Residing in Madrid, Spain is Carola Pérez – Presidenta del Observatorio Español de Cannabis Medicinal y Asociación dosemociones. Dosemociones is the first association to provide advice and information to therapeutic users (dosemociones) in which no cannabis is dispensed, and its main purpose is to advise the therapeutic users in Spain. After suffering a serious fall at the age of 11, Carola broke her tailbone. The injury was so traumatic, it even led to her whole coccyx being removed a few years later. However, after surgery, Carola was in more pain than ever before. Suffering from chronic neuropathic pain Carola spent many days unable to leave her bed. She decided it was time to seek alternative treatments. Carola knew that she wanted something natural. Through a friend, Carola was able to meet members of Holy Le Club, one of the oldest cannabis associations in Madrid. It didn't take long for her to decide to also become a member of Holy Le Club where she began to acquire knowledge about cannabis from library books and conversations with people about cannabis. Today, Carola is dedicated to spreading awareness about medical cannabis.
In the beginning, what inspired you to get involved with cannabis?
I suffered a bad fall when I was younger. This accident left me with severe chronic pain. There were many days I was unable to leave my bad. So I originally got involved with cannabis because I wanted to improve my quality of life. Really, I wanted to find relief.
However, when I first approached cannabis I realized I did not have any information. While there were a lot of social cannabis clubs in Spain that provided flowers many were unable to provide medical advice. As someone dealing with chronic pain, it was important that I was aware of the real medication I needed. I did not know whether I should opt for something with more CBD or THC or even whether a sativa would be better than an indicia.
So I started studying the plant for myself. I wanted to know more about what cannabis was capable of. Once I really discovered cannabis, I knew that I had to share this information with more people.
Later, I decided to use this knowledge to start my own venture – Dosemociones. I wanted to create an environment where I could share medical advice with patients. I started it in May of 2014 as a non-profit organization. Today, we are fortunate to work with some of the best professionals and consultants in the country.
How would you describe the current cultural climate towards cannabis in Spain?
In Spain, many things are changing. In the past, Spain has been very conservative. We have bull fighting and this culture that is very old. The new generations are coming in strong and changing the way we see and interact with the world around us.
Over 50% of people in Spain now support at least the medical legalization of cannabis. So we’re really seeing things progressing. Granted, we still have progress to make. The biggest thing is losing the fear. There are still so many people who see taking a puff of cannabis as the same as a drinking a glass of liquor. When people see that cannabis is not harmful but helpful, perceptions will shift.
A day in the life of Carola?
I wake up, stretch, and meditate. That is always the first thing I do to start my day. Then, I drink lemon juice with honey. I find that this helps me from getting sick. I then go to Dosemiociones where I am usually working with patients. For example, today I started there are around 10am and finished up about 6pm.
Once I get home, I usually try and settle in. Depending on how much pain I am in that day, I will do another round of stretches and yoga. Then I usually settle in for the evening. I spend time with my husband, have dinner, and read. That really is how most of my evenings go. I also enjoy writing a lot, though. So sometimes I will spend my evenings writing.
My pain fluctuates and I have to work around that. Some days I am not able to even make it out of bed. Those are the worst days. Before I started with cannabis, those days were far more frequent. I would just lie there feeling helpless. Now, those days are so much fewer. Being able to help other people and patients is healing. Having the opportunity to change someone’s life is powerful. I feel blessed to have created and continue to work with a wonderful community of patients.
Do you find that many women in Spain are interested in getting involved with cannabis?
It is predominately men. However, there are many women who are stepping forward into positions of leadership. This is particularly true when it comes to regulation as well as the medicinal aspects of cannabis. We have very good researchers here in Spain. Many of these researchers are women. There are still far more men involved with cannabis than women.
When you go to the events here in Spain, it is very common for organizations/companies to have women advertising products while half-naked. While I don’t necessarily like this, I do understand it. Like many industries, sex sells. However, we are making progress. There are still not as many women involved with cannabis as I would like but the dynamics are changing. There are so many talented and hard-working women in this world. I hope to see some of these women supporting the cannabis movement. That is my hope.
Any advice for women looking to get involved?
First and foremost, do not be afraid. Women need to be bold. Working in the cannabis community is life changing. I go to bed every night with so much joy. I know that the work I am doing can bring about great change. There is a purpose in my work. It is challenging but rewarding. So many changes in cannabis are happening right now. We are discovering so many things.
Women have this incredible power to work together. We can cooperate with each other to manifest change. I believe that women also have the power of a deeper understanding. So I believe that women must focus on sharing this knowledge. We should not get caught up in being “beautiful” but rather intelligent. Women are capable of far more than simply being pretty. We have so many skill sets to bring to the table.
For the future of cannabis to be successful, we need more women to be involved. Men must be open and trusting to cooperating with women in this space. There are different perspectives and viewpoints that can be brought to the table when we work together. So I encourage any woman who is interested in getting involved to take that next step. Come join us. We are not going to be able to do this alone.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
What I enjoy most is that I give more than I take. People are so thankful to find something that works. In this day and age of modern medicine where patients are treated like numbers, it makes me happy to be able to make a real difference in someone’s life. For me, this is the most important thing in my life. I had to quit my job 3 years ago and had no idea what I was going to do. Then cannabis changed my life. If you told me I was going to do this job a few years ago I would have thought you were crazy. I believe in karma. This is what I am meant to be doing. Having the opportunity to talk with doctors and the patients is so fulfilling.
For example, today we had 2 patients. These patients were children with autism. One of the children had advanced cancer. A year ago, she was told she was not going to make it. Today, that girl is still living her life. While cannabis may not be a cure-all, if it can make life even just a little bit better, that is why do what I do.
Is cannabis a catalyst for global change?
People are changing. We’ve witnessed a huge increase in the number of people practicing things like yoga and meditation. I believe that people are also becoming more aware of the fact that the resources of this world are limited. There is a global change occurring. People are starting to wake up to the world around them.
While we know that big pharma and the politicians do not want people to improve and stay stuck in a locked mindset – society moves faster. People want to say that they own this plant or this idea but it’s not the case. The cannabis plant on this planet has been here for hundreds and thousands of years. So in actuality, we’re really not discovery anything. In many ways, we are rediscovering everything.