My relationship with cannabis has evolved so much since my first bong hit in the summer of 2006, after just graduating from high school. I was 17 years old and I had been avidly against smoking anything since my grandfather had passed away from lung cancer. But a few Bacardi Breezers in and my friends had finally convinced me to take a hit from a bong filled with orange juice. It wasn’t that bad, certainly not as bad as I have always imagined it to be. I actually kind of liked it.
But it wasn’t until I was 19 years old and living in Victoria, BC that smoking weed became a regular part of my life. British Columbia was a whole new world to me, the province is known for their BC buds. In 2010, I found Coral Reefer on YouTube, and started watching her “Stoney Sunday” series religiously. It was really inspiring to see a woman so educated and open about her use of cannabis. It was around that time I started to regularly smoke weed. I noticed that it was helping a lot with period pain, digestive discomfort and headaches.
After two years in BC, I moved back to the east coast to go to university and my pot habit came with me. Although it was slightly more conservative there than in BC, my relationship with marijuana wasn’t strained. While I studied Public Relations at school, I spent my spare time learning everything I could about the growing cannabis industry in the US, where women were really making their mark. I spent that time following the industry from afar.
Over the years, my relationship with cannabis grew deeper; it helped me cut alcohol out of my life and made a beautiful addition to my journey of self-love. In 2017, my health started to decline and a doctor suggested I reduce my cannabis intake. Despite my doubt, I followed his orders. Not surprisingly, I felt worse and my weight quickly dropped below 100lbs. It was frustration with side effects of pharmaceuticals that turned me back to cannabis. Although I’m still not sure what caused my health to decline, it was then that I realized how much cannabis was actually benefiting me. I was in fact, using it medicinally. So I re-introduced cannabis into my daily life. I was able to eat again, my nausea was manageable, and I felt better overall. But, it wasn’t just physical benefits that I was experiencing. I saw benefits both mentally and spiritually; I incorporated cannabis into my yoga and meditation routines as well as my morning and bedtime rituals. Although I knew how much cannabis was helping, I didn’t know if I could translate that to a doctor. So, I set out to get as much valid research as I could find before I spoke to my doctor about pursuing a prescription for medical cannabis.
Since receiving my medical card, I have been a vocal advocate for public education and safe distribution of cannabis in Canada, specifically at home in Prince Edward Island. This fall I held two public discussions about the upcoming legalization of recreational cannabis as a way to allow a safe space for people to learn about cannabis. I have also been meeting with government officials, taking any opportunity I have to share my experience and knowledge of this amazing plant!
– Annie MacEachern, Cannabis Communications Consultant
You can find Annie on Instagram at @_canniebis