Mother, child advocate, wine distributor, innovator, financial advisor, entrepreneur and radio personality are a smattering of titles that the visionaries of the Cannabis Angels Network (CAN) have held throughout the years. As we struggle to normalize cannabis, this group has stepped up to the challenge of providing a safe harbor for those families who need safe and affordable access to cannabis. While some would feel fear in facing such an immense challenge, the organizers at CAN bring optimism to the table when and where it’s needed most.
It took Cecelia Sivertson, “Nana,” two years to wean herself off of the prescription medication intended to keep her epileptic episodes at bay. One pill at a time and two years on the road to ridding her body of pharmaceuticals she started experiencing tremors that landed her in the hospital where she endured a series of cluster seizures over a 72-hour period. Her memory and day-to-day functions were severely impaired. She contributes her ability to come back from this event to cannabis and the community of people who took her under their wings.
DOPE Magazine had the sincere pleasure of sitting down a few of the women who are bringing integrity and community to the cannabis industry. We sat with Nana, Amy Ansel and Tanya Hart to discuss CAN’s inception, its place in the cannabis community and where it sees itself in the future. Jim Makoso, the fourth CAN partner shared that, “CAN is in a unique position to be a bridge between the cannabis industry and families with children suffering from debilitating illnesses.”
THE BRIDGE TO BECOMING A NON-PROFIT
When Sivertson started Nana’s Secret Soda, she envisioned building a brand that families could use as an alternative treatment for epilepsy beyond pharmaceuticals.
“The pain and disease management industries are failing us,” Ansel said. “We’re eking by and they’re profiting in a way that isn’t regenerating, revitalizing or creating avenues for enjoying life.”
Since its inception the cannabis-infused soda has evolved from a medical-only option to a recreational choice for consumers. When Nana began the transition into a non-profit organization she had no idea it would take almost four years. The non-profit has begun to put down its roots here in the Pacific Northwest and abroad alongside of Berlin-based company sens hemp. As CAN develops relationships with supportive brands in the industry, their goals remain straightforward and simple. CAN wants to onboard brands that will work side-by-side with CAN to grow, produce and create properly dosed formulas for epilepsy patients. With the support of Cannabis Connectors, CAN will work laterally with hemp growers and CBD producers to generate quantities of whole-plant medicine that’s affordable. Affordability remains one of the many hindrances that deter families from accessing essential medicine.
CONNECTING FAMILIES & DESTROYING STIGMAS
Building a niche community in a budding industry isn’t a leisurely walk through the park. Cannabis’ presence on the list of Schedule I drugs is enough to push people away from considering it a viable option for treating debilitating illnesses. Aiding families in navigating their treatment options and providing them with support from those who can empathize is one pillar that will enable CAN to make revolutionary strides in the industry. As a company based in the Pacific Northwest, CAN is reaching out to families in the area with children who are undergoing treatment for epilepsy and other debilitating illnesses. Using Meetup, a new web-based platform that allows people with similar interests to gather, CAN is bringing families together to fight the stigmas surrounding epilepsy.
Education begins with conversation. With the recent election on November 8, more families are being given the opportunity to explore cannabis as an alternative option for treating their children. While there is a time and place for pharmaceuticals, CAN believes that bridging families together through fellowship, offering education and building awareness around cannabis will offer insight into the power and effectiveness of whole-plant medicine.
Currently, CAN has partnered with a company who by spring 2017 hope to have a micro-dose, slow release option in place for patients suffering from all forms of epilepsy. As of now, many of the products on the market are cost prohibitive for families.
If a child in your family is suffering from a debilitating illness, CAN wants to offer whatever support you and your family may need.