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She's Heading To D.C. To Speak!

Katree Darriel Saunders of Las Vegas has an intense story that would take a book to truly tell. She treats a plethora of health issues with medicinal cannabis and has been featured in multiple publications for her advocacy and lobbying work for patient rights with Americans for Safe Access and NORML. Many patients have a history like hers that includes being tricked into going jail by a deceptive DEA agent – literally incarcerated for possession of a small amount of hash and cannabis. That Nevada sting operation cost her several months of her life - behind bars. In her past she gained momentum at first as a patients rights advocate way back in 2010 when she volunteered for ‘Organizing America’ – a political event in which President Obama spoke about healthcare reform. After being chosen to be on stage and being sat behind him, she shook his hand and had a brief exchange with the president in which Saunders said “We needed to talk about medical patient’s rights.’” She states her responded with “We’re not prosecuting.”

A beyond exciting occurrence for someone who’s been behind bars for possessing the plant – an ability to confront the president about the freedom for all to use what many of us already do on a daily basis. Even though the state of Nevada has made it difficult for her to work, she still is going at it and on her way to Washington DC in days to speak on patients behalf at the NORML conference and congressional lobby day. “I’ve worked in the Industry for years, but now the state doesn’t want to allow a felon to hold a cannabis card or be in the industry. With the new legalization laws across the nation expunging records, patients like myself need freedom. It’s not easy to work in the industry as it is, there’s many false hopes and promises unfulfilled. I have my share of good stories and also bad experiences.”

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(Saunders in 2010 in her meet and greet with President Obama, which was covered by C-Span)

As a patient she’s very complex and has quite the detailed history. I did a brief interview that goes much further into the why and hows of her medicinal cannabis journey. She was featured in Vegas Cannabis Magazine as a veteran of the industry with extensive knowledge in helping patients learn about the synergistic relationship of cannabinoids, terpenes, and cannabis products. James Priest of Emerald Magazine did an entire story on her called “My Bust” that’s very interesting, it’s pertaining to the Sting operation that she was caught up in. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Katree at conferences in Las Vegas, she speaks at local events and more – as well as making waves across social media in regards to patient access, rights, and more. Let’s have a look at how she responded to my own questions for her about her personal use of cannabis and CBD…

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How did you find out about medicinal cannabis or CBD? “I started using cannabis at 16 after a slip and fall at work at McDonald’s and hurting my back. I didn’t find out about CBD until about 2008- 2009 and then started using that too. Cannabis was what helped me get off opioids and benzo’s, it keeps me off of pharmaceuticals.”

What are you treating, can you tell me how the health issue effects you?

“I’m treating fibromyalgia, chronic pain, nerve damage, carpal tunnel, and ruptured disc in my back and neck – spondylosis . As well, I have Hidradenitis suppurativa, PTSD , anxiety from being a prisoner of war. My health issues affect me severely every day. I need foot surgery as I walk on a broken foot that never healed – part of the injuries I sustained in a motor vehicle accident back when I was pre trial. My doctor ended up dying and I had to find a new doctor and get all new medical records. They want to take bone from my hip to fix my foot. Cannabis helps with the chronic pain and neuropathy issues.”

How do you use/consume medicinal cannabis? “I use cannabis flower smoked and vaped, topical products of all types, cannabis oils ingested with specific terpenes that help with pain and inflammation. I look for strains or oils high in a-pinene, myrcene, bisabolol, and linalool. I use all the cannabinoids I can. Especially THC, CBN, CBG, CBC, and of course CBD. They all help the situation – they ease my pain and reduce swelling. When I was working I was using over 4 grams of THC Cannabis oil a week and about 1000 mg of CBD. I make a lot of my own medicine with the magical butter machine. I’d like to thank Garyn from there!”

What type of reaction do you get from friends and family about using Cannabis? “At first people just thought that I was trying to get high, but after CBD got legal people understand now. It’s medicine and I’m using it for pain relief so it’s not as bad as it once was – now they all call me for advice!”

Did you take pharmaceutical medications – if so, has cannabis decreased this? “I am five years pill free from opiates and benzo’s due to medical cannabis, it replaced the pills.”

What else would you like to share about your journey? “As a patient, It’s hard at times to fit into the cannabis industry and keep a positive outlook. The culture of the corporations can be good but there’s many vultures as well. Knowing that the plant didn’t do anything wrong and it shouldn’t be illegal helps me get through it – patients need to talk and those that can should be voices for others. Not all have the right reasons for being in the cannabis industry and some of us are doing it to heal from much more than our illnesses. I’ve had issues in the past in trying to further myself, but I believe many have. I’m just trying to help the community and hope that the industry follows the patients lead.”

What advice would you give to those considering trying out plant medicine like this, but waiting to get more information? “Your body has an Endocannabinoid system that works synergistic with the cannabinoids found in the plant as well as specific terpenes (that come from the plant) to help with pain and inflammation. There’s so much the plant’s medicine can do for people beyond that, education goes along way.”

How is your life now after you’ve discovered how to heal/treat yourself differently. Has your activity level increased? “I can now enjoy my life and my children a lot more and the pain hasn’t subsided but it’s manageable due to cannabis for a much longer extended time relief than opiates and benzo’s every did. Being happy and positive about the future is priceless and cannabis gives me my life back to do so. Being able to teach others about cannabis education and the health benefits is healing in itself.”

What myth about Cannabis do you believe needs to be squashed? “That is a harmful substance, it’s a beautiful plant from God that is here to nourish us just as we need nourishment for our other organs. Our cannabinoid receptors, CB one and two, need to be nourished as well by the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.”

If you could send a message, any message, to the world – what would it be? “We need to end federal cannabis prohibition so people can have safe access to this life giving plant. Give cannabis a chance – it’ll bring your body back into homeostasis without the horrible side effects of pharmaceutical medication. God gave us an Endocannabinoid system that should be nourished and the cannabis plant does that synergistically speaking.”

Have your kids benefited from your use of Cannabis, has it enabled you as a Mom? "It allows me to be a better parent, without my health I'm not able to care for them as well, this would go for anyone treating an illness. My son Josiah uses CBD for migraines - he's almost 13. My oldest Ian is 19, and Azariah is 7, my kids are aware mom uses natural medicine. They all benefit from their mom having the freedom to use the plant instead of pills."

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Reading the links in this story gives one a mini series of the life of a cannabis patient that gets caught with a small amount of it in a state with very strict laws. Since legalization many have been waiting for changes in their state that includes the release of people in prison for convictions like hers as well as expunging of past criminal records related to cannabis possession or even growing it. Many are like Katree are waiting for this to be done federally so that people across America have the ability to speak out. You can contact her on Facebook or LinkedIn if you’d like to help her in the lobbying endeavors or are looking for someone to represent your company in the industry.

Mike Robinson, Medicinal Cannabis Patient. Founder, Global Cannabinoid Research Center. But, most of all, Genevieve’s Daddy https://www.mikesmedicines.com/medical-marijuana/the-cannabis-love-story/

Cover photo credit: Michael W. Rogers