In the ever-evolving world of cannabis, the path toward acceptance is plagued by age-old stigmas and misinformation. However, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization, Realm of Caring, has become a trusted resource to help guide individuals through the complexities of cannabinoid therapy and challenge these outdated stereotypes.
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Cannabis Tech spoke with Sasha Kalcheff-Korn, Executive Director at Realm of Caring, who shared the heart of the organization’s transformative story—a journey of resilience, empowerment, and challenging the status quo.
Founded by Heather Jackson and Paige Figi, Realm of Caring (RoC) has spent a decade revolutionizing how patients, caregivers, and even lawmakers approach cannabis. What began as a lifeline for families seeking hope for their ailing children has evolved into a broader movement for education, advocacy, and change.
While perspectives shift towards cannabis acceptance and understanding, RoC stands out for its unwavering commitment to empowering individuals seeking cannabinoid therapy. As a nonprofit dedicated to cannabis research and education, Realm of Caring has a remarkable story of dismantling cannabis stigmas and equipping individuals with invaluable knowledge.
Realm of Caring: Cultivating Empowerment through Knowledge
Founded in 2013 by two determined mothers, Heather Jackson and Paige Figi, the organization originated as a lifeline for families seeking alternative solutions for their children’s epilepsy. After pharmaceuticals failed for their children, CBD became that “last sliver of hope” to help improve their conditions.
Realm of Caring’s approach hinges on the belief that no one should be denied access to accurate information, especially regarding their health. As cannabis gains traction in the medical realm, the organization’s tireless efforts have guided individuals through the misinformation and misconceptions shrouding this therapeutic herb.
And their success stories spread like wildfire.
Soon, the women began helping other families, too. “Sometimes they helped families just pick up in the middle of the night to get here,” Sasha recounted the desperation some families faced.
“They stopped counting at just over 500 families,” she added.
Ultimately, the goal was to help families get home. So, beyond simply helping desperate families find the resources they needed in Colorado, they started to look at how they could influence legislation outside of the state, too.
Driving Advocacy and Legislative Change: Amplifying Patient Voices
Legislative change is imperative to expanding access to cannabinoid therapy. As Kalcheff-Korn points out, engaging hesitant or uninformed policymakers requires a multifaceted approach.
Realm of Caring’s advocacy started to extend beyond individual consultations. Serving as a liaison between cannabis consumers and the corridors of power, the organization also engages legislators, physicians, and officials to drive change through dialogue and compassion-driven advocacy.
“I think there’s a lot of education that could be done at these top levels, and we hope to unlock that magic recipe to get them that education,” Sasha said optimistically.
One of the most powerful tools in Realm of Caring’s arsenal is the voice of the patient advocate. These individuals, whose lives have been transformed by cannabinoid therapy, step into the spotlight to share their stories with policymakers. By putting a human face on the cannabis movement, patient advocates humanize the need for access, fostering empathy and understanding among those who shape the legislative landscape.
“Having patient advocates is very helpful,” she stated. “Meetings with groups and advocates help build understanding and empathy.”
Realm of Caring is instrumental in presenting well-researched, digestible data to lawmakers breaking down the complexities and nuances of cannabinoid therapy. As Sasha remarks, “It all starts with research and education to get that legitimate data out there.”
She continued, “We hear the same rhetoric that ‘there’s not enough research’ – but there is a lot of research; it’s just not shared the way it should be.”
Challenging Stigmas: Dispelling Misconceptions About Cannabis
Stubborn stigmas and a deluge of misinformation have plagued the road to widespread cannabis acceptance. However, Realm of Caring is steering the narrative in a new direction by providing a wellspring of educational resources that challenge these deeply ingrained misconceptions.
Speaking to the importance of widespread education, Sasha referenced Sanjay Gupta’s special in 2013 with Charlotte Figi. “That show changed cannabis – it was the first time in history the majority of Americans shifted to support legalization.”
Realm of Caring maintains a commitment to educating the masses. Yet, it can be an uphill battle to address age-old stereotypes while acknowledging that the process requires patience, compassion, and unwavering dedication.
As myths continue to cloud the perception of cannabis, Realm of Caring’s impactful initiatives have demonstrated that education is the antidote to misinformation. From hosting webinars with experts to offering personalized guidance, the organization has empowered countless individuals to confront their apprehensions head-on.
Realm of Caring bridges the chasm between apprehension and acceptance. The organization equips its clients with the tools to make informed decisions by providing accurate, science-based information.
The organization’s advocacy efforts extend beyond delivering information; they’re about developing comprehension. Through workshops, seminars, and consultations, Realm of Caring forges connections between legislators and the cannabis community.
Personalized Support: Transformative Care for All Ages
In cannabinoid therapy, one’s journey is as unique as one’s fingerprint, and Realm of Caring is a resource for personalized support and education. The organization’s commitment to tailoring guidance to the individual’s needs has forged a new path in cannabis advocacy.
“Our care team is the heartbeat of our organization. They are the front lines of our organization and put so much care and thought into how they help people,” she elated.
Anecdotes and quotes from Sasha’s interview underscore the life-altering effect of this approach. Discussing the growing 65+ community of clients they service. Remembering a gentleman who said, “I had a conversation with my wife, who has Alzheimer’s, for the first time in 10 years.”
“Those are the ones that give me the chills,” she added.
Interestingly, Realm of Caring’s clientele has evolved over the years. What once centered around pediatric cases, particularly epilepsy, has now expanded to include a diverse range of ages and conditions seeking cannabinoid therapy. What started as helping a few hundred families find the resources they need has turned into a substantial 73,000 clients.
This shift echoes the organization’s adaptability and commitment to serving an ever-growing audience. Realm of Caring’s personalized support has become a trusted resource for individuals of all ages battling an array of health challenges.
“We often hear people say, ‘If I’m diagnosed, I’ll do this,’ or ‘I’ll cut out sugar if I get sick,’ but why be reactive instead of proactive?” Sasha asked.
Future Perspectives: Expanding Empowerment and Shaping the Cannabis Landscape
Peering into the future, Realm of Caring’s vision extends beyond the horizon, driven by a commitment to empower, educate, and transform lives on an even grander scale. A standout testament to this dedication is their collaboration with Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit—an alliance that promises to propel research and understanding in cannabinoid therapy to new heights.
The forthcoming journey includes an expansion of independent studies, which will undoubtedly have ripple effects across the cannabis landscape. Among these studies, a particular focus will be on underrepresented groups like women veterans.
Recognizing the unique challenges faced by this demographic, Realm of Caring aims to shed light on their stories, struggles, and triumphs. Through these studies, the organization seeks to create a platform for narratives that have long been overlooked, ensuring that voices that deserve to be heard are amplified.
Sasha explained, “We want to highlight the potential benefits of cannabis and talk about their stories. Often, when it comes to women, veterans, they are the least likely to seek help for PTSD or traumatic events that happened while they are in the military.”
Realm of Caring’s future endeavors mirror their founding principles: to embolden individuals, celebrate diversity, and pave a path toward a more enlightened society. As stigmas continue to crumble under the weight of accurate information and compelling personal experiences, the landscape of cannabinoid therapy is shifting.
Transforming Lives Through Education and Advocacy
Realm of Caring’s journey is a testament to the profound impact that can be achieved when passion, knowledge, and compassion converge.
From pediatrics to seniors, their personalized approach navigates the diverse needs of clients, sparking hope and healing across generations.
In essence, the story of Realm of Caring is a tale of resilience, empowerment, and advocacy. With open hearts and open minds, they have nurtured an environment where lives are transformed, families are supported, and individuals are empowered to embark on a journey toward wellness.
RoC’s collaboration with Johns Hopkins Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit and its commitment to expanding independent studies promise a future teeming with groundbreaking discoveries and inclusivity.
In the end, through education and advocacy, we reshape the narrative, break down barriers, and unveil the untapped potential of a plant that has the power to heal, uplift, and transform.