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“This is Jane Project”: Cannabis and Women in Trauma

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Written by Lydia Kariuki

“This is Jane” is a ground-breaking project that is centered on helping women from all walks of life recover from trauma by sharing their stories while consuming cannabis. This sounds quite intriguing, but surprisingly, it’s sparking frenzy in California.  So far, 70 women with different forms of trauma have benefitted from this project, with over 3,000 participants joining into the conversation. Cannabis creates the right environment for the women to get to the deepest crevice of their hearts and address hurts that are linked to their trauma.

When the aftermath of trauma is not dealt with adequately, it causes complicated emotional, psychological, and physical effects that are referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Unfortunately, society forbids women from opening up about traumatic events by silently encouraging them to “shut up and move on.” As cruel as this may sound, there is resounding evidence that this happens to many women, every day. [1]

Who is Jane?

Jane is any woman who has gone through trauma. The different women who have shared their stories on the “This is Jane” platform are representative of women from all walks of life.

This is Jane Project was started by Shannon DeGrooms and Bri Smith. Dr. Michele Ross is an advisor as well as a participant in this project.

Women and Trauma in the 21st Century

Trauma is an emotional and psychological response to a deeply distressing and overwhelming event. It can be a physical, emotional, or psychological event that one interprets to be extremely distressing. Common causes of trauma in women include:

  • Rape
  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Severe illness
  • Financial stress
  • Loss of a significant relationship

Five out of 10 women have experienced some form of trauma in their lifetime. After experiencing trauma, women are four times more likely to develop chronic PTSD compared to men. [2]

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Restlessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Intrusive memories
  • Mood swings
  • Palpitations
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Numbness and isolation

Can Cannabis Help With Trauma?

Research has shown that cannabis can help with trauma. A 2012 review showed that cannabinoids mitigate symptoms of PTSD through influencing endocannabinoid signaling. [3] Another cross-sectional study that was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2020 supported that cannabis can reduce depression and suicidal rates in patients suffering from PTSD. [4]

This is Jane Project creates forums that spark conversations on trauma in women; cannabis fosters connection and promotes healing.

The vision is to reach 1 million women. We sincerely hope that they reach all these women who are silently suffering from the effects of trauma.

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References

  1. Ahrens, E. “Being Silenced: The Impact of Negative Social Reactions on the Disclosure of Rape.” American Journal of Community Psychology, vol.38, no.3-4, 2006, pp.263-74. (impact factor: 2.32; cited by 224)
  2. Hu J, et al. “Gender Differences in PTSD: Susceptibility and Resilience.” Gender Differences in Different Contexts, edited by Aida Alvinius, IntechOpen, 2016.
  3. Passie T., et al. “Mitigation of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Cannabis Resin: A Review of the Clinical and Neurobiological Evidence.” Drug Testing and Analysis, vol.4, no.7-8, 2012, pp. 649-59. (impact factor: 2.799; cited by 82).
  4. Lake S. “Does Cannabis Use Modify the Effect of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on Severe Depression and Suicidal Ideation? Evidence from a Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study of Canadians.” Journal of Psychopharmacology, vol. 34, no.2, 2020, pp.181-188. (impact factor: 4.738; cited by N/A).

About the author

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Lydia Kariuki

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