I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia and like many of my peers, I consumed throughout my teens and into my twenties. I actually considered myself a cannabis “expert” before I moved to Vancouver almost a year ago. I had my fair share of good and bad experiences, from an acute onset of the giggles with my girlfriends (very enjoyable) to the first time my mum caught us lighting a joint in the backyard – not so enjoyable.
At university I watched a documentary about the the war on drugs, and agreed that cannabis had been unfairly lumped into this category. I listened attentively as my husband relayed the difference between THC & CBD – straight out of the new book he was reading, A History of Cannabis. I vaguely understood the concept of cannabis strains, but personally never had to make the distinction – you get what you’re given back home. But to be perfectly honest, over the last few years my cannabis consuming days have been few and far between.
Yet, it was through these experiences, for a long while, that I thought of myself as reasonably well-versed in cannabis. It wasn’t until I arrived in Vancouver that I realised how absurd this statement really was.
I consider myself to be a health conscious individual, choosing Vancouver as a work holiday destination mainly for its reputation for being yoga centric, with a penchant for the outdoors.
I was not totally ignorant of Vancouver’s cannabis culture, yet I was supremely surprised at how common dispensaries were and how openly they operated. Making the decision to go into a dispensary was more of a novelty than a necessity, nevertheless, it was still a daunting experience. I’ll admit, I was nervous going in, worried I’d say something stupid or seem ill informed, but I was intrigued and determined to buy some of the world famed BC bud.
As it turns out, it’s relatively easy to buy cannabis from one of the many dispensaries in Vancouver. All you need is some ID and an ‘ailment’, like insomnia or back pain, and presto!
The budtenders are knowledgable and can provide you with some information on different strains and their general effects.
I felt somewhat liberated having overcome my apprehension of going into a dispensary, but the reality that I knew next to nothing about cannabis soon dawned on me. My imagined cannabis expertise was little more than a vague understanding of this complex and multipurpose plant.
Perhaps it was fate that soon after this encounter I came across Flower & Freedom. Their message that cannabis can be part of a healthy lifestyle sparked my curiosity and I became a member of a community of people who shared their knowledge and spoke to me through their personal experiences with cannabis.
It’s been 10 months since my move to Vancouver and I find myself in the midst of cannabis legalization in Canada, working with a grassroots organisation determined on educating people about the positive aspects of a plant that has been demonised for almost a century.
I’ve had the privilege of exploring cannabis from an entirely new perspective, one where a parallel between health, wellness and cannabis exists.
At the most basic level I began to understand that consuming cannabis doesn’t even mean getting “high”, that it can be as simple as applying an infused cream topically. More extensively, I’ve learnt about the human body’s endocannabinoid system and how cannabis compounds (cannabinoids) interact with it in a positive way.
What I have come to appreciate most about Flower & Freedom – and why I’m writing this post – is that there have been no assumptions about my experience or lack thereof. I’ve been introduced to cannabis wellness at point A, with the foundations clearly outlined, and guided through a sea of information at my own pace without fear of judgment.
To any newcomers, it may sound far-fetched, but learning about cannabis has opened an entirely new health and wellness avenue for me. Now it’s my turn to share my experiences and knowledge with each individual who might benefit from cannabis in their wellness routine.
We all have to start somewhere.