"What's in your stash bag?" with Heather Jackson, CEO of the Realm of Caring Foundation
Please tell us about yourself, your business, and what motivated you to get involved in the industry?
First, it is not an industry, it is a cause. You can quote me on that! :) My name is Heather Jackson, I am the CEO of the Realm of Caring Foundation and cannabis took over my life (sounds like I am at a 12 step program) after it saved my then 9-year-old son Zaki, who has a rare catastrophic form of childhood epilepsy. He transitioned from hospice to health. After his seizures remitted and he made huge strides in his development I wanted to dedicate my life to helping others who were in the same situation that my family was in. I co-founded a nonprofit called the Realm of Caring in 2012, and we received our 501(c)3 status in 2013. I may have come into cannabis by force, but it is my greatest honor to now spend my time helping others.
Accessing a safe medicine that has great potential to improve your quality of life is a basic human right. There should not be a stigma associated with that.
What’s your relationship with cannabis? Are you completely out of the canna-closet?
I used cannabis when I was about 19 or 20 recreationally. I abstained from cannabis, alcohol and all intoxicants when I had my first son. That reprieve was almost two decades. Then at the end of last year when my son’s seizures returned - don’t worry, he is fine, the seizures are mild and infrequent, but the PTSD hit me hard. I took a sabbatical. While on my 3 month sabbatical, trying to get my act together, the plant and I became reacquainted. Between not being able to relax, my mind racing a thousand miles an hour, and some debilitating PTSD episodes, I called my brothers from another mother (the Stanley’s) and asked for a variety of plants to try. Many people don’t know that in addition to creating Charlotte's Web (a whole plant botanical extract high in CBD) they [The Stanley Brothers] also have a THC grow and provide flower and tinctures for medical dispensaries in Colorado. In addition, I recently began to have neurological symptoms that are attributed to a spot on my brain, presumably from a couple of fairly serious car accidents and I began using CBD (cannabidiol) every day to combat my symptoms and to try and heal the 11mm “defect” they found on the MRI. I am the stereotypical stoner when vaping THC flower. This is the desired effect for someone like me who is addicted to working and has a hard time relaxing... so I only vape when I have a clear calendar the next day, or if I am having a PTSD episode. Thankfully, this is very infrequent. I would rather turn to a non-toxic plant instead of pharmaceutical drugs. You wouldn't think badly of me if I were on antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs due to the traumatic last 14 years we have had. So please don't look at medical cannabis patients that way. So if I was not out of the canna-closet before, I guess I am now.
How do you incorporate the STASHLOGIX bags and its contents into your life?
I think this is my new favorite travel piece. I recently took the natural hemp ProStash on vacation, (I only took hemp based CBD products, no THC - I do not look good in orange. No jail for me, thank you!) and I loved having a secure place for all of our medicines and I had enough room for all of our vitamins too. It became my traveling "medicine cabinet". The ProStash is the largest piece. Hey, what can I say, between Zaki and I we have a lot of products.
What’s in my vape right now? Lambs Bread is the name of the strain. It is perfect for my PTSD symptoms. Charlotte’s Web is what my son uses. He likes chocolate mint in MCT oil. We are also experimenting with Mary’s Medicinals CBN patches for his breakthrough seizures.
What are you most excited about in your career?
I am most excited about the number of people who are turning to this very safe, nontoxic, and I think - great option. I love seeing people using a more natural solution for their health concerns. The number of people we serve at Realm of Caring has grown 7000% since 2013. That is a strong indicator that sadly, western treatments are failing them, and secondly that people want an option that will not damage their organs or give them intolerable side effects. I am also excited that we are collecting data on our families through a research registry so we can connect the dots on dosing, products, route of administration, quality of life improvement and many other validated measures. We need to discover the trends and see what diagnoses are responding to cannabis as medicine. I have the most fun when we administer our family assistant grants. We have direct deposited more than $120,000 to families in need since the program's inception.
How do you stay balanced? Any hobbies outside of your work?
Balance is the unicorn isn’t it? It might be a myth, or perhaps just in my life? I do enjoy gardening. Mostly flowers, but I do try to grow my family’s food rather unsuccessfully most seasons. My brood of chickens is a lovely distraction currently. I also love to spend time camping and out in nature as much as I can. I am so happy it is summer, I cannot even describe it. Otherwise, you will find a good book in my hands. I’m a voracious reader.
How can people reach you?
Realm of Caring:
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