Aliza Sherman: Community Maker
Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer who transitioned into the cannabis industry after discovering the medicinal properties of the plant while going through menopause in her early 50s. She’s the co-founder of Ellementa with filmmaker and creative Melissa Pierce. Ellementa is a community and educational resource for women interested in plant medicine and other alternative paths to wellness. With a passion for crafting content that empowers and inspires, Aliza hosts “The Ellementa Show,” a weekly podcast where she interviews women who share their wisdom about wellness (Prismatic Plants Founder Sarah Polansky was recently featured on her show).
She is also the author of 12 books including Cannabis and CBD for Health and Wellness, co-authored with cannabis physician Dr. June Chin, and The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, co-authored with nonprofit tech expert, Beth Kanter. Aliza lives and works in Alaska.
"I made it my mission to let more women know about the healing properties of cannabis and to help dispel the myths that have kept this effective medicinal herb from so many people."
PP: How did you first discover plant-based medicine?
In my late 40s and early 50s, I was suffering from debilitating pain, first with two frozen shoulders, then arthritis in my neck that was compounded by menopause-induced insomnia. I was a wreck. Plant medicine wasn’t new to me - I was a huge proponent of natural remedies and had been using echinacea, astragalus, and other herbs since the 1980s when I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Virus in my 20s.
But cannabis? I was a child of the “Just Say No” generation and even won an honorary mention for my science fair display called “Close Encounters of the Worst Kind” where I shared the information I found in books in the library: that marijuana was a gateway drug to heroin. Going to my first cannabis conference focused on women’s health in 2016 turned everything I knew upside down. Realizing that we’ve been misled by our own government about cannabis, I dove into research and was able to access cannabis from a home grower when I moved to a state that had a medical marijuana program with a caregiver model.
The first time I tried it, at night, it worked almost instantly on my pain and helped me sleep through the night. I woke up the next morning and cried with relief. Soon after, I made it my mission to let more women know about the healing properties of cannabis and to help dispel the myths that have kept this effective medicinal herb from so many people.
PP: What is one of your key plant-based medicine rituals?
Because of some personal situations at home, I am not able to consume THC very often, but I’ve become a huge fan of CBD, CBG, and even CBN. I have some favorite CBD oils that I take before my morning coffee. I also enjoy CBD tea. My skincare ritual includes plant-based creams and lotions, some of which are enriched with CBD and CBG like Melt Tension Serum. I’m lucky to be able to test and review CBD products on Ellementa.com and for my podcast so get the chance to try different ones - from oils to salves to bath and beauty products. On the rare occasions that I consume THC, I’ve been accessing it through low-dose edibles and savor those moments of stress relief and relaxation.
PP: Do you have a cultural or ancestral connection to any plants?
My family is Mexican on my mother’s side, from Jalisco. The cannabis plant has been a part of wellness and rituals since ancient times in Mexico. I cannot claim that my own family has had any connection to cannabis, but as I explore my ancestral roots, I am drawn to learning more about the healing power of plants, including psychedelics.
PP: What is the one plant/herb you can’t live without and why?
I credit full-spectrum CBD with relieving both my systemic inflammation and reducing the physical manifestations of stress that I’ve been experiencing. I’ve been going through a great deal of stressful situations in my personal life. I’ve developed Raynaud’s Disease - not the autoimmune version but the stress-induced version - and it can be very painful. Applying high-quality CBD salves to my fingers and toes has helped reduce the inflammation and pain. I turn to CBD on a daily basis to bring relief and fortify myself so I can be a strong and effective caregiver.
"I credit full-spectrum CBD with relieving both my systemic inflammation and reducing the physical manifestations of stress..."
PP: Can you share your favorite self-care practice?
I’m exploring my creativity. I’ve never considered myself an artist but have always loved arts and craft, making art, painting, drawing, working with clay, mixed media. I have no idea what I’m doing half the time, but I work to release my inner critic. I love how art shifts my energy and focus towards creation.
PP: How do you like to use PP in your daily routine?
I’ve just discovered Melt Tension Serum and love using it at the start of my day to help me stay balanced and relaxed. Then I use it at the end of the day and at bedtime to melt away stress and take a moment for myself - to breathe, meditate, and relax.
PP: What is one organization you think people should know about and support?
I am looking for ways I can provide my passion, talents, skills, and abilities to support mental health organizations, particularly ones supporting teens. One that really moved me is To Write Love on Her Arms - https://twloha.com/ - a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA encourages, informs, inspires, and also invests directly into treatment and recovery.