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Upstate New Yorker fights health and opens Cannabicity

It’s been more than a year since cannabis was legalized in New York State, and Saturday, April 20, is an unofficial holiday celebrating the occasion. With more than 100 dispensaries in the state, there is now talk about the safe and responsible use of cannabis. A new CBD dispensary hopes to further this discussion.

“I’ve always been a very strong person, and that helps me too,” says Barbara Vaughn, the founder and president of Cannabicity. “I have a very strong mind and a certain amount of pain I could just put out of my mind.”

Fourteen years ago, Vaughn was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease.

“It’s called transverse myelitis,” Vaughn said. “It’s numbness in the body. It started at my feet and went all the way to my midriff within a few days.”

Initially, Vaughn was prescribed strong pharmaceutical drugs, but she did not want to become dependent on them. She says she was concerned about the various side effects of the medications.

“I was really looking for an alternative to taking more nerve medications for pain,” Vaughn said. “And that was the reason I wanted to explore the CBD. And I find it makes things quieter.”

Now, so many years after her treatment, Vaughn has found a good balance between CBD, THC and her prescribed medications. This has led to the opening of Cannabicity, a dispensary offering cannabis-derived goods, currently containing CBD.

“I think it’s legal and controlled and the type of product you’re using, if you’re going to use it,” Vaughn said. “I think this is a better way because you know you’re getting the quality. It will be safer than what people encounter on the street.”

Vaughn says the mission here is to break the stigma against cannabis in general so it can help women and older people like her.

In 2019, an NIH Gallup poll found that Americans over the age of 65 used CBD for pain (40%), anxiety (20%), insomnia (11%), and arthritis (8%). Last year, a University of Michigan study found that one in eight older adults use cannabis products.

Vaughn hopes that the relief she feels with CBD can also be experienced by others struggling with their physical or mental health. She is also looking forward to adding adult-use recreational cannabis to Cannabicity.

“We have applied for a license and are ready to bring in cannabis products as soon as we get a license,” she said. “But we can’t really control what New York does. So what we can control is what we do here.”