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Three New Yorkers Share Their Medical Cannabis Stories

MMJ card inside a clear card holder

As one of the most influential culture hubs on the planet, New York City has long served as a global trendsetter for food, fashion, education, entertainment, and innovation. And businesses like Medly, a premier cannabis brand and delivery service originating in NYC, are determined to ensure cannabis keeps up with the Big Apple tradition.

Medly is on a mission to shape the New York cannabis industry and grow it through the lens of women, people of color, and the queer community. The goal? To ensure everyone has safe access to the healing power of plant medicine, and to move beyond the days of not knowing exactly what or where you’re buying from.

To realize this mission, Medly is offering an exclusive discount on their services to medical cannabis users. Using referral code LEAFWELL, medical card holders will receive a 10% discount on Medly offerings. For more information on how to get set up, connect with Medly on Instagram, or send a message to 929-234-9652 on the Signal app and mention Leafwell to be onboarded.

Also passionate about expanding safe and legal access to plant medicine, Leafwell teamed up with Medly to find New Yorkers whose lives have been positively impacted by the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis.

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Sophie Collé: The Designer

One of Sophie Collé’s favorite parts of being a designer is building creations by hand. As a queer artist, Collé says she’s made it her mission to support other queer and underprivileged artists in the art and design world.

She specializes in making colorful, playful furniture – from wiggly heart mirrors to peach slice shelves – and is known for her fun-focused home renovations.

But as much as Collé enjoys building, it puts a lot of strain on her body. Collé lives with chronic pain stemming from herniated discs in her neck, plus gastritis and anxiety-induced irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

“Before I knew how to take care of myself properly, I would frequently push myself until I got really sick,” she says.

Collé explored a variety of treatment options in search of relief. Despite taking prescription painkillers, undergoing cervical injections, and experimenting with different diets, nothing regulated her pain. Some treatments even exacerbated symptoms.

“When I got cervical injections in my neck that were supposed to cure me, I had more pain than ever before,” she says.

Then Collé found a treatment that worked: cannabis. In particular, sativa flower alleviated her neck pain while keeping her alert and relaxed enough to work throughout the day. It even helped stimulate her appetite at times when she felt especially anxious.

Collé says many people can benefit from medical cannabis, but the biggest challenges that remain are increasing access and reducing the stigma around it. Still, she says it’s worthwhile.

“Learning to mitigate pain and taking your health into your own hands is really empowering,” Collé says. “I believe everyone deserves that kind of power.”

Sylvie: The Caretaker

Sylvie is a caretaker, both by nature and occupation. Being transgender, they describe experiencing firsthand how it felt to be marginalized at academic institutions and not have dependable resources for support.

“I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety toward the end of high school and struggled with panic attacks and body image issues,” they say. “In college, my depression and anxiety were exacerbated in new ways by the pressure of the academic environment I was in.”

Sylvie says they developed disordered eating accompanied by severe gastrointestinal issues. They reflect on a college experience that was also riddled with mental and physical anguish.

So, Sylvie turned to cannabis. Without a psychiatrist and lackluster mental health and disability services available on campus, medical marijuana became their sole means of relief.

“It enabled me to eat, prompted my brain to remember beauty and whimsy during dark periods of my life, and soothed my loneliness and panic when I felt impossibly isolated and overwhelmed,” they say.

Sylvie says cannabis helped alleviate chronic muscle tension and gastrointestinal symptoms. Plus, it enabled them to practice more self-compassion.  After obtaining a New York medical card, Sylvie developed a healthier relationship with cannabis. Sylvie says it also helped that they eventually found resources and emotional support systems they could rely on.

With newfound, safe access to medical cannabis, Sylvie says they plan to taper off other medications they’ve been taking for years. In the process, they hope to continue developing an intentional, healing relationship with plant medicine.

“Comprehensive education on this plant, its benefits, and safe use should be made accessible to all, especially those whose lives have been upended by the war on drugs,” they say.

Kiana Green: The Photographer

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Kiana Green is drawn to all things warm, natural, and nostalgic. Working as a freelance photographer, Green aims to incorporate those themes into her work whenever she has a camera handy, which is most of the time.

Green says her chronic health issues started cropping up when she was 17. Her symptoms started as a slow crawl, and she was surprised when one day they suddenly worsened and continued to persist.

“After nine years, it’s still incredibly hard to manage,” Green says.

Cannabis had always been around in Green’s life, but she had never tried it. Her first experience was in a social context, and she says it opened her eyes to the medicinal potential the plant represented for her symptoms.

“From then on, my perspective changed,” she says. “I looked at cannabis as a form of medicine above all else.”

Green acknowledges that cannabis can’t cure her ailments, but it provides relief in ways other treatments haven’t been able to. A significant draw of medical marijuana, she says, is how many conditions cannabis can treat without the need for additives or harsh chemicals found in other prescription or over-the-counter medications.

“Cannabis has taken a tremendous weight off for me regarding my health journey,” she says. “When everything else failed, cannabis pulled through in ways I couldn’t believe.”

Her next endeavor? To experiment with making cannabis-infused food inspired by the TV series Bong Appétit.

“I just hope cannabis continues to do exactly what it’s been doing for me as long as I use it,” Green says. “I’m forever thankful for such an amazing piece of the Earth.”

Getting Certified for Medical Cannabis in New York

To apply for a New York medical cannabis card, you must be 18 or older and a legal state resident. Minor patients may still qualify for medical cannabis but must have a designated caregiver complete their application.

The medical card application process is fast and easy with Leafwell and can be completed in four steps:

  1. Register online with Leafwell and speak to a New York-licensed healthcare provider. The cost of the online consultation is $149, and you’re only billed if approved.
  2. Get approved and complete the state application online. There is no state application fee.
  3. You will be issued a temporary NY Registry MMJ identification card, which can be used to purchase medical cannabis for up to 30 days until you receive your physical card.
  4. You will receive your physical NY MMJ ID card in the mail within 7-10 days.

To learn more about applying for a medical cannabis card in New York, including state laws and FAQs, check out Leafwell’s in-depth guide.

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