Being able to work in the cannabis industry is something I’m grateful for every day, right at 4:20. Okay, jokes aside- I get to create around what I believe in, fuel my creativity by experimenting with both my work + play, and I can be my own manager from anywhere with a wifi connection and a little weed. Life hasn’t always been bud, babes, and mile-high smiles over here, but of course. 

Sativa and story time: Light it up, pass to the left!

I grew up in a small town in Florida. One that instills strong ideals. Some were worth gripping onto, like an insatiable love of nature, sunrises, and black sheep. Others I’ve worked hard to unlearn and could have done without. I am fortunate to have a loving family….a whole hell of a lot of family. In all colors, shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities!  But where did the pot come into the picture? I’ll get there!

my little cannabis familyI’ve been the big sister figure to dozens upon dozens of incredible humans.

Both my mother and grandmother were devoted caregivers and medical foster mothers. I was able to share my formative years with dozens upon dozens of inspiring little humans. With the 2007 market crash, it seemed like my family could barely keep their heads above water. Badly abused and shaken babies started flooding the foster system like a sick trend- bruised and battered, sometimes to the point of vegetative state. This isolating new norm left me with many questions. When I sit in the stillness, I notice a few questions which burn brighter than the others. 

  • Why are we unquestioningly pumping these kids with pills when plants are available without the laundry list of side effects? 
  • What is the end goal for these children? holistic health of the individual to prepare them to be a happily contributing human of society…or labeling, medicating, + zombifying- sweeping them under the rug and dismissing their experiences entirely?
  • and I know I’m just one human, but how can I move forward with this mass unconsciousness? How could I weave its solution into my life?

‘Big questions for small britches’ was pretty much all I got in response. At 24, I left the security of home and started over on the other side of the country. I needed answers and I wasn’t going to get them pushing paper and playing in the creek. The west coast was calling and she wasn’t letting up.

After hanging out in San Francisco for a year, then spending some time living as an AuPair in Italy, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, I spent my mid-late 20s studying at the University of California, San Diego on grants and scholarships. As a first-generation college student who previously studied at massage school, then community college, it was a life dream of mine to study at a University.

I majored in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California in San Deigo. I was required to take classes like ‘Drugs and Neuroscience,’ ‘Drugs and the Brain, Mind + Culture,’ ‘Cognitive Ethnography,’ ‘Systems Neuroscience,’ and more (twist my arm!). [Although, I will say, not the easiest thing to do when you’re battling your own mental and emotional health.]

Regardless, my wheels started turning as I immersed myself in the scientific literature and case studies.

It seemed like stigma, before just an abstract word with a bit of stickiness, morphed into this being I could suddenly see. I wanted to introduce myself to Stigma…to get acquainted with her a bit, maybe ask her where she came from and why the hell she liked ruining lives. And then slowly, carefully, I began to understand her. I dove into a pool of question marks concerning Mary Jane and her origin, uses and efficacy. I paired that with the study of the brain and its biases (and was even able to sneak a little German study in there).

A veil of fear and ignorance was lifted.  I was HOOKED, ya’ll.  But I was also upset.

I thought of all of the kids I shared my home with. Intense visuals flooded my being- of humans I love and those I’d never get to meet, all in need, and yet weren’t allowed access to medical cannabis.

… of the parents of these kids who are sitting in jail with nonviolent cannabis charges, now looking at a family torn in shreds- not to mention the associated costs (emotionally, mentally, financially, energetically, etc).

…of caregivers of these children who would get thrown in jail for using a plant as medicine. A deep knowing began to emerge: I must use my voice in this space.


LET’s revisit the roots for a second

Remember my unique sibling situation? If we are counting my foster siblings as well as my foster aunts + uncles I saw each day, we are talking hundreds. And that’s just my personal experience.

Then of course there are the caregivers themselves.

Each one could have benefited holistically from the Cannabis plant in some form or another. Yet non were actually “allowed” to do so. (Keep in mind the lack of hesitation to prescribe things like narcotics and opiates. Insert pain-inducing eye-roll.) This is not to say the plant is a cure-all, but it sure as hell should at least be a part of the conversation when it comes to healing yourself.

I knew I couldn’t stay quiet on this issue.

You could say this is ultimately where my intrigue to begin my own creative cannabis journey stems from.

it was a bit of a rocky start though…

cannabis art and creativity for mental health and stoner self careDuring my time at UCSD, my mental health issues persisted in a very rollercoaster-esque manner. Quite ironic since I spent most of my time studying the inner workings of the very internal system causing me such much distress. Consequently my physical health, emotional wellbeing, and financial stability came crumbling down around me.

I was lucky enough to have a few genuinely good humans in close proximity and one ever-supportive partner -albeit long-distance for years- that encouraged me to seek help.

I went through years of therapy and big pharma soup. Played the medicine switcheroo so many times that my sense of self dissipated. My personality started fading away and it tried to take everything else along with it.

Cannabis was my lifeline. It allowed me to find a moment of calm in times of overwhelm. It was the only way I could build an appetite as I went through the seemingly ever-changing prescriptions and dosages. As a happy (and unexpected) side effect, it provided me with a small tight-knit community of other ‘stoner students,’ who inspired me to come home to myself.

ganja girl gifUltimately, cannabis gave me the ability to put my health into my own hands. It allowed me to break down the mental barriers to my own healing that I didn’t realize were there. The icing on the edible? I was able to come home to myself and figure out what really lit my fire. Forever intrigued by human optimization and research, I developed skills to manage stress as it comes rather than modern society’s idealized independence and constant hustle + burn out cycle. This has ultimately led me to get super serious with self care, hone into my creativity (something I didn’t know existed,) and own my story- both light and dark.

After a great deal of time processing, analyzing, reflecting, and self-experimentation with my healing (therapy was helpful too!!), I am a proud supporter and activist for the consideration of plants over pills when possible, movement over medicating, and a whole lot of introspection. With my Blazed and Amused lifestyle brand and shop, I hope to reach others who might need a little lift in the form of a self-care time out, or those who already made the decision to include cannabis into their routine but may be struggling with apathy, overwhelm, or fear.  We can flip the script, take charge of our mental health + wellbeing, and elevate the conversation to change the outdated views on cannabis. If you’d like to work with me in some capacity, please reach out here. Or if you’d like to chat about your own dreams to be a cannabis content creator, please drop me a note in my personal inbox here.

Our girl Mary Jane isn’t a cure-all, but hey, a little TLC, THC or CBD can do a body (and mind) a lot of good. Thank you for taking the time to learn my story. Let’s connect further!

Cannabis Content Creators Unite;) @shezblazed

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