My relationship with Cannabis began when my first intimate relationship ended. Cannabis welcomed me with open arms - offering an entrance and an exit -- a portal where I would dive into my journey of self-discovery.
My first experience with Cannabis was when I was 20 years old. Upon that first inhale, sparks most certainly were flying. This feeling was totally new to me: mindfulness. The moments after inhaling were laced with a sense of peace, this beautiful pause that was unfamiliar. I was able to have my thoughts separated into slices of sensuality, self-worth and awareness. The previous years I had spent in a relationship that left me depleted and feeling as if I had lost myself were being swept away, piece by piece, allowing me the time and space to remember how to put myself back together.
As with any relationship, opportunities for growth, evolution, and change present themselves -- and sometimes they require a reflective, constructive break to move forward and/or upward.
When I first began my relationship with Cannabis, I was smoking her -- a lot. Honestly, more than I should have been. It felt like a very one-sided relationship for a few years. I went from smoking and ingesting Cannabis multiple times a day, all day, to not being able to smoke or ingest Cannabis at all. This time came during my senior year of college. Waves of panic and anxiety would pulse through me when I would engage with Cannabis. There was a blockage that I simply did not have the tools to break down.
Shortly before graduation, I was in my dorm room getting ready for class. Suddenly, I started sweating, became dizzy, and had this feeling as if a beach ball was being blown up in my stomach. The most intense pain I had ever felt was washing over me in wild waves that were leaving me doubled over in pain. I couldn’t move. I was scared, I was alone, and I was wondering what was happening to me….
After about an hour of pain-induced fear and nausea, I was able to gather myself from the floor and get on the phone with my mom. She brought me to the hospital where I was told I had an ovarian cyst that had ruptured causing the pain. This event was the first of many ruptured cysts and unbearable menstrual pains in my future.
Two ladies were there for me during this time; my mom and Cannabis. Cannabis and I began working together again. I wasn’t simply using her - we continued our harmonious relationship together down this path of self-discovery and shared knowledge. I instinctively re-introduced Cannabis into my life after this event. Cannabis would help me communicate and understand my body rather than mute the pain. I would be able to momentarily separate myself from the pain so that I could realize the strength I had within myself to endure these moments, and come out of them stronger.
This experience gave me an opportunity to share my story, my relationship with Cannabis, in the hopes that it would resonate with and help another woman on her journey. Using Cannabis is no longer a mindless act for me, and I no longer “use” her. We work together and we hold space for each other in the ways we need it most: for growth and positive change.
While my personal relationship with Cannabis has evolved and changed over the past decade, I have also witnessed the political and public relationship with Cannabis transform. We have quite a long way to go with regard to the injustices imposed on people of color and those imprisoned for nonviolent cannabis-related crimes. With decriminalization and legalization, we have seen steps forward with regard to research and access of information.
I personally look to terpenes pinene, linalool, myrcene and beta caryophyllene when I need a little extra help from my cannabis friends. Both linalool and beta caryophyllene can offer anesthetic and analgesic effects, pinene can offer anti-inflammatory benefits and myrcene can offer the benefit of muscle relaxation and sedation.
I find that having more access to information of the health benefits of cannabis has served me well - some cultivars really help me (especially during my menstrual cycle), whereas some cultivars can make me paranoid or give me a racing feeling rather than relax me. I personally really like the way THC-dominant cultivars distract me from my pains and allow me to get creative rather than be consumed by discomfort. I find that when we have this knowledge available to us, we have power!
I am still on a journey with Cannabis. We are learning from each other and about each other every day.
Interested in learning more about where I am with Cannabis now and how our relationship has further evolved? Catch me on the Women of Cannabis panel at Herbstalk 2019! I will be contributing alongside other strong, fierce women of Cannabis who will share their knowledge and power with you.