my life around as far as career options and everything.
Shoshana: At the time, it was the appropriate thing to do. It was the right decision to make. And so that was that, but it was the age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and it was the devil’s lettuce, and it was the gateway drug and the highway to hell and all this stuff. It was, it’s a sad thing. That the plant has been demonized like that, but yes.
Emily: Back then, did you find yourself using it medicinally, recreationally, or both?
Shoshana: It was recreationally. I didn’t understand any of the medicinal components; it was just something we did. We just got high, and that’s, and of course, back then, it was not nearly the potency that it is now.
Emily: Yeah. Oh yeah. It’s such a different world now. Differences, for sure. So, you quit for what, almost 30 years?
Shoshana: Yeah, it was about 20, 27, or 29 years.
Emily: So, what brought you back to the plant?
Shoshana: I got diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.
Shoshana: It’s all good but thank you. At the time, I started looking into plant medicine as essential oils. I started using essential oils and found tremendous solutions with those. And then, they legalized cannabis for medical use in Illinois. I don’t remember which year it was, but I was working in a different clinic, and we were certifying medical cannabis there. Oh, I need to get my certification, then. Why not? I’ll try it, and I’ll re-explore it. All the things that I can, it’s a different lifestyle now.
Shoshana: It’s all different. I’ll just look at it again and see. And the main thing was the reason why I wanted it was because I couldn’t sleep. I could not sleep. I was on Ambien for 12 years. Ambien is a drug that’s called a Z drug. It changes your perception and your central nervous system so you can sleep. It’s only recommended for about two weeks.
Shoshana: But my provider kept giving it to me, and of course, I kept asking for it because once you get used to that, you can’t sleep without it; you think that’s the best. And you can’t sleep without it. It’s just until your brain resets; you can’t sleep without it. So anyway, I was on Ambien for 12 years, and I had gotten off it by the time I started using cannabis because I was using essential oils and just trying more natural solutions. When I got that was the main purpose of my trying to get back into the cannabis world again because I just needed to sleep, and I just wanted to see if it would help. And it’s just been a game-changer.
Shoshana: It really has. I got my card, and now, as a provider to me, knowing the science behind the plant is imperative. I needed to find that out. I got my certification as a cannabis coach and as a cannabis educator. I have two certifications in that.
Emily: Congratulations. Thank you.
Shoshana: And with all that, I got the science of the plant. I understand now why it works. Yeah. And God created this body with these receptors and then in the cannabinoids and everything, and we’re supposed to be using it.
Emily: People need to hear those words. It’s so crazy, too; once you get that spark of interest and eagerness to learn more, it grows and grows. Did you have the same experience?
Shoshana: Exactly. That’s exactly what happened. I just wanted to know more. And I’m still; I’ve got a whole bookshelf full of books here that are all about science and medicine and just all that stuff and women’s health. I wish that the government would get off their duff, and deschedule this thing so people can start doing more studies, and let’s look at women’s health. It’s pathetic that we must suffer with hot flashes and all this kind of stuff when there are other things that we could do.
Emily: I was really surprised. I don’t always research too much into why cannabis is illegal, but one of the things is when they made it a schedule one drug, it would; one of the stipulations is that it could no longer be studied, and I found that to be so crazy. Why would we stop the study of something that, time and time again, is anecdotally reported, is helpful, and it’s just, it’s maddening? And I’m sure, as a healthcare provider, you also feel the same way “What are we doing here?”
Shoshana: The definition of a schedule one drug is that has no therapeutic value. And as long as they’ve got it as a schedule one, they’re not going to look at it. But the other side of the coin is, do we really want the FDA involved?
Emily: No. No. And it’s such a good don’t point. It’s such a good point. We absolutely do not. And maybe it’s just better kept separate at this point.
Shoshana: Yeah. But they’re going to have to do something, though. There are still people serving time in jail for being arrested for small quantities.
Emily: I was recently talking to a woman from Texas, and she’s for what you do every day I could go to jail for, and it’s just, it’s so crazy that really, truly different parts of the country have very different opinions and consequences when it comes to cannabis in Illinois. How was your experience getting your medical card? Was it enjoyable? Was it scary? What was it like as a healthcare provider?
Shoshana: Easy. Oh, good. It was super simple. The clinic that I was in, the other PA that works there did it, and it was just, it was easy. And now, I certify at the clinic where I work, but I also certify online through an agency called VeriHeal.
Emily: Absolutely. Oh my gosh. That must feel so good. And a lot of times people are not comfortable using something like their heels, so to hear like a real person working there and you’re like, this is what I do. I think that’s great for listeners because getting your medical card is easy. People think it’s difficult, but it’s easier than I thought it was to get mine. If you want to walk through the process, maybe for somebody who’s listening, who is questioning whether a medical card is right for them, what would the process look like when they came?
Shoshana: So in the state of Illinois, if you wanted to go through an agency like VeriHeal, you have to sign onto their website. You create an account, and you schedule an appointment. That’s really all it is, but there are two things that must be done. You must have an ID, so there needs to be a government-issued ID, a photo of yourself that confirms that you’re that person. And then there needs to be some medical records. The state has 40 different qualifying diagnoses. That’s a lot that we can get cannabis for. The most common ones are migraines, PTSD, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and osteoarthritis. Those are probably the most common ones that I see.
Shoshana: Most everybody, if they’ve got any of those diagnoses, it’s super simple to get it. So, they schedule their appointment. We meet, like you and I are meeting right now. I go to the medical cannabis website through the state of Illinois. I enter their information, upload it, and it’s a done deal. They pay VeriHeal for the visit and then they have to pay the state. It’s $50, I think, for a year. And the price, they lowered the price. It used to be a hundred for a year, so they have le there’s been some leniency for
Emily: That’s nice. It always goes the opposite way. Thank you for detailing that because I think a lot of people think it’s complicated. Many people think that they need to get approval from their regular GP before moving forward, but you don’t need any of that; VeriHeal and how you do it takes care of all of that for you. You don’t even have to tell your GP if you don’t want to. That’s right. For anybody listening, it is very simple, and if you go in and you proceed with all of these and say you don’t for whatever qualify, they don’t charge you. I believe that’s correct. That way you’re not risking anything by giving it a try, right?
Shoshana: Yeah. You don’t get charged if the recommendation is not sent to the state, you don’t get charged.
Emily: Perfect. How has your experience as a healthcare provider been through getting certified? Have you felt weird in that profession? Have you felt like a pioneer? Where are you in that aspect?
Shoshana: I think it’s like the pioneer thing. I actually lost my job that I had for 10 and a half years because I talked about essential oils.
Emily: What? Oh, so I’m so sorry.
Shoshana: It was the best thing that could have ever happened because now I do all this. Talking to patients. Even in the clinic, I’m working in now, even though we do medical cannabis certification, we also do drug and alcohol infusion therapy. Okay, if you have a substance use disorder and they, and some people consider cannabis a substance use disorder, we’ve yet to treat anybody for that. In our clinic, we usually get alcohol and opiates and benzodiazepines, and methamphetamines. But you know those folks when somebody comes in, and they’re taking opiates, and they have a hard time getting off, and I’m concerned about them going through withdrawal, I’m going to tell them to use cannabis as an opiate substitute.
Shoshana: Now my clinic, the person that owns the clinic is not totally on board with that because it’s not our protocol. My goal is to get that, to be part of the protocol, and there’s certainly enough evidence that it’s been used like that before in the past.
Emily: Oh my gosh. Talk about Pioneer, though. This is the future of healthcare, but for someone to actually step out there and say, “This is what we’re going to do,” hats off to you. That’s incredible.
Shoshana: Yeah, it’s where I’m at now. If I were in a regular clinic, like working in regular primary care like I was before, I wouldn’t get to talk to patients about this. At all. No, they wouldn’t want you to. Then this, but in this setting, it is acceptable. There are a few little boundary lines I can’t cross, but I have patients coming in, and we’re getting them certified too. So it’s a little bit of a conflict.
Emily: In your experience working with substance use disorder, a lot of people who maybe are in the recovery phase have a very difficult time figuring out where cannabis fits into that puzzle because they’ve been told for so long that it is a drug. How do you advise them on navigating those feelings?
Shoshana: At first, I explained to them how it works and that they have an endocannabinoid system. Your body has this system that was just discovered in the early 1990s, and there’s. It’s a name; all the endocannabinoids mimic THC, CBD, etc.
Shoshana: I always advise people to start very low and slow. Track your progress. You don’t want to overdo it because a lot of people do overdo it, and then they end up with a bad experience, and then they never want to try it again. When if it hadn’t been overdone, it could have been a good experience, and they would’ve gotten help from it.
Shoshana: I just advised them like that. I just explain this is the science behind the plant, this is why it works, and let’s try this. Take a couple of hits if it’s time for you to take your hydrocodone or, God forbid, fentanyl. Take a couple of hits of a joint or a pipe or something, or a dry herb vaporizer, or eat an edible, do something instead.
Emily: Now, for our folks who maybe are on the fence, prescription versus cannabis, can you talk as a healthcare provider a little bit about the side effects associated with each and which are more prominent?
Shoshana: Prominent, you mean like prescriptions? Like opiates?
Emily: Yes. Yeah.
Shoshana: So, you know, the opiate crisis has turned opiate prescribing way around. It used to be that you could just go get opiates and your doctor just kept filling them over and over again. But you get things like constipation. You get dependency. You sometimes can’t sleep because they’ll have an opposite effect on your system. There’s so many detrimental things that can happen if you take opiates.
Shoshana: Whereas with cannabis, we know that you don’t have to worry about constipation. You’re never going to die of an overdose. It’s not possible. You’re going to be able to sleep and sleep restful. Where with the opiates you may not it’s easy to obtain these days where opiates. It’s getting harder and harder for people to find opiates.
Emily: Interesting. Yeah. I didn’t know that.
Shoshana: It’s because the prescribing habits have changed so much. The teenagers not going to grandma’s cabinet and stealing her opiates anymore. They’re having to go to the street to buy them, and instead of Vicodin or, hydrocodone, something like that, they’re having to get fentanyl, because that’s really all that’s out there. And then fentanyl is laced with, or you might be thinking you’re getting Percocet or something like that, but it’s laced with fentanyl. Overdoses from that has just gone up. So, it’d be much better if the government would just say, let’s just have a free cannabis dispensary for everybody that’s hooked on opiates.
Emily: Think about the way that would change healthcare. I think here in New York State, they have places where you can go and safely use heroin. But they don’t have anywhere where you can safely use cannabis to get off heroin. And so, you saying that was just like a spark of then why wouldn’t we offer that too? Why? Why do we want to keep people? They said, the government says they want to attack the opioid crisis, but if we have something that works, we’re not even exploring it.
Shoshana: It just maddening. It really is. It truly is.
Emily: Now, you said that your work moving forward is to help other people talk to their healthcare providers about cannabis. There are so many people who are absolutely petrified to even say the word cannabis to their doctor. What is your advice to them? How do they move forward?
Shoshana: The first thing is education. They must understand. And a lot of providers don’t get this; here where I live, there’s a whole network of one company, and they won’t allow their providers to talk to people about cannabis. They certainly won’t certify. And so, they don’t learn. If you’re the patient and you don’t want to take an opiate, or you don’t want to take an SSRI, like Lexapro or Zoloft or something like that, you should be able to go to your doctor and say, look, I really want to try cannabis. What do you think?
Shoshana: And they should not shut the door in your face and say, no way. But for them to be brave enough to talk to them about that, they need to understand again the end, the endocannabinoid system, and why it works. And then be able to go and say, you know what, if I take Lexapro, I could have this side effect. But if I use cannabis in low doses, microdosing during the day, I’m not going to have a side effect like that, and I’ll be much happier and healthier. So that’s my goal. I’d really like to be able to talk to more people about that. That door hasn’t quite opened, but that is my goal.
Emily: Have you found that when people are having these conversations, their healthcare providers are receptive? Because I feel like many people’s biggest fear is that their doctor will say, “Nope, absolutely not,” and they will not talk about it again. Have you found that providers are receptive?
Shoshana: I think that there’s a mix. I think that there are some that are just in that whole stigma of “Nope. It’s a drug. You’re just going to get addicted.” And, or, and then there are others who are maybe younger and just maybe coming out of school out of residency and stuff. There are a little bit more receptive to it than the older crowd.
Emily: Say the worst fear comes true and a doctor says, “Nope, we’re not going to discuss it.” Where do, where does someone go from there?
Shoshana: They can either find a new provider.
Emily: Yes. I’m a big fan of shopping around there’s, nothing wrong with that.
Shoshana: Or they just go do it anyway. They go to somebody like me that’s a cannabis coach that says, let’s do it this way. And then after you’ve used it for a while, you can go back to your doctor and say, “Hey this is how I feel.”
Emily: If there’s healthcare providers like you who can guide people to do this safely, they don’t need their doctors because you exist. So that’s why I’m so glad that we have you here on the show, and we can introduce people to you because so many people are just so scared that their doctor’s going to say, no, the door will be shut.
Emily: And you are offering a new door for people to step in. I’m so glad that you’re taking that role in cannabis because we don’t have enough healthcare providers who are now, have you found that when you’re working with people, what is in your experience, their biggest issue when it comes to cannabis? What are they not doing right or what is their biggest trip up?
Shoshana: I find that in, if the people that I’ve dealt with, it seems like it’s more women than anything. Yeah. They really want to use cannabis, but they don’t want to smoke it. They would rather do an edible. That’s how I found you, by the way. I was looking up a gummy recipe. I’m like, look at her. How fun. But I think that’s what it is. It could go either way if you use too much of an edible, as, yeah, no good. And it could be an hour and a half later, and you’re on a rollercoaster ride for the rest of the night.
Shoshana: That’s not good either, but that’s where the education comes in. It’s just people that don’t know they need to have their handheld; it’s just if you go, yeah. Your doctor wants to give you Lexapro; they’re going to tell you it’s going to take seven days for this to start working. Tide effects are X, Y, and Z. If you have any of these, come back and follow up; it’s the same thing. We’re using the substance that needs to be carefully monitored until we find your sweet spot, the thing that’s going to work for you.
Emily: Question for you that just popped up. If someone’s listening and they’re currently taking prescribed medications, can they also use cannabis? A lot of people are nervous and ask if I must get rid of the prescriptions before I try the cannabis. What is okay and not okay?
Shoshana: You can use cannabis anytime, as far as I’m concerned. Now there are some medications that might be a little interaction with, but usually, like your SSRIs, your SNRIs, the things that we give for depression or anxiety, those are usually okay. You’ll find that as you use cannabis, you can start decreasing the dose of the other.
Emily: My next question is related. Say we’re on our normal regimen of prescriptions, and we play around with cannabis. We find that we like it, and it’s working. Do we need to contact our doctor to discuss decreasing our medications, or can people do that safely on their own?
Shoshana: When you’re weaning off an antidepressant or an anti-anxiety medication, you need to be very careful. When you take those medications, there’s a lot of serotonins left up in your brain. When you suddenly withdraw the medication, that serotonin will drop after many hours. It depends on the half-life of the medication that you’re taking. And then once that drops, you can get side effects from the dropping of serotonin, and you’re not used to it because you’re used to it being so high in your brain.
Shoshana: You can get things like, I call it a brain shock. You be looking straight ahead and you can turn your head. You turned your head, but your brain didn’t catch up yet. So, your brain’s going like that. It’s a really weird, uncomfortable feeling. And you can get irritable, you can get very anxious you can have nightmares.
Shoshana: There’s all kinds of things if you just suddenly stop your medication. So you do need to wean down, and you should be able to go to your provider and say, I don’t want to take this medication anymore. Give me a weaning schedule. And then you wean down. And then if you don’t want to tell them you’re using cannabis, that’s your; you can, you don’t have to. There’s no rule. But if you want to tell them, you can say, “I’m using this, and I think it’s helping.”
Emily: You said you don’t have to talk to your provider about using cannabis if you don’t want to. Are there instances where you should? I asked this only because recently, I had a procedure where I needed anesthesia, and someone had told me I should mention that you have my card and use cannabis because it affects anesthesia. And so, I did. When the anesthesia nurse called me, I let her know I had my medical card, and she said, thank you so much for telling me, but normally I would have probably lied and not told her. Was that the correct thing to do?
Shoshana: Yes. In that situation, yes. It was the correct thing to do. They need to know everything you’re doing when you’re talking about going under anesthesia, even if you’re drinking a lot of alcohol because that will affect your brain and their ability to put you to sleep. Or not put you to sleep. So yeah, definitely. That’s probably the one case scenario that I would say, yeah, be honest with your provider about that.
Emily: In most cases, whether you’re in a legal state or not, whether you’re a recreational consumer or a medical consumer, you should still be allowed to tell your doctor that you’re using cannabis without fear of legal repercussions. Is that correct?
Shoshana: That’s correct, yes.
Emily: That’s so good for people to know because I feel like people, regardless of their generation, are nervous to say that they think that their doctor could just call the cops on them. Yeah, and that’s a big misconception. I don’t want people to think that because, at the end of the day, honesty really is the best policy, if you can, with your providers.
Shoshana: Really, the more patients talk to their providers, the stigma’s going to start being broken. Doctors, if you’re in a functional medicine environment or something like that looks more at the natural solutions and stuff, they’re going to be a lot more receptive to the cannabis use rather than the guy that’s just come out of regular medical school, and they’ve been taught all the conventional approaches to medicine.
Shoshana: I’ve done the conventional approaches to medicine for 19 years. But I’ve always had this like, “Is this really what you want to do? Yeah. You really want to take this drug?” Maybe we should look at your diet. Maybe we should look at your exercise habits or your sleep habits, or maybe you’re in a toxic relationship. There’s all the above. There are all these other things. Let’s not just. Mask everything with pharmaceuticals and hope for the best.
Emily: I think that’s a beautiful thing about cannabis is it almost does the opposite. Cannabis allows you to have a different relationship with your health in general, with how you eat, exercise, and take care of your body. And from everyone I’ve talked to, it’s in such a positive way.
Emily: A lot of people have a misconception that cannabis consumers are lazy, apathetic, and don’t take care of themselves, but I have found when people feel so much better, they’re more likely to exercise and to eat better, and it just snowballs into this overall healthier lifestyle. Have you seen the same?
Shoshana: Yes. Even though I’ve always exercised and eaten well and everything, it just brings out parts of you that I didn’t even know existed. Or maybe they were covered up for years because you buried them with life stuff. But just even creativity, painting, drawing, making music, gardening. All the things that we get to figure out who we are.
Emily: Yes, it’s unbelievable to me because everybody that I talk to, nobody knows these conversations, but they’re all the same. Everybody has these, I came to cannabis for this, but all these extra magical things have happened as well. It’s special to hear people talk about all the added benefits of cannabis and share them with other people and let people know that cannabis really is magical in a lot of different ways.
Shoshana: It really is.
Emily: Now, say someone is intrigued by this conversation and is not ready to do it alone. Then comes a cannabis coach. What does working with a cannabis coach look like?
Shoshana: What I do is I have a complete health history form that I email to the pa, the patient, or the client. They fill that out, get that back to me, and then that way I know what are the problems that you’re dealing with, what medications are you on. That sort of thing. Things like, are you in a legal state or an illegal state? All that kind of stuff. Then depending on what their primary concerns are?
Shoshana: It depends on whether I had a little client in Oregon. I went to the dispensary close to them online, looked to see what she would benefit from, and then advised them that way. Perfect. If they’re local to me, I can gift them something to try first, like an edible. I’m into the suppositories.
Emily: We’re going to talk about that after we finish talking about campus coach, but I really want to talk about it because people don’t talk about it if you’re willing,
Shoshana: Yes, we need to talk about it. Yes. So, the coaching thing it’s more okay, this is where we’re going to start. We’re going to do this nice and slow. I will send you a tracking sheet, and I want you to track your progress. If you take a hit, you know you’re going to see how you feel 15 minutes later. Write it down. If you take another hit, you’re going to do the same thing if it’s edible, same thing.
Shoshana: Write down what you’re using too. We want to know all that. And then you’re going to look; the whole purpose is to figure out what will benefit you at what level you had to do it at. So, we do that. I’ve got a different couple of different programs so they can. They can connect with me for a whole month or just one time. One and done.
Shoshana: It just depends on how they want to do it. That whole month gives you more time to really flesh out what works and what doesn’t. I can make recommendations for products and different strains and stuff like that.
Emily: Oh my gosh. I feel like, for a lot of people that sounds so comforting because cannabis can be so scary and new for a lot of people.
Emily: At the end, we’ll talk about where people can connect with you if they want to work with you because it sounds like exactly what people have been looking for and missing. I hope we can pair you up with the right people who need your services. But I want to also get to the suppositories because we don’t talk about that a lot, and we don’t talk about women’s health a lot publicly, I feel like.
Emily: Are you ready to get into suppositories? And if you are, give us first, for anybody listening who’s like,” Excuse me, what did you say?” A little bit of an overview of what cannabis suppositories are.
Shoshana: Okay, so a cannabis suppository, it’s just going to be something that you’re going to insert rectally or vaginally. Cannabis suppositories can be in different doses. So, you can have a high dose of THC in a suppository. And it is when you insert it either way.
Shoshana: You’re never going to feel the psychoactive effects. So, the purpose of using a cannabis suppository is to get, is to gain extra THC that’s going to go to those receptors and the endocannabinoids, and it’s going to turn on the things that are going to help turn off what it is you’re trying to deal with.
Shoshana: For me, what I use them for is, since I had breast cancer, I’ve had trouble with painful intercourse. It’s been awful. So that’s what I use them for, and I’m really seeing a huge difference.
Emily: I’m so happy you said that out loud because a lot of women won’t. I give you a lot of credit for saying that because there are so many women you can help just by saying that.
Shoshana: Once you hit menopause, everything changes, and then throw in a little cancer here and there, and things even get worse. But it’s been really helpful. I’ve been listening to another podcast. It’s a Cannabis Health Radio Podcast, and there are people on there that talk about using the rectal suppository to deal with cancer.
Emily: And as you said, it will not make you high, correct? For everybody listening? Yes, because a lot of people they’re scared of the high.
Shoshana: The thing with the rectal suppository is that there’s quite a bit of space between where you insert it and where it you can only push it up so far, but if you go up farther than two inches, you could get the psychoactive effects.
Emily: So interesting. I’ve never heard that.
Shoshana: These can be inserted at that distal two-inch portion of the rectum with the vaginal insertion. I don’t ever feel it. Mine are about 65 milligrams, the ones that I made. I don’t ever feel it. I don’t ever feel them.
Emily: Amazing, you don’t feel high, but you feel relief. You feel the relief from them without the high. That is such a gift for so many women who don’t even know that it is even an actual thing. I’m so glad that you shared that and said that. Are they available in a dispensary? I know you said you made your own. Are they available in dispensaries where you are?
Shoshana: No, I cannot find them anywhere here. I know in Canada you can get them. They have everything in Canada. Cannabis wise. I think Oregon, places like that. California, yeah. You could probably get them, but there’s no place in Illinois, so I just made my own.
Shoshana: And the other reason to use a vaginal suppository is if you’ve had a lot of children. If you’ve had surgery, a lot of scar tissue endometriosis, if you’ve had a history of lots of ovarian cysts, just if you’ve just got pelvic floor dysfunction or pain, it helps with all that.
Emily: You just said like an issue so many women face all these different issues if this can help. They didn’t even know that. I’m so glad that we’re talking about this right now because it doesn’t even hurt to try. It’s not right that you’re going to get high if nothing bad is going to happen. But if it could bring you relief, like what a God send.
Shoshana: Exactly. Exactly.
Emily: And for women, I feel like a lot of times we feel like there’s not a lot of options. It’s Tylenol and a heating pad or stronger medications, but that’s really it. There’s not a lot of different options to explore, so I’m really going to be, I think, singing these suppository praises loud and proud for women.
Emily: I want to be respectful of your time. This was an amazing conversation and so helpful for two different audiences, our women in reproductive systems and for anybody who’s ready to talk to their healthcare provider or not about cannabis or maybe work with a cannabis coach. Before I let you go, can I ask you the same four questions I ask all our guests? The first one is, what are you most proud of to date?
Shoshana: It would have to be just going back to school to be a PA. I did that at the age of 45. I had three teenagers in the house.
Emily: Oh my gosh. That’s got to be so hard.
Shoshana: It was very difficult. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I made it. I had a good grade point average, and it was; it’s been a very rewarding career. It would be that, and then cap that off with just facing cannabis because I was against it for years.
Shoshana: It was a scary thing. It was illegal, it was all these things, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. And now, it’s opened a whole new world of medicine and being able to interact with people I would never have met before. I’m very proud of being a PA and then now being a cannabis coach and educator.
Emily: I’m so proud of you, too, because I know it’s not easy to be both and to go out in there in the world and do it and rock it.
Emily: I’m so proud of you because you are going to help so many people; I’m sure you already have, but people need a trusted healthcare provider to help them in cannabis, and you’re doing that. Thank you so much for the work that you’re doing. Now our next one was a little interesting. What would your life look like if you had never found cannabis again?
Shoshana: I’d probably still be fighting with my husband over it because that was one of the big things; he’s always self-medicated. And it was a bad thing. That’s brought us around full circle now. So, we’re actually enjoying that together now. And we have a cannabis club.
Emily: Oh, tell us a little bit about that. Tell me.
Shoshana: It was going to be just a women’s cannabis club. But he’s like, “But what about me?” I want to be in the club. I’m like, okay. So, it’s funny because it’s all women and him. I said, “I’m going to make you a mascot then, because, if you want to stay, you’re going to have to be a mascot.”
Emily: What happens at Cannabis Club?
Shoshana: I present, we have a workshop, so it covers different things. Sunday is our next one, and we’re going to be talking about cannabis for seniors. Last month we talked about how to grow outside. There’s just different topics and we do this little education piece.
Shoshana: It takes about 30 minutes, and then we usually have a community time where we, there’s a smoke circle if people want to participate in that, and then we’ll eat a little something and we just get to know each other. We’ve got a group of women ranging in age from. What, 28 to 76.
Emily: Oh, that’s beautiful. What a nice community tie too. I find so many women can be brought together with the plant. That sounds amazing. I want to come to Cannabis Club. I would love to see more of those pop up in communities. There are so many women helping women’s stories or men and women coming together, sharing stories of the plant, and just encouraging each other.
Emily: That’s beautiful. If you could sit down with yourself 10, 20, or even 30 years ago and whisper to yourself a little piece of cannabis advice, what would it be?
Shoshana: I would have to go back to like longer to age 15, and I would’ve told myself, just wait. It’s okay. You don’t need to do this right now. Wait until your brain is fully mature and ready to handle it.
Shoshana: Using cannabis, especially now, as we already talked about, it’s so much more potent than it was back then. I’m concerned about young people that start using it too soon. I would tell myself to wait. It’s okay. There’s lots of time you can do it. You got plenty of time. So that’s like that. That’s when I thought about this question. I’m like, yeah, I think that’s what I would say.
Emily: It’s wonderful advice because, as adults, cannabis is a great solution, but it’s not for teenagers, it’s not right for a growing brain, and it’s okay as healthcare providers to say that, and if there are teenagers listening, cannabis can be in your future. Just be patient and give yourself time. But it’s really an adult thing, and I’m so glad you said that.
Shoshana: You can use CBD, I’ve got a grandson that wants to use cannabis, and I’m just encouraging him, look, let’s use CBD. You can buy CBD flower. You can do that and use a dryer vaporizer so it’s not so hard on your lungs. He has a lot of anxiety. Going to school, I’m like, do that in the morning. Please don’t use THC in the morning.
Emily: To have someone, though, to provide that guidance and a safe alternative solution is beautiful. I hope everybody gets those opportunities because you’re right that CBD is a viable option. I use CBN. My son takes a CBN gummy before bed for sleep. There are options, but as you said, it’s just not THC, and that’s okay.
Emily: Last question, if you could be remembered for just one thing in the cannabis space, what would it be?
Shoshana: It might be in my little world here in Southern Illinois. It might be that pioneer you mentioned earlier that I am providing education from both realms. Conventional, yes, and the plant medicine world. So that, hopefully, people will sit back and go, it’s okay. We can do these two things, but let’s focus more on the cannabis and let’s focus less on the pharmaceuticals, synthetics, and stuff. It’s just so bad for us.
Emily: That’s beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, being a pioneer, and offering help to those who need it. Where can people find you and learn more about what you do?
Shoshana: I have a website, and it’s cannabisremedy.org. There, you can find all kinds of things they can look at. I have an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Physician assistant certified is what that stands for.
Emily: Perfect. I’ll put all that information. If anybody needs a cannabis coach, if they’re feeling connected to Shoshana through this interview, please reach out again. I’ll leave the links below. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Announcer: Congratulations, you’ve finished another episode of the Well With Cannabis Podcast and are one step closer to discovering how you, too, can live well with cannabis.
Thank you for listening in today. We hope this episode has been a helpful and informative one. Please visit emilykylenutrition.com for more information on today’s show, show notes, guest information, recipes, and other resources.
If you want more support and encouragement on your cannabis journey, please consider joining the private Well With Cannabis Community. In this group, you can connect with like-minded individuals focused on improving their health and wellness through cannabis.
Join the group today to continue your journey of wellness together!