By: Sarah Warren
I may be coming to the game a little late, but from someone who has struggled with anxiety for a large part of their life, I can only be grateful that I decided to play in the first place. In no way am I new to smoking but my relationship with the plant has been superficial, to say the least, up until this point in my life. I used cannabis as a teen, and into my early 20’s and stopped when I started doing yoga living a more “holistic lifestyle.” I didn’t understand how weed could fit into that because I associated smoking with partying with the homies and bumping music taking night cruises. I was on a panic attack filled quest to find spiritually, never really connecting because I was never actually dealing. Bob Marley songs about smoking herb flew past my analytical mind, and people advocating medical marijuana for health reasons were just stoners looking for an outlet to smoke legally.
Don’t get me wrong, I had no issue with people who smoked, and I loved reggae, but I always felt like I was window shopping; never going in, never buying anything. So I stopped smoking, I started meditation, gave up animal products, lived in an ashram, and spent thousands of dollars in yoga teacher training in hopes of somehow finding what was missing in my life. Despite all the sunshine, long hugs, and good vibes, I always felt a looming sense of worry, of walking around disassociated with myself, a level of comfortability that never seemed to leave me, no matter how many hours were spent in yoga class. So, I would occasionally smoke because it was around and it’s what “holistic” or “wellness” associated people did. Inside, I would be spinning the wheels of worry, unable to sleep because my mind was running away with panic. But I kept going, hiding the little monster of anxiety from creeping out of the closet, and things had been coming to a head.
I experienced a complete life shift, turning 26, I quit my very secure teaching job to pursue soul filling work as a writer. I had a baby, and despite my anxiety and fear of about the unknown, I carried on. Blazing this new path has not been easy or fruitful. I often doubt my decisions, and my mind has been in more places getting less done than ever before.
Cannabis has always been a part of my life one way another and now I find myself working in the cannabis industry wondering what I can provide, where I can fit in and what it can do for me? So on a Sunday night, while the baby slept, with the blinking cursor of death looming over my 5-page essay on early American literature, anxiety breathing down my neck all day, I took a CBD gummy. My intention was not to get high; I heard it helped with anxiety, but I was always on the fence- I took it anyway, and an hour later it kicked in, and I was okay. I’m going to say that again, I was OKAY, my mind was at ease, I was relaxed. I’m naturally high strung for no reason at all, but that night I was at peace with myself. It felt good to be me; I felt at home in my body, and for someone who has anxiety and self-medicates with excessive exercise that is the best feeling in the world. All the holes in my psyche were filled, I could get work done, I laughed, enjoyed music, and ate french fries in bed. I felt the connection I had been looking for, and realized that this is what Bob Marley means when he says “when you smoke the herb it reveals you to yourself.” For the first time in a long while, I stopped over thinking, a sense of peace filled my mind space, and I could sit without the need to get up and micromanage my dirty laundry or hurry to finish the dishes in the sink. I made peace with the imperfect moment, and let go of my need to control; I lived life as it was happening and I was happy. I now understand that people use this plant to heal and to also enjoy themselves and that if given the opportunity it can cure a nation of panic attacks, lost identities, and nail bitters. But this must be experienced, from a former smoker to yoga devotee; I will say that to understand the healing behind cannabis, one must experience it. If you find yourself wrought with anxiety, and smoking high concentrate THC makes you feel weird and paranoid, try CBD. Give it to someone who may need it, share the story because we all deserve to feel comfortable in our skin. Understanding that healing is a complicated journey and that many people take many paths to get to the same place are key, but what unites us all is our desire to feel okay, the necessity to love yourself and the willingness to try.