Courage in Cannabis: Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, MD

Courage in Cannabis: Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, MD


It’s important to share stories to be successful. That goes double in cannabis. They were hearing someone’s story about how they use the plant or how the plan to make a business out of cannabis can go a long way towards helping someone feel assured that they’re on the right path. 

Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, MD, curated a set of stories that can help someone navigate this new green world. A compilation of stories written by doctors, lawyers, patients, caregivers, entrepreneurs, and activists, Courage in Cannabis hopes to inspire all in cannabis. 

CashColorCannabis: Please state your name and tell us what you do. 

Dr. Bridget Cole Williams: Dr. Bridget Cole Williams, I am a family physician, Cannabis specialist, author, streaming network host, and empowerment coach Located in Columbus, OH 

CCC: Speak to us about your medical background. What is your specialty? 

BCM: I have been a family physician for 22 years. I started my career at the Cleveland Clinic as a family physician. I have always been concerned about the patient experience and being a patient advocate. I grew up with my father in and out of the hospital due to colon cancer. I saw how demeaning the healthcare environment can be for a patient and personally experienced the racism and sexism of being a black woman physician myself. My focus in medicine has been to improve the patient's health by changing the dynamic of the doctor-patient relationship. 

CCC: What made you want to turn your focus towards cannabis? 

BCM: My interest in cannabis began with one unique patient approximately 15 years ago who was courageous enough to ask what I think about utilizing marijuana as medicine for her recently treated breast cancer and her newly diagnosed diabetes. Respectfully, I thought she was nuts! During that time, many patients asked about numerous homeopathic treatments and practices, so it was not uncommon for me to research an herb or trend in supplements. Still, she was the first to ask about cannabis. Despite my initial reservations, I gathered information about this distinctive plant. To my surprise, there were incredible medicinal possibilities for this unjustly villainized plant. I chose to support my patient on her journey as she made edibles and inhaled cannabis, and I researched dosing and created titration schedules. Over months, I saw her body fat decrease and her blood sugars become balanced. She was sleeping better, her productivity at work was improving, and her stress was incredibly better. From there, I knew I needed to learn more. When medical cannabis was legalized in Ohio, I decided to become a certified cannabis educator and life coach. It was time to provide the care I felt my patients requested. To do so, I opened my offices and supported patients with personalized care by providing empathy and education and encouraging empowerment. What I did not expect was what cannabis would do for me. I had been fascinated by cannabinoid medicine for years. If cannabis were ever legalized in my area, it would provide a medical alternative that could change lives. However, it gave me freedom from the confinements of traditional health systems. It brought together my desire to help patients reclaim and own their wellness and potentially get off some medications that often become a crutch. Cannabis allowed medicine to make sense to me again when I was close to leaving the medical profession entirely. I was burnt out and had lost faith in our current health systems that have replaced the art of medicine with pharmaceutical medicine. My days were filled with pressured 15-minute visits that pushed a pill for every diagnosis. 

CCC: Did you face any backlash from your colleagues when you became pro-cannabis?

BCM: Of course, I faced judgment and backlash from colleagues! Medicine is, without a doubt, a science and a practice, but it also teaches practitioners a way of thinking. Unfortunately, the subconscious suggestion is to be closed-minded to any ideas or thoughts that do not come through the traditional channels of pharmaceutical companies and extensive research studies by funded institutions. It is only more recently that Western medicine has shown interest in complementary therapies (i.e., yoga, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction). Choosing to be vocal and visible in the cannabis space has led some of my colleagues to either snub me or turn entirely against me. However, I am confident in my work and the people who trust me to respect their stories. Colleagues are slowly coming around and asking more questions and sharing less disdain. I am proud of my journey. 

CCC: Cannabis is something that is not currently taught in medical schools. Why do you feel like medical schools have not been open to teaching about cannabis, and how optimistic that we will see a cannabis curriculum taught in med schools? 

BCM: Cannabis and, more importantly, the Endocannabinoid System have not been taught for numerous reasons. Although ECS was not discovered until the late 1980- early 1990s, reefer madness has lingered in the country along with probation. Due to the lack of legalization, the ability to do extensively funded research has been limited. Pharmaceutical companies that fund a great deal of research have always been aware of the threat of cannabis medicinally—lastly, time. I make no excuses, but the healthcare system needs to change. However, medical information has grown exponentially over the last 50 years. The length of medical school and residency has mostly stayed the same. Schools and students are overwhelmed by the current curriculum and, without pressure, are unlikely to add additional information that is not well supported. 

CCC: Speak to us about “The Courage in Cannabis.” What is the book about what made you want to take part in the creation? 

BCM: The Courage in Cannabis Book series is a collection of true stories that shed light on how cannabis and CBD usage influences people's lives. When I started to do medical cannabis cards, the stories of shame, struggle, healing, and liberation inspired me. When cannabis insiders were conversing about prices, access, social equity, and product quality, I was hearing personal stories of life change that I felt everyone needed to understand. I wanted to gather people together to enlighten and inspire others. Courage in Cannabis brings these stories to the forefront of the industry conversation, emphasizing the need to maintain medical cannabis access for patients in need but also to share that we are all a part of the same community. The legacy grower, the street dealer, the corporate executive, the grassroots activist, the doctor, the lawyer, the patient, the caregiver, and the educator are all a part of the diverse culture and industry called cannabis. 

CCC: What are some of your favorite stories in the book? 

BCM: Asking my favorite story is like asking which is my favorite child. I am proud of my momma bear stories, between the two books and 57 contributions. The moms fought community and career ridicule to help their children fight epilepsy and cancer with cannabis. 8. What do you feel like readers should take away after reading? I hope readers find themselves or their nephews and cousins in these stories; I hope that they find a greater sense of understanding and growth in why people utilize cannabis. I hope people feel inspired by what these fantastic individuals share, and it drives them to be more courageous in their own lives.

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