Hi. My name is Cara Wilson.
I grew up in the 1980s, back when the Partnership for a Drug-Free America wanted us to believe that ingesting drugs had the same effect on a human brain that a hot pan has on a raw egg. Meanwhile, I was growing up in a very non-traditional household and learning an entirely different truth: Cannabis is medicine.

As a child, my stepfather was an alcoholic who enjoyed a cocaine-fueled party now and again. His addictions made my mother’s life black and blue and scarred mine forever.

A 1986 advertisement from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Don’t adjust your screen: It’s so old televisions were square.

Rehab didn’t work. Ultimatums didn’t work.

But you know what did help? Cannabis.

If I were to believe the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, though, smoking pot and snorting cocaine should have the same effect on my step-dad – right?

That’s not what I witnessed. Cannabis helped him beat his addictions to alcohol and cocaine when rehabilitation hospitals and all their so-called experts couldn’t. And when he was better we were better.

Not only did cannabis help him avoid the hard stuff, it helped my mother manage the anxiety and depression that remained when her bruises faded. Cannabis helped her live through her trauma, and it helped her when the memory of her abuse haunted her.

As do many children from abused homes, I suffered too. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) as “an important public health issue.” According to the CDC’s website, “Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity.

I can attest, it’s terrible. There is actually an ACES test , and, unfortunately, my score is very high. According to several studies available on the CDC’s ACE Study website, ACES symptoms can make a child seem “difficult” in that they have trouble regulating their behavior and emotions. But it’s later in life when the real health trouble becomes apparent.

According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences — ACE — study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for various health problems later. Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In addition to damaging a child’s mental health, traumatic childhoods can also lead to suicidal ideation, promiscuity, cardiopulmonary disease, cancer, diabetes and severe obesity among other things. And that’s only what’s happening on the inside. Adults dealing with ACES symptoms are also likely to be addicts, alcoholics and tobacco smokers and we’re more likely than most to skip work. In other words, we can grow up to become difficult adults.

Witnessing the trauma and drama in my childhood home led to a lifetime of depression and mental health issues. I know now that the symptoms I experience will negatively affect my health in some way forever. I also know that cannabis helps me cope and manage life more productively. In fact, every one of the ACES symptoms I experience today are better managed with cannabis than with pharmaceutical drugs.

Once I realized this, I decided to educate myself on the cannabis issue. I also decided to get involved and to speak up.

I’ve researched and studied cannabis and hemp for several years. I became a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and NC Women for Cannabis. I have marched in Raleigh. I have spoken with state senators. And now I am sharing what I have learned about cannabis with you, dear reader.

I am not ashamed to say that I love cannabis because I understand all the good it can do in the world. In addition to its use as a medicine, the hemp plant is incredibly versatile. Did you know it can serve as a sustainable food source and that as it grows it can remediate contaminated soil making it safer for food cultivation? Hemp can also be made into biodegradable plastics, offsetting traditional petroleum-based plastics that don’t biodegrade.

And the list goes on and on. Seriously, check out this list from HempBasics.com.

With this knowledge I understand that it is unreasonable for cannabis prohibition to continue. I also understand that there is a lot of bad information out there, and I want to help Carolina Cannabis News correct the record.

I invite you to join me on this journey. Let’s educate ourselves. We can start right here, right now.

Sincerely,
Cara Wilson

Cara Wilson

Cara Wilson

Contributor

Cara Wilson is a cannabis advocate and freelance writer based in Hickory, N.C.

Editor’s note: While we have several seasoned journalists contributing to Carolina Cannabis News, we also have several novice writers who are experts on cannabis in one way or another. Cara is one of those experts, and I’ve asked her to introduce herself to you.