Janice Newell Bissex, aka Cannabis Janice, is a holistic cannabis practitioner, the founder of Jannabis Wellness, and an author and registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in family nutrition. She made the transition to the green side, she says, due to her dad’s suffering “from severe pain as a result of multiple spinal fractures and other health issues.” Bissex says her father “hated taking the pain meds that were prescribed because of the side effects, so he decided to try medical marijuana.” And “when he went from wincing to saying, ‘Wow, I’m not in pain’ after his first dose,” Bissex “decided to change [her] career path and devote [her] life to educating others about the medical benefits of cannabis.” We asked about her bold career shift.
What problems can a holistic cannabis practitioner help solve?
My mission is to help people suffering from pain, anxiety, insomnia, autoimmune disorders, IBS and IBD, Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, seizure disorders, autism, MS, and other debilitating conditions find relief using cannabis. I completed my holistic cannabis practitioner training at the Holistic Cannabis Academy, and I continue to be fascinated by the science behind the medicinal use of cannabis. I find that my training as a nutritionist makes my background ideal for this new direction.
You had firsthand experience with the downside of opioids when a member of your family was prescribed them for a health condition. What did that experience teach you that you wish you had known from the beginning?
The constipation and grogginess that affected my dad when he took opioids negatively impacted his quality of life, and yet not one doctor suggested medical marijuana. I sure wish I had known about the efficacy of cannabis for treating pain so I could have helped him earlier in his health struggles.
Through your consulting work, have you observed health benefits from cannabis? Can you provide an example?
So many positive effects. I sourced phytocannabinoid-rich hemp products (whole plant cannabis without the psychoactive THC) that I provide for my clients, and they have reported decreased pain, anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, swelling of arthritic hands, and muscle aches. I know a 22-year-old man with Crohn’s who says medical cannabis saved his life and allowed him to go to college and sleep through the night for the first time in years.
You advise on how to properly medicate with cannabis. What are some of the more common errors you correct in people who have not done proper research?
It’s important to look at the cannabinoid ratios and choose a variety of cannabis that is right for your condition. The sativa and indica labels are not always the best way to determine what will work best. A common mistake is to take too much when the goal is to find the minimum effective dose. Edibles in particular can lead to unwanted side effects if over-consumed, which is easy to do because it can take up to two hours to see an effect.
You speak extensively on the endocannabinoid system, and will be doing so at the upcoming New England Cannabis Convention this weekend. This system is not recognized by much of the medical community, but does explain many of the observed medical benefits of cannabis. What do you feel is important for people to understand about it?
The first endocannabinoid (anandamide) wasn’t discovered until 1992, and the research is still evolving. It’s not surprising that many health care professionals do not know about the endocannabinoid system (a system that maintains homeostasis in our body and is important for good health). I certainly did not, until I began my cannabis training.
You host meetings each month for Ellementa, one of the larger cannabis networking groups for women. How did you come to be involved in this group and how does it help the local cannabis scene?
A colleague introduced me to the founder of Ellementa, Aliza Sherman, and I liked her mission to educate women about cannabis. Ellementa gatherings are non-consumption events that provide an opportunity for women (who are typically the caregivers of the family) to come together to learn about cannabis and wellness.
How could readers reach out to you with additional questions?
People can contact me through my website, JannabisWellness.com. I’m happy to connect.