Author Archive Mieko Perez

ByMieko Perez

Global Healthcare Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. Cannafora Founder

 By Mieko Hester-Perez

Cannafora is a medical cannabis treatment center for people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The center offers a complete solution holistic approach (biological, emotional, environmental) that addresses all aspects of the patient’s life.

What is your personal story with choosing cannabis for your child on the spectrum?

Yuval, my severely autistic son is 27 now. Yuval is very restless and has a lot of anxiety, so when he was 12 years old, we started giving him antipsychotic medication on the recommendation of his doctors. But he just became worse and worse.

By the age of 17 he got epileptic seizures so we had to add anti-epileptic drugs. When he was around 17, he became very self-injurious, biting himself until bleeding. And sometimes very aggressive towards his cares or towards me.

There were years I refer to as “living in the shadow of hell”. Loving and caring for your child but frightened he will attack you…can’t be alone with him and can’t drive and take him to places.

So, even before cannabis, we weaned him off all those medications and found him to do better without them than with. But still, he had his outbursts, his restlessness and self-injurious behaviors.

Then, in 2014, I read that Israeli neurologists started prescribing high CBD whole plant oil for kids with intractable epilepsy. I reached out to them, but they said they couldn’t prescribe it to Yuval since his epilepsy is intractable and because autism was not a qualifying condition in Israel.

I decided we had nothing to lose and would find a way to give it a try. I read as much as I could on the internet about the cannabis plant, turned to an Israeli psychiatrist who treated hundreds of Israeli veterans with PTSD and finally, got access to medical marijuana for Yuval.

It was on October 2015. I remember thinking if Yuval responded amazingly to the treatment his mother would become the Israeli advocate for so many families choosing to treat their children with medical marijuana instead of pharmaceutical drugs.

In Yuval’s case, he responded best to a CBD-rich whole plant cannabis oil and vaporizing high-THC cannabis flower when he is agitated. CBD-dominant cannabis products without THC tended to increase his hyperactivity and anxiety. However, some children can experience significant improvements with CBD oil alone.

Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals and healthcare providers is lacking?

Definitely. Since cannabis is a very complicated plant, much more scientific research is needed to better understand: the different strains, cannabinoids and terpenes effects, different delivery methods, extraction methods, and vaporizing options.

Even today here in Israel, where autism is a qualifying condition for medical marijuana we have more and more doctors supporting this treatment option and willing to prescribe it. And since autism is so complex by itself most of the knowledge today comes from the patients themselves, and just small part of it from science.

And this is what I do here in Israel at Cannafora (Cannabis for Autism treatment center I’ve founded) – the “hands on” part with the families to get the right cannabis product and the right dosing and balance for their autistic child…

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ByMieko Perez

Global Healthcare Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. 101 Hemp Corporation CEO

By Mieko Hester-Perez

Tell us a little about the mission of your company.

I love helping others, seeing them realize their potential and being a change for good. I discovered the power of the cannabis plant in its raw form when it brought our child back to us from the fog so I committed my life’s work to pay it forward by educating the world about our story and how the hemp/cannabis plant can help billions of people around the world with its seemingly endless uses.

What is your personal story with choosing cannabis for your child on the autism spectrum?

Our son was diagnosed with severe, regressive autism and we came across some research that cannabis was helping kids with seizures and we prayed it would help our son. When we discovered raw, whole-plant cannabis high in CBDa that’s when we had our breakthrough.

Our son is no longer on the spectrum and so we set 101cbd.org to pay it forward and educate the world about this miracle plant.

Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals and healthcare providers is lacking?

There is a lack of training in the medical profession in the basic functions of the endocannabinoid system and the functions of cannabis in the body. There is an especially large gap in knowledge about the hemp-extracted CBD and the raw CBDa products available in the consumer market.

As many patients turn to these products on their own for pain, anxiety, sleep, and more serious health challenges, it is important for the medical profession to keep abreast of the latest research on benefits, guidance on choosing products, and dosing suggestions.

While there has been more familiarity with THC products in medical marijuana, there appears to be a lack of differentiating the usage and benefits of CBD versus THC.

There also is a lack of awareness of the potential negative effects of recommending THC products for children during brain development up to 25 years of age and the potential negative additive effect of THC on children with current neurological problems such as autism…

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ByMieko Perez

Global Healthcare Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. Janie & Gavin

By Mieko Hester-Perez

What is your personal story with choosing cannabis for you child on the autism spectrum?

My oldest son, Gavin, was diagnosed with autism in 2010 at the age of 5 and accepted into the Sussex Consortium for their year-round Autism program. It was a hard diagnosis for us to face even though my husband is a Special Education teacher and works with autistic children on a regular basis.

Gavin was born a twin with his sister, Rylie, at 29 weeks gestation. I remember the first time I was allowed to hold him he cuddled up under my neck. My first thought was “Oh, wow! I’ve got a little cuddle bug!” I called him my Bugaboo. He met all of his milestones albeit a bit delayed due to his early birth.

There was still something “off” though. He seemed to have been born with OCD. His pediatrician and I would discuss his “quirkiness” when he was very little but as time went on, we both knew we needed to get him evaluated for ASD. He would fixate on broken or uneven floor tiles and physically fight me if I tried to move him.

Instead of clothes, his dresser drawers were full of rocks, sticks, pieces of electronics he took apart, old erasers, and pieces of folded papers that he would stare at. He never once played with toys. He was combative, aggressive, and controlling with others, especially with Rylie.

He could not handle changes and had to have strict routine. He was developing certain behaviors such as smelling and tasting nonfood items, for instance ants, plants, feet if he could get to them under a table, soap, etc. The communication coming out was perseveration and how he was receiving communication was extremely pragmatic.

Communication, mutism, and lack of being able to console or touch him was our biggest concern. He was disappearing into a different world each day. We saw him mirror others around him so we decided to integrate him into regular classrooms with a therapist by his side and private therapy during the summers.

He was ahead for his age on an intellectual scale but emotionally, socially, and behaviorally things were difficult for him. We saw slivers of empathy come through and this made us hopeful. The hardest for us was the social impact we saw playing out for him. We could see that he was figuring out that his brain worked differently than his peers.

He wanted to be accepted by his peers but was not. Sports did not work out in his favor with his IBS, awkward gait, and severe social anxiety. We began making plans to remodel our downstairs into a suite for him as he got older, thinking long-term.

He also wanted and needed his own space to retreat and calm down. His social anxiety, even with family, was apparent. What would his future look like? Were we doing the right things? Diets, medicines, therapy…I know every parent question themselves if they have done enough. It’s a hard thing to wonder. You literally tear yourself up over this…

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ByMieko Perez

Mieko Hester-Perez is a Champion for Special Needs Families

Mieko Hester-Perez is a modern day warrior mom, a champion of special needs families. Every single day, her mission is to help families improve the quality of life for their loved ones through unconventional treatments and she has pledged to “leave no family behind.”

Courtesy of Mieko Perez

Just this past Sunday night, Mieko was presented with the Chalice Festival’s Industry Dedication Award for her tireless work helping families with special needs children to better understand medical cannabis. Drawing on 20 years of legal experience, 15 years of special education knowledge, ongoing research, and her personal experiences navigating through treatment options for her own son, Mieko continues to help families throughout the world achieve positive results with cannabis.

Not your typical cannabis activist

Now, it should be mentioned, Mieko Hester-Perez is not your typical cannabis activist. She doesn’t wear tie-dye, wasn’t raised by hippie parents, and doesn’t use cannabis herself. Quite the contrary: she comes from a very conservative family that includes a long line of law enforcement. “I know I’m an unlikely cannabis advocate,” Mieko says, “being raised in South Orange County among other conservative constituents.”

Because of her professionalism and reliability, physicians who don’t normally recommend cannabis call Mieko to consult with patients’ families who are considering cannabis when all other treatments have failed. She understands and sympathizes with these families because she’s been in their shoes: before trying cannabis as a treatment, her son Joey had been on over 14 different experimental medications that did not work. Secondary to his autism, Joey was diagnosed with anorexia and malnutrition and it was Mieko’s extensive research into how to get him to eat that led her to bake a few batches of gluten-free cannabis edibles for her son. 

Not only did the cannabis edibles successfully improve Joey’s appetite, which led to improved nutrition and healthy growth, Mieko also noticed he began making eye contact on a more consistent basis, he had less aggression and became more productive in educational and home settings.

Not your typical cannabis activist

Now, it should be mentioned, Mieko Hester-Perez is not your typical cannabis activist. She doesn’t wear tie-dye, wasn’t raised by hippie parents, and doesn’t use cannabis herself. Quite the contrary: she comes from a very conservative family that includes a long line of law enforcement. “I know I’m an unlikely cannabis advocate,” Mieko says, “being raised in South Orange County among other conservative constituents.”

Because of her professionalism and reliability, physicians who don’t normally recommend cannabis call Mieko to consult with patients’ families who are considering cannabis when all other treatments have failed. She understands and sympathizes with these families because she’s been in their shoes: before trying cannabis as a treatment, her son Joey had been on over 14 different experimental medications that did not work. Secondary to his autism, Joey was diagnosed with anorexia and malnutrition and it was Mieko’s extensive research into how to get him to eat that led her to bake a few batches of gluten-free cannabis edibles for her son. 

Not only did the cannabis edibles successfully improve Joey’s appetite, which led to improved nutrition and healthy growth, Mieko also noticed he began making eye contact on a more consistent basis, he had less aggression and became more productive in educational and home settings.

Read full blog on Hopegrown.org

ByMieko Perez

Global Healthcare Conversations with Mieko Perez ft. Luv n Cann Founders

By Mieko Hester-Perez

What is your personal story and mission that inspired you to go public with your son Aiden?

My wife and I sat down one day and realized that we rarely, if at all found other parents who looked like us. At times, we were managing our son’s condition on a daily basis sometimes twenty four hours a day and seven days a week (on alert.)

We’ve spoken to so many people in the industry from CBD manufacturers, doctors, pharmacists, and parents whose child had similar conditions but mostly with autism. As we continued to learn about our son’s condition and how to treat him the one thing that alluded us was parents who looked like us.

So, we decided to go public because in hopes that other parents like us would not be afraid to share their story and in turn we created the Luv N Cann podcast.

Do you think cannabis education for medical professionals and healthcare providers is lacking?

Yes, we do believe cannabis education for medical professionals and health care providers are lacking and that’s because of federal laws and the pharmaceutical industry that supports the medical and health care system.

When my wife and I go into doctors’ offices and share with them the alternative paths and the endocannabinoid system they often have no idea what we are talking about or why we’ve considered taking a holistic approach to healing our child.

We are huge proponents for education as it relates to cannabis, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system…

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ByMieko Perez

Business Ventures on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. James Henry SF Cannabis Brand

By Mieko Hester-Perez

Social responsibility falls upon businessmen to heed the call in any society. Businessmen must review the impact of their decisions and actions on the other sections of the society. According to Peter F Druker, “Social responsibility requires managers to consider whether their action is likely to promote the public good, to advance the basic beliefs of our society, to contribute to its stability, strength and harmony.”

When startup companies include community social responsibility, this provides consumers with a “trusted” sense of assurance that includes: understanding the elements of community responsibility, ethical actions, legal aspects, economic Interests, and philanthropic obligations…

Courtesy of John Alston

And that was just in the first forty-five minutes into my conversation with John Alston of the James Henry SF…

What is your personal story and mission that motivated you to work with cannabis?

Being a Louisiana native, the state has one of the highest rates of cancer patients in the country and as a result, it has plagued my family. When I had a breast cancer scare with my mother, I researched all the information I could find on cannabis killing cancer cells.

I wanted my mother to try concentrated, full or targeted spectrum cannabis therapy in lieu of chemotherapy. Thankfully, she only needed a few rounds of radiation. I’d now learned the truth about medical cannabis and also forged a social justice initiative to make an impact with my new found knowledge. As a young black entrepreneur, I wanted to change the negative way that our communities viewed cannabis consumption.

And the proof is in the data, we have more states on board with some form of cannabis legalization and federal legalization is in very promising talks. And that’s with more education and information that from brands like James Henry SF and organizations like the Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine have been contributing and working towards.

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ByMieko Perez

Business Ventures on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. entrepreneur, Donnie P.

By Mieko Hester-Perez

Donnie P., an entrepreneur and native of Jeanerette, Louisiana, realized early in his professional business career that he was equipped with the necessary drive and determination that would allow him to start businesses—from the ground up—without any money.

He used these tools and, immediately upon graduation from Southern University A & M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he established Community Case Management, an adolescent substance abuse counseling service. Soon after, he would also create Preventive Medical Services, a community-based medical health center.

Later on in 2007, Donnie P. would hone his entrepreneurial knowledge and skills by founding A Plus Home Care Services, a non-medical, in-home health company that focuses on elder and support.

Courtesy of Donnie P.

He credits the success of A Plus Home Care Services to his unparalleled motivation and perseverance. During A Plus Home Care Services’ infancy, he assumed every role that was required to effectively run the business. He became an expert in the areas of finance, sales, marketing, and operations.

Today, with over 20 years of experience, Donnie is guided by his unwavering faith in God and desire to develop business platforms that will uplift others. He is currently founder and CEO of OSD Holdings, LLC, which is a cannabis dispensary owner/partner of Greenleaf Dispensary in Houma Louisiana.

He launched A Caring Home Services’ national franchise rollout in the middle of 2012. In August of 2013, he sold his first of many franchises to Karl and Beverley Stephens, LLC out of Nashville, Tennessee. A Caring Franchise was sold in 2019.

In 2014 Donnie P. Authored his first business book titled, How to Catch a Mouse with No Cheese. It was written for people who either have been in business for up to a year or are interested in starting a business, but do not have money.

It discusses five life-changing principles that will help you succeed. Each principle has its own basis for preparing you to get your business up and growing with no money.

What kind of cannabis research is needed that hasn’t been covered yet?

More research is needed on the cannabis plant to discover all of its healing power because it has so many. We have only scratched the surface on how much healing power the herb has which can help so many people.

Where do you see Greenleaf dispensaries in five years making an impact?

In five years, we envision Green Leaf Dispensary operating in several states and bringing other budding entrepreneurs into the industry.

What is the best advice you can give to a first-time cannabis user walking into Greenleaf Dispensary?

Well, for a first-time cannabis user that walks into our dispensary, they speak with our board-certified pharmacist to discuss the health benefits of cannabis after a recommendation from their doctor. With that knowledge, they are ready to enjoy the benefits of cannabis for their symptoms.

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ByMieko Perez

Business Horizons on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. Chef Matt

By Mieko Hester-Perez

Chef Matt’s culinary career began in 1998 when he opened his first restaurant in Oklahoma. Since then, Matt has traveled and studied culinary arts overseas and throughout the United States. In addition to pursuing his culinary passions, he has also been in the catering industry since 2000.

He has won numerous cooking events during his time as a chef. He’s won BBQ awards, Cajun/Creole awards, and several other awards to date. His overseas experience is powerfully displayed in his finished culinary works.

Courtesy of Chef Matt

While working for the Hyatt Regency, he ran several of their 5-star restaurants including a Teppanyaki restaurant, Italian restaurant, Japanese restaurant, and even their Las Vegas style buffet restaurant. Matthew is well versed in butchery, training, and menu planning.

So, it should be no surprise that Chef Matt has developed a brand of his own CBD products to compliment his passion for the culinary arts. Through this passion he has partnered with diverse companies such as: Nuvo Olive OilPantry Food Company, Deeper Green, Juju Royal, and CBD Daily Eats.

Chef Matt’s products bring chef quality cooking to your kitchen as well as a unique variety of CBD and THC – infused products to the everyday consumer.

He encourages fine cuisine enthusiasts to try new recipes and is a strong advocate and educator to those who are curious about experimenting with THC and CBD-infused ingredients as a part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

What is your personal story and mission that motivated you to work with cannabis?

I started cooking with cannabis in 1994. My uncle was a cannabis grower and I watched my uncle add it to everything like rubbing alcohol, liquor, and sauces.

One day in my 20’s, I had a bag full of buds and we were having a pool party. I threw some cannabis into the BBQ sauce and it was the talk of town!

After that experience I started adding it into everything. And on that day, I really understood what it meant to wear a chef hat (especially one handed down from uncle to nephew.)…

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ByMieko Perez

Business Ventures on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. Tetragram App

By Mieko Hester-Perez

Tetragram is a trailblazing digital platform that helps you get the most out of being a medical cannabis patient. Finally, a platform that empowers the new faces of cannabis and highlights CBD consumer trends.

As more cannabis & CBD products are redefining their social responsibility in communities across the world, the science of cannabis and CBD therapeutics now has a new ally and that’s Tetragram.

Tetragram has been featured in Green Market ReportsMaryland’s Capitol Gazette , Washington Post and The Cannabis Diversity Report and now with us.

Courtesy of Otha Smith III

What is your personal story and mission that motivated Tetragram?

I’m originally from Southern Anne Arundel County, MD., located twenty minutes south of Annapolis, Md. I first started smoking cannabis at the age of 17 with a friend of mine that lived in my neighborhood.

Most of the people I grew up with in my neighborhood were smokers, but at the time I was heavily involved in sports, so I didn’t give it a try until later in high school.

In 2003, I was involved in a serious car accident that nearly took my life. I fell asleep at the wheel and was ejected from the car landing on my head and upper back. It resulted in a six inch and thirty-four plus staple scar on the top of my head.

After being released from the hospital I was prescribed several different opioids to address my neck and back pain. After three years of using prescription pills, I decided I didn’t want to continue to take pills daily for the rest of my life. So, one day I completely stopped taking them.

I started buying cannabis from a friend of mine who had been selling cannabis since high school and lived relatively close by. Fast forward and years later cannabis started to become legal for medical and recreational use across the country.

Once Maryland legalized cannabis for medical use in 2014 I jumped at the opportunity to get my medical cannabis card. After getting my medical cannabis card I will never forget the feeling of entering a dispensary for the very first time…

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ByMieko Perez

Business Ventures on the Horizon with Mieko Perez ft. Oklahoma’s Flower Therapy Dispensary

By Mieko Hester-Perez

What is your personal story and mission that motivated you to work with cannabis?

My story and mission that motivated me to work in cannabis probably started originally back in 2004 when I came home from school at Florida A&M University.

Courtesy of Terrance LeMaile

That summer, I was incredibly focused on breaking into the music business industry, so much that I felt confident enough to walk into my father’s private practice office and let him know that college wasn’t for me and I wanted to pursue starting my own business.

Long story short, it did not go over well and I was faced with a dose of reality. Making this decision led to me to moving out and figuring things out on my own like how I would make money and pursue my career goals.

I will touch on this lightly over time, because of course in 2004 -2005 the laws were nowhere to the point they are now. However, during this time was when I learned how good I could be as a knowledgeable resource for what people needed and how I could go about it relatively unseen and unheard.

I had an internship that turned into a job in Hollywood so my mobility around the city allowed me to be of service to all different types of individuals, that this plant connected me to.

Genuine conversations and interactions with people from different walks of life began to show me how much positive energy was provided with this plant.

I was able to observe California implement medical marijuana laws and start to see a framework that could make sense, instead of the risks I was previously taking.

Fast forward to life around early 2018, I found myself in Ohio trying to land a marketing job with a start-up company. In preparing for the possible relocation, I asked about how the medical cannabis policy would be handled and the job offer was pulled.

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise and one of the primary moments in my life that led me to pursue what it would take for me for me to be able to capitalize in this new emerging LEGAL recreational market in California.

I was aware that less than one percent of people that looked like myself were represented in this new business. However, at the core of what this is, I couldn’t accept not trying. I told myself if I couldn’t find a way to talk to people about the health benefits of cannabis then maybe I need to reconsider everything I’m doing and reset…

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