Fences, Tolkien and Changes

***Warning: Nerd post ahead!***

                    I am re-reading the Lord of The Rings in an attempt to stave off my fourth read through of the Song of Ice and Fire series.(I mean seriously, how long are we supposed to wait for the last two books?!?!?!) I love the world Tolkien created and the detail with which everything is described. I admit, on occasion I get bored of the descriptions of scenery but then some course of dialogue will remind me why I should pay better attention. One of my favorite things about re-reading a novel is how one notices different things on the second (or third) time around. I always wonder if this is due to age, experience, or a combination of too many variables to name. I’m guessing it’s the last one.

                      Last time I read LOTR was about 5 years ago. Take a moment and think about how your life was in 2013 versus how it is now. Think of all the experiences- both positive and negative- that changed you. For me, the main change from then to now is that I have learned to live a life that’s more true to myself than true to what society expects. Yes, I’ve been vocal about doing this from the time I was 12 but the truth of it was I still conformed. I conformed in order to feel safe. I conformed because I got positively reinforced to. I conformed because it afforded me the luxury of passing as “normal” and afforded me opportunities I would not have otherwise had if I had expressed my true feelings and opinions. I’ve been lucky to have people in my life that have inspired me to live more authentically. My work in the cannabis field is a direct result of this. It has led me to see the world from a different perspective and I feel like that’s why when Frodo was reminded that ” The wide world is all about you. You can fence yourselves in but you cannot forever fence it out.”  I let out an audible huh and put the book down.

                 The above quoted is EXACTLY why I am doing things like leading a Parenting and Cannabis workshop. People, parents especially, are very concerned with “keeping safe” and avoiding danger or curtailing the life experience so that no “precious” ever has a negative experience in their life. No bad influences, how is that a bad thing right? Wrong. Just because we don’t want things to be a certain way does not mean that reality will change to suit our needs. So go ahead and be  angry, and scared, the unknown IS scary, but the more you learn about the less unknown (thus less scary) it becomes. I love doing my part to change the world one person, one baby step at  a time, and I truly believe that we can keep cannabis from become the absolute mess that alcohol and nicotine are in this society. We need to refute the myth of cannabis as a gateway drug  by “coming out” as professionals, parents, and successful people who also happen to use cannabis. We need to dispel the rumors about cannabis having “no medicinal benefits” with facts and studies on the benefits of cannabis.

For those that did not know, here is the official DEA classification of cannabis:

Schedule I Controlled Substances

Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.

Some examples of substances listed in Schedule I are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”)

 

If you’re thinking “really?!? Heroin and cannabis in the same category?” good! We can change things for the better. We have to be committed to evidence based practices and building community for cannabis prohibition to truly be at an end.

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Bubonic Chronic

I LOVE 90’s rap hip-hop and r&b. I am particularly fond of Tupac, Snoop, Dre, Nate Dogg, Missy Elliot, Biggie, TLC and Bone Thugs N Harmony. As I was listening to Gin and Juice for the 1 millionth time it occurred to me that the “bubonic chronic” that made Snoop “back up off it” must have been bomb for the time but how would it compare now? Of course this results in me thinking about the fact that Tupac was one of those that was alive to experience Dre’s bubonic chronic and never got to experience today’s version of bubonic chronic. I then wonder what Snoop himself thinks of the current state of the cannabis industry-not from a business perspective but from a neurotypical adult human perspective. We all think of alcohol prohibition as an absurd attempt by conservatives “long ago” to control behavior yet many people don’t realize this is the same thing that is happening to cannabis. What are Snoop’s(and other current icons who have been in the cannabis lifestyle for 20+ years) thoughts on the evolution of the acceptance of cannabis. Is it purely recreational for them or do they realize the difference cannabis can make for the health of all people? What do they know about the endocannabinoid system? Do they care? I am a nerd so obviously I care. I would love to know what other famous people are nerd like myself when it comes to cannabis. I love mixing nerd and hip hop culture.

The Importance of God’s Cousin Rod

      As a kid one of my fondest memories was watching TGIF on Friday nights with my family.  Corny as it sounds it was a defining part of my development. I am quite fond of movie and television trivia,a love passed down to me from my father. Of course, asking us random cartoon trivia questions could have just been his attempt at keeping us kids quiet in the back seat but still, it inspired a love of trivia in me. Even better, with the advent of home accessible internet I was able to fuel my knowledge with a whole internet movie database filled with trivia and message boards for all sorts of actors and actresses I was interested in. This (and Neopets) was my life mid 90s- early 2000’s.
          In 2013 I was introduced to a show called Firefly. It took me three tries to watch the first episode but once I did I was in love. When I saw the character of Shepherd Book I was struck with a sense of familiarity. IMDB came to the rescue and helped me place him as God’s Cousin Rod from the late 90s TV show Teen Angel. When I finished the series I went on a trivia binge (aided by some Jack Herer concentrate from TerpX) and was surprised to learn that the actress who plays Kaylee (Jewel Staite) was in a show I watched as a kid about a school that was in space. (A show I originally only watched because the actor who played the black Power Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was on it.) One of my favorite things to come from the binge was my new found appreciation for Alan Tudyk. The first thing I ever saw him in was A Knight’s Tale. I’ve seen that movie hundreds of times and thought he was funny as hell in that movie. It occurred to me half way through the second episode that I didn’t know if Alan was American or European and upon looking it up I learned of his talent for voices. I now follow his career more closely than before and my favorite role of his to date is the chicken in Moana, HeiHei. I love the fact that a grown man got paid to make chicken noises professionally.
           My love of trivia, community and nerdy things has made me a fan of Comic Cons and the like. The are Cons for cannabis such as : Hemp Con, New West Summit, Terpene and Testing Conference, to name a few. I love going to conventions because even if the panels are not as informative as I had hoped I can always get something from the experience. It is good for one’s soul/spirit/energy to be around people who share your passion. Whether you believe it or not your body feeds off the energy of others and generally speaking, the people at conferences want to be there and share an interest in the subject matter. It is a good place to begin building your community or expanding/ delving deeper within your community. Even if you choose to talk to no one new you can still observe what is going on and how this particular culture is playing out in real time and how it may evolve or stay the same. Sometimes, it’s fun to think about your role in the culture you participate in. All of this stemming from the fact that I saw this brown dude playing a deity as a kid.

Life Lessons from the Golden Girls

          I recently gave in a purchase a subscription to Hulu in order to satisfy my How I Met Your Mother  cravings. One of the unexpected upsides of this is that I now have access to all episodes of the Golden Girls. I remember watching it as a kid/tween and thinking it was a funny show about people’s grandmas and nothing more. I was facsinated because I was seeing older people on TV and this was my only exposure to “old people” since most of my grandparents died when I was too young to have clear memories of them. When I was a teen I was able to appreciate to refreshing wit and (sometimes) wisdom of the ladies.

           When I started re-watching it I fully expected to enjoy this cheesy 80’s sitcom about some older women, I did NOT expect to be hit with ALL THE FEELINGS. When they refer to themselves as old I can’t help but think “they’re about my mom’s age, that’s not old!!!” and then I realize exactly what phase of life I’m in. It’s odd how you can know exactly where you are in life and yet be completely surprised at the passage of time. This is one of the things I love about cannabis. It helps me stay grounded and in the moment (though the moment may be momentarily interrupted by fleeting thoughts or a fit of giggles) which is something I can forget to do because I am “so very busy.*”

            Another thing that crosses my mind as I watch this amazing show is the fact that I can’t think of another show that paints a picture of women so truthfully. I’m half way through the first season and they’ve already addressed: predatory sales practices, dating, losing a parent, sex after losing a spouse, sibling rivalry, sexual harassment and so many topics that rarely get addressed in mainstream media let alone, in relation to the lives of older women. I love that this show exists and tackles these topics. I feel like everyone should be made to watch this as part of a social competence/learn about life/elementary education.

*Oldest excuse in the book for not engaging in self- care translate to: I don’t make enough time to properly take care of myself. 🙂

 

Cannabis and Sex

           This weekend I attended the New West Summit conference in Oakland. (Shout out to Minorities for Medical Marijuana for providing a networking event and free passes to the conference.) They had many interesting panels related to the social media, technology and the future of the cannabis industry. One of the panels that intrigued me the most was titled “Weed and the Joy of Sex.” This panel focused on different topicals, edibles and tinctures that have been formulated to address intimacy issues. One of the panelists, was going to describe the reason she used medicated products daily and she paused and said “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this,” smiled, let out a nervous giggle and said “when my vagina is happy I’m happy.” The audience burst into applause amidst some chuckles.

            Here was a woman whose job is rooted in sex and drugs, and she is uncomfortable saying the word vagina.  If a person who has that much exposure to talking about sex doesn’t feel comfortable, how is the average woman suppose to feel comfortable? I’ll tell you how. START TALKING! Talk to your close friends about your period, use science, terms, slang, foreign language words… whatever you feel comfortable using…JUST START TALKING. We need to be familiar with all human body parts and functions.  Genitals are a body part the same as a foot. Some people have vaginas, others don’t.  Women have been shamed for so long about natural processes and pieces that make up their bodies it’s no wonder we hesitate,even in the safest of places, to talk about what happens to our bodies and how it effects our mood. It’s ridiculous.

 

 

Dogs

I’ve been thinking about my dog a lot lately.  She was a Terrier mutt that lived to be 17 years old. We got her for Christmas 1998. Santa delivered her to us in an Avon box, which she cleverly escaped in order to crawl under the screen door in her rush to meet us. Cliche as it sounds: It was love at first sight. Even my mom, who wasn’t fond of dogs, fell in love.  She was a traveling dog. She loved taking road trips with us, even if those trips were just to the corner store and back. She was fiercely loyal to us but didn’t like other dogs for anything.  Her favorite food in the whole world was apples. I remember the day she discover the apples that our tiny apply tree dropped. I was walking by my parents room and hear a growl so I go back to see why Ginger is growling and it turns out she’s munching on a half ripe apple from the tree. I laugh to myself and tell her “I don’t want your stinky apple anyway” before continuing my journey. I used to talk to her all the time. Anyone who owns a pet knows what I mean.
We connect with our pets so much and we want the best for them their whole lives but this seems to change when they get ill or old. We start worrying about losing them and want to keep them alive,sometimes at the expense of our pets comfort/dignity. We get so attached to our pets. They’re good listeners, good cuddlers, never judge you and are always down to hang out, OF COURSE we want them around for as long as possible; our attachment to them can get in the way of putting their comfort first.

There’s this product called Vet CBD that I wish had existed years ago when Ginger was about 16. I’ve had no fewer than 10 different people attest to the wonders the tincture has on their pets. Some pets had arthritis, some pets were going on trip and were anxious and some had tumors. In each case the presenting problems reduced within 3 days of starting the CBD oil. My favorite story however comes from a patient who came in looking really sad because because his  “buddy for 15 years” was on her last leg and he was contemplating putting her down. He decided to give Vet CBD a shot because he had heard me talk about it before. Three days later he comes in with the biggest grin on his face and says his buddy is acting “like they’re 10 years younger” and that he can’t believe what a miracle CBD is.

Friendships, Offspring and Realization

I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across an article titled “Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendship of Boys?”  Now, I’ve been interested in gender issues ever since the first time my mom told me I couldn’t do something because “that’s for boys.”  As much as I railed against traditional gender norms for girls I totally bought into those for boys until embarrassingly late in my life.  I mean yes, it did piss me off that boys seemed to be socially and emotionally inept but it never occurred to me that ,  some males didn’t want to conform to these roles. Honestly, this was probably because I had never met a guy  who showed an (even mild) interest in learning to listen and communicate. I do not mean in romantic relationship either. In truth most of my friend group has always been pretty mixed so the majority of  my interactions with guys was platonic, so you could say I got to see them “in their natural state” (yes, I’ve been a nerd forever too :-D).
Anyway, this article describes how loneliness is a genuinely life threatening problem for men in the U.S. It talks about factors that lead to this such as traditional gender roles, the hatred toward anything feminine/female in “real” men, limited range of feelings, etc. and goes on to point out that as boys age they tend to lose the people they consider best friends. For some it’s because they “drift apart”, others don’t want to be seen as “weird” or “gay.”  Which brings up yet another factor that goes into destroying close male/male relationships: homophobia. Boys who are gender non-conforming are automatically seen as gay.  And of course we live in a heternormative, patriarchal society and no one wants to be seen as less than if they can help it.
In my last post I wrote about how important community is for individuals. I think one of the greatest things the internet can be used for is building community. Meet-up and other sites encourage people with similar interests or from similar walks of life to get together and enjoy each others company. Humans are naturally social creatures and do poorly when isolated from others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of my favorite things about cannabis is that it is a social drug. We WANT to share our joy with others, we WANT to have buddies to pass the joint, even so some people still struggle with how to get past being buddies to form deeper relationships. This is not limited to just males, females and others may have problems forming these deeper relationships for various emotional/psychic/physical reasons.
So how does one form deeper bonds or reconnect with former friends?   ***Warning: Cliche ahead* It varies from person to person. One thing IS essential though: open, honest communication. Usually, people learn this from their family of origin. As we all know this is not the case for a lot of people. Even people who are determine to raise their child with the most open mind have struggles with unlearning behaviors and ideas that have been ingrained in society for centuries. Talking about feelings and thoughts is hard because we fear we will be made fun of for feeling and thinking, in other words, merely existing. It’s no wonder people have trouble with communication.

Community

                      A theme that has been coming up a lot in my life lately is community. A lot of people have approached in my both professional and personal capacities and spoken of their desire to engage more fully with the world around them. It may be that they have a hobby that they want to get back into, a brand new endeavor that has always interested them, or a friend they want to reconnect with because “we had the best adventures”, but whatever the reason one thing is universal: humans are curious. No matter what the endeavor I always remind people to start with other people. Simply talking to others about your desires and interests might lead to an unforeseen opportunity. At the very least one can gain copious amounts of knowledge from seeking out the community in which they can foster a passion.
                      Socializing is hard for a lot of people. This is understandable given the various pressures that come from a society that values “fitting in” and the consequent felling of inadequacy/anxiety when one doesn’t or chooses not to blend in with the crowd. However, when one finds a community based around a passion for something, learning and sharing new ideas around said interest it can be a way to “ease in” to socializing because one already “fits in” in at least one way. Finding community can be transformative for many because it it is the first time they are surrounded by like minded people and guess what? It feels AMAZING to belong to a group as passionate about an interest as one is. One such group I recently joined was the East Bay Canna Community I consistently attend their First Friday Meetings on Lake Merritt and have found a tight knight group of activist that I could not be happier to know.

Play

              Yesterday, I had a conversation with my neighbor about play. He told me about how he and another mutual friend were walking to lunch and decide they would  reach their destination by walking on the shaded areas only. I lamented the fact that more adults do not engage in spontaneous play and shared with him the fact that kids learn through play. He answered with “but it’s so fun!” and wondered aloud why adults don’t play more. I ventured that, as adults, it seems like we have forgotten the innocent joy of play time.  We have redefined “play time” as something unproductive,useless even, and so we hardly ever engage in it unless we have an excuse (a child visiting, vacation,etc.). I also think that we, as a society, treat children as less than. Engaging in any behavior that seems “childish” automatically gives one a second class status. Children have no power, therefore we must refrain from behaviors that make us look like children.

 

              For some people, engaging in play is as natural as breathing, for others not so much. Regardless of your natural disposition, one should make time and space for play. It doesn’t have to be down-home-rough-and-tumble-in-the-dirt play either. It can be board games, coloring, making up a story, pretty much anything one can think of that engages creativity and promotes relaxation. Indica strains tend to have more of a body relaxation effect, which in turn can reduce the amount of stress one feels at the end of a long work day, thus reducing two barriers to play. Indica dominant hybrids can also contain the right amount of sativa-induced creativity for a fun play session. Sativa strains are my go to for fun-enhancement. I love playing while I am engaged in it but it can be difficult to motivate myself. Sativas allow me to get out of my own head and just DO. It’s that little push I need to get out the door and play the shadow game or see if I can jump rope 20 times in a row (FYI the answer is no) or walk across the street and see if my neighbors want to play board games. We all could benefit from a little more play in our lives and I encourage you all to find your passion and play!