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With the launch of our new site and blog, we will also be bringing you interviews with cannabis patients, workers and advocates. We are interested in hearing your personal stories regarding cannabis in the hopes of eradicating the social stigma of this medication. I spoke with a friend of mine named Persephone who says that cannabis literally saved her life. I hope you enjoy our talk. We would love to engage with you. Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

What’s your earliest and/or favorite marijuana memory?

My close friend’s boyfriend introduced me to it. He only bought the best and I trusted him. He had this awesome bong named Halloween. It had gorgeous hand swirls and I loved it because it was art. I’d never seen a bong look so beautiful. It didn’t look dirty and gross like I’d seen at college frat houses. I was like “Ooooh, what’s that?” and he was like, “Do you want to smoke chocolate?” Of course I wanted to smoke chocolate.

I love chocolate. So I tried it, and I coughed a lot but I got really lifted. I remember that when I smoked cannabis when my other friends were partying in high school I always ended up not feeling like shit. Everyone else felt like shit. I drank a little but once I figured out, wait, I can smoke and feel just as good as y’all and not feel crappy later? I think that’s just to each his own. Alcohol doesn’t sit that well with me, THC is more my friend, that’s just my body.

It made me feel good. It made me relaxed. Coming from a pretty stressful family, it was my time to just go (exhales)….and to just really feel….to really feel, you know. To feel comfortable enough and relaxed enough to just be present with myself and maybe journal or draw and not even think about how hard home was. It was my respite, my buddy.

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What ailments do you medicate for?

 I was in a major car accident when I was eight years old. We were parked and the car hit us on the side and our whole car was picked up, lifted off the street and placed on the sidewalk. She was going sixty miles an hour. I was in the back seat and me and my mom were waiting for my dad to come back in the car. I didn’t have my seat belt on and I whipped back and forth between the windows a couple times and in that time my jaw broke.

I was pulled out of the car and went to the hospital. It hurt a lot. The doctors didn’t place it, I guess, carefully enough so now my jaw is like at an angle so I have all of my jaw muscles around my whole head compensating to hold one side of my jaw up a little bit more because one part of my jaw healed wrong. The only way to fix it is to re-break my jaw.

Anyway, I say that to say, that entire process causes a lot of headaches for me, massive migraines because you have so many intricate tendon systems wrapping around your head, so many nerves and everything else that you don’t realize are connected to your jaw which is linked to your spinal cord which is connected to your hips which goes into your alignment which goes into your ankles which affects how you stand, how you run, how you sit, it affects all of it.

So when I get a migraine, I’m totally out of it. I literally try and my brain and my body are like: Um, no. It really affects my day. It really affects my life. I’ve taken the Excedrins, I’ve taken stuff for tension headaches. That can help sometimes. My head is temperamental and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work, so I never know. But I do always know with cannabis. It’s always consistent. It might not take all of the pain away but it will certainly dull the fuck out of it.

If nothing else, there will be other things coming up, I’ll get distracted, I’ll get sucked into a movie or a book or something and I am no longer thinking about how much pain I’m in. That’s genius. That goes right into something else that it has helped me with in the same way because migraines come along with nausea and if I’m having a day when I’m not feeling well than I can’t eat. And not eating is not helping my headaches. So cannabis also helps with that.

In college I got pre-ulcers. College was a really stressful time for me. I was doing a lot. I started a dance theatre company. I was one of fifteen people getting my BFA at a conservatory. It was full tilt, balls to the wall, GO. So I got three to four hours of sleep nightly, which is not ok and I did that for over a year, and it caught up with me in the middle of my second year and I ended up getting really sick.

I lost a ton of weight. I had acid reflux. My body produces too much acid, so if I’m nervous or really stressed out and drinking coffee, my body is literally just an acid pool, and then I feel nauseous and I can’t eat anything. I remember sitting down to dinner at my favorite restaurant in NYC with my mom and my sister to have my favorite steak and mashed potatoes, which is like, MY MEAL.

If you were to ask me, what I want for my last meal, that’s my meal. I sat at the table and I cried. I cried because it was put in front of me and I couldn’t eat it. Not because I didn’t want to but because I couldn’t. My body literally wouldn’t let me. Even the smell of it was making me sick. That’s how nauseous I was. I was so sensitive to every little thing. That’s how fragile my body was. I was sick.

I couldn’t leave school because if I missed more than three classes at the conservatory I’d fail that class. I woke every morning and puked acid. It was really hard for me for a while.

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Cannabis was the only thing that made me able to eat and able to sleep. It was the only thing that made me feel like I could go to class, I could have a conversation with a friend, I could be a person without being hunched over in a heap. In the space I was in, cannabis was absolutely my buddy. I wouldn’t have gotten through it without it.

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What specific methods and strains have helped?

I really like sativas during the day. I like to be up. That being said, some sativas are too up for me depending on how much I’ve eaten that day. At night I like a low indica. It’s about finding a balance. But then, HYBRIDS. Whatup, hybrids! I like to have all my options. I think the different strains serve their purpose for different times of day. I actually like the act of smoking. I enjoy lighting something and smoking it.

I like glass. I think it goes back to me liking the bong. I find it pretty. I’m attracted to the art of glass blowing and the different colors. It’s fun. I like to accessorize in that way. Then again, there’s nothing better than chilling with a friend in your car or on the beach and smoking a joint and enjoying the fresh air and passing it back and forth. It feels so CALI and so…in a weird way it feels like we’re Natives in a tent, passing a peace pipe. Nothing bad is gonna happen in that situation.

Favorite strains:

Girl scout cookies, Louis XIV, Jack Herrer, trainwreck and any bubba anything. I have a vape pen that I use when I’m traveling or in a place where I can’t pack a bowl. I try to have taste in when it’s appropriate.

Is there anything that would improve your experience as a cannabis patient?

I think this is happening with how they’re cracking down with the amount of weedshops, and I think there’s a certain quality that’s coming out of that and I actually appreciate that. Before, even though there were more shops, there were more places to go,

I’m sure there were really scuzzy cheap places that maybe were awesome to some people but at the end of the day, were not really serving the country by actually giving back the money that the country could use from cannabis, which is a ton of money. Eventually, when cannabis is legalized, you’ll see the whole federal government shift because, with hemp production we could be making so much money.

We could reverse our debt. It could be huge. At the time I didn’t appreciate the crack down because it was inconvenient. You have friends that are your Bud Tenders, so it’s kind of a bummer. But what’s come out of that is I have a shop I go to in the valley, I have one I go to on the west side, and both of them are very well secured.

I feel safe when I’m in them because they clearly care about regulations. They ask me to bring in my certificate. I have to show my ID every time. It’s strict. These people know what the fuck they’re doing. They’re not just selling me some garbage weed.

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Have you used any other kinds of medication besides cannabis and what was your experience with that?

When I had my ulcers I went to the doctor and he prescribed me Nexium which is a prescription anti-acid medication. It worked well. In all honesty Pepcid from the drugstore works just as well, but I was on Nexium and it helped a lot but I never refilled the prescription. My body started to calm down. I had summer break and I let go of Nexium and I just started smoking cannabis again. I’ve never refilled my Nexium prescription.

I still have an acid problem, but it’s not so bad that I can’t control it with diet and cannabis. That’s what I choose to do. It’s natural and I’m not putting any horrible prescription drugs in my system, I prefer that. It does that same thing for my body now that my system had calmed down to a manageable level. If it ever gets bad again I might think about getting back on something like Nexium, but for now, for my day to day, I feel perfectly well taken care of using cannabis.

What are your thoughts on how cannabis is portrayed in the media?

This is the most open that I have spoken about my marijuana use, and I’m even anonymous. That should show you how aware I am of others people’s judgments of this medication. I’m very aware of it. I don’t walk around being like “420, whatup!” that’s not my normal MO. I have successful business relationships that I know if they knew that I smoked as much as I do they’d probably judge me and have an issue with it and I get that, people have their own issues.

You’re entitled to your own opinions. When I was younger, even around my friends that smoked cannabis, I would go out of my way to dumb down my cannabis knowledge or how much I smoked because I still felt like the word “stoner” was awful. It has such a bad connotation. It’s like the person that doesn’t have a job, sits on the couch all day, is unmotivated, has like one friend that comes over and they smoke weed and get a six pack. I smoke a ton of cannabis. But I workout, go out everyday, do stuff, and communicate with people.

I can smoke cannabis and not just be a waste of space. A rule I still stand by: cannabis can happen when work gets done. Or that can happen simultaneously but work needs to get done either way. If weed is just happening and work is not happening then you have fallen into that stoner stereotype and you should take a couple months off, get your shit together and then smoke a bowl. I promise you, it will be the best bowl you ever smoked in your life because your body will have forgotten it ever had a THC experience before. Just try it!

Does your family know you medicate with cannabis? And if they do, what is their view on that?

My mom caught me with weed in my car when I was 17. It was really funny. I had weed, a bowl and a pack of cigarettes and she found it. I came home and my mom had all three things out and she goes, “Ok. To keep this is your car is stupid. If you get pulled over, you’re fucked.” And I was like “Solid point, mother. Thanks for your time.” She made me dump the cigarettes out into the toilet and she was like, “These, never again. Never again!” and then I was like umm, what about the ….”(gestures towards the weed) and she was just like, “You can have that, just don’t keep it in the car. You spent good money on it so you can keep it, just don’t be stupid.” My mom is CEO of a company.

Very type A, very all together. And she was like “I understand you want to smoke weed, smoke weed, just don’t be stupid.” So I was like “Ok. Cigarettes are really bad for me. Weed is ok, just don’t be stupid. Makes sense.” So that was my first interaction with my parents regarding cannabis. I think they knew I was smoking for a while and they were fairly ok with it. My mom used to be the president of a drug and alcohol abuse society. In order for me to be ok with my family, I have to smoke weed. I have to relax.

My family and I now are really different. Even though my mom was super chill, I was still hiding it. I was still like hyper aware of it. Now, even though my dad is a very strict Republican, he is now all about legalization of cannabis. My mom and him have informed me that they’ve been on cruises with retired groups of people and have smoked cannabis. It’s just what they do now. I guess it’s like a retired person’s thing. Like when your kids are grown you can just smoke all the weed.

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