Born in Nigeria, Dr. Lola Ohonba has a unique perspective on plant medicine. She understands traditional uses, that deep knowledge passed down by generations—but she’s also a Western-educated pharmacist, a biologist and chemist, well trained in hard science. Her desire to share that perspective spurred her to found WCI Health after a successful career in pharmacy.
“After the passage of the Farm Bill, you saw CBD everywhere,” she says, “and I felt like there needs to be education in the space. Education is the key.”
WCI Health does just that, drawing on the experience Ohonba (Dr. O, as she’s known) has in both worlds to help those who want to try to use botanicals, cannabis, and psychedelics as medicine make the right decisions. And Dr. O has become a prominent voice in the effort to de-stigmatize plant medicine as a public speaker as well as the author of the bestselling book A Pharmacist’s Guide to Cannabis: Perspectives of a Non-conformist Clinician and the host of the podcast “Let’s Talk Plant Medicine: Cannabis, Psychedelics, and Pharmaceutics.”
Beyond advocating for new perspectives on alternative medicine on these platforms, Dr. O is seeking to bring diversity and inclusion to the space. “I preach equity,” she says. Dr. O suffered from a disability that limited her movement as a child and that experience gave her a unique empathy for those who feel as if they have no hope when it comes to finding relief from debilitating conditions. She’s especially focused on those with disabilities and those who served in the military and suffer from PTSD. She defines equity as making sure anyone in need is equipped with the knowledge to find healing.
“Very few people have the background of knowing how plant medicine works and how conventional medicine works,” she says. “I’m able to break it down to the average person’s level without the medical jargon. I can say, ‘This is medicine and I have science to back it up.’”