Jessica Knox, MD MBA MPH said: “My vision for my professional cannabis endeavors is to fully flip the medical paradigm to one where lifestyle interventions, natural medicines like cannabis and other botanicals, and mind-body therapies become our first-line treatments instead of our last.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
I am an endocannabinologist – most people don’t know what that is because it’s brand new! An endocannabinologist is a medical doctor that specializes in the function, dysfunction, and modulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) with cannabinoids and cannabimimetic therapeutics. Cannabis is just one tool in our toolkit that we use to bring the ECS and the body back to health. I’m seeing fewer patients these days as I’m now spending most of my time educating other healthcare professionals and the general public about the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid medicine. Whether traveling to speak at conferences or working on our enduring educational content, I’m constantly trying to spread this information that I believe will revolutionize health and healthcare.
When did you get started working with cannabis? What is your vision for your professional cannabis endeavors?
I first began working in the cannabis universe shortly after I graduated from my Preventive Medicine Residency in 2015. My vision for my professional cannabis endeavors is to fully flip the medical paradigm to one where lifestyle interventions, natural medicines like cannabis and other botanicals, and mind-body therapies become our first-line treatments instead of our last. My mission is to educate as many people as possible about caring for the endocannabinoid system to bring about this paradigm shift. In an ECS-informed ecosystem, individuals feel empowered to apply natural healing practices for ECS health; clinicians approach health and disease holistically from a lifestyle-first perspective; cannabis entrepreneurs and business people create products and services that are purposeful and healthful for our customers; legislators and regulators make informed policies that support population-wide ECS health; etc. Spreading knowledge is the first step in flipping the medical paradigm on its head, and I’m sprinting to do my part!
What is your personal cannabis origin story?
Believe it or not, my MOTHER got me started on my current path, and she continues to lead the way to this day! I am one of four physicians in my family, and we all practice endocannabinology now. My mom was the first to start working in the cannabis space back in 2011. What started as just covering for a colleague in a medical cannabis card clinic became a full-blown passion project when my mom sought to learn why all these patients were finding relief with cannabis. What she learned changed the course of not only her career but also of her family’s careers: The endocannabinoid system is the reason patients find relief with cannabis, and it was finally time for someone to specialize in this system. For me, this revelation unlocked a whole new way of practicing medicine that finally aligned with my own core values and principles. In shifting my clinical focus to the endocannabinoid system, I happily and eagerly exchanged the prescription-centric model of care in which I was trained for a holistic model of care rooted in nutrition, botanical medicine, physical activity, and mind-body therapies like deep breathing, meditation, massage, etc.
What is your Superpower?
My superpower is communicating complex scientific and medical ideas to non-scientific/non-medical people so that these concepts become more broadly accessible and actionable.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date?
Our greatest obstacle so far has been raising money to fund our formal educational platform, ADVENT Academy. We are starting to gain traction with small investors but we are very much still working to clear this hurdle. Persistence and steadfast self-belief have been key in our fundraising journey.
“The endocannabinoid system is the reason patients find relief with cannabis, and it was finally time for someone to specialize in this system.”
What is your advice for women in the cannabis industry?
As both consumers and business people, women are uniquely positioned to lead the cannabis industry. Research shows women make or influence 85% of consumer purchasing decisions, and businesses are more successful the more female leadership they have. Given the cannabis industry is still in its formative stages, today’s women have an unprecedented opportunity to build an industry nearly from scratch. This means we can use our purchasing power and our business skills to craft an industry that is purposeful and sustainable and creates value for all stakeholders. Of course, knowing a little something about the ECS is prerequisite to executing this vision!
Connect with Jessica Knox, MD MBA MPH:
Instagram: @theknoxdocs, @jessicadocknox