Original Post: High Times: What’s in Your Stash? Sue and Lee, 420 Old Fat Lesbians
[Canniseur: Sue & Lee are in the news again. These are real people, doing real life, and on their own life path. They happen to enjoy cannabis, happen to be lesbians, old, and in their own words – fat. What they are doing, is helping to normalize cannabis. The reality is, we are all different from each other. But THC can be the great equalizer. Take it from me (an old, cannabis-loving lesbian) there are way more of us than you may even suspect. Good for them for going public.]
Two phat lesbians share their stash, while opening hearts and minds.
State of Maine medical cannabis patients, Sue and Lee, took to Instagram as #420oldfatlesbians, with the sub-heading of “The Likes of Dykes,” just eight months ago. Profiled shortly thereafter in High Times, with 70,000 followers garnered in just one month, nearly a year later, they humbly host more than 100,000 devoted followers, to date.
With hashtags like #gaymarijuana, #thingstodowhenyouarehigh, and #207stoners, denoting their current locale, the two share their outings around town, shopping, eating, and just basically goofing off for the camera above and below the sheets. Their antics prove you don’t have to be young, thin, well-endowed, and straight to have a good time as a social media influencer, while high.
Sue and Lee both grew up in Chicago and traveled in the same circles, frequented the same bars – with both working in the same suburb at one point in time. But they didn’t actually meet until 20 years after they both relocated, individually, to Florida in the mid-80s.
“We met online at Plenty of Fish in 2007, and realized we were 90 miles away from each other in Florida,” they said. “We moved to Maine together because we were tired of the heat after 30 years, and missed the seasons. We’ve been married four-and-a-half years now, and are happy to be together in the third trimester of life.”
With their newfound notoriety, the two enjoy visiting dispensaries and meeting followers in real time.
“We like to check into dispensaries, visit farms, and showcase products in our Instagram story and feed while destigmatizing weed use for older people, fat people, all walks of life,” they said. “We have a fairly even ratio of all segments of our name following us – 420 peeps, old, fat, and lesbians. Some people envelope two or three parts of our name.”
Courtesy of Sue and Lee
An Old, Gay, Phat Stash
Since they are relatively new to New England, making the rounds to dispensaries and farms is also a part of settling in, meeting neighbors and getting to know the cannabis community at large in their tiny state.
After suffering a heart attack in March of this year, Lee’s doctor said to stay clear of burning flower, advising the use of a vaporizer instead, stick with edibles, and to stay away from sativa, as it can raise the heart rate.
Sue had been an end-of-life caregiver in Florida, prior to the state being legal for medicine or recreation. In Maine, Sue began making edibles for both of them, as years of caregiving causes chronic back pain. Yes, caregivers need caring, too.
“The edibles were more effective than the opioids for pain,” Sue explained. “Lee also had neck surgery, where they placed a mesh cage in her neck years ago at C4 through C7. There’s muscle deterioration around it, and several areas of arthritis. Cannabis, used in smaller doses throughout the day has really helped control the pain and muscle spasms.”
They consume every day, low-dosing throughout with 10 milligram doses. They also supplement with CBD candies, and smoke and vape, as needed, for physical ailments and sleep.
Their stash is ever changing, depending on what they’ve picked up around town. Cherry Pie is currently being enjoyed from Southern Maine farmer, Curated Cannabis, met on the same day they were introduced to Calico Cannabis – the flower in the blue bag.
“The State of Maine allows us to legally grow nine plants per person if you are a medical card holder,” they said. “It’s our second year growing and we love it! This year we grew multiple cultivars, such as, Berry Girl, Purple Trainwreck, Pineapple Fields, Tangelope, Juiceman, White Widow Hybrid, and Orange marmalade.”
Within their stash are papers du jour, of Top; not a favorite, just what’s in current use. The vape pen by Ooze Life is special, with them sharing that the battery is super-efficient, and the pen has three temperature settings.
They also like smoking from glass in a pinch, though no burning flower for Lee. Glass purchased from The Honest Headshop, from Brothers With Glass; all in a hemp backpack by Pure Hemp.
Favorite remedy makers include Linda’s Botanical Baskets, offering CBD-filled gift baskets for the savvy patient; with CBD Sugar-Free Sour Apple candies at five milligrams per drop.
Colorful suckers and assorted candies from the Ganja Candy Factory, out of Portland, Maine are a go-to; along with a 10 milligram Lemon Pound Cake Bite by TGC Seeds; and assorted medicated candies, concentrates, bubble hash and a little resin. Flower is sometimes sourced from local shop, Hive Medicinal, in Chelsea, Maine.
Taking the Stage for Inclusion
Breaking stigmas is something cannabis patients and partakers strive for, and education is everything. What better way for a pair of older, overweight, lesbians to make a difference with humor – putting themselves out there, taking it for the team, so to speak.
With humor and intelligence – well, more humor than not, these two are making a huge difference, not only for those who medicate and recreate responsibly with cannabis, but also in the way LGBTQ are accepted into the once homophobic and male-dominated cannabis community.
“The rise in our social media attention took us by surprise,” they shared. “We receive several messages a day from people letting us know we’ve helped them – either through humor or just being who we are and being out there. We are filled with gratitude and humility.”
The two also knew right away that they wanted to interact with their followers in a very personal way, stating, they do not understand the point of having an account if one doesn’t take the time to communicate when someone is kind enough to follow and comment.
“We’re grateful we can contribute in some small way to destigmatize weed use for older people, fat people – all walks of life,” they concluded. “Everyone has been respectful, kind and thankful for our representation. We’ve made many new friends here in Maine in the cannabis community, nationally and internationally, as well. We’ve been accepted with open arms and hearts.”
What’s in Your Stash? Sue and Lee, 420 Old Fat Lesbians was posted on High Times.
Original Post: High Times: Higher Profile: Bradley King, Life Coach With A Higher Calling
[Canniseur: For many of us, ‘being high’ isn’t about getting stoned. It’s about micro-dosing and staying sane. Micro-dosing is important to the way we function, day in and day out. Bradly King’s message is an important one for harnessing the power of cannabis. His fight against the dumb stoner image is also important. Day-by-day cannabis becomes normalized throughout the world and this image is slowly fading away.]
Bradley King embraces the plant.
For the past five years, Bradley King has been a successful global life coach, inspiring and encouraging clients around the world. Two years ago, after a client shared that cannabis helped them deal with life’s issues, King found his own life being coached, with his sessions diving deeper and able to move forward more quickly than anything he’d ever witnessed prior.
King soon realized just how many of his clients were self-medicating with cannabis for various disorders, and that it was as much a part of their lifestyles as it was his.
According to Life Coaching Press, the life coach industry in the U.S. officially crossed over as a valid option to mainstream therapy in the 1980s. The industry exceeded the billion dollar mark in 2017, with the International Coach Federation listing more than 50,000 members, worldwide.
Life Coach Press reports that more corporations are now hiring life coaches, rather than traditional mental health counselors, to assist employees through tough patches and/or work related stressors. This, they say, is due to the negative stigma of old-school therapies that can last years. Life coaching was developed to provide a path forward with more immediate results.
“I remember the first time a client let it slip that he used cannabis and it helped him,” King shared. “Our sessions had been awkward before that, because of his anxiety issues, and I asked if he would be more comfortable if he smoked a little. I had just recently started smoking again myself, after a long break, and I asked if it was alright if I take a hit or two, as well—to maybe help him feel more comfortable.”
Bradley King said he’s a big believer of micro-dosing – keeping smoking to a minimum for optimal effect—especially during coaching sessions.
“We didn’t overconsume and chatted slowly. The session changed,” he continued. “This client was typically anxiety-driven, but after taking a hit or two, he calmed down substantially and opened up more than he ever had before.”
At the time, King was offering a ten-session package, and during the first four sessions, the client seemed to be stuck. With King admitting that it wasn’t entirely the client’s fault.
“I started listening differently,” he explained. “My sessions became deeper – more spiritual. It really opened my eyes, and I knew this was something I had to offer others.”
Bradley King is now known as the Cannabis Coach on social media, with his roots firmly planted in the methodology of a life coach.
Courtesy of Bradley King
Medicated, not High
“Many of my clients have admitted to overmedicating with cannabis,” King shared. “I can tell right away when a client has smoked or ingested too much,” he said. “They ramble and rant. They may even become more anxious, and the session fails. It’s hard to get them back, but it also creates a learning moment at the top of the next session, when I remind them that I’m not a therapist, I’m only here to guide them down a path to reach their life’s goals, and focus is everything.”
Too much THC can trigger anxiety, and Bradley King said that unfortunately many of his clients suffer from the malady, sharing, “They say, ‘I’m smoking and smoking and smoking, and I’m not getting any better!’ I always share information on micro-dosing first.”
Sessions might include a discussion on the use of tinctures, using products topically, and how much THC is enough for his client’s personal needs. Not as a medical professional, but as a life coach, helping them add to their sessions, moving forward, while getting the most out of cannabis use in their daily lives.
He also discusses the benefits of using cannabis consistently every day, and how regular dosing relates to long-term benefits, while adding to the coaching experience—including the differences between a CBD rich cultivar and one high in THC.
CBD, the Chill Pill
Cannabidiol (CBD) high cultivars have been found to reduce anxiety more substantially than high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cultivars, especially when over medicating via smoking.
In a paper published by the University of Washington, authored by none other than Susan A. Stoner, PhD, Research Consultant (true story), she surmises that due to the high percentage of THC in modern-day weed, tolerance becomes an issue, with the endocannabinoid system playing a role in brain function, where anxiety, fear and stress is concerned.
From the paper, “Endocannabinoids appear to modulate highly interactive stress and reward networks, consisting of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), dopamine system, and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis. These networks establish the balance between distress and well-being. Like social interaction and exercise, marijuana intoxication produces a sought-after state of calmness or contentedness, mediated by interactive anxiolytic effects of increased cannabinoid and oxytocin receptor activation and rewarding effects of elevated dopamine.”
Stoner also makes the point to say that “cannabis withdrawal is associated with lower ECS tone, partially medicated by release of stress hormones and reduced dopamine levels.”
In other words, just as in using pharmaceuticals for increased brain function, when using cannabis for mental health issues, stopping cold-turkey presents negative effects, causing the patient to possibly dive deeper into depression and/or anxiety symptoms, including panic attacks.
CBD, on the other hand, Stoner states, “appears to have robust anxiolytic effects without anxiogenic effects at higher doses. In fact, the anxiolytic effects of CBD in humans were first demonstrated in the context of reversing the anxiogenic effects of THC.”
Stoner sites twenty-three human studies showing that dosing with 300-600 milligrams of CBD, taken orally, reduces experimentally induced anxiety in patients without anxiety disorders; and reduces anxiety in patients with diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder.
Bottom line, King insists on moderation when medicating with cannabis high in THC for anxiety and related emotional issues, and that finding and knowing your dose for the level of help needed is key.
Bradley with his husband Tom/ Courtesy of Bradley King
Bradley King: The Cool Weed Coach
The most successful life coaches fulfill a niche in the field and are able to command six-figure incomes. And, like Bradley King, they’ve become social media influencers. Some with rock-star-like followings.
From his social media postings, many new clients might be compelled to session and wanted to get high with the celebrity weed coach, but King said he’s all about educating his clients on how cannabis works with our bodies and our psyche, as part of a life coaching experience; helping them get beyond whatever trauma or obstacles that brought them to him in the first place.
“My knowledge in this area is personal, as I’ve witnessed trauma myself. I was sexually raped when I was 16 years-old,” he shared. “I dealt with anxiety, PTSD, depression—and attempted suicide a few times. I was unable to cope with life, and fell into the trap of abusing drugs and alcohol at a very young age.”
To complicate an already difficult situation, King said he was also dealing with the fact that he was gay. He became sober just prior to turning 17, but it would take four more years to come out of the closet to his parents, at 21 years of age.
“I met my husband when I was 22, the year after I came out,” he continued. “I had walked through a few fires at a young age, and got through it with what felt like an old soul—ready to help others, if given the opportunity. Four years later, I became a certified life coach.”
Today he and his husband have a nine year-old son they adopted via fostering. Aside from the stigma of being a gay father, King’s professional focus is on breaking the stigma of the stupid stoner.
“That’s really what this is all about for me, breaking all the stigmas now,” he surmised. “The world needs to know that you can be married, have a child, a nice house—and a mental disorder—all the while being a productive member of society, medicating with cannabis.”
Higher Profile: Bradley King, Life Coach With A Higher Calling was posted on High Times.
Original Post: High Times: What’s in Your Stash? Charles McElroy, Founder of Goldleaf
[Canniseur: I keep a journal of my experiences with different strains. Here’s a way you can track your experiences, whether for medical reasons or pleasure reasons. This is a good idea for anyone who wants to be able to describe what it is they like. This is very classy as well!]
Unsurprisingly, Charles McElroy has a Goldleaf journal in his stash.
Is there a Patient Journal in your stash? Perhaps a Recreational Tasting Journal – something to keep track of the many wonderful cultivars and products you sample? How about a record to help you keep track of your daily cannabis protocols? Or, how about a Grow Planner for tracking the phases of your grow cycle; or a Cooking Journal, created specifically as a “Culinary Companion” for your kitchen apothecary?
What if all these record-keeping journals and more were available in high-end, beautifully detailed, compact publications that fit into your satchel?
Charles McElroy was thinking the same thing, as he created the intelligently penned Goldleaf line of journals, reference cards, recipe cards, and a plethora of scientific reference material for the modern-day cannabis farmer, patient, and partaker.
From its website: “…Goldleaf is a science-forward printing company for cannabis growers, patients, and enthusiasts… empowering people by helping them better understand their interactions with the plant…”
“I wanted to make something that people who are passionate about cannabis could further engage with,” McElroy explained. “The cloak of the [illicit] market wouldn’t allow growers to write down their process, now they can.”
Courtesy of Charles McElroy
From Ignorance, to Realization, to Action
McElroy hails from Ohio, attending Ohio University in Athens, graduating with a dual major of Business and IT in 2004.
“I began using cannabis in college,” he shared. “I had a couple of health conditions since I was 15 – autoimmune disorders, chronic pain. The first time I tried cannabis it wasn’t pleasant, but it wasn’t too bad, as I tried it again the next day. I was always a little anxious about how it would affect me, because I was uneducated. Then I learned about the social injustice of cannabis prohibition – the oppression, discrimination, how people are treated as criminals for using this plant.”
Cannabis was McElroy’s gateway to learning. He said the plant not only taught him about the injustice of prohibition and the lack of education thereafter, it taught him what his own body needs, and how to be more proactive about his health.
“Cannabis changed the way I handle my symptoms. I microdose now – that’s where I found my secret sauce,” he laughed.
Stints in audio engineering for both the Library of Congress in Austin, Texas; and in a studio with recording artists, taught him about audio fatigue.
“Your work will go downhill if you ignore the signs,” he said. “Cannabis reset my mind and ears – it helped me work better and smarter.”
After working in Texas and Colorado, McElroy made his way back to Ohio, and helped start up a company called Noble, with a line of organic and sustainable jeans, Bespoke.
“I worked in every aspect of the supply chain, distribution, and product design, but it wasn’t my passion,” he said. “We sold the company to a group in Australia, and I started Goldleaf in Cincinnati in 2016.”
The Noble team helped with the initial designs and photography, while its legal team got him on the right path.
Courtesy of Charles McElroy
“We wanted Goldleaf materials to be beautiful, but we also needed all the information to be accurate,” he said. “It took one year for the Patient Journal to be developed because we had to vet experts in the space. The first four doctors we used wouldn’t let us use their names, but that was alright – we wanted their minds and expertise.”
Learning how to navigate providing educational materials on cannabis in a formerly covert environment had its pratfalls, as misinformation is rampant in the industry.
“It used to be a common belief that Myrcene, one of the terpenes found in cannabis, enhances THC uptake – like when you eat a mango,” he explained. “But, we found that’s really not what’s going on. We could not find one single peer reviewed paper on this theory. We had to update the language in our Patient Journal and everything else that referenced terpenes.”
Goldleaf makes it simple for the average reader, but they also stay close to the scientific vernacular.
“For people who are into the culture of cannabis, the scientific aspect is often new to them,” he said. “We aim to be the encyclopedia of cannabis and offer proven scientific facts only, but you won’t find any recommendations on dosing – we leave that up to the medical professionals in the space.”
Like cannabis, the journals and educational materials Goldleaf publishes are used around the world – even in non-legal countries.
“We have customers on every continent except Antarctica,” he laughed. “We even shipped to one small country we had never heard of – Seychelles, a tiny island off the coast of Africa/Madagascar. There are 95 thousand people on this island, but they found us and are using the journals.”
Courtesy of Charles McElroy
Journaling the Stash
Prominently displayed with McElroy’s stash is his own Patient Journal by Goldleaf.
“I always keep notes when I’m medicating – or traveling and trying new cultivars,” he explained. “I like to use colored pencils to give myself a little more flexibility with details and notes – plus it keeps it fun and exciting.”
His rolling tray is made by Cannador, and although he generally vapes, he enjoys smoking blends when burning flower, adding mullen and spearmint to the mix. His favorite cultivars are Jack Herer, Orange CBD, and Chemdawg.
“My personal choice for a vaporizer is the Arizer Solo 2 Vape,” he added. “It has a long battery life, is built like a tank, and has an all glass path. It’s great for my regimen of micro-dosing, since I can easily monitor the amount used. I also enjoy the granular temperature control – allowing lower heat for tasting more of the terpenes, and ensuring the dose is mild when it needs to be.”
He uses a Canndescent Stylus vape pen, as it has a clip and can attach to his journal; a course herb grinder, keeping material from slipping through smoking implements; dark glass flower jars, keeping his herb fresh and potent; and an MJ Arsenal glass bubbler, for sharing.
“I also take 1000 milligrams of CBD oil in the morning, made by Rosebud,” he said. “It helps with some of my joint and lower back spasms. This, mixed with some yoga in the mornings, keeps me going and keeps the tightness and throbbing at bay.”
The Future Looks Green
In the works are art prints, likened to vintage travel posters, with cities depicted with their relation to cannabis – picture Ohio with a focus on hemp. The first phase of posters will include Ohio, Northern California, Southern California, Oregon, and Colorado; set to launch winter of 2019.
“They will be stylized conversation pieces, helping people talk about issues related to cannabis and sustainability,” he said. “We’ve been working with some famous artists, and are really excited about their launch. They are absolutely beautiful – a priority in everything we publish.”
Goldleaf is also collaborating with a veterinarian to create Pet Journals, helping pet owners keep track of products and protocols with confidence.
“Humans aren’t the only species on the planet who needs cannabis,” he surmised. “The reason I was so nervous when I tried cannabis for the first time was simply due to a lack of education. We at Goldleaf are trying to change that – in a beautiful and intelligent way.”
What’s in Your Stash? Charles McElroy, Founder of Goldleaf was posted on High Times.
Original Post: High Times: What’s in Your Stash? Eve Lentz, Seattle Hempfest Historian
[Canniseur: Eve Lentz’s stash box makes for interesting story telling. Do you have a stash box? What’s in yours?]
What does this activist like to have on hand?
Cannabis and hemp activist Eve Lentz has a long history in the movement that has encompassed every part of her life.
A member of the core group of the Seattle Hempfest since 1997, for the past 21 years she’s worked the festival’s history booth. The event is one of the largest hemp and cannabis events in the world, stretching along two and a half miles along Seattle’s Puget Sound each summer, with more than 100,000 attendees each year during the three-day event.
Lentz was also part of the staff for the 1996 High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, along with fellow activist Gideon Israel, and famed author and activist Stephen Gaskin and his wife, Ina Mae Gaskin – who led the movement to legalize midwifery in the U.S.
Her list of friends is a who’s who in the cannabis and hemp activism space, and includes helping with start-ups of and memberships in historic groups, such as the November Coalition (with Nora Callahan), Grammas for Ganja ( with Jeanne Black, aka: Magic), Women of Weed, and NORML Women of Washington. Lentz was also on the committee that drafted the Washington State Initiative I-692, making the state legal for cannabis as medicine in 1998.
Courtesy of Eve Lentz
You might say Lentz has been a groupie for hemp and cannabis for decades, including a close friendship with the late Jack Herer, author of the groundbreaking, whistle-blowing book, The Emperor Wears no Clothes.
Herer gave Lentz his second book to edit, Mushroom Canon – The most high plant secrets of the Gods and Explorations revealing the end of the world as you know it. The edits are pending, but according to Lentz, Herer felt the book was more important than his first work.
Lentz spends a lot of time on her bed, with sentimental mementos and reading material spread out like a quilt of the history of hemp and cannabis, with the ghosts of the movement all around her.
“In my stash box is a blue glass jar with Jack’s Girl bud,” she shared. “That cultivar and Jack’s Dragon Girl were both hybridized and named for me by my sister, Allison Bigelow. Both cultivars are available via vape pen cartridges and Pax pods by Heylo at Uncle Ike’s rec store in Seattle.”
Bigelow was the owner of the Washington Hemp Company, and the Washington Hemp Mercantile in the late 1990s, with Lentz by her side. Together, the sisters went on to be sales representatives for the Ecolution Hemp Company, founded by Stephen DeAngelo of Harborside and Eric Steenstra of Vote Hemp. Steenstra designed the Bob Marley hemp line, after Ziggy Marley purchased a pair of hemp jeans from the shop.
“The syringe is filled with cannabis oil – or what we call Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO,” she explained. “I got to know Rick, talking to him many times on Jack’s phone. The oil has saved my life more than once, and I eat a little bit every day.”
In 2010 Lentz was dealing with a thyroid goiter that was wrapped around her trachea, voice box and esophagus, invading her chest wall on both sides; with a salivary gland blocked. She developed thrush as a side effect of antibiotics, and couldn’t swallow to eat or hold food down.
“I was virtually bedridden until a friend offered a gram a day of cannabis oil,” she shared. “In just three months the size of the goiter was reduced tremendously, making it easier to have it removed – with less complications. After the first few days of eating the oil I had no pain and could swallow soups and eat light meals. Needless to say, I made a full recovery.”
The mirror in her stash box was given to her by friend Ric Smith, reflecting their friendship. The clear glass pipe was designed by another friend and fellow cannabis and hemp activist, Don Skakie. Lentz said the barrel bowl design maximizes the flow of cooling smoke. The roach clip with pink hearts was made by Kanti Selig, life partner of Seattle Hempfest Director and founder, Vivian McPeak.
“My friend, Michelle Saye, is all about the roots of beneficial plants,” she added. “The tin holds ground hemp root capsules. I eat one a day – Michelle says they are great for circulation.”
Seattle Hempfest fodder abounds via papers, lighters, and a dabber, alongside some Uncle Ike’s rolling papers.
The stash box itself was made for her by Washington State woodworker, Myron Connery of Mr. Kiefbox in 2012. The picture of Jack Herer in her box is called “roach art,” and was created out of roach papers by Washington State artist Cliff Maynard. The picture depicts Herer smoking a joint at 4:20. Both O’Conner and Maynard burned their signatures inside the box lid.
Also a photographer, Lentz said she took a photo of a farmer plowing the first legal hemp crop in Nelson, B.C., Canada. The image has since been put on posters and calendars, and one of her sister’s Reefer Magnets in 1998.
“Cannabis makes me happy,” she mused. “Yes, it’s also saved my life, but my stash is also a reflection of my life. This plant has helped so many, including me, and I’m grateful to be a part of the history of cannabis and hemp – a history and story that’s still happening now. But, I’m forever grateful to have all these kindred spirits from the movement in my life – living and past.”
What’s in Your Stash? Eve Lentz, Seattle Hempfest Historian was posted on High Times.
Original Post: High Times: How Sharmila Clee Got Off Valium With Plant-Assisted Therapy
[Canniseur: One woman’s journey from an anti-cannabis and alcohol stance, but addicted to Valium and other legitimate pharmaceutical drugs, to embracing plant based therapies, including cannabis.]
After drug use caused Sharmila Clee’s parents to lose custody of her and her siblings in 1998, Clee said she was squarely against anything related to drugs or alcohol, including cannabis.
“An anti-drug and alcohol mantra became my identity for years,” she said.
Once her parents and extended biological family’s rights were terminated, Clee and her siblings were put up for adoption. She and her sister were separated from their special needs brother, who needed extended care.
“It was difficult finding a home willing to take in three children with a history of trauma,” Clee shared. “My experience started my passion to become the best social worker in the world, and help other children like us.”
Her brother was eventually returned to her biological parents; Clee started experiencing panic attacks soon after.
“I was barely managing, receiving calls in the middle of the night from my brother, with reports of our dad drunk and violent,” she recalled. “I was three hours away at college and felt powerless, but it propelled me to move forward with vengeance and purposes, after witnessing so much social injustice—in the world, then through the eyes of my brother.”
Clee learned to push down her feelings of panic and anxiety by numbing herself with a Valium habit that began in the Fall of 2001 while at graduate school. She was diagnosed with latent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She remembers it disrupting her studies with random visions of her turbulent childhood, yet, she says, she managed to pull A’s in all subjects.
Her goal of climbing the corporate ladder was achieved. But she found that her new bureaucratic life was not all she had hoped for. She dreaded the monotony of wearing suits, the grueling commute, and her life in a cubicle.
“It was sucking my soul away,” she said.
“I ran out of Valium during Fourth of July weekend in 2014, when a British, barefoot, hippie friend passed me something called a ‘vape extreme,’” she said, laughing. “That weekend was the longest time I went without my medication, and eventually my body began to shake with withdrawal symptoms, so my friend convinced me to take a hit of his vape pen, and the shakes stopped.”
Clee began researching cannabis as medicine, which eventually led her to Greener Pastures Recovery in Maine—and its Plant-Assisted Therapy Program for addiction recovery.
“My personal treatment program has been a slow tapering off of the Valium and Zoloft, by smoking flower, hash oil, ingesting turmeric, relora, moringa, calcium, multi-vitamins, and full spectrum cannabis oil, or FECO,” she explained. “The FECO has probably been the most effective treatment, as it completely changes the overall feeling in my body, with a comforting internal blanket of well-being.”
Clee told us that not only is the throbbing bodily pain of withdrawal symptoms quelled with the strong concentrate, but the electric shock-type headaches are replaced with a feeling of comfort. She said the plant was a Godsend.
“Even with all the steps taken to subside any dangerous symptoms, my body still overheated in front of the fire one evening in my first Benzo-related seizure. Nothing makes the detox symptoms entirely go away, but Greener Pastures, its PAT program, and the space they provide, allows you to take the time to understand how your life has unfolded into addiction, helping you to reevaluate your life, better understand your psyche, history, and allows you to look at the here and now, and be present.”
Clee believes the culture of today’s society is a breeding ground for emotional detachment, leading to an unhappy life and subsequent addictions, either to drugs or an unhealthy lifestyle.
“Even when we appear to be successful and fulfilled, when we detach from a past filled with turmoil, we have a skewed perception of what happiness looks like,” she said. “Then next thing you know, you are making six figures, cheating on your spouse with a co-worker who is as emotionally unavailable as you are—but, hey, you have 50 thousand Instagram followers, so what’s the problem?”
Clee said she’s still a work in progress. She was disheartened to discover that kids in America’s foster care system are prescribed anti-anxiety medications at an alarming rate. Researchers even admit that a therapeutic dose often leads to dependency or addiction issues later in life.
“When you hand a bottle of Xanax to a teenager, it’s a potential death risk,” she said. “I’m not saying just give every kid cannabis, but pharmaceuticals are not the answer. We do know that every human body has an endocannabinoid system that accepts the healing properties of cannabis and other beneficial plants into all the systems in our bodies for health and mental well-being.”
“It’s time to start making moves in that direction.”
How Sharmila Clee Got Off Valium With Plant-Assisted Therapy was posted on High Times.