Cannabis is my wellness tool

Every stoner has a story of how they became a stoner, here’s mine.

When moving to Toronto I knew cannabis was on the verge of becoming legal. I was excited to experience it without the fear of breaking the law but I wasn’t a stoner by any means. Before moving here I had only consumed cannabis a handful of times. I grew up believing all my weed could be laced so I never bought flower on my own, knowing I couldn’t tell the difference between safe and unsafe cannabis. I only ever purchased edibles from friends I knew consumed themselves and smoked the rolls from people I trusted. My cannabis experience started the same as most, with a lot of learning, unlearning and relearning. Cannabis is now my ultimate wellness tool and I hope to share that with you. 

It wasn’t until the end of my first year in Toronto when I started spending time with what I’ll call “real stoners” that I started to consume regularly. I started consuming at a time when my school stress was building up and I was looking for a way to relax and have a good time that wasn’t drinking. My first year of university we drank nearly every weekend. I threw up in the communal bathroom more times than I can count. (Sorry floor 9). I felt disgusting and wasn’t interested in partying like that my second year. These friendly dorm stoners taught me how to rip a bong and attempted to teach me to roll a joint, a skill I didn’t really master for another year. I felt safe smoking in Toronto because it was legal and I smoked with people who consumed all day every day, so clearly what they were smoking had to be clean (not totally sound logic but I wasn’t wrong).  This sense of safety changed my entire perception of cannabis from that of a harmful drug to a fun tool.

Over time I learned how to get absolutely ripped, but also how to smoke in moderation so I could relax in class but still focus. I found myself less anxious day-to-day, more productive, and more willing to try new things. But one of the best things I found cannabis did for me, was teach me to slow down, relax, and focus on the bigger picture. Smoking weed allowed me to let go and stress less about the things I couldn’t control like cancelled plans, slacking group project members and the things I tried to control too much, like my choices for the future. 

This was all early in the days of legalizaiton in Ontario though, and legal cannabis was still really expensive. Most people who consumed regularly still purchased through black-market or grey-market businesses. You’d have a strain name and a THC % but there’s no guarantee those things are accurate. I noticed a lot of different effects with different strains but without really knowing what I was consuming, it was difficult to figure out the patterns. I didn’t really know what I was looking for when researching a particular strain name. Sometimes smoking felt like it released pressure from my headaches and allowed me to function again but sometimes it made them 10x worse. It was the same for menstrual cramps. I also had a hard time pinpointing the strains that made me tired and the strains that just made me relaxed. What was the difference? Without information, I didn’t have the resources I needed to fully harness the powers of the cannabis plant.

Eventually, I noticed I started to burn out from the THC, getting tired more than I used to without doing much. Everything changed when I started working in a cannabis dispensary and finally had access to a wealth of information that previously felt inaccessible to me. About two years into legalization, prices started to go down to better compete with the illegal market and I started to go into dispensaries more. I landed a budtending job at an independent shop on busy Queen St West. It happened to be the best rated dispensary in the city and I had no idea. 

My amazingly knowledgeable manager, Kyle, showed me where and how to find information and taught me how to explore smoking for wellness purposes, as opposed to recreational purposes. It’s all about what you smoke and how you smoke, but when you’re looking for that information on your own it’s difficult to navigate. It can feel like there’s a whole new language to learn, making it inaccessible to most folks. In the legal market, all cannabis products are required to have detailed information about the parts of the plant that influence it’s affects such as exact cannabinoid content (THC, CBD, etc). Most companies also give you information about the lineage of the strain and the terpene content, which is what gives the strain it’s taste and makes it more of an Indica or Sativa strain (more on that later).

Kyle taught me how to notice the flavor and aroma profile of a strain, how to get the most out of your buds, the importance of tolerance build up and CBD to avoid that burnout, and to notice very specifically how each strain makes me feel. Through trial and error, (and a lot of notetaking) I’ve been able to fine-tune my consumption habits into a wellness tool of a scale I never imagined. In just a few months I’ve found strains and products that can calm my migraines before I need my expensive medication, I keep my anxiety at bay with an CBD oil instead of a medication and I’ve learned how to enhance every activity I’m doing without leaving myself groggy or dysfunctional. Not everyone has a similar experience with cannabis, and no two people will have the exact same experience because everyone’s endo-cannbinoid system (the system inside the human body that influenced by the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant) is different.

I’m not claiming cannabis is a magic, cure-all plant. But it is an incredibly powerful tool in finding relief and peace in our lives, in places where we’ve struggled to find it. Where there was once constant worry and anxiety of the right choices and the future in front of me, I have found space for ease and peace. I truly am enjoying every day more. I feel more confident in my choices and acceptance of the uncertainty of my path. I’ve begun to take life as it comes with a sense of grounding, and with a much bigger smile. 

I call cannabis my wellness tool because I don’t smoke just to have a good time. Though I do that too, I’m almost always consuming for a specific purpose. I smoke before I practice yoga because it can help me drop in, release the mind chatter and relax my tense muscles. Some strains will stimulate my appetite and make my food taste better so I eat more and eat better, making me feel more energized and all around healthier. My partner and I consume together to help us relax from our days and feel more present with one another, to laugh a little harder and enjoy a moment just a little bit more. Whatever the reason for consumption, it has never been about escaping reality. Cannabis is always about enhancing my reality and helping me to enjoy the present moment. Breath by breath cannabis helps us to utilize the rest of our wellness tools like yoga, meditation, personal time and quality time.

I hope to use this blog and this space to share what I’ve learned and help others to educate themselves and unlearn the cannabis rhetoric we’ve been ingrained with. Information is power, and cannabis is medicine. 

Bonnefire team members at the Carmel grow facility in Orillia, Ontario.
%d bloggers like this: