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.

Inspiration

I was on my way home today when I started to think about how many different creative endeavors I have attempted and not kept up. I almost started on a negative self-talk trip about how it’s because I’m lazy, not talented enough, not disciplined enough etc. but luckily I was able to practice some thought stopping techniques, take a breath and re-frame my thoughts. I then started thinking about how I’m always waiting to be inspired before doing something and how this might have contributed to my lack of follow through. The fact that I was able to successfully able to stop the negative self-talk was delightfully surprising.

There are a lot of factors that have contributed to being able to successfully use coping skills I know I have. One of those factors was that I had recently medicated with Eel River Organics Nectar pen. They’re my favorite cartridge because it’s the only cartridge I’ve found that feels like taking a  dab. This is partly because they are 100% nug run, meaning they do not use trim to make their extracts just buds, and partly because they have a higher CBD content than most THC dominant cartridges I’ve seen.  I was vaping a White Widow which allowed my body to relax and my mind to be calm. White Widow is a very balanced hybrid (for me) that helps with both physical and emotional symptoms. The higher CBD count in the Nectar pen increases the feeling of calm without impairing my judgement. It’s great. I feel so lucky I am in a state where I have access to this means of anxiety management. I have found something that works for me, something that not only allows me to function semi-normally but I’ve found something that truly speaks to my soul. I am eager to share information, learn everything I can and just spread the word to others because that is how we will change the world.

Music, Marijuana and Mirth

I was sitting and listening to Green Day’s “When I Come Around” and was blasted back to high school. I was filled with a sense of nostalgia and happiness, remembering how I listened to Dookie, Nimrod, and Insomniac on repeat, occasionally switching out to Led Zeppelin or the White Stripes. Those albums, full of memories and music were amazing stone cold sober. For me, one of the most beneficial aspects of marijuana is the amplification of feelings. I feel things very deeply in general so one would not think I would welcome an increase in intensity but with the right sativa it’s different. With the right sativa, my brain will attach itself to the positive feelings/memories.

Sativas are known for increasing euphoria,energy and creativity. On the flip side, if one has too much sativa one might experience paranoia and increased anxiety. It’s a trial and error process to figure out which strains work for you. If you’re just starting out, I suggest picking one symptom you want to reduce and picking strains that target that symptom. When I first started I wanted “something to make me laugh” and that’s exactly what I told the budtender at my first dispensary. Luckily, the person guided me in the right direction and thus began my love affair with Blue Dream.

I’ve come a long way since entering my first dispensary. I’ve learned to be more goofy and relaxed when not medicated but it was Blue Dream that showed me what that felt like and gave me a goal to aim for. Friends, board games, music and good food have also helped in furthering this ability.

Balance

I was sitting out on my neighbors porch the other night feeling very proud of myself. I was proud because I was sitting there being social instead of inside watching Firefly for the 10th time. Now, I know there’s nothing wrong with sitting inside and chillin’ with yourself for the evening but I also know myself and if it were up to me that’s all I’d ever do. It’s a struggle for me to choose to be social over being comfortable so that night I won.
One of the things that facilitates my ventures to the outside world is cannabis. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where cannabis use is not as demonized as other places. This allows me the luxury of showing off whatever new/novel/exceptionally tasty cannabis consumption method with people AND socialize at the same time. It’s lovely. It’s also not my only method of socializing. I DON’T always have to be medicating when socializing. I am also a big trivia fan so I am constantly asking people if they know x,y,or z. I’ve found that 95% of the time people respond with some trivia of their own. It’s a fun little ice breaker anyone can do.  Other times I do the typical “Oh your (article of clothing) is so cute! Where’d you get it?” even though I really don’t care about fashion. It is in these moments I am proud of myself because even though most of the population can do these things with ease I don’t. I’m working on it though.

Intersectionality and Representation

I recently went to Gaymerx, a gaming convention focused on LGBT issues. When I mentioned I was going two separate friends of mine had the same reaction “it seems so unnecessary.”  Did they say that in those exact words? No. One person wondered why “we need all these labels. We should all just be people.” The other stated that the Bay Area would be a place where something like that would be of such importance as to merit a conference.” Now, it’s true, maybe they meant no harm by their statements but that’s just it: those statements are harmful. They erase an important part of someone’s identity. Yes, we ARE all people but only certain identities have been represented in mainstream American media.

Studies have shown a higher use of marijuana among LGBT folk than their heterosexual counterparts. Unfortunately, there has not been much research into the factors that contribute to this phenomenon. However, we do know that being marginalized increases negative feelings like depression, helplessness, anxiety and anger.We also know marijuana is often used to cope with these negative feelings. All of these are facts we know and yet no one talks about them. When no one talks about things that are supposedly “acceptable”  because “we are all people” it shows we are not truly accepting of things changing the status quo. This is unacceptable. So, I encourage you, as proud marijuana users, to go ahead and talk about it. Be safe, be respectful but be out there to say “I use marijuana and I will not hide in the shadows.”

The Truth About Anxiety

“Anxiety is like a toddler: it won’t stop talking, always tells you you’re wrong and wakes you up at 3AM.”

I came across this quote somewhere on the internet and it resonated with me. Funny but true, right? Here’s the odd thing though: most people would prefer to deal with a toddler than their own anxiety. Why is that? Short (and one of many)answer: Toddlers are less scary because they are manageable. Whether through incentives,or consequences kids can learn. This is a familiar concept to us. Due to the epidemic of silence surrounding mental health, anxiety has come to be seen as a sign of weakness.
Here is the truth: EVERYONE has some degree of anxiety in their lives.

A little anxiety is normal and can be adaptive. It may motivate us to work a little harder or warn us of impending danger. It’s how our ancestors survived. Problematic anxiety makes problems where there are none,sees threats in safe places and is generally a pain in the ass. Read that last sentence again except this time, replace the word Anxiety with your friends name. Would you let that person control your life? No? Then don’t let anxiety control your life.

When anxiety starts to negatively affect multiple areas of one’s life one must find a way to manage it. Everyone has a different approach when it comes to dealing with anxiety but one thing is universally true: The more tools at your disposal the better you’ll be able to manage the symptoms of anxiety (you know: the racing thoughts,obsessing over past mistakes, worrying about stuff that hasn’t happened, etc.).

Cannabis is just one tool at your disposal. Other tools include: meditation, thought stopping, going for a run, psychotropic medication,therapy, making art, talking to a friend, writing in a journal and so much more. Pick one, practice it, be patient with yourself. One tool not working? Try another. You wouldn’t try to paint a rainbow with only one color would you?

Redefining weed culture

I went to a Cheech and Chong show some years ago and they were funny as hell. One of the jokes went something like “Weed is one of the few drugs I can think of where, when someone passes you some your first instinct is to give it away when you’re done taking your hit.”   This is exactly what I love about weed culture. The term may be off putting to some, and I agree, it does generally does connote a less than desirable image. However, it’s a succinct way for me to describe what I feel is an aura of general positivity,acceptance, and generosity of stoners.

The stoner circle is a stereotypical image for a reason. Think about all the stoner circles on screen: they’re filled with relaxed, happy people,enjoying time together. We relish the chance to hang out with friends in a comfortable,non-judgemental environment. There’s opportunity to socialize but it is not a requirement of the stoner circle. There are no requirements in the stoner circle. This is my weed culture.

As Dave Chappelle noted in Half Baked  “everybody has their own little ritual when it comes to smokin'”. For me, these rituals are a great example of how, in weed culture, we have a sense of community that unites us and are still accepted for our own uniqueness. Yes, there may be playful teasing about differences in rituals but there’s no rejection based on your preferences. This is my weed culture.

I view it as my duty,as a conscientious stoner, to let those outside the weed culture know:Stoners are productive people. Stoners are kind people. Stoners are normal people, not a stereotype.

 

Welcome

Welcome to an open, honest space where you are free to learn about the potential uses of marijuana. Enjoy and feel free to contribute through comments. Have a great day!