Valentia has a story to tell that is uncomfortable to those who have not suffered from MS. And it may be difficult to understand if you don’t know anyone afflicted by MS, but let me be as crisp as possible, her story is not sugar-coated for my column. It is a tough part of life *MS* and plant medicine has helped Valentia overcome her afflictions with the assistance of medical cannabis.
Her relief comes as no surprise to me as I too am in a medical cannabis program, here in New Jersey. It offers me deep healing. Being a poster child for medical cannabis, Valentia’s story resonates with me. I know it will for you too. Thank you.
Warren Bobrow=WB: Where are you from? What was your path to cannabis? Why cannabis?
Valentia Valentine=VV: I am a California native, residing in Pebble Beach. I began my career in the commercial real estate industry, where I served businesses through the Central Valley for over 25 years. I have spent a lifetime giving back to the many charities and have become synonymous with the philanthropy on the Monterey Peninsula.
I did not attend business school or college 47 years ago, nor were there many women in the commercial real estate industry. With 1 woman to every 60 men, it took sheer determination and I, consequently, was blessed with a successful career. I have mentored many women over my lifetime and have watched them bloom. In 1989, after suffering from symptoms that my doctor first thought to be a brain tumor, I received the diagnoses that would forever change my life: Multiple Sclerosis, an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. This was a devastating diagnosis for an older mother and career professional. But I refused to be a victim of the disease and instead began to learn as much as I could about MS and treatment protocols.
From traditional Western medicine to Chinese Herbal medicines, Eastern philosophies as well as mind and body practices. I became a self-taught expert and holistic health advocate. My efforts focused on ways to minimize MS symptoms, slow the progression of the disease and reduce the possibility of serious relapses.
By 2010, I became bedridden as my disease had progressed. I had 4 broken ribs and a torn rotator cuff, I lost 8 pounds in a week and Stanford Hospital suggested I go to Santa Cruz to obtain my medical cannabis recommendation card. I was shocked and truthfully horrified due to the stigma of using a drug that typically was associated with “stoners” in the 70’s. I was concerned about my ability to function as a mom to my children and did not want to jeopardize their or my own overall all well-being, due to stigma.
However, after months of research, I began to read case studies of other MS patients and their success in mitigating some of the more serious side effects of the debilitating disease. Many of these studies were conducted in Israel and Spain, due to the stance on marijuana. I tried cannabis as a last resort (It took a while to loosen up to the idea.) Slowly but surely and nothing short of a miracle, I started to feel like my old self again. I had finally felt hope.
While my experience was remarkable, I still struggled with the stigma and shame of a drug that was associated with the “Just say NO” campaign. I couldn’t deny the amount of relief I was experiencing: less pain, more manageable inflammation, improved sleep, and most of all improved mobility. Although I have never smoked a joint, I have found great relief using alternative methods of delivery: tinctures, topicals, capsules and edibles.
I was once confined to a wheelchair because of the crippling effects of MS. My energy and zest for life started to emerge and I was engaging in life more fully. I was walking again with a walker and now only with a cane. I became compelled to educate and heighten awareness for the local patient communities and felt a passion and determination to open a cannabis-focused education wellness center to help educate the patient community’s need for the pain, anxiety and sleeplessness coupled with various diseases like Cancer, MS and Parkinson’s ect.
WB: Please tell me about your company? What are your six and twelve month goals?
VV: Synchronicity Holistic offers the best in medical grade and adult-use products in a luxury setting. We are proud to offer cannabis-based medicines and health solutions, while prioritizing the safety of our members, our employees, and our community.
We believe that it is our responsibility to fully educate our community about the science of cannabis. Through our outreach program we strive to provide the most advanced information for medical cannabis therapies designed to relieve various ailments associated with serious medical conditions. My vision consists of hiring a pharmacist, nurses and patient educators to help take the mystery out of which products can provide you the most effective remedy for your personal needs.
My inspiration was my brother being imprisoned during high school and his adult life. I have been inspired to tell my story partly because of him who had been subjected to severe police brutality during high school and adult years for possession of “weed.” I can now look back and see that my little brother was self-medicating for his anxiety and depression. My brother was often beaten with brass knuckles and would come home black and blue. In 2010 I started my activism as a way of paying it forward to help my patient community.
In the upcoming months and during our first year in business, we have and will continue to focus our education programs. I would like to see an expansion of my vision in a few other senior communities.
WB: Do you cook?
VV: No, with my children and MS, I was not able to poly-task and due to the limited dexterity had to hire a chef.
WB:What obstacles stand in your way?
VV: After nearly a decade, my determination to educate the community dealing with chronic pain and disease started my cannabis activism. I worked tirelessly to open the first medicinal cannabis dispensary in the city of Monterey. After being defeated in 2010 and 2014 by the Monterey City Council, I applied in Sept of 2014 for the first Mutual Benefit Non-Profit Corp from the State of California to sell cannabis by in-home consultation and delivery, pioneering medical cannabis within Monterey County.
WB:What is your passion?
VV: My passions are cannabis activism, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Helping people live their lives without pain through cannabis and cannabis education is very important to me. What I have accomplished is the result of significant results of cannabis usage coupled with my intrinsic nature to help others through altruism.