Like others in her position, DJ Chelsea Leyland seemed initially wary when entering the cannabis space. A DJ, model, and fashion designer, Leyland is well-regarded within multiple fields and earned status as an “It Girl.” But Leyland wanted more. To stop only discussing skincare regimens and instead wanted to influence change, which led to her opening up about her experiences with epilepsy.
Now she isn’t looking for any sentimental wishes, but instead to help educate. Leyland took pills and other Western medicine to alleviate her epileptic symptoms, but those left her with sides effects like pain, anxiety, heart palpitations, and memory loss. This eventually led Leyland down a path of CBD oil, low in THC and an effective answer to epilepsy as clinical studies have shown.
“We grow up thinking that our doctor knows best and sadly that isn’t the case. I tried to [have a conversation with] my neurologist about [CBD oil]… and he basically laughed in my face. [As if] I was just trying to get stoned,” she told Milk last year. “And it does not get you stoned at all. I’m now taking it daily; I’ve nearly weaned myself off my medication.”
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Leyland’s sister suffers from a more severe form of epilepsy and mild autism, which is part of the reason she felt compelled to find a solution that works for her and to speak out. Part of her advocacy is to help convince her sister’s doctors to introduce CBD oil as effective medicine.
Once Leyland herself started taking CBD oil, she noticed big changes. No more anxiety, no more irritability or insomnia, no heart problems, and most importantly, no more seizures. She’s never felt better and more like herself.
“There were so many things about myself that I questioned: is this my personality, or is this because I take medication, or is this because I’m epileptic? After I introduced CBD into my life, I noticed many of these negative side effects began to disappear,” “CBD is anti-inflammatory for the body and the brain. It works on the brain’s endocannabinoid system (responsible for a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory) to calm the nervous system, which is why it’s anti-seizure.”
She also added: “The way my brain processes things just feels really different. It feels as though I’m catching up on sleep that I really needed.”
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As a result of her own story, Leyland launched a cannabis consulting company with Jonathan Rice aimed at raising awareness of CBD and its medicinal benefits. Diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Rice was Maine’s first medical marijuana patient. Together, Rice and Leyland will also help give medicine to those who suffer from ailments like epilepsy, PTSD, pain management, and concussions.
“Our goal is simple,” she told Harpers. “We want to help people gain access to CBD and eradicate the stigma associated with it, so that people don’t have to feel like criminals to access the medicine they deserve. It’s about reprogramming the way people perceive cannabis. It’s about educating people and sharing our stories.”