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Patient of the Month: Ally Train

It’s always what I’ve wanted to do, but I’ve always been told that with art and social media – you can’t make money.

Ally Train crafts her art as an act of defiance against her body because it hurts for her to create. But with everything she makes, its purpose is to in some way shape or turn on one of your senses.

“I like to be doing something where you have to be interacting with your body and the piece,” said Ally.

As the creator of Cough Creative – a social media account she populates with her custom art, jewelry, infused recipes and Cannabis-related memes – she began with decorating mirrors and selling some pieces as a side hustle. From there she moved to customizing bongs with drip art in 2022, finding a unique drip pattern that the 23-year-old considers to be her calling card. In addition to brands reaching out to collaborate with her, her art has garnered a demand from a variety of clients – including a custom piece made for Cannabis influencer Koala Puffs.

While some will view her social media presence and quickly label her as an influencer,

Ally prefers to introduce herself as an artist and content creator. “My goal from the beginning was to focus on my art, then it became more about the memes and the recipes,” she said. “I would love for people to think of me as an artist first, but I know that they don’t.”

Battling various illnesses since the age of eight, Ally was diagnosed at 15 with Ankylosing Spondylitis – a type of arthritis that mainly affects the spine, but she feels it in her entire body. Ally was also diagnosed with ADHD at 17, after years of struggling and going undiagnosed.

“No one took me seriously until I was 15. My parents took me seriously, but my doctors didn’t,” she said. “They always thought I was trying to miss school, which wasn’t the case.” After eating an edible at a house party and occasionally smoking throughout her later years of high school, Ally realized that Cannabis could help with her insomnia and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Although she still takes medication for certain illnesses, Cannabis is what she frequents the most and takes it as needed – and as she puts it, “As I need it a lot…”

During her college years, Ally began to educate herself more formally on the effects Cannabis had on her. Soon after, she acquired her medical card and trained to become a budtender. On campus, she was the go-to friend within her group for Cannabis knowledge and would contribute to smoke sessions – something she said would become expected of her from her peers. “I like to say that smoke is cyclical. It will always come back to you if you’re willing to contribute to other people,” she said.

After graduating from Towson University in 2022, Ally worked for a Cannabis software

Company before resigning due to the mental strain of the job – ultimately inspiring her to pursue art and content creation full-time. “It’s always what I’ve wanted to do, but I’ve always been told that art and things like social media – you can’t make money off doing it,” she said. “If I don’t do it now, I’ll never get to do it.”

With this decision, Ally credits her family for being there after she left her job and supporting her while she grew her brand. “The anecdote about starving artists … I don’t want to say it applies to me because I’m really lucky to have the support of my family,” she said. “I wouldn’t be as successful as I am because they wouldn’t have been there to catch me when I fell after I quit my job.”

While the Cough Creative page is a culmination of her different passions, Ally also gives

her audience a look into some lifestyle changes she’s made to work with her different illnesses, including her cooking content. With her stomach not being able to handle the sugar substitute in store-bought edibles, she asked herself what she could do to make something a little more accessible and still want to eat it. Tapping into her childhood passion for cooking, she’s made infused dishes like olive oil apple cake, gnocchi, and ham and swiss pastries. Ally hopes to in the future start an interactive cooking club where its participants can

“self-dose and learn about the cooking aspects” of Cannabis.

Despite her ailments, Ally stays light-hearted when she talks about her struggles and describes herself as “chronically ill and chronically chill.” She knows some things are harder for her to do, but she does not let them make her angry at her body or the world around her.

“There’s nothing I can do about it except continue to try and make my life easier,” she

said. “Whether that’s making things more accessible in my home or stretching so I don’t get sore – whatever it is, I’m not going to be ashamed to do things like that.”


This article was originally published in the March 2024 issue of Maryland Leaf.

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