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AJ Taylor Talks Therapeutic CBD Use & Cannabis Reschedule

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AJ Taylor is a cannamom–but maybe not in the way you’d expect. 

No, she’s not hitting the bong after putting the kids to bed. She’s not sneaking a hit of her dab pen before heading into the grocery store. In fact, Taylor doesn’t use cannabis for the psychoactive high much at all. 

Rather, she prefers to use the plant, and CBD in particular, for its therapeutic benefits. However, Taylor’s experience does not begin and end with her. Rather, she encourages everyone in her life—from her sons to her mother to her Australian Shepherd Copper—to reap the unique benefits of the cannabis plant. 

This enthusiasm is not based only on her own experiences; Taylor has witnessed the life-changing impacts of CBD use time and time again over her years in the cannabis industry. 

AJ TaylorAJ Taylor
AJ Taylor, Patient Care Representative Manager at Veriheal

Working in Cannabis 

Andrea “AJ” Taylor is the Patient Care Representative team manager at Veriheal. In this position, she oversees the team that directly communicates with patients–ensuring that patients’ questions are answered, fears are quelled, and experiences getting their medical marijuana cards are as easy and seamless as possible.

However, her experience with cannabis extends far before her tenure at Veriheal. Previously, she was an Account Manager for a prominent CBD company and witnessed firsthand how CBD could benefit people from all demographics. 

When Taylor entered this position, she was managing accounts in the southeastern region of the United States. The region was intimidating to Taylor initially. After all, much of this region did not yet have legal recreational cannabis programs, and the stigma against cannabis was deeply threaded within the states’ cultures. 

However, the longer Taylor worked in this region, the more she began to appreciate the non-psychoactive, therapeutic aspects of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids — and the more she saw others begin to appreciate them as well. 

At the time, CBD had recently been legalized by the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, passed in 2018, legalized industrial hemp that has a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana) concentration of no more than 0.3% by removing it from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. 

So, while the region she was working in wasn’t exactly pro-weed, Taylor found a widespread acceptance for hemp-derived products such as gummies, tinctures, and topicals. And, as a result, she saw CBD change the lives of those she worked with. 

“This is all anecdotal, but I’ve heard dozens and dozens of stories from children through pets and people north of 40, quite honestly, benefiting greatly–anxiety, aches and pains, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a lot of Veterans, and the sleep part of it,” Taylor shared. “It enhances their lives so deeply. They didn’t know they could feel this way without the side effects.” 

Taylor’s numerous experiences may be anecdotal, but she noticed a consistent throughline while working with her clients. Specifically, for many, cannabis has enhanced their lives without the unwanted side effects they previously endured with more traditional–and, therefore, more widely accepted–methods. 

“It sounds a little outlandish, it sounds a little crazy, but the stories are so consistent and so overwhelmingly positive that it’s just part of the narrative that I’ve noticed,” Taylor shared. 

Embracing CBD in the Family

Not only has Taylor witnessed the positive impact of CBD through many patient stories, but she has also developed an intimate understanding of how the cannabis plant may achieve these effects. As such, Taylor is open-minded to how cannabis can help those close to her. Most recently, she encouraged her son to use cannabis following a major surgery. 

“I might be the only mom who encourages her kids to use cannabis,” Taylor jokingly shared. “I was super concerned about him taking anything with opioids for a number of reasons, so I encouraged him. He said it helped him tremendously with aches and pains.” 

While spending time with her son in California following this surgery, Taylor observed a broader acceptance of cannabis compared to her past experiences.  While she admits that this acceptance may be generational, Taylor is enthusiastic about potential widespread changes on the horizon, given the upcoming rescheduling of cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III. 

“How amazing that this is part of our mainstream conversation,” said Taylor. “It’s generational on some level, but I honestly think that the older generations are the ones that could benefit the most.”

Thus, Taylor’s firsthand experiences with marijuana’s positive impact on patients, coupled with her understanding of cannabis’s therapeutic potential, have led her to advocate for its use. As such, Taylor remains hopeful about the future rescheduling of cannabis, seeing it as a pivotal step towards wider adoption and recognition of its benefits, especially among older generations.

The Next Steps for the Cannabis Industry

While the Farm Bill removed hemp—and thus CBD–from the Controlled Substances Act in 2018, marijuana (which contains more than 0.3% THC) is still currently listed as a Schedule I substance. Though medical cannabis is legal in over 38 states and is used by millions of patients across the country, marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I substance means that it is thought to have a high potential for abuse with no currently accepted medical use in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. 

In a historic move, the Drug Enforcement Administration recently agreed to reschedule marijuana to a Schedule III substance under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under Schedule III classification, cannabis would still be a controlled substance, though the rescheduling would ease restrictions for advertising, banking, and research.

As far as Taylor is concerned, this rescheduling would also facilitate changes that might not be as clear on paper. Instead, Taylor is enthusiastic to see how the acknowledgment of cannabis as a substance with potential medical benefits will impact the ongoing stigma against the plant–and its users. 

“It opens up the doors to be more mainstream and more accepted. I think that’s the biggest challenge out there. There are predisposed ideas about cannabis, and there’s so much need for education,” Taylor shared. “There always has been a need for education. This will open the door.”

The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance has long hindered its acceptance and accessibility. Still, the recent agreement to reschedule it to Schedule III marks a significant step forward. Taylor believes this move will not only ease restrictions but also pave the way for greater mainstream acceptance and understanding of cannabis, challenging existing stigmas and fostering much-needed education about its potential medical benefits.

“Reclassifying it says: these medical professionals agree this is not meant to be a dangerous class. The more education we can get on the therapeutic effects of all the cannabinoids–there are so many molecules that have specific benefits for sleep, alertness, or seizures,” said Taylor. 

“If we can capitalize on that, and promote it to be this green solution where there’s very few–if any–side effects, then I think that opens the door tremendously.”

As Taylor emphasizes, expanding education on the diverse therapeutic effects of cannabinoids could revolutionize medical care, offering tailored solutions for conditions. Reclassifying it not only signals a departure from its historical stigma but also signifies a collective acknowledgment by medical professionals of its therapeutic potential. 

Taylor’s experiences, spanning her role at Veriheal to her personal encounters in the CBD industry, underscore the evolving landscape of cannabis acceptance and its promising future. As she puts it, reclassifying cannabis opens doors to mainstream acceptance and paves the way for a greener, safer approach to healthcare. 

With her passionate advocacy and firsthand insights, Taylor embodies the spirit of progress and education essential for realizing the full potential of cannabis as a therapeutic resource.

 



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