From Stoner to Advocate
Where I grew up in Southern California, my friends and I didn’t talk about cannabis… we talked about bud, weed, pot, herb, and Mary J. When we smoked it, I don’t recall a deep agenda about policy changes, legalization or its application in the treatment of anything. As memory serves, the stated intention was to “get high” (the higher the better), have some laughs, and step into a different headspace before curfew fell. That motivation, plus some brochures I picked up at an Earth Day Festival and a famed Peter Tosh album, was the extent of my technical knowledge of cannabis “the herb.”
Fast forward 17 years. It’s 2011; I’m sitting on a bench in my best friend’s backyard in the Golan Heights, (a young mother of five just like me), and she is smoking the biggest, greenest, fattest joint I’ve ever seen. It was hand rolled by the good folks at Tikun Olam, to help her cope with the debilitating effects of nausea, fatigue and pain she was experiencing after her 1st round of chemotherapy.
Her tumor and the accumulative effect of the treatments she was undergoing took a violent toll on her body and spirit. “Unrelenting” is a word that comes to mind. I remember watching her inhale deeply and seeing her transform, literally transform, from a depleted, irritable, sick woman in great pain, to a woman at ease in her own, albeit, very sick body. A greater kindness from a hand-rolled cigarette, I had never seen.
The effects of cannabis on her mood, her appetite and her experience of pain were profound and they were immediate. Whether she would smoke it, eat in chocolate form, as green honey in her tea, or as a tincture – when she ingested it – she felt better. She didn’t come across as “stoned” or “high” in the kind of stupid, disengaged way they show in the movies … she was just more comfortable, happier and more engaged with life. It was very clear to me and to those around her, that medical cannabis was integral to her care and to her quality of life.
Her treating doctors acknowledged it, and encouraged different dosages and delivery methods when smoking became too rough on her compromised lungs. While my girlfriend’s story with medical cannabis is not at all unique, it was an eye opener for me. It reframed so much for me, and allowed me a fresh, current look at an infamous plant.
The marijuana /stoner story I knew as a high school kid, is very different from the medical, scientific stories I’m learning today. The positive effects that medical cannabis had on my friend’s entirely-too-short life, is the big “why” behind my joining the iCAN team and more specifically, my personal motivation behind the production of every aspect of our CannaTech content and live events.
I’ve seen this plant work. I’ve seen it bring peace and ease to people head-locked in the strong arms of pain. I am an educator by trade, and I am grateful to be a part of a team that shares a mission to educate, enlighten and help to bring more comfort, wellness and health to the people who need it the most.