Emily McSherry, Cannabis Forward
“You know what’s hilarious? When I get called a ‘pot-head’ or a ‘burn-out’ because I founded Cannabis Forward…Lord, it cracks me up!” Emily McSherry
Exclusive Photography: FishEye Studios, Greenville, SC
Cannabis Forward is a grassroots (no pun intended) non-profit organization founded by Greenville resident Emily McSherry to educate people about the medical benefits of cannabis and to empower them to discuss the medicinal use of cannabis with their health care providers and their legislators.
She began to research alternative treatments in 2013 and found that cannabis was effective in controlling her seizures. That discovery led to the realization that it could also control her pain. But no doctor she encountered would discuss the use of medical cannabis with her. It was a taboo subject.
McSherry stresses that, as a 501(c )(3) organization, Cannabis Forward is an education resource, not a political one. She gladly leaves the politics to others, but she does acknowledge that there are several legalization bills being discussed in South Carolina right now and that the group does encourage conversation about legalization.
Feeling frustrated and isolated, she recognized the need for a local organization, something homegrown that had its roots in Greenville, where the public could be educated and where patients could exchange information face to face. Enter Cannabis Forward.
Cannabis Forward also hosts events – like the South Carolina Cannabis Conference that took place with the support of a sold-out crowd October 29, 2017 at Larkin’s Sawmill.
A licensed massage therapist, a musician and a mom, McSherry suffers from epilepsy and trigeminal neuralgia, a neurologic disorder that causes intractable pain. With limited anti-seizure medications available to her due to severe allergies, there was little in the world of traditional medicine that could help her without causing debilitating side effects.
The right cannabis (CBD) treatment depends on the person and condition being treated. For McSherry, the drug is administered in oil form in a micro-dose, which mitigates the effects of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. At Cannabis Forward’s support groups, patients can learn from each other what dosages work and what delivery methods work. It’s a place where they can know that there are “other people who are participating in illegal trial and error for self-medication because our government won’t give us legal access.”
The biggest hurdle Cannabis Forward faces? “Overcoming the general public’s belief that we’re just a bunch of potheads trying to educate other potheads when it’s so much more than that…I’m not afraid of my cannabis use. I’m not afraid of telling people what I do and the success that I see. I’m not afraid to talk about it.”
For more information on Cannabis Forward please visit their website.
Writer: Ellen Schwartz