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SheSpark is thrilled that high tech icon Stormy Simon answered questions that many of us hear in conversations about legalizing marijuana and how it affects women and their families. She advocates education on both the science and legal sides of the industry, and her insights are greatly appreciated.
The information in this article is true and complete to the best of our knowledge and is intended for educational purposes only. Neither SheSpark, LLC or the author are medical practitioners. The author and publisher disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information. Always consult a physician before making any changes to your health care program.
Stormy Simon: The Corporate Success Story
Stormy Simon has lived a dream corporate career to which most can only aspire. Like many who caught the early wave of Internet startups, Stormy worked in communications in the early 1990s. At first a local morning show producer and on-air personality, she moved to event planning for a destination/tour company. That led to a public relations temp job at Overstock.com in 2001 where Stormy worked her way up to president by 2014. Under her leadership, Overstock.com was named one of Forbes’ Top 100 Most Trusted Companies and the Women Tech Council named her the Top Innovator in 2015. It’s no surprise. Under her leadership, Overstock.com’s 2014 earnings of $1,497M, a 15% increase from the previous year.
She achieved these milestones while working in a male-dominated industry where many find themselves the only females at the table. When you’ve climbed a summit, it may be hard to see a second act in your future. Stormy’s second act was the result of unexpected life events.
From Crisis to Cannabis
After experiencing a sort of midlife crisis and the passing of her mother in 2011 (which in itself is a crisis), Stormy knew it was time for a change. She left Overstock.com in 2016 and took a chance by turning her full attention to the emerging legalized cannabis industry.
Not only did she change her career, but Stormy also changed her residence. She moved from Utah to Colorado and began intense research and consulting for a company that owned medical marijuana dispensaries. The industry’s entrepreneurialism and evolving legalities excited Stormy. Since then, she joined the board of Cannakids and the board of High Times, which updates the cannabis community on laws. Stormy continues to learn first hand about the plant’s health benefits and how its use is growing.
Q&A With Stormy Simon
Here are questions that SheSpark posed to Stormy about why she embraces the cannabis industry and how it affects women and their families.
SS: Even while working at Overstock, you had an interest in medical marijuana. Was it something you used personally or did something else compel you?
The cannabis plant has always agreed with my system. As the research and information regarding its healing properties became available, my appreciation for it began to make sense which was a motivator that compelled me to join the movement.
SS: A lot of people told you that switching to the cannabis industry was career suicide. Yet, when talking with my friends about our interview they thought it was a big coup for the industry to have a well-known public advocate who can help “legitimatize” it. Is that how you’ve been perceived in cannabis business circles?
Stormy: I had two people use that phrase, but I think even their perception in the past couple of years has changed. The cannabis circle has been the most welcoming group I’ve ever encountered and we all need each other to expose the legitimacy of this industry. I can bring the conversation, and the background but there wouldn’t be anything to talk about if this community hadn’t paved the way.
SS: You initially spent a lot of time at a grow operation— touching the plant, learning about the dirt-to-dispensary process. What was the most impactful revelation you had from that experience?
Stormy: I loved working in the Grow! I don’t have a green thumb, so getting involved with an agricultural process was new to me, and I was inspired by the knowledge and skills of these young pioneer growers. Their expansive knowledge of the healing properties of individual strains, was impressive. For me, continually gaining understanding how this plant is a medicine is exciting.
SS: People voice concerns that cannabis cannot be as closely regulated as other prescription drugs due to varying THC levels from plant to plant. Is consistent dosage truly a problem that needs to be addressed?
Stormy: I don’t think it’s a problem. Yes the THC levels of the same strain can vary, however it is still the same strain. When you take the flower and create a 10 mg edible or a 25 mg edible, that’s a controlled dosage. You can think of it similar to a 200 mg Tylenol vs a 500 mg Tylenol.
SS: Speaking specifically to women over 40, are there known benefits to relieving menopausal or perimenopausal symptoms?
Stormy: While the science has yet to be completed to support the anecdotal experiences, this a fascinating subject. The job our own endocannabinod system is to maintain homeostasis in our body.
It regulates everything from our moods, to fertility, pregnancy, and pain sensitivity. In fact, it was research on the cannabinoids in the marijuana plant that led to the discovery and naming of our endocannabinoid system. I believe that the science will prove Cannabis to be an better alternative to the current treatment options available.
SS: Lately, more reports are popping up about cannabis and breast/ovarian cancer treatments related to endocannabinoids. In your studies, what have you found to be true about the plant’s effectiveness in this area?
Stormy: I have been fortunate enough to not have had to battle either of these diseases. However, I have met women who are and who would like to have the legal option for Medical Marijuana. On April 23, 2018 Science Daily released an article regarding Hemp and Ovarian Cancer. The studies are showing great hope. I felt that including the verbiage here is stronger than any answer I can provide. In one study, the researchers found that adding various doses of KY-hemp extract to cultured ovarian cells led to significant dose-dependent slowing of cell migration. This finding indicated that the extract might be useful for stopping or slowing down metastasis — the spreading of cancer to other parts of the body.
In a second study, the researchers explored the biology of KY-hemp’s protective effects against ovarian cancer, which they had observed in previous studies. Experiments with cultured ovarian cancer cells showed that KY-hemp slowed the secretion of the interleukin IL-1 beta. Interleukins produce inflammation that can be damaging and has been linked to cancer progression. The hemp-induced slowing of IL-1 β secretion represents a possible biological mechanism responsible for KY-hemp’s anti-cancer effects.
Regarding breast cancer, scientists at California Pacific Medical Center have been researching marijuana for over 20 years and confirm that cannabidiol, or CBD, has the ability to switch off the DNA that causes breast and other types of cancers to metastasize. That’s powerful.
SS: I think people are under the assumption that all medical forms of the plant get you high— thus the big push back with treating children. Is that the case?
Stormy: The plant has both THC, the psychoactive component and CBD, that has no psychoactive effects. Both properties can be important and depending on the illness, both can be administered to sick children. I find it interesting in our society, how we don’t question giving our kids Addreall and Ritalin—synthetic, highly-addictive medicine just because a doctor approves it. Yet, are fearful of exploring something plant based. I don’t question someone getting ‘high’ if they are healing—ask yourself which is more important.
SS: Many of our readers are mothers who are concerned that legalization leads to easier underage access than alcohol. Is that really the case? How is under-age access addressed?
Stormy: Fortunately, with both Colorado, and Washington, having legalized recreational use, we now have data emerging. Ironically enough, they have shown teen usage of marijuana has dropped. We can speculate as to why this is happening. Is it due to education on the plant as a medicine, or a reduction in the black market? Colorado has also reported months where marijuana use among teens was lower than that of alcohol.
SS: What if you are sick and live in a state where medical marijuana is illegal? Are there options for those who want to try medical marijuana as a treatment?
Stormy: Tragically, currently the only option is the black market or to look outside your state. If you choose marijuana as your medical treatment and want to be 100% safe, you may need to move.
About The Author
Thea Wood is the co-publisher of SheSpark.com and a certified image consultant from Austin, TX. She is a TEDx speaker and wrote the upcoming e-book The Intentional Makeover and co-authored the book Socially Smart & Savvy. Thea shares styling advice at TheaWood.com, helping women create a signature style that says who they are and where they’re going.