we see each other for who we are, approach our convos and debates with an open mind and we really like to hear each other vs push our ideals on one another.

curt doesn’t smoke herb. doesn’t drink either…his stress relievers are his incredibly adorable pup named peanut and his love for his work (he hustles..like, hard).

he’s always listened to my stories of working through mental illness and the challenges of speaking openly about it as a practitioner. he listens with presence, curiosity and understanding - i never feel a drop of judgment from him as i spit hot fire and roll my spliffs on his tattoo table.

this is the kind of person i love to surround myself with and this is an ideal situation for someone who uses cannabis as a tool to self regulate their mood and emotions while working through anxiety and depression.

often, we’re already dealing with a certain level of insecurity around our choices. even though cannabis is now legal in canada, there’re so many who see it as a street drug, something damaging and ultimately not helpful in the long run.

this might be true - it might not be. in my research, i’ve come across studies and theories to support either perspective.

cannabis works with one’s endocannabinoid system to help regulate our autonomic nervous system, hormones, gut function, etc. so to help us curate an existence where we can cope, work through and heal past traumas and current triggers.

it can also be something that makes someone feel worse, like increase depression and anxiety. that’s not uncommon. i often hear people say “i can’t fuck with that stuff, it messes me right up”.

fair enough. there is no hard rule, just like any food, medicine or practise. everything isn’t for everyone!

though when i began showing symptoms of sleep dysregulation, horrible PMDD, gut health issues and increased anxiety, even after incorporating all of the nutritional, stress management and supplement options to treat my mood and symptoms naturally, i knew i had to take a risk and try things i’ve never tried before.

“there came a point when i decided i had to pen my mind up to other options. i wanted something natural that could help with several body functions.”

i stumbled upon CBD oil first (life changer). then began smoking herb and getting into THC oils and edibles. by learning what products and strains worked for me i’ve been able to curate a daily existence that feels manageable as i work through my trauma therapy and stress management at CAMH and WCH.

no one can fully understand what it’s like to be us. event curt, my bud, as empathetic and neutral as he is, does he fully understand my reasons for choosing cannabis as a way to regulate my body daily?

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maybe. maybe not. but it’s important that i fully understand that of myself so i’m not defensive or self-judgemental when someone asks about it.

here are the top 3 cannabis products that have helped my mental health.

  1. CBD OIL: the first time i took a good CBD oil i was in absolute disbelief. i was able to wake up in the morning without feeling heart palpitations or anxiety. i was able to open my computer and answer all of my emails without wanting to cry. battling anxiety was a daily issue, rooted in a bigger problem that i hadn’t yet uncovered. CBD oil has been a bridge - not a cure-all, but a helpful ally who has been protecting my brain, gut and organs from further damage caused by chronic anxiety.

    in a perfect world, yes, meditation, 8 hours of sleep and minimal coffee would be enough change to mitigate anxiety. unfortunately, many of us live in the reality that we’re more complex cases than that and it’s a form of self-love to keep searching for ways to keep going, feel better and have a minimal negative impact on our bodies.

  2. SMOKING GREEN: after my ultra-traumatic break up with an ex a few years ago my body was stuck in sympathetic overdrive. meaning i was in a constant manic episode where i couldn’t sleep, i was exercising too much and too hard that it was actually hurting me not helping me. my food restrictions became concerning and my irritability levels were redlining.

    i was suffering and i needed a way out. all of the panic attacks, anxiety and pain were due to my body and brain not being able to handle any more loss or trauma. a common issue for those who have experienced deep pain, loss or childhood trauma and neglect.

    the last thing we need is more judgement around the ways we choose to manage our healing journey.

    smoking actual green (the bud from the plant) has helped me to enter social situations with ease, feel calm, grounded and able to observe and take in energy from others in a calm way. it’s helped me to side-step using alcohol as a way to loosen up and feel like i can integrate socially. less calories, less inflammation and the medicinal properties from cannabis further aid my ability to regulate my gut and nervous system.

    yes, using a vaporizer does make me feel better vs smoking a joint. vapes are odourless, less obvious, feel better on the lungs and are just all-around more convenient.

  3. THC OIL: i’ve only recently gotten into taking THC oils. i like them! the thing about wanting to use cannabis as a way to chill out and support health is you probably will want to rotate products to curb tolerance issues and avoid stress on certain body systems (lungs, liver etc).

    edibles are a great choice to replace weed with, though they often contain sugar and as of right now are currently illegal and sold only on the black market.

    so i went to the local legal dispensary and got a high THC content oil. free from sugar and in my experience a more potent and noticeable effect.

    THC oils have helped me to reduce my intake of smoking green and as someone with random and debilitating social anxiety it helps me to enter conversations with more presence and attention, i sleep well and wake to feel grounded and calm.

yes, there’s more to my healing journey than simply using an adaptogenic herb to manage symptoms. but that’s my journey, my right of passage in this life and for anyone to assume they know what’s best for us and our health is, in my opinion, a violation of a boundary.

health these days looks different for everyone. illness and its root causes are complex. i believe people need to bring less judgement to the table and replace it with curiosity and empathy. including ourselves.

thanks to curt for being a great conversationalist and bud. next week i’ll be on his tattoo table, getting some ink that i’ve left up to him to create. i have no idea what it’s going to be but i fully trust his creativity and judgement and i can't wait to see what it is.

(i’ll totally post on insta tho, stay tuned!)

#bewellwithhope

Cassandra Hope RHN + NLP + CPT

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