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Photo by Wyatt Early

Changing Lives With Cannabis

Emily Shapiro-Lang is making a difference in patients' lives thanks to the healing power of Cannabis.

Emily Shapiro-Lang didn’t originally envision herself working in the Cannabis industry, but her personal appreciation for the healing powers of the plant nonetheless led her to an unexpected profession – as well as the opportunity to positively impact the lives of Maryland medical Cannabis patients.

When did you start using Cannabis?
I started experimenting in high school when my friends would bring it out, so it was more of a social thing at first. As I started getting older, I [learned] I had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – which is something I realized that Cannabis could definitely help with. So I started getting more information to bring to my parents, so they would allow it. They didn’t know I was smoking at all, but were very receptive once I explained my side of the story and gave them information. Then I started coming to Mana because it’s a smaller, family-friendly place, which was good for my anxiety.

How does Ehlers-Danlos affect you and how does Cannabis help?
So, it’s a connective tissue disorder where basically my joints are a lot weaker than your typical person because the connective tissue doesn’t develop properly. My joints started dislocating when I was young, and I loved playing sports so it was a big issue and hindrance to me. I use RSO as a topical on my dislocations – I straight up put it on a bandage and let it sit for a day or two before washing off any residual oil.

Do you still see people with a negative stigma around Cannabis?
It’s definitely getting better and now that I am deeper in the Cannabis community, I have been able to meet a lot of different people and see different aspects of the industry. I don’t really see the stigma as much anymore, because of what I do for work and the people that surround me.

Do you still ride horses?
I do not ride anymore. I used to train off-the-track thoroughbreds. Honestly, I use Cannabis before my workouts at the gym. I take my pre-workout joint with me and it has definitely helped with my mind-muscle connection.

My hockey player friends used to smoke a bunch of good weed! Was that your experience on the varsity hockey team?
No, not for that high school – at least that I knew! I was also one of only two freshmen to make the team, so I was very reserved. I went to Archbishop Spalding specifically for hockey, so I kind of got in and got out.

Did you ever see yourself ending up in the medical Cannabis industry?
I did not think I would end up in the industry, period – but I am very happy that I made the decision that I did. I never thought I would be qualified to work in this industry, because I didn’t know the ins and outs of Cannabis, terpenes, etc. I started from the ground up and began to build my knowledge from being around it so much.

Is your experience at Mana different from your previous experience in the industry?
As a smaller dispensary, I get to have more meaningful one on ones with patients. It makes me feel better about what I am providing to the patients with the experience. Everyone here is happy and like a family. My second day I felt like I was at home, working on the register without issues… and I had a lot of guidance.

Photos by @errlywyatt

About Wyatt Early

Wyatt is a Maryland native, stoner by nature, obsessor of hash rosin. After getting his start in the printing industry with a family company, he took on the role as state director for Maryland Leaf, and frequently contributes to the magazine with photos and articles.

This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue of Maryland Leaf.

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