HelloMD's Pamela Hadfield talks Migraines & Opioids

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MJ caught up for an intimate conversation with Pamela Hadfield of HelloMD about her personal journey to cannabis.

I got into cannabis after it helped me get out of a personal health crisis. For 25 years I experienced debilitating migraines. Over the years I saw many doctors, both western and alternative, and nobody seemed to be able to help me effectively manage the pain I experienced. Traditional migraine meds made me into a zombie and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractors and massage, may have helped me feel slightly better but were not a solution.

At a certain point, I started to use Vicodin as I was able to remain functional, and for short periods of time, I was able to manage my pain. The problem was that I started to feel I was dependent on an opiate and I feared to become addicted over time. By the time a friend suggested I try cannabis, I was anxious, often in pain and was having mild fibromyalgia. I was not in great mental or physical shape. I thought, “What do I have to lose?” even though I was not all that sympathetic to cannabis.

Fortunately, I went and got my medical recommendation, went to a great dispensary with well-educated budtenders, and began a protocol of high CBD/low THC dosing. Within three months I was managing my pain and within six months I was preventing my migraines. To date, I have not had a migraine in over five years, not one. In addition, the CBD seemed to quell feelings of anxiety, and the fibromyalgia which had been present in different parts of my body went away. I was not expecting this, so it seemed like a miracle to me.

ENTER HELLOMD.

My extremely positive experience with cannabis is what led us to start HelloMD. I also believed there was an easier way for people like myself, the canna-curious, to enter into the market without it being so confusing. Starting a journey with cannabis can feel confusing and disaggregated, so we aimed to change that. As a full-service, digital healthcare platform, HelloMD provides a complete solution at every point in the lifecycle of a cannabis consumer. Since its inception, HelloMD has uniquely combined online doctors consultations, educational content and supportive advice to help patients make informed decisions about cannabis. Over the past five years, HelloMD has become the largest online community of health and wellness-oriented cannabis consumers and the leader in trustworthy cannabis information and product selection.

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HOW CAN CANNABIS HELP PEOPLE GET OFF OF PILLS & ALCOHOL?

If someone is interested in using cannabis to get off of opioids I would always suggest speaking to a healthcare professional. We offer generalized medical consultations at HelloMD and this is a really good place to start as most General Practitioners or specialists are not necessarily trained in this area. That is not to say you should not speak to your doctor, it’s just likely he or she may not have all the information you desire.

In terms, of alcohol, cannabis has helped many people transition off of a glass of wine at night. For many, cannabis is a great stress reliever and is able to take the edge off. My suggestion is to go low and slow and see if it works for you.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNIFER SKOG

WHAT DOES CANNABIS HELP WITH?

To date, we have seen over 100,000 patients in both the US and Canada. What we have seen is that many people consume cannabis to help relieve anxiety and stress. It [stress] really is a scourge on our society and people often find relief with marijuana, and that is not to say they are now “stoners”. People often comment to me that consuming a little bit of cannabis is just enough to take the edge off and put a smile back on their face.

The other top reasons we see many people consuming cannabis is for insomnia, chronic pain, migraines, and PTSD. There is a lot of new research, easily accessible on PubMed, which shows that cannabis can be helpful for these conditions and more. For some people, their solution may be cannabis high in THC and for others, it may be high in CBD or perhaps a 1:1 ratio of the two. What we generally see is that it takes experimentation to find what works best for you and there is no one-size-fits-all.

I’m excited to be in the industry during this time and use my voice to help to continue to normalize cannabis. It’s really important that we not allow the notion of “recreational” consumption of cannabis to overshadow the health and wellness attributes it has to offer. Overcoming the stigma of the stoner stereotype is really about education and storytelling. Cannabis is one of the most viral stories out there today. Everyone seems to have a positive story to tell, whether it’s about their mom who tried cannabis for chronic pain in lieu of opioids or the millennial who has been able to overcome crippling anxiety with marijuana. It’s these types of stories, that tell the different side of cannabis the world is about to get to know. This is not a California story or a United States story, it’s a global story.

Read the full interview with Pamela and so much more with MJ Lifestyle’s second issue in digital