Write everything down!!! Your happy and sad moments, the times you were proud, the times you have regret. You’re on a journey that will completely transform your life and the chemo/radiation will make your brain forget what an opportunity this is for you.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today. As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Courtright.

Michelle Courtright is Founder and CEO of JANE, a low-dose cannabis brand helping women fight menopausal symptoms and other health impacts. She has been an entrepreneur since she was 25, actively involved in the plant-based movement and its effect on climate change. As owner of Fig + Farro restaurant, she was selected as a United Nations delegate at COP24, and serves as a consultant to Support + Feed. In 2017 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and found that cannabis helped tremendously with pain relief, insomnia, and early onset menopause. After developing a cannabis culinary tincture called High Standards, she started to formulate JANE in 2023.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! We really appreciate the courage it takes to publicly share your story. Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your background and your childhood backstory?

I’m just a girl from Colorado with big dreams. I started my first “Pet Rocks” business in 6th grade and never looked back. After attending what my dad still refers to as a “good Lutheran college” in Minnesota, I’ve lived here in Minneapolis for over 20 years, raising three amazing kids. I’ve continued my journey as an entrepreneur, first as a partner at a product design agency, later as a restaurant owner and now a (legal) drug dealer!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Funny — I take my kids out for “Life Lessons Brunch” every week to talk about sex, drugs, and anything else they want to discuss. But my actual “Life Lessons” quote I use often is: A comeback is just a setback that learned its lesson. Resiliency is so important.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer?

Thank you for asking, actually! For a long time, I didn’t want to share my cancer story because I had opened a restaurant and I didn’t want people to focus on this bad thing that had happened to me. I remember a reporter covered my restaurant and used my bald chemo spots for the b-roll, I was so embarrassed. But soon after, I realized how short and amazing life is after the cancer diagnosis, it was that energy and momentum that got me to open the restaurant I had been dreaming about for years.

The back story on how I found out that I had cancer is that I came to my primary doctor when I was 40. I asked for a mammogram but he said it was not recommended/needed at my age, despite the fact that I had two aunts pass away from breast cancer on my paternal side. A few months later, I felt a marble sized lump in my breast that was not picked up by a mammogram or a 3D mammogram. It wasn’t until we did an ultrasound and biopsy that we knew it was cancer. Life lesson: advocate for yourself!

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

Yeah, it was pretty terrifying. My oncologist said that if Herceptin hadn’t been brought to market a few years earlier, I would have died within the year. I was raising three kids and owned a business with employees depending on me, and I couldn’t imagine leaving everyone behind. At one point, my port was hurting so bad that blood would spurt in the air when they did infusions, and I had a tiny amount of white blood cells left after an infection brought me to the hospital for a week. Thankfully the hospital support dog Rocket was able to fix everything, and assured me that Michael Myers does not, in fact, stalk women in hospitals while they are on Morphine.

How did you react in the short term? I actually laughed when I heard the diagnosis (is that a coping mechanism?

I have no idea), then I saw the look on the faces of my then husband and business partner, who were both on the conference call with the oncologist, and I became terrified. We already had a trip planned the next day for a family visit in Israel, so they advised me to spend the next three weeks enjoying my family, and have an occasional secret cigarette with my mother-in-law.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

I had this thing every time I went in for chemotherapy; I’d take a Xanax, load a bunch of heated blankets on my legs with the help of the insanely cool nurse team, and play Two Not Touch (like Sudoku, but even more addictive). I was having a lot of trouble with the medications not helping with the pain and nausea, so I started taking cannabis every day. I learned about our endocannabinoid system and how we naturally have receptors that respond to THC and CBD. The pot saved me, seriously. I was able to relax, laugh, have creative flow, and it even cured my racing-mom-mind-insomnia I’d had for years. At this time I also started reading books on plant DNA and the spiritual connections we have with other plants like mushrooms and ayahuasca. Pretty interesting stuff to research as you are considering your own mortality.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

Although we are not together anymore, I give full credit to my ex-husband. He somehow managed the kids, coordinated all the friends and family, took me to every appointment and still somehow managed to work a very busy job. After I opened my restaurant, I was still going through chemo and he helped bus tables and help in the dish pit. He was incredible.

In my own cancer struggle, I sometimes used the idea of embodiment to help me cope. Let’s take a minute to look at cancer from an embodiment perspective. If your cancer had a message for you, what do you think it would want or say? Absolutely and glad you brought up embodiment. In the most negative sense, I could understand why the cancer was there. I was stressed that Trump had recently taken office, I was dealing with a lot of work stress, and my best friend was in an abusive relationship. I felt like the stress brought on the cancer. After I processed this, It really helped to let things go, and it really did completely change my whole life paradigm. You’re more empathetic and understand more of the concept that hurt people are the ones who try to hurt others. I had a lot of subsequent brain issues from the chemo, so I learned to be less hard on myself and give me time to cry and sleep and be creative, and occasionally play hooky from work. Maybe cancer is just here to change all of us from being a bunch of assholes and really appreciate all the good things we have around us. (I totally understand if this whole interview needs to be redacted). I am really interested in your cancer journey and your experience with embodiment. Let’s chat!

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

Oh man, cancer just takes the whole story you’ve been telling yourself all this time, and sets it on fire- nobody cares about what shoes you’re wearing or where you’re going on vacation, or how successful you are. If they are a true friend, they are right by your bedside holding your hand when you don’t have any eyebrows, let alone any makeup on.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

I invested every dime of the sale of my agency to open a plant-based restaurant with a mission to educate people on food and climate change. Instead of trying to negotiate the lowest wage possible, we pooled profits and supported back of house needs like child care and maternity leave. Although our restaurant did not survive COVID and uprising from the murder of George Floyd in our neighborhood, I opened a gallery for artists that were struggling.

Additionally, earlier this year, I wanted to bring the healing element of cannabis to other women — which led me to found JANE. Throughout my experience, I learned that everyone needs a hand, everyone deserves love, and as the Hold Steady always says, you gotta Stay Positive.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

I’ve learned that as amazing as western medicine can be in curing cancer, it often feels like a sledgehammer to a fly analogy. I am not claiming you can cure cancer only with nutrition and intention either. I really want people to find experienced professionals who can help them through this journey- whether it’s oncologists who are willing to explore new immunotherapies, energy healers for Reiki, or just that amazing friend that makes you laugh like crazy.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

Write everything down!!! Your happy and sad moments, the times you were proud, the times you have regret. You’re on a journey that will completely transform your life and the chemo/radiation will make your brain forget what an opportunity this is for you.

This is one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through, but don’t squander this time. You have been given a rare glimpse of how to see the world with humility, respect and kindness. Use this opportunity to reconnect with yourself and past relationships. I wrote letters to people I felt a level of regret, and was able to make things right. This is a beautiful opportunity to see life with fresh eyes, despite how you’re feeling physically.

Remove yourself from toxic relationships and stressful situations. This may have gotten you here in the first place. Reduce your screen time and news, and replace it with walks in nature and time with your family. Be gentle with yourself and others.

Write that novel, say I love you to that person, write a business plan for that idea you never pursued. You need something to occupy your thoughts in a positive direction and create a new narrative when you’re on the other side of this.

Explore non-traditional medicine like CBD, THC, and mushrooms. Try acupuncture and energy healing. I had a great Reiki practitioner that helped clear the concrete feeling in my brain caused by the chemo. Eat a mostly plant-based diet with organic and local foods.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

I used my opportunity to reach out to people about the impact of food on this planet. We can’t continue to live in a world of decay, stress and hyper-capitalism. I was able to examine my values as an entrepreneur and align them better with a worldview that promotes love and kindness. I hope everyone can understand that the way they consume directly impacts the health of our family, community and planet.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

I’m such a policy dork on climate change that it would probably be Leo DiCaprio for all his work in this space. Or I’d make brunch for Martha and Snoop with my THC culinary tinctures..

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Follow us on Instagram @welovejane.co

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health! Thank you and good luck in your journey!!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.