DJ Chelsea Leyland, a medical cannabis patient, turned her popular Instagram account into an inspirational trove of information about cannabis and its use in treating epilepsy. @chelsealeyland
You’re making a documentary, Separating the Strains. What is it about?
It’s a film that explores the medical cannabis landscape with a specific focus on epilepsy and the story of two sisters, and what it looks like for one sister [Chelsea] to have access and one sister [Tamsin, in the U.K.] not to have access. It’s been a labor of love. It’s just gone into post-production, and we’re still raising money through crowdfunding at FromTheHeartProductions.com.
How do you use social media to destigmatize cannabis?
I always try to find a balance and weave in the personal experience, and I think people respond well to that. So, it’s not just conveying science to the masses; it’s saying, “I’m a patient. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. But come on my journey while I’m learning about this medicine.” To me, it’s really been this way to outwardly share my journey [discovering medical cannabis and weaning myself off pharmaceuticals] and experiences.
“My journey as an advocate really stemmed from the fact that I felt patients deserved better.”
What’s your social media advice for brands?
If there are two forces in life that I’ve come to realize are so powerful, one would be authenticity and two would be vulnerability. How can a brand be vulnerable? It can partner with individuals, whether those are patients or people of color who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. There are ways to bring personal stories and try to give back to the communities that have been most affected by prohibition. I think it’s about being purpose-driven, having good brand values, and being as authentic as possible.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 60,000 Instagram followers
- 2 YEARS working on the documentary
- £58,046 crowdfunded as of December 1, 2019