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How Cannabis Helped the Transition from Army Medic to Health Coach » Emily Kyle, RD


In this episode, you will meet our guest Britiany who experienced challenges resulting in diagnoses of PTSD and ADHD after a deployment to Afghanistan in 2018. After experiencing freedom in life after the military, she decided to reintroduce cannabis into her life and found that it helped her tremendously. Tune in to hear her journey and how it led her to working passionately as a health coach helping others.

Features

  • Release Date: Monday, September 4, 2023
  • Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 46
  • Special Guest: Britiany Troupe, founder of Bee Able Coaching

Listen To The Episode

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Why You Will Love This Episode

In this episode, Britiany Troupe shares her journey from serving in the Army as a Medic to becoming a health coach, with a focus on how cannabis played a significant role in her transition.

Originally from Texas, Brittany now lives and runs her coaching practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A deployment to Afghanistan in 2018 left Britiany with a range of challenges, resulting in diagnoses of PTSD and ADHD after leaving the Army.

While she was receiving traditional therapy, she decided to reintroduce cannabis into her life and found that it helped offset some of the side effects of her medications.

Through her experience, Britiany has found that cannabis has not only aided her overall health but has also helped reignite her creative spirit.

Join us as we delve deeper into Britiany’s personal journey, uncovering the power of cannabis in improving overall well-being and supporting mental health.

Whether you’re curious about the potential benefits of cannabis or simply looking for inspiration on your own path of self-discovery, this episode is sure to leave you informed and inspired.

Full Transcript

Britiany: You can find so much more beauty and excellence in the world because you’re tuned into it. You’re mindful; you are paying more attention.

Announcer: Welcome to the Well With Cannabis Podcast, a show dedicated to telling the life-changing stories of those who live well with cannabis all while teaching you how to do the same. Meet your host, Emily Kyle, a registered dietitian nutritionist turned certified holistic cannabis practitioner. Emily changed her life for the better with the help of the cannabis plant, and now she’s committed to helping others do the same.

Tune in each week to hear heartwarming stories and gain the knowledge you need to feel connected, inspired, and supported on your own cannabis journey. Whether you’re a new cannabis consumer or a lifetime lover, you’ll benefit from these uplifting tales of real-life journeys that will show you how you, too, can live your best life well with cannabis.

Disclaimer: Hi there. Before we jump into today’s episode, I wanted to share a note on potentially sensitive content. The episodes on the Well With Cannabis Podcast are created for adult audiences only. We will, at times, cover sensitive topics, including but not limited to suicide, abuse, mental illness, sex, drugs, alcohol, psychedelics, and the obvious use of plant medicine. Explicit language may be used occasionally. Please refrain from watching or listening to the show if you’re likely to be offended or adversely impacted by any of these topics.

The information on this show is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. If any of the content on this podcast has brought up anything for you, please reach out or speak to a professional or someone you trust.

Emily: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Well With Cannabis Podcast. I am excited. We are here today with Ms. Britiany Troupe, who is a health and wellness coach. She was formerly in the army. Thank you so much for your service and welcome. Thank you so much for sharing your cannabis journey with us here today. Thank you. So please tell us a little bit about your past because it’s probably very different from your current life.

Britiany: Yeah. I grew up in rural East Texas and lived in a small town. I wanted to get away. My mom told me that I needed to go to college. So I did and floundered around for a couple of years. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, and then I got to a point where I was running out of money and time and didn’t really know what to do. That put me in a position to join the Army. I was a medic for four years. When I was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado, I met my husband. We bought a house, got a dog, and I did my time in the Army. When I got out, I went back to school

Emily: That is amazing. Thank you so much for your service. I can’t imagine what the transition from Texas to Colorado looks like. Was it a big lifestyle change for you?

Britiany: Yeah, it definitely was. I live in Colorado Springs, which is a pretty big city, compared to where I grew up. I really like how very neighborly everything is out here. If you’re on the West side, then you’re hanging out with the West side people. You can go to different parts of the city and feel like you’re in a different place, but your neighborhood is very homey. The snow was an adjustment. I don’t think I’d ever seen more than a quarter inch of snow in my whole life.

Emily: I grew up with snow. I prefer to never see it again, but I grew up with it. So I can’t imagine what it’d be like to see it for the first time. Now. Texas is not cannabis-friendly, but Colorado is quite the opposite. Where does cannabis come into your life? What is your first experience with it and how do you get to a point where it’s more medicine than recreation? 

Britiany: I definitely tried it as a high-schooler, but it’s very risky in Texas. I’ve had a couple of friends back home get in trouble for possession, which affected them later in their careers. I was very careful and very good at risk management. I did a ton of research before trying it, thinking it must be illegal for a reason. It is a drug, and the D.A.R.E. program still exists. I researched for about six months and learned that it has a lot of good benefits. I did it, and it was fine. 

Britiany: It wasn’t until I got out to Colorado after serving in the Army that I decided to experience it again. Now I’m out of the Army. It’s fully legal. It’s been 10 years since I’ve messed with it at all. I spent a couple of months just going crazy with it since I get to choose my own lifestyle now after serving in the Army. I was diagnosed with PTSD and ADHD when I left the military, and the ADHD medicine made me lose my appetite. I lost a lot of weight, and I’m already a pretty thin person to begin with. Mostly, I use cannabis to help keep my appetite up so that I can have energy. That’s when it became medicine for me.

Emily: That’s awesome. Did you go the medicinal card route, or did you not really need to in Colorado?

Britiany: I didn’t need to. I did consider it initially because I thought it made sense to get one. But at the time, my understanding was that you could not hold a medical marijuana card and hold a concealed carry license. That’s not the case now, but it can still be denied if they suspect some things of you, any addiction or illegal use. That still freaks me out.

Emily: Yeah, totally. I completely agree. And when you’re in Colorado, you have access to almost everything you need; it’s easy to walk into a dispensary. Do you remember your first time walking into a dispensary out there? What was it like?

Britiany: Yeah, it was very cool. It was insane to be surrounded by things that are illegal where I’m from. I had never seen the products that they carried! They had colas, and I thought it would be brownies or cookies like your friend makes, but it was very different to walk in and see the professional packaging. 

Emily: Were the budtenders helpful? Did you ask them questions?

Britiany: Absolutely. They explained about different products, how THC is bound to lipids in one thing, so it’s slower to metabolize, and how another one is quick-acting because it’s bound to starch. I thought that was cool.

Emily: So what does life look like today? How do you use cannabis in your overall health and wellness picture?

Britiany: I use it mostly to keep up with my appetite, but I like to use it in the evening when working on my business or just in my creative ventures. I think it gives me a little bit of an edge, almost a little performance-enhancing. I would say that I’m a pretty creative person, but being able to get into my head and remove my inhibitions is great. I’m not second-guessing or putting down my ideas. I’ve come up with so many great things in my life, my home, and my business that might have taken a lot longer to come to without the help of cannabis.

Emily: Isn’t that so exciting? We come to cannabis for one thing, whether it be appetite help with pain relief, or whatever people come with. But then we find these extra special things that it can do for us. And so many people say creativity. I feel like that’s a really untapped potential for so many people.

Emily: I was talking to a lady, and she said, “I lived 48 years of my life, and I didn’t know I could paint.” She showed me these paintings, and she’s an incredible painter. And for so many of us, especially as adult life sets in, we let go of our creative ventures and have the enjoyment to come back to it again. It feels so good. Do you agree?

Britiany: Yeah, absolutely. I earned my degree in Lifestyle Medicine back in May. When I was going through the courses, I took a holistic health course. We talked a lot about creativity and its link with spirituality. I deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2018, and although it was a relatively safe deployment, I saw more than I expected. It affected me in ways I didn’t realize until I got back, and part of that was a loss of faith and disconnection from people. I was socially isolated and reflecting on how that could happen. As I started losing the spiritual piece of my life, I also disconnected from creativity. I realized there was a connection when I took that holistic health class, and knowing that cannabis could pull in that creativity, it all came together for me.

Emily: That’s amazing. And I’d love to talk a little bit about how you’re moving into health and wellness coaching. How does cannabis really fuel that whole lifestyle? It’s really like a missing puzzle piece for a lot of people. What does coaching look like as you’re working with people? 

Britiany: I don’t coach anyone on cannabis use, although I use it myself and work with clients who use it. We don’t talk in-depth about it because I don’t consider myself an expert on the topic, but I’m absolutely open to it. I don’t revolve my coaching style or business around it.

Britiany: Even in Colorado, even in the healthcare community, they’ll still drug test you, so you can’t use cannabis. It’s still federally illegal. Sometimes, I wonder if I should talk about it because people still have strong opinions and are a little more conservative in Colorado Springs. They took a vote on it this past November, and they did not pass allowing recreational marijuana shops in the city limits, so you have to go somewhere else in Colorado Springs to buy recreational cannabis. Part of that is that there is a huge military presence here, and they don’t want it around their soldiers. 

Emily: How does that look these days? You’re out of the military. Do you feel any type of way being a cannabis consumer? Is it like the military is your past life, and this is your new life, and you’re moving forward?

Britiany: It’s really hard to separate it. Even though it was only four years of my life, it was a huge part of my personal development. The military was the first time I had ever faced any adversity, that I had ever had to overcome something. It was difficult but so rewarding, so it’s hard to separate that.

 Britiany: I know many veterans who have stuck around here and gone into the industry, working in grow ops or as budtenders. They’re using it themselves either for fun or for chronic illnesses, diseases, chronic pain, and those sorts of things. I was in an infantry unit, and many of the guys I worked with have many of those injuries, and some of them that are out of the military use cannabis today.

Emily: I’ve had the opportunity to interview many veterans on this show, and it’s amazing to me that there is a lot of cannabis use in the veteran community, even though it might not be as widely discussed.  In my opinion, this has been a very bright spot for a lot of people, and that’s why I’m so glad you’re here talking about this with us as well. If there’s something out there that could help our veterans in mental and physical capacities, I want everybody to know. You say that it helps you, too, is just one more step toward getting people the help they need. I really appreciate you coming here and sharing that with us, too.

Britiany: Yeah, I think it’s very important, and it was, I’ll be honest, a little bit of a toss-up for me. Do I want to associate myself with cannabis in a public form? In 2023, you can’t take it back, but at the same time, I began thinking about the mental health journey that I saw a lot of soldiers going on. We had, I think, 3 different soldiers in our unit within a year or so of returning from our deployment who had lost their lives to suicide.

Britiany: And when that started happening, I realized nobody’s talking about the fact that we have symptoms of PTSD within this unit. Nobody’s talking about the fact that there is something going on here. And if we were all talking about it, there wouldn’t be a stigma around it because we’d all realize we’re in the same boat and we need to figure this out together.

Britiany: But since it has a stigma, people are still dying from suicide. And I just applied that to this as well. If we keep treating it like it’s some horrible, bad thing that’s so illegal, we’re just going to be all living under rocks, separated from each other. We’re never going to know how many people out there are actually using this, how many people are actually getting benefits from this. We have to share our stories, or else we can’t connect. We can’t create a community. 

Emily: I’m so glad you came here to share that because I feel like if I were you, it would be hard to do, and I really appreciate you doing it. And it’s my hope that somebody listening, whether a veteran or not, hears this, and it impacts them and gives them an opportunity to try something different. Like you said, we want to share so that other people can experience the benefits we’ve found.

Britiany: Yeah, exactly. 

Emily: If you could give one piece of advice to our veterans or even active service members who are really wondering if cannabis is right for them or if they should give it a try, what would your advice be to them? 

Britiany: My advice would be to get in touch with yourself first. Start with who you are and what your values are. What are the things about you that are non-negotiable? If you feel that cannabis fits within that, then you should try it. Whether you try it with somebody who’s experienced or jump straight in head first, I don’t know the answer to that one.

Britiany: But I would say that it’s worth giving it a shot if you have pains if you have mental health issues, or if you want to have a nice or interesting experience. It’s good to have other experiences and get new perspectives on life. You may learn something about yourself. You may have a good time, or you may hate it. That’s totally up to you, but you’ll not know until you try it. 

Emily: That’s perfect. I want to talk about how we pull health and wellness together before I let you go because, as you work as a health coach, you’re working on all sorts of lifestyle interventions. I always tell people cannabis is like a tool in the holistic wellness tool belt. It’s not the only tool, but it makes all the others work well together. There’s such a stigma that if someone uses cannabis, they’re lazy, don’t exercise, or eat well. I feel like, for a lot of people, it’s actually the opposite. It fuels exercise. It fuels better eating. In your experience as a health coach and someone who uses cannabis, do you think it helps or hurts a healthy lifestyle?

Britiany: I believe everything should be done in moderation. With that said, there are obviously healthier ways to consume cannabis. For instance, while I enjoy smoking cannabis occasionally, I try not to smoke very much because it is inflammatory and can damage your lungs. I prefer edibles.

Britiany: But golly, yeah, there have been times where I’m like, “I’m ready to go to the gym, and it’s going to be a rough one today.” Then maybe I’ll have a little something before I go. That way, I’m just there and into it. I’m having a better time if I’m going to do something I don’t enjoy doing anyway. Or if I’m going to do something that I really enjoy, like hiking, it gives me an enhancement.

Britiany: You also have better conversations when you’re with a group of people; you’re more open to having different conversations. It’s not so gossipy. It’s not so newsy. It’s more of the deep stuff whenever you have a little cannabis in your system. So for me, you as a user, that’s how I operate. 

Britiany: As a health and wellness coach, I feel everyone should be the expert in their life. They should know who they are and how they respond and act to it. There are people that have allergies. There are people who develop hyperemesis. Just as with anything else, you have to know your body; you have to know yourself. And then, if you try it and you love it, that’s one thing. And if you try it and hate it, that’s a whole other thing, but everything is in moderation. 

Emily: Perfect. I have to say, I can’t stop thinking about cannabis and hiking. There’s something so amazing about cannabis and nature, whether or not physical activity is involved. If anyone’s never used cannabis and gone outside for a walk, the wind feels better; the smells are smellier. I can’t even describe it. Do you feel the same way?  

Britiany: Yeah, absolutely. You can find so much more beauty and excellence in the world because you’re tuned into it. You’re mindful. You are paying more attention. That’s, I think, why people say it makes them anxious. I’ve heard that before. I was anxious, too, the first time I did it because it was illegal. As somebody who uses it now in a space where it is legal, hiking with a little bit of cannabis in your system is fantastic. It’s just an enjoyable experience.

Emily: You also mentioned social outings. For a lot of people, like me, it alleviates that social anxiety. If I didn’t have cannabis, I’d probably be really quiet. I don’t know if I’d be as open and friendly to meeting strangers and other people, but with a little bit of cannabis, I’m a fun person. I can get to know people. It just takes that edge off of social interactions, too.

Britiany: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And that goes back to even with my self-talk, releasing my inhibitions to be more creative. It’s the same with other people because it’s a group setting where everybody’s involved, everybody’s using cannabis, then we’re in this together. We’re all on the same page. We’re not being judgy. We’re not being anything. We’re just buzzed, hanging out, doing a hike. 

Emily: It’s a beautiful thing. And then people, it’s just like coming together. I feel like the plant brings people and brings us here together, bringing people into these conversations. It is a really special thing. And I feel like on a human level, we need so much more of that compassion, the empathy, the gratitude that comes along with cannabis use. Everyone needs a dose of that. Don’t you think? 

Britiany: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And some people are capable of finding that within themselves without anything. I’m not one of those people. I’m not a morning person, but there are certain things that, if I have a little cannabis, I’m a lot more open to doing other things, doing harder things, and having really nice interactions with people. 

Emily: What a beautiful thing. I love the cannabis plant. It just has so many hidden values and purposes and joys to it. I’m so glad you came here to share your experience with the plant and be open and honest with us. I want to be respectful of your time, but I also want to ask you the same four questions I ask everybody. Are you ready for them?

Britiany: Yeah.

Emily: All right. The first one. What are you most proud of in your whole life to date?

Britiany: I would say I am most proud of going through my military experience. When I went in, I didn’t really have a choice of my job. I was told I would be a medic. And at the time, I was afraid of my own blood, so I had to overcome that. And I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to. I really wasn’t sure if I would push through that and be good at what I did. I became excellent at what I did and overcame that fear. I felt like if I could overcome something I had struggled with my whole life, I could do anything I wanted.

Emily: That is beautiful. I can’t even imagine being told that was your job if you’re afraid of blood. Oh, my goodness. Next, if you didn’t have cannabis in your life, what do you think your life would look like? 

Britiany: I think I would struggle more with my appetite and weight. I would probably be struggling with my confidence in my business because I might not have come up with as many good ideas. My house wouldn’t look as nice because I may not have put in the time and thought about how to make it pretty. 

Emily: If you could go back 30 years ago and give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be?

Britiany: My piece of advice to myself, 10, 20, 30 years… I’m 30 years old, so 10 years ago, I would probably have told myself I would be fine. I would have told myself that I don’t have to subscribe to the lifestyle that everybody in this town subscribes to, and there’s way more out there. There’s way more in the world. Go seek it out. To learn about it. Even if you don’t like it, go learn about it so that you have all the knowledge and all the tools in your tool belt to make confident decisions for your life. 

Emily: I love that. Last one. If you could be remembered for just one thing in the cannabis space, what would it be?

Britiany: In the cannabis space?

Emily: Here with this interview or somewhere bigger, better down the line, if you could impact somebody with cannabis specifically, what would it be? 

Britiany: I would say that I would want to take an approach where people can trust me to tell me that they are using cannabis. Working in the healthcare field as a health and wellness coach, you’re working with medical providers, and I hope that I can make an impact on someone and gain their trust that I can help them, not judge them.

Emily: I’ll bet you do that with your health coaching business now. If people want to learn more about you, where can they find you?

Britiany: I’m on all the social media pages. My website is BeeAbleCoaching.com. That’s where I’ve got my story that goes more in-depth about how I came into the army and all of that.  

Emily: Amazing. I’m going to put the link so everybody can find you, learn more about you, and contact you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for your service to our country. And thank you for sharing your experience here with us. I hope it reaches the right people. I know it’s hard, and you’re really brave, and it’s such a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much. 

Britiany: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Announcer: Congratulations, you’ve finished another episode of the Well With Cannabis Podcast and are one step closer to discovering how you, too, can live well with cannabis.

Thank you for listening in today. We hope this episode has been a helpful and informative one. Please visit emilykylenutrition.com for more information on today’s show, show notes, guest information, recipes, and other resources.

If you want more support and encouragement on your cannabis journey, please consider joining the private Well With Cannabis Community. In this group, you can connect with like-minded individuals focused on improving their health and wellness through cannabis.

Join the group today to continue your journey of wellness together!

Cover art for the Well With Cannabis Podcast featuring Emily Kyle standing in a cannabis garden.



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