“I’ve seen the plant treat neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, severe menstrual problems, Crohn’s Disease, chronic pain, skin cancers, insomnia, and anxiety. Seeing is believing!”
Introducing Greta, Extreme Sports and Cannabis
Greta Gaines has reached celebrity status in several disciplines. After winning the World Extreme Snowboard Competition, she has produced five southern rock albums, hosted her own show on Oxygen, and has been an ESPN correspondent. She was raised in an environment of fame and influence. Her father is author of Pumping Iron and Stay Hungry, she was classmates with Uma Thurman, and the family’s farm was frequently visited by actors such Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hunter S. Thompson.
Celebrity these days only means something to Greta if it can help with the cause of hemp and marijuana legalization in all 50 states. She has seen how Willie Nelson and Neil Young have brought so much money and support to the struggling farmers in America. Playing Farm Aid with them years ago, as a musician is what sparked Greta’s interest in hemp seed oil as a possible bio-fuel. Her unique form of activism is to try to “free the leaf” in all the forms that the Cannabis Sativa plant takes, as medical marijuana, hemp, and the only source of CBD. In Greta’s activism, she wants to make changes in several ways. She wants to counteract unjust and racist laws by decriminalizing cannabis. She wants to get suffering patients the non-toxic and effective medicine they need today, not tomorrow. She wants to see hemp growing everywhere used as fuel, fiber, food and hempcrete to build a sustainable future for America. Her own line of hemp products is evidence of her heartfelt desire to brings cannabis based products to the people. She considers herself a “patriotic pothead”, because she knows the history of America and the debt that this nation owes to hemp. She is quick to point out that people “could also pay their taxes with hemp a couple hundred years ago.” She laments that she wishes we still could.
Her devotion to the plant is personal. Two years ago her mother began taking Rick Simpson oil after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today Greta’s mother is cancer free and feeling great. She has the seen the plant work miracles in patients, and their suffering is the real fuel behind this fearless woman’s fire.
Original Extreme Snowboarding
Considering her father’s early influence on the world of bodybuilding and outdoorsmanship, Greta adapted to the pressures of growing up with high athletic expectations.
“It was a real competitive household. My father was a big outdoorsman and a Southern-bred man who wanted his kids in the New Hampshire backwoods to be good skiers. That was a sport that he came to later in life and became really obsessed with, along with rock climbing, ice climbing, and a lot of northern Alpine kind of activities. But he set the sporting precedent with books like Pumping Iron that put bodybuilding on the map.”
Greta poured herself into several areas of focus. She excelled in ski racing and fly-fishing, but continued searching for the sport that resonated strongest with her. After being introduced to the original Burton snowboards in Vermont, she moved to Jackson Hole to sample mountains several times larger than what she was used to. Eventually reports from the skiing championships in Valdez, Alaska arrived in Wyoming and Greta was convinced by her peers and mentors to try her first snowboarding runs off giant, untouched mountains accessible only by helicopter.
“You fall, you die”
“That was sort of the motto at the beginning going into extreme skiing and immediately from that was extreme snowboarding. There are no preventative steps like bombing the hill before hand [to prevent avalanches].” The dangers in this cutting edge sport were real and obvious. The Alaskan skiing was proving to be a substantially more extreme sport than what Greta grew up with in New England.
“It was a very, very scary place. We’d seen films come back about the guy in the red jumpsuit that took a 2000 foot tumble on his skis, just rag dolling down the mountain. Those were the kind of places we were going to be snowboarding.”
Despite the deadly hazards, her passion for snowboarding and experience with ski racing, allowed Greta to reach world champion level in two seasons.
“I was able to show that women were going to show up in snowboarding and compete in a way that you had never seen really in surfing and skateboarding which are the predecessors to snowboarding. So I knew early on that there was something different about snowboarding that women were going to take to it and be very good. Backcountry snowboarding became a cultural phenomenon because it’s so fun.”
Addressing the Anxiety
“I remember I was terrified of the helicopter. There were bongs up there with weed and people were smoking. I remember smoking weed before one of those first days going up in the helicopter just to kind of calmed me down.
“Most of the extreme snowboarders in the early days were smoking cannabis. Drinking lots of alcohol and being a pro snowboarder – you didn’t see that. The same thing with smoking [tobacco]. You didn’t want to do anything to compromise your lung capacity at high altitude.
“I know 20 snowboarders and skiers who are dead because of avalanches or broken necks. These were mountains that no one had ever stepped foot on before ever, so you have no idea about the stability of anything. And we learn from experience that there are things that can give way: open crevices, trees you can run into. We didn’t wear helmets. They were not invented for the sport yet. I had recurring nightmares about would be getting buried alive in an avalanche. It was dealing with [the fact] that if you stopped long enough, even as a 22-year-old, to think about the danger you were in, you probably wouldn’t go ahead and do it.
“I think at the time we were consuming cannabis because we’re partying. We thought of that as recreational, but looking back, now that I know a lot more about cannabis and its effect on the body and the brain, I’m sure that we were using weed to compensate for our stress.”
Greta continues to snowboard and participate in other outdoor sports, but now she’s motivated to enjoy family bonding instead of thrill seeking.
Ayurvedic Health and CannaBusiness
As she transitioned from high risk sports to caring for her family and people in need, Greta became an earlier pioneer in the cannabis industry. She created an all-hemp skincare company called The Hempery. After selling the company, her entrepreneurial spirit continues today with her new role as CEO and President of OmniCanna Health Solutions. Her personal line of products are being sold at TheHempery.com. Their first products will include oil, lip balm, body wash, lotion bars, and soap all of
which are at least 60% raw hemp. In the spirit of using the plant to promote health, Greta is studying Ayurveda, the science of natural healing with roots in India’s 5,000-year-old culture to gain insight into the traditional uses of the plant.
“Much of the detox and the way that they apply medicines in Ayurveda are through herbal oils. Good oils that have been infused with herbs. The next thing I want to do is mix Ayurvedic medicine and hemp for a nutraceutical wellness line. The more hemp the better. What I hope to do in the coming years is to merge my love of Ayurvedic medicine with hemp that has been grown legally here in Tennessee.”
In her years of cannabis activism, Greta has seen the medicinal benefits and health promoting effects of cannabinoids and essential oils the non-toxic plant offers. Now she is inspired to educate the public about cannabis’ potential. As she pushes regulators and government agencies to allow legal cultivation and processing of hemp in her region, her influence grows as an advocate for why we should all consider ingesting the plant regularly.
Reasons for Ingestion and Their Methods
Greta has first hand reasons for pouring her energy into advocacy and cannabis entrepreneurship. “Through my work as an activist I have met children whose cancer has been cured with cannabis. I have met severely epileptic people who can live normal lives due to cannabis. I’ve seen the plant treat neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, severe menstrual problems, Crohn’s Disease, chronic pain, skin cancers, insomnia, and anxiety. Seeing is believing!”
Her personal reasons for using cannabis are numerous and shared with millions of others. “As I get older I’ve developed a little bit of arthritis in my neck from landing on my head so many times. I definitely use it for pain management in salve form. I rub medicated salves into my knees since both of my ACL’s are blown. There are better ways than smoking to get THC into your bloodstream…
“Mary Jane’s Medicinals have these pain relief salves with so many wonderful applications. I would have that on me all the time if I lived in a legal state. You can rub it directly into a stiff neck. It helps relieve menstrual cramps with women. I really believe in the benefit of cannabis salves and compresses.”
Now that almost half of the states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use and several states have made the plant completely legal to adults, Greta has advice for people who are newly experimenting with the plant. “If I were going to be out in Colorado, I would get two varieties of vapor hash oil pens. I would get something like Cherry Kush for evening when I want to unwind. I would find a nice sativa or hybrid for during the day. Because I am not a connoisseur, I would just go with my bud tender’s recommendation.”
Advice for Athletes Joining the Cannabis Culture
Despite snowboarding and cannabis having a close relationship culturally, Greta speaks from deep experience on both topics. For those who are considering smoking before their next big snowboarding run, Greta has this to say, “My advice is don’t start mixing cannabis and snowboarding until you are a legitimate expert snowboarder. There can be a perception problem. It even happens to me sometimes, between the things you think you can do and what seems like a good idea at the time. Or maybe you’ve just forgotten what you can’t do. You don’t want to have slowed motor skills and delayed reactions before snowboarding is second nature to you. You can get hurt. Those lapses in concentration that being high can sometimes do to novices. Everybody sort of knows that that’s why the idea of this being a performance-enhancing drug is ridiculous. The truth is that it can make it harder to perform physically with the same alertness, the same quickness, and the same response time you would have if you weren’t high. My advice is to be a legit expert before you start mixing. When you do start, don’t mix it when you’re on the hill. Instead have a great day snowboarding… Maybe do it at lunch and then go back for another two hours. Or have your whole day of snowboarding and relax that evening. Unwind and get into that sleepy state. For me it can make me lose energy, so I don’t want to go smoke a lot of weed before I’ve accomplished what I want to accomplish.”
The Future of Cannabis
Now Greta’s focus is on issues of legalization and helping people in the community. As science continues to reveal more of cannabis’s health benefits, the mountain of evidence for legalization grows. But still there is much work to. Three quarters of a million Americans are still arrested each year for possessing marijuana and millions suffering from disease are still without this effective, non-toxic medicine.
“My work as an activist isn’t really about me anymore and why I use cannabis. It’s about helping those people who are suffering to get safe, legal access to their medicine. It’s about changing unjust laws that are tearing families apart. It’s about the freedom to control what goes into our bodies and how we choose to heal ourselves. It’s about building a more just and compassionate America.”