Interview with Nikki Lawley, Cannabis Patient Advocate

Cannabis has been touted for its wide array of potential medicinal benefits for thousands of years. And while cutting-edge research has concluded that the plant is indeed a useful treatment for a variety of ailments, the legal industry is seeing more of a shift toward the recreational side leaving many wondering if patients are being left by the wayside.

Nikki Lawley is an outspoken advocate for medical patients. After experiencing a life-changing injury while working as a nurse, she found relief with cannabis and decided to dedicate her life to raising awareness. Nikki has thousands of followers, is a board member of CannabisBPO, and has appeared on several leading industry podcasts, including Let’s Be Blunt with Montel Williams. She is also a diplomat with the Global Cannabis Industry Networking Group, a proud Cannabis Community College partner club.

Find out how Nikki discovered her destiny, the differences between medical cannabis and adult use, and why it matters in this CCC Q&A.

How did you get into the cannabis space? 

I never intended to get into the cannabis industry.  I found cannabis by accident after suffering a traumatic brain injury while working as a pediatric nurse. My symptoms were so intense that I actually considered suicide but thankfully discovered medical marijuana. It truly saved my life.

Since then, I have been a loud voice for the medical community desperately trying to remove the stigma surrounding cannabis. If as a nurse I had never considered the medical properties of cannabis, I knew other nurses had not either. I have gone from healthcare provider to patient to patient advocate for cannabis medicine.

Why is patient advocacy so important?

Doctors have very little time these days to spend with patients.  As patients, we must take responsibility for our own health and learn about all the treatments available and make a decision based on knowledge rather than, “well the doctor said to do this.” 

We must have an active voice in our own healthcare and learn as much as we can to make informed decisions. The cannabis industry has really shifted toward adult-use and unfortunately, patients are seemingly being forgotten.

How can newcomers to the industry help advocate for patients?

At the end of the day, the patients are the experts. Organizations need to give us a seat at the table because we are the ones using the products and can share the positive and negative experiences in the cannabis process. 

I would like to see newcomers to cannabis be aware that this is medicine for so many people. Having empathy and understanding that there are many different reasons to consume cannabis is so important, and will help make sure everyone gets exactly what they need to meet their wellness goals.

What should CCC students know about the difference between medical and adult-use cannabis?

Cannabis is medicine for many people.  Many are not trying to get high, but rather are trying to get well.  Cannabis use is medical for many reasons. The biggest difference between adult use and medical cannabis is the product offerings and access.  Patients must not be forgotten and it’s critical all aspects of the industry consider medical cannabis patients.

What is one thing industry professionals may not understand about medical patients?

We use cannabis in many different forms, whether someone is using a tincture, gummy, or smoking a joint doesn’t make it any less medicinal.  Medical patients are medical patients no matter what state/country they are in. My chronic pain doesn’t matter if I am in New York state or Florida for instance. But I can’t “legally” access my medicine in Florida.  We must do better and offer reciprocity for others who are visiting a different state than what they reside in.

To learn more about Nikki Lawley, visit her at


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