ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — On a sunny June afternoon, Nicole Ryan sits at a picnic bench at Patterson Farms in Rowan County with a client suffering from joint pain and stiffness in her hands.

“I think a lot of nurses do jump on this healing journey and that’s why we’re so compassionate and empathetic," Ryan said. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in North Carolina, passed the state Senate this week and now is in the House

  • Nicole Ryan left her nursing career at Atrium Cabarrus and became a full-time consultant on the use of cannabis and hemp plants to find pain relief

  • Ryan says that she supports the Compassionate Care Act but that it has limitations

Ryan was a registered nurse at Atrium Health Cabarrus. She started her career in 2020, around the beginning of the pandemic. 

"It was a really crazy time then, everyone's anxiety was high," Ryan said. 

Then Ryan suffered an an accident with her dog, leaving her with broken bones in her knee, on crutches and in debilitating pain. 

“I didn’t have much luck with the pharmaceuticals given to me, opioids made me sick," Ryan said. 

Nicole Ryan says CBD, CBG and THC products have had positive effects for her clients. (Photo: Vanessa Leon)

She found healing in cannabis oil, and the way she looked at medicine and pain pills changed. 

“I realized very early on with my own self that there was a real gap between traditional medicine and plant medicine, and there needs to be someone there to help navigate people through it,” Ryan said.

Ryan left nursing to become a full-time cannabis consultant after seeing the positive results in her clients with CBD, CBG and THC products. 

She says her products have only 0.3 THC, the legal amount in North Carolina. She would like to see more, because higher levels of THC increase the effectiveness of the products. 

“I’ve heard from clients that are out in California, and in legal cannabis use states, that my salve isn’t as strong as their salve,” Ryan said. 

The medicinal marijuana bill has passed the state Senate and is now in the House. Ryan hopes it will pass, but she disagrees with certain restrictions on the bill. 

“I would like to see more autoimmune diseases on there and mental health conditions,” Ryan said. 

The bill includes more than a dozen medical conditions required for a prescription, including cancer, terminal illness, PTSD and epilepsy. 

Ryan also disagrees with the prescription limit imposed on doctors. 

“I think that's very strange because cannabis has an amazing safety profile, compared to some of the other prescriptions that are given out to people," Ryan said. 

Despite her reservations on the bill, Ryan hopes the measures is passed, so that some in our community will find healing.