First date: the teen years
My first cannabis experience was when I was 14 years old, sitting in a tree with one of the ‘cool’ girls from school. Like many of my peers, I felt a mix of intrigue and peer pressure at the thought of smoking. I tried it, and ultimately it wasn’t an entirely positive experience.
If I were to be offered cannabis now based solely on that experience, it’s safe to say I would most likely decline. Fortunately, my relationship with cannabis has changed since my first encounter.
I grew up with little education on cannabis, with the general advice to stay away from it, it’s bad for you. I admit that for most of my life I’ve held stigmas and stereotypes about cannabis and the people who consume it, seeing negative effects in the way my siblings consumed when we were teens. While the well-known and loved cannabis anthem ‘Smoke Weed Everyday’, is a song I’ve danced to many times, it doesn’t represent the educated cannabis consuming population that I have gotten to know.
This new understanding of cannabis didn’t happen overnight, and without the right information, and a willingness to learn, it may not have happened at all.
Second date: traveling the world and experimenting in my 20’s
Throughout my twenties I freelanced around the globe in the field of performing arts and movement therapies. Over the years I had many opportunities to consume cannabis, sometimes it was a pleasant experience, other times not so much. I remember a party in Vienna where, already filled with social anxiety, smoking a joint only exemplified these feelings. There’s also memories of the quintessential euphoric moments with friends splitting our sides with laughter. For the most part, and certainly for all of my first encounters, I had no idea what I was consuming or how it would affect my body.
For me it’s from this place of uncertainty, that I developed a negative relationship with cannabis. “It makes me feel paranoid” or “I get social anxiety from it” are just two of the descriptors I hear regularly when I chat about cannabis with friends or people I meet. I resonate with these statements because I once felt the same way.
Looking back, I’m glad I finally took the time to get some “cannabis education” as I learnt how cannabis works in the body, enabling me to maximise its benefits with a consistently positive outcome.
Third time’s a charm: a growing understanding of cannabis health and wellness
It took just six weeks for my cannabis outlook to be entirely transformed. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend six weeks in Canada with my sister Bethany, founder of Flower & Freedom, exploring these other aspects of cannabis. A thought leader in cannabis consumer education, Bethany introduced me to the Canadian world of cannabis dispensaries, events and conferences. With her guidance, a new world of possibility and opportunity opened up to me.
I learnt about the science of cannabinoids and our endocannabinoid system that is perfectly designed to interact with these active compounds. I finally understood that it’s THC that has the strongest psychoactive properties (that euphoric ‘high’ effect) and that CBD is a mostly non-psychoactive compound and can act as an anti-anxiety or pain relief alternative. By opening myself up to a cannabis education, I realised why I was having entirely different reactions when consuming cannabis – from laziness, to giggling hysterically, to feeling exceptionally creative – all of the cannabis I was consuming had different properties and therefore affected my body differently.
I’ve loved discovering the ways to incorporate cannabis into my health & wellness routine. One of the most important lessons was learning about the different methods of consumption and how consuming cannabis doesn’t mean I’m need to smoke a joint, pipe or bong or even having to get high. As a dancer, performer and overall health nut, discovering this was exciting, because I love that I don’t have to smoke cannabis to enjoy it’s effects and various benefits.
I’ve discovered applying cannabis infused skincare, also known as topicals, capsules for convenience, tinctures (as fast acting oil drops under the tongue) and vaporizing for creativity and relaxation. Edibles are one of my favourite ways to consume and I’ll often finish my day with a CBD infused chamomile tea to relax my body and ease me into sleep.
A well informed future
My sister’s guidance helped me to understand how consuming cannabis can support a healthy lifestyle. I can’t wait to share my next story on how I use cannabis to support my physically demanding career as a dance professional & yoga teacher.
I’m excited to join the Flower & Freedom team as an international ambassador, empowering others to explore cannabis as part of a healthy lifestyle.
I believe in a future where cannabis and wellness are intertwined, and negative connotations stay firmly anchored in the past. A future where first experiences aren’t coated with uncertainty and peer pressure, but instead come from a place of informed choice.
I’ve come a long way since the start, and I will continue my relationship with cannabis, based on understanding and trust, building my knowledge and respect for this complex and fascinating plant.
Disclosure: The information shared in this post is a personal experience and not to be considered medical or legal advice. Please consult with a health practitioner and seek legal counsel on the cannabis laws in your area.