Cannabis For Women with PTSD and Trauma | Interview with This is Jane Project
This is Jane Project documents Women healing from Trauma in beautiful black and white photographs. Often women are smoking cannabis in the photographs – to destigmatize cannabis use to heal from PTSD, Trauma, and other pain. The women at This is Jane Project are helping women heal through community and cannabis.
Listen Now or Read the Transcript Below:
What is your name and what is your story?
My name is Shannon DeGrooms and my story is probably as complex as everyone’s is in cannabis.
I should start by telling you about the This is Jane Project story – and then maybe a little bit about my story.
We are 501(c)(3) status pending. We organize and document inclusive communities of women and trans women to talk about trauma healing and medicating with cannabis. We believe that the stigma surrounding that is truly what keeps us at the margins.
We can digest the veteran’s trauma. We can talk about when they returned from war. But we still have a hard time talking about the woman who was raped. She’s still too much ‘fill in the blank’. Women are just too sensitive.
My trauma was that within a three year period I was hit by a car as a pedestrian and then I had a botched surgery that went terribly wrong.
The very day that I left my house again, I was carjacked at gunpoint.
This shit happens every day. Right? And so people go through these really heavy life experiences and, and they do it alone. We do it in isolation. I think that it’s because of stigma, whether it’s using cannabis or whether it’s the trauma that you’ve experienced or are experiencing.
70% of PTSD patients, survivors are, are not non-military. That 70% are women that had been raped or people that have been in accidents, children of narcissists, children of alcoholics. Try growing up in the projects in Queens as a person of color.
What Does This is Jane Project do to help people?
We provide community and we provide connection with other trauma survivors. I have to be very careful in answering that question because we’re a media project. We’re here to de-stigmatize these conversations. One of the byproducts of that is that people form community relationships. This project also advocates for women having more safe and affordable access to cannabis.
Even SB 34 (allows cannabis donations) which passed recently in California was for HIV and AIDS, cancer survivors and veterans returning from war. Sexual trauma survivors or women, in particular, are left out of the conversation.
Right now we’re media, so we take black and white photos, portraits of women. We talk about the trauma they’ve experienced generally while consuming cannabis. We capture those raw moments so that we can show the public that every Jane is just a woman living her life. Whatever that comes with.
Where are these photos distributed? How can people find Them?
We’ve been doing a significant amount of outreach and engagement with people. We’ve had six events since March of 2018, four of which were in Los Angeles, one in Philadelphia. We’re super grateful for that coverage. We have one in Brooklyn the following week.
We’re really trying to get diverse stories – things can get comfy in California. It’s interesting because we have a no feedback policy. So when you come to our events, you know that no one’s going to tell you what to do about your trauma or how to go about healing in any way.
For you personally, how or what do you use to help with your PTSD symptoms?
So I smoke weed all day. If we’re going to destigmatize cannabis, let’s just be honest. Right? So my experience is that I prefer smoking, which is not the healthiest. I also have chronic lung issues. But again, that’s the way that I prefer to medicate.
My first entrance into cannabis was a blog called Cannabis for Breakfast, which to me was just cheeky, but also because generally I’ll have cannabis before breakfast. Cannabis should be destigmatized like something we consume like food for nourishment. It’s medicinal.
Also, breathing, being present. One of the biggest things with trauma, PTSD, CPTSD is anxiety. If you have anxiety, it’s really difficult to learn how to manage your anxiety. The best tool is mindfulness, being still and being present. But when you’re afraid all the time or you’re hypervigilant or just living life as a woman, which is fucking hard sometimes, most times you need help.
Breathing that really helps me. And cannabis allowed me to do that. I couldn’t sit still before cannabis. I was high functioning. I mean, I’m still high functioning, but I wasn’t able to be honest with myself. We busy ourselves so much that we get distracted from our own truth and not being able to meditate was the biggest distraction for me.
I always tell people, on a cellular level, I was able to calm down. I could always be superficial, calm and functioning, but there was still that rattle of my heart and my cells and cannabis took that away for the most part.
What is it that you’re trying to either accomplish or see Here at MJBizCon and The Women in Cannabis Conference?
I’m doing the first thing, which is facing my fears and talking about the project. We need money. We’re nine months old and we’re 100% self-funded. So we’re looking for investors to be founding sponsors in the project. We’re 501(c)(3) status pending, which will help us with equipment and to help us to pay people a living wage who are working for us. We just need money like everyone else.
If somebody wants to support this specific cause, which I think is really important, how can they find you?
So thisisjaneproject.com is our website.
You can donate at PayPal.com/thisisJaneproject. You can find us on Instagram at this shame project or just Googling us and a bunch of stuff should come up.
Is There Anything We missed?
I have a co-founder, her name is Bree and she’s eight months pregnant right now. She wasn’t able to travel here. She’s everything that I’m not and vice versa. We’re honest with each other. We take feedback from each other. That’s when you really know that you have something special. So I just want to give her some shout outs.
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