So for those of you who do not know, I have been taking a Cannabis Certification course through taught by a US Doctor named Doctor Selnak. I have copied down pretty much every word that has been said in the course up to this point, and my brain is exhausted.

However, I am so fucking excited! There is so much to learn about this planet, and this plant in particular is especially fascinating. Between terpene profiles and dosing protocols I have discovered a brand new fear, are you ready for it?

Someone one day is going to come to me and they are going to say “Devon, teach me about Cannabis, and how it can make my life better.” And then they are going to expect me to have information that gives them a better quality of life, and no, I am not afraid, I am absolutely bone to the walls petrified.

I am petrified because this is serious. When I was working at the church, my job or part of my job rather, was to pick up the phone and call around looking for recovery options. Once an option was chosen and a person was dropped off at their recovery house or center, my job was done.

This time is very different, I am going to be working side by side people, I am going to be there when they are crying, and freaking out, and having panic attacks and hopefully I’ll be there when they have happy successful moments, but the point is, that there is going to be responsibility to know what I am doing and that terrifies me.

Thankfully, I have a ton of support from EduCanNation, and there are professional Educators and Consultants that I can ask for help, and I do have a bit of a plan.

I hope to work at a dispensary at minimum for 6 months to a year, so that I can work with a team of people who know what they are doing and learn from them, but I also plan to ask some of my educator friends if I can sit in with them and their clients, because I’d like to see how THEY do it, before I try to do it on my own.

I think I know, and I think you’d agree, that the reason I am so passionate about this plant is purely because of how much it has brought to my life, and to the lives of others around me and now I have so many more questions.

I am wondering:

  • Can cannabis actually help people pull away from harder drugs? I think it can because I know a couple of people who used to use hard drugs and alcohol, and now just use cannabis.
  • I am very curious about CBD more so than THC, because I know that THC has an effect on me, but I am really curious to see what effect that CBD might have on me.
  • In terms of dosing the right patient with the right chemovar (strain) how in the fuck do you prepare a patient who might have to try more than a few strains before they find something that works?

There is a lot that I still don’t know, and I still have a couple of courses to get through, I am about half way through the second, and tomorrow marks the end of my first week as a Cannabis student, but there is a part of me that is internally laughing a lot.

Cannabis used to be a thing that a lot of my old friends used to use just to get high, and although they were all incredibly informed about how to use the plant, and what terpenes do what and what not, what they didn’t really get into was the “career” part of cannabis, and for someone who barely smoked at all with other people, to get into the industry I just find it kind of ironic.

My fear was never about the plant itself, it was about the people that I was with, and that was a trauma response. I didn’t know how I would behave on cannabis and I didn’t necessarily trust the people that I was with, and so that part always kept me from smoking on a regular basis.

The few times that I did smoke with other people, usually, something bad happened, and so I tended to stay away from people.

Smoking on my own by myself was a totally different experience though. Smoking by myself absolutely felt empowering, it felt like I was making a decision, that was based on my own desire to sit down and seriously take the time I needed to take to heal.

I am watching Good Girls right now, about three women with children who all have their own issues. Spoiler alert, these women rob stores, they hunt down killers and they fight for their right to exist in a world that is constantly telling them that nothing they do is good enough.

I mean okay that’s one way to take it, the other way to take it is that they are awful people who steal from other people to survive. I mean it’s not like they are donating the money to charity, unless you count themselves as charity.

I think back to the girl who didn’t smoke pot, who used to steal who used to lie, who used to pretend that the girl she WANTED To be didn’t exist, just so that she could pretend she wasn’t fucking miserable, every single day of her entire life.

One of the characters is pissy because a guy she likes is making it clear he’s not into her, and so she lashes out, and I used to do that too, it’s a natural response, and it’s one that a lot of people don’t talk about, but it’s something they have to work on.

It’s a “I’m hurt and embarrassed so I am going to hurt you,” I used to hurt myself a lot in the process of doing that, but in my defense I was sixteen. I am 38 now, and I am looking at my life as if there is a chance that I have a future.

I used to live life as if I didn’t have one, before I started smoking cannabis, purely because I was so used to being raped and abused all the time, that I didn’t think that I had a way out, I just figured that was always going to be my life.

This Cannabis course, and my journey with cannabis has taught me that this doesn’t have to be the case, for me, or for any girl.

I remember working at the church and there was a young woman there who was studying to be a nurse, her boyfriend was out of work due to mental health issues, and so by day she would go to Tim Horton’s and she would spend all day studying, so that she could “find a way out.”

I realized last night that when I was studying, “this” is the thing that I want to do. I want to help other girls find a way out. I want to become a Cannabis Instructor so that one day I can help do other things, like changing the laws on sex work, like changing the laws on Sanctuary for children or foster children who run away from their guardians or parents.

Part of the reason that I am so angry that I couldn’t find help, is that it could have been so much easier, for me intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally, if the people in my life had made a concentrated effort to recognize the signs of child abuse, and made a real effort to help.

When I was a little girl, I was super genuinely smart, like genius level, but what “I” saw as genius, the rest of the world saw as stupid because they didn’t understand the way that my mind works. I didn’t either, because I was a child.

I am an adult now, and cannabis has helped me to connect to that child like version of myself, who was genuinely scared, and alone, and sexually isolated by violation and trauma and abuse.

I swear that I could have been a lawyer, or a doctor, if I’d had teachers who had stopped trying to remind me every day that I was a victim, and instead pushed me to believe that I could surpass that title.

It took the wind out of me to realize that my favorite teacher was a racist, a homophobic woman, and someone willing to let a violent person into our class, knowing she would attack me. And when she did, she didn’t even really apologize, she apologized in the way that taught me she knew that letting that kid in the class was wrong, and she did it anyways, because she didn’t care about my safety.

I remember the anger of that, and I think about all the girls who are still out there. Still living that life of violence, fear, shame, and misery, because the people in their lives are giving up on the potential that these girls might be someone who changes the world.

Because they are girls, because they are poor, because they have bad teeth or eat too much, or LOOK like they eat too much, or find ways to heal from pain that others don’t understand. I was one of those girls, and I know that there were many more before me, and there will be many more after me.

Cannabis helped me realize that the people who hurt children, are a special breed of psychotic, and they have many people on this planet who would rather ignore that pedophiles, rapists, and abusers exist, than stand up for those who are scarred by them.

I don’t want to be that version of myself that I used to hide from the world, I want to be everything that I used to believe I could be, if I had just been given a chance. Someone paid me so that I could take this course, and one day I am going to pay so that someone else can take it.

It’s more than paying it forward, it’s specifically about paying so that another woman of color who recognizes how much cannabis can help them, can take this course. Another girl who wants to be in this town, and working with people who use cannabis for a variety of reasons, who needs a chance to show the world what they are capable of.

In order for me to do that, it means devoting everything that I have to my studies, which means a lot of things that I want to do are taking a back seat to the important stuff.

For the first time in my life I have options, there are different paths that I can take in my world and I’ve never had that before. My only path before was “survive,” now I get this amazing opportunity that will open so many different doors, and I am scared.

I am scared that I will mess up this opportunity, because in the past whenever anything good has happened, something equally or worse bad has happened, the other shoe has ALWAYS dropped.

That life that I was leading, they always said, would lead to one of three places, and that if you tried to get out you’d be dead. Well I’m not dead, I am still here, and there are a lot of girls like me who are still out there trying to survive, and I want to be able to make something of my life, that pushes me into the path of being able to open the doors for other girls.

I don’t need to be sitting at the head of the table, I need to be the one who LITERALLY stands at the door and says “yup, you can come in, and you can come in, and you can come in, and all the girls can come in.”

I don’t want to be so focused on living my life so that I can prove to others that I was right, I want to do stuff that actually matters, and cannabis brought that to me. I have always kind of known that, but now that I am taking this course I am sure of it.

It feels really amazing to have doors open to you, to have some sense of sanity, to have a place in the world again. It took forever to get here, and that’s the part that matters. Healing takes time, and when it’s mental health issues that you’re healing from, it can take even longer, because patience takes a lot of energy and strength out of you.

Good Girl’s is a good show and all but at the end of the day, running around scheming and plotting isn’t for me anymore. I am a grown woman now, and the more that I think about the way that my life is going, the more excited I get about the prospect that there could be an end to gang life, for girls who don’t want to be involved in gang life anymore.

Maybe not in my lifetime, but maybe whatever I do next will inspire the women and girls who look at whatever it is that I end up doing, might be inspired to change the world based on their own experiences.

If Cannabis can help me find myself again, then I can’t wait to see what it helps other people discover about themselves.

Until then, I am sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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