We can’t believe that it is already May! May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and we are here to discuss mental health and Cannabis. An estimated 1 in 5 adults in the United States struggle with a mental health issue. We had the opportunity to speak with Mallory, the 22-year-old daughter of Hawkeye Consulting Founder Jennifer Hawkins and her husband Kent; she is also a Patient Affiliate for Hawkeye Consulting.
Mallory’s story begins in childhood, where she struggled with insomnia and a bit of anxiety. However, she was not aware of how severe her anxiety was until she was a senior in high school. She went off to college, with a softball scholarship where she played full time for the first semester. She quickly realized that it was a lot more than she was able to handle at that point in time; especially as she was not able to medicate properly.
After the first semester, throughout the second semester of her freshman year, Mallory fell into an extremely deep depression. While she had struggled with depression prior to this situation, this instance was a lot more severe than anything she had previously experienced. She wasn’t able to leave her bed for days, and at that point had gained over 40 pounds. She wasn’t looking at herself with a lot of love. It was at this point that Mallory decided to reach out to her mom, knowing what all her mom does and how she helps people daily. She told Jennifer that she needed help; that whatever was going on with her she couldn’t fix by herself and that she did not want to be put on pharmaceutical medications.
Her adversity to pharmaceuticals came from watching her teammates be on the very medications that she would have been put on—yet, they endured more ups-and-downs than she already struggled with. Mallory stated that she could handle the downs, but she wasn’t able to handle the constant ups and downs. This is why she chose to look into medical Cannabis. Jennifer took her to some dispensaries and showed her what she needed to look for as far as dosage, intake, and methodology. This is when she found out that edibles help her extremely well as she is able to micro-dose throughout the day with edibles and not have any psychoactive feelings, or what is referred to as a “head change.” She also discovered that when she takes a half of a dropper of tincture, it helps alleviate the bouts of depression she faces. The depressive state brings a feeling that there’s a blanket over her, like a cloud – yet half of a dropper of tincture makes that feeling go right away! When that depressive feeling comes back, it only takes another half dropper of tincture to feel okay again.
Mallory ended up transferring to NOC as a walk-on for the softball team, but she was working with her coaches towards a scholarship for the second semester if she did what she was supposed to for the first semester. Everything was flowing perfectly—her GPA was awesome and she was on the right track. She even considered not using medical Cannabis because of how badly she wanted to play; she didn’t want to risk not being able to play by using Cannabis. Yet, she knew that she wouldn’t be able to be a collegiate athlete and not medicate with Cannabis. She realized she wouldn’t be able to wake up every day and go to practice—that her body and brain hurt too much without Cannabis. Cannabis was what allowed her to make the 6 a.m. practices, all of the player meetings, study halls—there wasn’t a single thing that was negatively affected by her Cannabis use. Ironically, her teammates that used pain meds and opioids to get through their injuries and surgeries were unable to make those early morning practices; unable to even drive themselves to study hall because of the medication they took.
One day, she was discussing with her mom about what she should do: should she quit using medicinal Cannabis or should she keep going with her plant-based journey? Mallory struggled with the feelings that she was lying to her team and her coaches and it wasn’t something that sat right with her. She decided that she would continue to medicate. Three days later, and her name is getting pulled for a drug test. She immediately goes to her coaches and let them know that she is not going to be able to pass a drug test. They reacted like they expected her to say “I just gotta get clean” but that wasn’t the reality of the situation. She informed them that she wasn’t going to be able to pass a drug test that day, in 30 days, or even in 60 days. Mallory said she appreciated how understanding they were, but she still went to take the drug test of which she would have to wait a week and a half to get the results.
Being antsy and nervous, after 4 days she decided to go to the Athletic Director’s office. She told him specifically that she had her medical card, was a medical patient, and had just taken a drug test—so what did she need to next or what should she expect? Unfortunately, his and the coaches’ hands were tied as their athletic program is federally funded, so there was not anything they were able to do for her as a medical marijuana patient. The Athletic Director mentioned that he understood Mallory was trying to help herself and do what was best for her—which was probably the best thing he could have said at that point. He gave her the option to continue to play and be on the team, and be subjected to more drug tests. If Mallory took a second drug test and failed, she would have been suspended from the softball program; and if she took a third drug test and failed, she would have been kicked off the team completely. She didn’t want to do that, so she went with her other option—which was to withdraw from the softball program, and she did so, right then and there. After which, she went to her coach’s office and let them know of her decision, apologizing but stating that she had to withdraw as she had to choose her health; to put her health first.
One of the obstacles she faced was that if someone on campus found out that she had a medical card, they treated her like a dealer—asking her to pick stuff up from dispensaries, to buy them flower. But that wasn’t who she was, that’s not what she did—she didn’t get a medical card for those reasons. Not being treated like a serious medical patient as a young person is an ongoing issue she has faced due to the stigma surrounding Cannabis.
Another obstacle Mallory faced was a lack of connection with her teammates and coaches not only because of her Cannabis use, but her family’s involvement in Oklahoma’s Cannabis industry. She was worried about the stigma surrounding Cannabis being attached to her if her teammates or coaches ever found out that her entire family is involved in the Cannabis industry in some aspect.
Her obstacles didn’t end there. While she is a legal medical patient, she wasn’t treated that way by some dispensaries. She was determined to find the best one in her area and set off to visit several different dispensaries one day. Of the 8 dispensaries she visited that day, only 2 treated her like a patient and demonstrated their knowledge of the plant. The rest treated her like a college kid looking to get high, only showing her flower and using lingo that she was familiar with, but didn’t use.
These days Mallory spends her time working with Hawkeye Consulting to help patients across Oklahoma obtain or renew their medical Marijuana cards. She enjoys spending time with her boyfriend Brendon, as well as going to visit family and friends down in Southeastern Oklahoma, where she can enjoy being on the lake. She uses one of Hawkeye Health’s newest products Relax to help reduce her anxiety as well as the sleep regulation assistance it provides.