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Jordan WoldSEO Content Writer
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Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
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This is Jane Project (TIJP), is a non-profit organization helping women and non-binary people (also known as “Janes”) heal from traumatic experiences through a variety of healing-centered programming, including providing access points to cannabis.
Through their compassion program, Survivor’s Without Access, the leaders behind This is Jane Project use their resources to forge partnerships with important brands in the cannabis space, allowing TIJP members to receive donated medical cannabis when needed.
TIJP works with Leafwell to provide low-cost medical certifications for California patients and hosts several regular events to support self-identifying women and non-binary people on their healing journeys.
By understanding plant medicine can be a remarkable tool for healing from many different kinds of traumatic experiences, the people behind TIJP have created an inclusive space allowing survivors to take the reins to confront, manage, and heal from trauma.
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The Women Behind TIJP
We spoke with some of TIJP’s key leaders, Mskindness B. Ramirez, Executive Board President, and Jennifer Axcell, Board of Directors and Program Director, to learn more about their involvement with the organization.
Noting her experience of living with trauma, Mskindness tells us, “I entered this space because of my trauma caused by the healthcare system. I chose cannabis as a healing tool during and post-pregnancy as a breastfeeding mother…my interaction with the system and its failure to guide and protect me was a spark for me and my privilege to enter this space…start using my voice.”
Jennifer Axcell was similarly inspired to work with TIJP due to her past experiences. She tells us, “[Cannabis] really helped me to soften, with regards to emotional traumas.” But while the plant has helped her, Jennifer understands cannabis may not be the right healing tool for everyone. “Trauma manifests differently in everybody,” she notes.
Still, for the many people cannabis can potentially help, This is Jane Project is there to help ensure access to healing-centered programming and alternative therapies like cannabis products and discounted ketamine therapy.
“Survivors Without Access is our flagship program. We use SB-34 [in California] and the compassionate care programming in a couple of other states we do it in, like Colorado. We essentially partner with brands and dispensaries to facilitate access to bags of medication that brands and vendors are willing to donate under the Compassionate Care Act,” says Mskindness.
Janes outside of states with Compassionate Care programs can still benefit from much of what TIJP has to offer as well.
Jennifer says, “We do a bunch of virtual programming. Our Healing Happy Hour on the fourth Wednesday of every month is a time for our Janes to come together because there is no one type of trauma that we serve. We also have our Hearts, Healing Arts program. So utilizing creative arts to help heal trauma and doing that as a community as well. And then we’ve got individual chapters that do in-person events.”
Ultimately, TIJP is a place helping people process and work through their trauma. As Mskindness tells us, “Our mission is to uplift the lives of trauma survivors. We build community. We help women and non-binary people heal.”
So, what makes someone a Jane?
According to Mskindness, “Anyone willing to confront their trauma and may want to use cannabis or other supportive tools to heal themselves, any woman or non-binary person, qualifies as a Jane. If you’re a woman in America, you’re probably a Jane, right? I mean, who hasn’t confronted trauma? Who hasn’t faced trauma? And if you’re at a place where you’re looking for resources to help you heal that trauma, then we’re here for you.”
We spoke with some Janes about how cannabis and This is Jane Project has helped them progress on their recovery journeys.
Parker Jesse Chase: The Filmmaker
They tell us, “I am a filmmaker, poet, and human rights activist. When you’re a human rights activist, you always feel like you’re not doing enough. I was looking at organizations that not only could be a space where I could give back but find a space where I belong. And as someone who is a survivor, I’ve always struggled to find a home or a place of community.”
Though Parker came across the This is Jane Project looking to volunteer, they discovered they could benefit from TIJP’s services. “I realized that I was a Jane and needed to be a Jane for a little while,” they say.
Even though they may not have expected to be a Jane, Parker found some healing by being a part of TIJP and using cannabis on their journey.
“It took time for me to trust and build my relationship revolving around this plant. Using cannabis with intention has given me the space to not only explore my Bipolar Disorder and C-PTSD but enhance my creative expressionism when it comes to artistically speaking on how these events impact my day-to-day living.”
Of course, as an activist, Parker could only stay away from the volunteering side for so long. “When I got in the right mindset to become a volunteer and actually take time to show up, not only for myself but for this community, it really changed the game.”
Parker plans to eventually use their filmmaking skills on behalf of This is Jane, but right now, they seem satisfied helping fellow Janes however they can. “I help heal people with the use of cannabis. It’s so weird for me, but it’s something that I do. And people are doing it, whether you’re aware of it or not. So if I can help guide someone on their journey, I’m all for it.”
They continue, “I thankfully have been presented with an opportunity and a platform with not only This is Jane Project, but right now with Leafwell being able to share my story and express myself…use my voice…it took me a long time to be able to speak out loud, a long time to face my truth. It’s nice to be able to share my story…be heard and seen for who I am and know that it’s okay to be me.”
Megan Thompson: The Life Coach
Even before connecting with This is Jane Project, spiritual life coach Megan Thompson has been helping people process their trauma. “I really work with people to help transmute their pain into their purpose,” Megan tells us.
Megan already understood many of the benefits cannabis can provide, including being an alternative to some medications.
“I personally don’t love Xanax and all of that. I’ve tried those things, and they didn’t work for me. So I turned to cannabis, and that’s something that’s just perfect. It helps me every day. It helps ground me. It helps keep me just sane and functioning throughout the day.”
When Megan met TIJP’s founder, Shannon DeGrooms, there was a lot she could find in common with TIJP. “I was instantly connected with Shannon and This Is Jane Project and what they do. I personally am a smoker and utilize this amazing plant for my depression and anxiety.”
Even though Megan was already using cannabis to heal her trauma and had already been helping others process their pain through her work, she still found much to benefit from when joining This is Jane Project.
She says, “We’re our own healers, but we all heal and grow best in community. So find your communities. The main thing for me is the community. The community of other like-minded individuals or individuals that just have that understanding because not everybody does understand trauma.”
Healing Your Trauma With Cannabis
While more research is needed to explain how cannabis can help people heal from trauma, the early results are highly promising.
Still, whether or not you’re convinced cannabis is the right tool to help you confront and heal your trauma, This is Jane Project may still have something to offer you through one of its programs, which includes:
- Healing Happy Hour: a monthly virtual seminar, featuring a variety of speakers and topics, to create a safe space for Janes around the country to share their trauma experiences and listen to the stories of other Janes
- Healing Arts (HEARTS): a survivor-focused art workshop that meets once per quarter on Zoom and utilizes many different modes of creativity for the healing process
- Survivors Without Access: the TIJP’s compassionate care program, which helps facilitate donations from cannabis retailers to low-income Janes who need cannabis in California and Colorado.
And, through TIJP’s MMJane program, California-based Janes have access to low-cost medical certifications through Leafwell. Even if you don’t qualify for the reduced price through This is Jane Project, you may benefit from looking into obtaining a med card.
You don’t necessarily need cannabis to process trauma, but in many cases, it can help. Even if you live in a state without recreational cannabis, you might qualify for medical certification, as PTSD is often considered a qualifying condition.
Living with trauma can be hard to navigate, but you don’t have to do it alone. This is Jane Project provides women and non-binary people with the tools they need to heal. You can connect with This is Jane Project on the organization’s websiteor by following TIJP on Instagramand Facebook.
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