. Legal Note: You must be of legal age, or have a medical dispensation to use cannabis in your area. The information here is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional and is only intended for educational purposes from one patient to others.
End of Disclaimer
Lots of people – myself included – dive into using cannabis the way that we would when we’re at a party, even though the purpose for using cannabis isn’t purely to get high, but to help us deal with a variety of other issues.
Most people who use cannabis are more interested in the healing properties, than they are in the recreational purposes for the plant, and that means that a lot of times they are smoking the wrong cultivars that aren’t precisely tuned to what it is that you actually need cannabis for.
In my case I knew I needed something to help with my mental health issues, but I also knew that letting myself sink into a bottle, wasn’t going to be conducive to me escaping the mental mind fuck that is PTSD, trauma, anxiety, depression, and the like. It just wasn’t possible to deal with all those overwhelming emotions, and be able to function while being drunk all the time.
So to that end, I’ve been thinking about my “ideal client,” and it occurred to me that there are a lot of things that people don’t know about cannabis that are preventing them from getting the medicine that they need to heal, so here are some things to think about before trying cannabis for the first time.
When I started smoking cannabis, I was fully prepared for what was going to come out of my head, because I knew that the kind of trauma that I had experienced needed to be expelled.
What I was not prepared for however, was the sheer volume of inspiration that would come my way. Instead of thinking “I can’t paint/draw/dance,” any longer, I did all of those things, purely because “I” wanted to do them, and I didn’t care that anyone thought dancing around my house was weird, or that it meant my mom constantly thought me being happy was the same thing as being manic. I had been miserable for so long, few people knew how to handle seeing me an actual happy and functioning person.
“I don’t smoke pot, and I’m glad because then I can champion it without special pleading. The reason I don’t smoke it is because it facilitates ideas and heightens sensations-and I’ve got enough shit flying through my head without smoking pot.”
― Lenny Bruce, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People
This idea that I was suddenly “manic” because I’d gone from being absolutely miserable, to being someone who was creating a dream out of a pile of literal bullshit, scared people. They were used to me doing what I was told to, and completely not used to me saying “no.” In fact people were very surprised when I started using the word, and now it’s something that I say a lot. It’s Often salted with a “no thank you,” but it’s a no, none the less.
Cannabis is not going to change everything about you, it’s going to change everything about your life. Are you prepared to become your true self? Because it’s a lot of work to get rid of all that crap you’ve been holding onto.
Cannabis didn’t change my life. The decision to choose cannabis, a natural herb, over alcohol, a distilled chemical, is what changed my life. If I’d started drinking when all the memories started coming back, I’d be dead. I’d have killed myself, and no one on this planet would have blamed me.
Instead I have become the artist that I always wanted to be, but was constantly held back from being, by people who were terrified of what might happen if I’d embraced my full self.
Cannabis is absolutely not for everyone, without supervision, in some cases. There are a lot of people who cannot for a variety of reasons, use cannabis. That’s largely because of the way that cannabis chemically alters your body chemistry, from the toes to the brain. Cannabis has an effect on every single part of your body, and if you are not mentally prepared, the results can be diasterous, this is true. However, there are ways to moderate your use so that you do not have the adverse effects people are constantly warning you about, such as:
- Use low amounts at slow intervals. In the morning when I smoke before I start work I usually only have two or three puffs, and then I pepper the day with a puff here or there. If I’ve had a particularly bad or hard day I might smoke a full joint at the end of the day, but that’s rare because I don’t often enjoy being “too high.” Low and slow helps me to stay functional, while also helping to calm the nervous energy that I live with due to PTSD.
- Use when someone you trust is home, or around. Some people (youth specifically) use edibles throughout the day, and while there is nothing wrong with that, when you’re starting out, it may help to have someone who is sober around when you first start, to help track your process, and make sure you don’t get the adverse effects of being too high.
- Know your cultivar. Knowing what strains you are using can be a great help. To date the most famous strain by strain website is Leafly, but most cannabis instructors don’t really go by that site purely because the effects will be different for everyone. That being said it’s never a bad idea to research different cultivar strains, learn where they come from, and the best purposes for their use.
I’ll be talking more about this in the future, but when I say “prepare your space,” I mean that genuinely.
Rolling tables are kind of imperative if you’re smoking on the regular, because otherwise if you have animals who like to lick everything, raw cannabis can get everywhere, and that’s never good. So grab your roller, your papers, and your canna, and sit and think about what you want the cannabis to do. Does this help it work more? I don’t fucking know, but I know I feel better, when I take the time to be genuinely appreciative of my rolling time, by taking my time instead of rushing it.
Preparing your space, body, mind, and soul, for your cannabis use turns it into a ritual and sets the intention for your use. It just makes it so much better.
Cannabis Medicine vs Cannabis Party Drug
Okay here’s the thing. Everyone who is an artist, who sings on stage, or who plays an instrument knows that smoking a little canna before a performance can make everything feel ten times better, however, sometimes? It can make you look like a complete fool, and add to all the things that you’re trying to hide, so when you’re using cannabis, it’s probably not a great thing to be doing if you’re a cop with an access to a gun all day, right?
Knowing what you’re using is imperative. Especially in the days of covid you really do NOT want to be sharing joints, if only because honestly? Ew, but also and more importantly, you have no idea what someone might have decided to add to the cannabis.
I had an old boyfriend who once put ketamine in a joint he’d given me to smoke, I didn’t think anything of it, until I had him curled in a corner as I hit him in the head with my fists, I had completely blacked out and when I pulled myself away from him I was shaky and terrified. I’ve never done it since, and I’ll never share a joint again, but that’s just one scary event that happened to me.
If you want to smoke cannabis at a party, bring your own, and enjoy bringing your own, yes ritually speaking it can be fun to smoke with others, but honestly, it can also be downright terrifying. I’ve been abused more than once by people I’ve smoked with, and so I have a hard and fast rule. I don’t share my joints, and I don’t smoke around strangers.
Know Your Dispensary
I cannot stress this enough. A former dispensary owner I knew once showed up to work with bruises all over his face, largely because his shop was illegal and his practices were certainly illegal. I used this dispensary for awhile and almost every high I got from the cannabis I bought there felt tainted, because the cannabis wasn’t clean. There are places you can go to get your drugs tested, in BC and Canada you can use Get Your Drugs Tested, which is a super badass company that helps people make sure their supply is clean.
And by clean I don’t just mean that illicit dispensary owners are supplying tainted cannabis, we’re also talking about pesticides and other chemicals that affect the cannabis. Knowing the people who work at your dispensary, and the questions they are and unable to answer will go a long way to enhancing your cannabis experience.
It’s difficult for me to imagine using a public dispensary now because I use a private club, BUT that being said, I trust this particular club, because I’ve been using them for three years. The delivery people are always kind and wonderful and they have no problem answering questions. WeedMaps.Com has a wide variety of dispensaries and legal delivery options for those of you who can’t get to a shop, with a ton of great customer reviews, and they have a list that spans most of North America.
Alternatively, if your focus is on using cannabis purely for medicinal reasons, check into a local compassion club. Not only do they sell cannabis, but the Bud Tenders can often give you more advice and point you in healthier direction, then recreational Bud Tenders, largely because they are patients themselves. In British Columbia I highly recommend the BC Compassion Club, their Bud Tenders are very well informed and many of them have their own personal experience with medicinal cannabis.
There are a lot of really great programs out there that will educate you about cannabis. In British Columbia there are a handful of cannabis educators who will teach you where to go, how to find what you need, and help you refine your medicinal goals. If you’d like me to recommend a few please feel free to contact me using the form below.
If you’re looking to educate yourself however, decide what it is you want to learn, and go from there.
There is absolutely ZERO reason not to educate YOURSELF if you can, except laziness.
Are you wanting to learn more about strains? Whether Cannabis Educators like it or not, Leafly is a great place to learn strain names, and to hear what the public is saying about those cultivars. While I’d take the information with a grain of salt, I will say, it’s a helpful tool to have, and allows you to connect with others who are using.
EudCanNation is another great site because they have access to Educators from around Canada, and in some cases, North America.
You can also check out my upcoming site Six Oh Four North which will have a referral option for new patients looking to find a cannabis educator, consultant, or facilitator in their area.
I hope this post answered some of your questions, and I look forward to hearing about your cannabis journey’s in the future. If you’re still on the ledge about whether or not cannabis is right for you, we can absolutely set up a free discovery call where I am offering 30 minutes of time for free, to discuss your options.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
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