4/20 Celebration: Free Coffee & Papers

Free coffee & papers, Thursday, April 20, at Tokyo Smoke Found (850b Adelaide St. W.) and Tokyo Smoke Green (874 College St.), from open to close.

To celebrate 4/20, we’re giving away free coffee and It’s Lit rolling papers (which include filters and a special magnetic closure) on Thursday, April 20th! The relationship between great coffee and cannabis is a duo near to our hearts so for one day only, the java is on us.  Stop by either storefront location in Toronto to claim your free cup of coffee and take home a specially designed pack of Tokyo Smoke papers.

 

Cannabis Diaries: The Office Assistant Improving a Winter Week

Monday:

I wake up on Monday, tired and a little groggy, but ready for another week of work. I work out of a co-working space in an up-and-coming neighbourhood. I get ready for the day and ask my boyfriend (who is the world’s best pinner-roller) to roll me a little joint filled with this wonderful Sativa, called Grapefruit, for my after-work activities. The day lags but when it hits 6:30 I regain a new wave of energy. I head to my friends place, who lives just around the corner, for an evening filled with crafts, wine, and that precious pinner that’s been in safe-keeping all day.

Wednesday:

After a fairly hectic day filled with meeting-madness, I take a nice jaunt across the city for some air and headspace. The days are getting longer and it inspires a quality of rejuvenation. My friend has been writing a memoir and a group of us are her first listeners. We settle around her living room, sprawled across the L-shaped couch, covered in fuzzy blankets and soft cushions. We pass around a little glass pipe filled with Blueberry Kush and let ourselves get engulfed in her story of love and loss, her words echo smoothly around the room, mimicking the lingering smoke in the air.

Friday:

Being in a long-term relationship, my boyfriend and I try to have a chill night once a week to catch up on what’s been going on and touch base. I prance home, excited for our evening. He meets me at the door and we head to the LCBO together. After we pick out an eclectic assortment of craft beers, we drop them off and take a walk. We head towards Trinity Bellwoods and pull out the joint he’s pre-rolled. This time it’s Sour Diesel. Passing it back and forth, I let the high wash over me and let the stress from the week roll off. We are a bit chilly, so we head home and light a fire. It will be one of the last of the season.

Saturday:

Bridesmaids dress shopping—how do you make that more fun? I can think of a couple ways, but one in particular (read: some edible magic filled with CBD). Enough said.

High Expectations – Part 3

I found that cannabis has helped with my mood and my anxiety as well. I somewhat have found a way to be creative again; the first time I painted in over 10 years was because marijuana helped me push boundaries I have created for myself. And I think that finding that creativity in me is also part of my recovery.  Of doing things that I love and in accepting who I really am. Sometimes my anxiety is so bad that I can’t watch a movie or even bring myself to pay my bills. On most days, just the thought of being late to an appointment or the thought of a deadline scares me. My anxiety is not something that I’m used to explaining in words to a reader, so please bear with me. I just want to explain how it can manifest in some people and that it’s important to care to know that everybody is different. It’s an issue that needs to be talked about. With cannabis, I’m able to write again. I’ve noticed that sometimes the words don’t come if I’m too anxious; the creativity won’t sprout. I’m not saying that I have to be high in order to be creative, but I’m saying it definitely helps to get me going, especially when I’m going through tough times. It’s like it’s clouded in my head with all the anxiety, almost like I can’t see clearly, but marijuana helps me see clearly.

 

Sometimes, it is the only thing that will put a smile on my face on a grey day. It can make some of my pain go away. People who are sick will definitely understand what it’s like to have a small glimpse of a break, some hope and some relief, even if it is for 1 minute, 2 hours or even 5 hours. It almost feels like for a mere moment, I’m not sick; and that definitely helps me visualize and leaves my mood uplifted. It’s quite a strange feeling indeed, but it makes me feel like everyone else and above all, makes me feel alive again. No other medication has ever been able to give me a somewhat normal life like medicinal cannabis.

Photo by Sean Berrigan

I really think people should smoke more weed because the world would be at peace. We would all love one another and respect one another. Cannabis also makes you happy and I have recurrent MDD, so it’s likely to occur again at some point in my life. There are various strains of cannabis that uplift your mood and a lot of uneducated people think that there’s only one type of cannabis (there are thousands and each has different and several medicinal properties), and that it is just  about the couch-potato lazy high.

It’s unimaginable how many people could benefit from medicinal marijuana. Women on their periods for example! A completely natural way to get rid of PMS and cramps, but the market isn’t accessible enough for this audience just yet. The market is definitely geared towards the male population, or maybe it simply hasn’t adapted, much like in other fields. I wouldn’t say that it is sexist per se, but it definitely isn’t attractive to me as a woman. And I was never a feminist, nor did I really know what it meant until I moved to Toronto, but by gaining a conscience and my own ideas, I’ve been able to notice an actual difference as a woman within the cannabis industry and I have become a feminist, so advocating for this cause seemed evident.

   

Photo by Sean Berrigan

Somehow, i feel isolated about cannabis and that’s the the best word I found to describe the emotions I feel. I always ask my boyfriend what he thinks of the strains and base my choices on his most of the time because he’s very knowledgable about cannabis and because a lot of the strains have such weird names! I think I feel insecure in a world where the male presence greatly surpasses the female’s. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel attracted to what’s out there right now? I see all these paraphernalia stores and they are plagued with lots of stuff that I can’t even describe. I think it’s going against what almost every women looks for in a store. I mean…I won’t go into a store if it doesn’t look attractive, but again maybe that’s just me… And I really believe there is a way to make it attractive and to definitely adapt so that many more women would feel open to trying it because it’s VERY intimidating at first.

I think Tokyo Smoke has done a great job and great things to try and change that. By selling high-end products, by creating a brand and through collaborations, it is slowly tapping into a blank canvas. What’s great is that I can relate: I can actually go into their space and be wowed by pipes that were hand-crafted in Canada and that are appealing. The beauty of it is also the accessibility of going to a coffee shop and being able to purchase paraphernalia without shame!!! As I had mentioned before, finding stores where I feel comfortable buying is important to me, and what best way than to shop while drinking the best Americano it town! When I first approached Tokyo Smoke to tell my story, it was because I believed in their profess and in the fact that they were ahead of the game. Their products were sleek and feminine, which was something I hadn’t seen before and their clean displays made it easy for me to know what to look for. I would love for the industry to keep moving in this direction and I would love to support women who have learned to integrate marijuana into their daily lives as a way to self-medicate. There needs to be support groups and help groups about how to navigate the system when you need to use medicinal marijuana and I really hope I am part of the movement.

   

Photo by Sean Berrigan

If you would like to share your story with me, email me at vmerc074@gmail.com nd let’s  talk about it! I would love to get to know you and to end the stigma, one woman at a time! On top of that, you get some sweet photos of you medicating in your own way!

 

Cheers!

 

Vee

 

I just wanted to dedicate this to my amazing boyfriend who helped me discover medicinal marijuana and who is always there for me, no matter what. Thanks to my family for helping my stay strong, to Tokyo Smoke for allowing me to share my story on their platforms and to my best friend Katlyn, who has inspired me to write in order to heal.

High Expectations – Part 2

It took a lot of convincing before I really tried cannabis. My boyfriend had been using it to treat his psoriatic arthritis for years and I still remember my first joint here in Toronto. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t stand or move to the point where I also couldn’t even undress myself… You can try picturing my boyfriend painfully trying to take my VERY skinny jeans off my really long legs (I’m 6 feet tall)!!! That’s when he said he would “roll me something” and I remember taking a few puffs of his precisely-rolled joint and I could move again. I couldn’t believe it. I even remember dancing in the living room out of joy. It was like my brain knew that I was in pain, but my body couldn’t feel it. The metaphor I use to explain it is that I know and I can see that I have pain, but that it’s in the corner of the room.

Image: Sean Berrigan

 

I was able to obtain my medicinal marijuana license (formely MMPR) last year and I’ve been getting my cannabis through a licensed producer here in Canada ever since. The process is fairly easy if you have a doctor that can advocate for you and believes in the medicinal aspects of the plant, but also if you advocate for yourself. I’ve learned over the years that you have to do your own research and that finding a doctor with whom you can have a relationship is key. When I asked my family physician about medical cannabis, she never treated it like a drug, but rather a medication that could help alleviate my symptoms. I believe that every patient has the right to have access to medical marijuana as a treatment and I think that this information needs to be communicated by healthcare professionals. It’s really sad to know that there are still ingrained negative connotations surrounding marijuana and that because a lot of doctors still do not believe in its’ medical properties. It’s an old-school way of thought and patients are unnececssaryily suffering because of it. As a doctor, if there was something out there that could alleviate your patient’s pain; wouldn’t you want to try? I mean, why aren’t we spending money on research when it is clear that marijuana’s medicinal properties do exist? And why are our tax-payers’ dollars going towards busting dispensaries even amidst talks of possible legalization in Canada? These are just some of the questions I ask myself on a daily basis because it really has made an impact on me. I’m trying to be conscious and watch documentaries and inform myself as much as I can, but it’s mind-boggling to me why we’re not doing something about it and quicker!  

There is no other medication that can alleviate my pain as fast as cannabis can. And I’m on so much medication right now I loose track sometimes. I can take up to 20 different pills a day and that might not sound like a lot, but it is to me. It’s been quite a roller-coaster with trying to determine what works for me and what doesn’t and sometimes I have to take more medication to counter-effect the side effect of another (it’s pretty crazy)! I used medicinal marijuana on a daily basis and for different ailments. I’ve actually found a strain that gets rids of my nerve pain completely and that can help with my mood. No other medication has ever done that for me. I can pump 900mg of Gabapentin (nerve pain medication) 3 times a day and that still doesn’t help me… I smoke half a joint and it’s like an aura going through my veins; plus it’s more of a body high and I can still function. Although my back pain remains, my nerve pain almost disappears and my legs are left bathing in a sweet buzzing sensation. It’s just the moment that counts. The moment when, for one minute, you realize that you haven’t felt nerve pain in a minute (haha). I know that everybody is different and that’s why there are so many strains that have yet to be discovered, but if people only knew! If they only knew how cannabis helps me and I wish it could help them too.

Because I need to use a cane and because my own body is trying to protect me from pain, the muscles in my back aren’t necessarily doing what they should be doing and so, other muscles are affected. That means, my shoulders, hips, knees, heels and wrists also hurt. I have seen A LOT of doctors and specialists and so I have countless appointments every week. I am followed by a chiropractor, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, pain specialists and many more. I have to do daily exercises, but tasks at home are very difficult. I have a lot of difficulty with cleaning, cooking or walking my dog. I am rarely hungry and marijuana has also helped me regain an appetite. I also used to cook a lot, but my anxiety even prevents me from doing so sometimes, or my back will be in too much pain for me to stand for too long. It’s very hard for me to loose that because just the thought of all those steps gives me anxiety. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it.  I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy.

Before I made the transition to needing an accessible parking permit or accessible bathrooms, I never really paid attention to the challenges people with disabilities face daily and I now feel terrible because I actually need a handle bar to get on/off the toilet. I have faced challenges as a disabled person and I have even noticed a difference in the way people look at you and treat you. A lot of them are really nice and understanding, but sometimes, it’s the complete opposite. When that happens, I am able to say something or to tell them off because I have the strength whereas so many others might not find the voice. Speaking out for me is extremely important because I believe every human should be treated equally. There have been instances where I have been made fun of or even disrespected because of both my physical and mental illnesses, and that means that there are times when I’m hurting A LOT more, because that cuts way deeper. It also doesn’t help that airlines and some insurance companies still today disregard mental illnesses, especially in 2016.

More on the how marijuana help my mental illness next time. In the meantime, If you would like to share your story like me, email me at vmerc074@gmail.com  or via Instagram @fallforvee and let’s talk about it! I would love to get to know you and to end the stigma, one woman at a time! On top of that, you get some sweet photos of you medicating in your own way!

 

Cheers!

 

Vee

 

P.S. I just wanted to dedicate this to my amazing boyfriend who helped me discover medicinal marijuana and who is always there for me, no matter what. Thanks to my family for helping me stay strong, to Tokyo Smoke for allowing me to share my story on their platforms and to my best friend Katlyn, who has inspired me to write in order to heal.

   

Image: Sean Berrigan

Because I need to use a cane and because my own body is trying to protect me from pain, the muscles in my back aren’t necessarily doing what they should be doing and so, other muscles are affected. That means, my shoulders, hips, knees, heels and wrists also hurt. I have seen A LOT of doctors and specialists and so I have countless appointments every week. I am followed by a chiropractor, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, pain specialists and many more. I have to do daily exercises, but tasks at home are very difficult. I have a lot of difficulty with cleaning, cooking or walking my dog. I am rarely hungry and marijuana has also helped me regain an appetite. I also used to cook a lot, but my anxiety even prevents me from doing so sometimes, or my back will be in too much pain for me to stand for too long. It’s very hard for me to loose that because just the thought of all those steps gives me anxiety. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it.  I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy.

Before I made the transition to needing an accessible parking permit or accessible bathrooms, I never really paid attention to the challenges people with disabilities face daily and I now feel terrible because I actually need a handle bar to get on/off the toilet. I have faced challenges as a disabled person and I have even noticed a difference in the way people look at you and treat you. A lot of them are really nice and understanding, but sometimes, it’s the complete opposite. When that happens, I am able to say something or to tell them off because I have the strength whereas so many others might not find the voice. Speaking out for me is extremely important because I believe every human should be treated equally. There have been instances where I have been made fun of or even disrespected because of both my physical and mental illnesses, and that means that there are times when I’m hurting A LOT more, because that cuts way deeper. It also doesn’t help that airlines and some insurance companies still today disregard mental illnesses, especially in 2016.

Image: Sean Berrigan

More on the how marijuana help my mental illness next time. In the meantime, If you would like to share your story like me, email me at vmerc074@gmail.com  or via Instagram @fallforvee and let’s talk about it! I would love to get to know you and to end the stigma, one woman at a time! On top of that, you get some sweet photos of you medicating in your own way!

Cheers!

Vee

P.S. I just wanted to dedicate this to my amazing boyfriend who helped me discover medicinal marijuana and who is always there for me, no matter what. Thanks to my family for helping me stay strong, to Tokyo Smoke for allowing me to share my story on their platforms and to my best friend Katlyn, who has inspired me to write in order to heal.

In Response to the Task Force Report on Cannabis Legalization

Photo: Cais Mukhayesh

This week the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation released a report and provided some clarity on the potential Canadian government roll-out plan. As a cannabis lifestyle brand, Tokyo Smoke wanted to discuss what this means for the variety of cannabis consumers and share some of our initial thoughts.

While the findings are suggestions and not mandates, we would imagine the Federal Government would give significant consideration to these proposals when formulating their ultimate legalization strategy.

Overall we are excited and more convinced than ever that cannabis is going to be to Canada what wine is to France. The Task Force outlined the potential for retail storefronts, a recreational mail-order system, edibles, cannabis lounges, and a minimum age for consumption of eighteen. This is a more inclusive roll-out plan than was seen in many of the legal US states and will allow for a vibrant market with both product, consumption and retail choices.

The Task Force reinforced that provinces will have quite a bit of latitude in deciding wholesale and point-of-sale in the recreational market. This is an interesting point as in-province distribution could end up looking quite different across the country. With the additional point that retail outlets shouldn’t mix marijuana and alcohol, many who thought that, by default, the liquor boards would gain control of marijuana distribution/retail may have to re-think how the retail environment will look. It will be interesting to see what other restrictions are put on potential retailers whether it be the required distance from public places (parks, schools, etc.) or the dual entry/ID system as is seen in many legal states in the US..

When it comes to marketing, the comparison to the tobacco industry is a bit of a let-down. While restrictions on advertising do make sense, especially when it comes to keeping the product out of the hands of youth, using the alcohol industry’s regulations as a guide would be preferable. There is still plenty of room for brands to be both creative and engaging while educating consumers about the product.

In terms of production, the report suggests Licensed Producers as the de facto suppliers – companies that will “Regulate the production of cannabis and its derivatives (e.g., edibles, concentrates) at the federal level, drawing on the good production practices of the current cannabis for medical purposes system.” This is no big surprise but valued confirmation. Anne McLellan did talk about “diversity of supply” but said new entrants will still have to conform to strict production & quality standards (i.e. – go through the Health Canada gauntlet like every Licensed Producer and applicant). This will ensure a safe, regulated product for the market. While it may be difficult, initially, to have a system of ‘craft grow’ and ’large-scale grow’, some provinces may try to implement this themselves (namely BC). This will help provide the market with the desired diversity in product choice that we see in other categories ranging from food and beverage to skincare to alcohol.

Overall, this is another big step toward legalization. Canada is on its way to furthering our position as a global leader in the Cannabis space. While we can nitpick about little things here and there in the Task Force report, the fact is, we continue to make positive steps towards an open, legal market. This report is yet another reminder that Canada is taking a thoughtful, progressive approach to legalization and Tokyo Smoke is thrilled to be involved in this journey.

The Cannabis Diaries The Ex-Snowboarder Turned Dad

At Tokyo Smoke, we’re anonymously chatting with our friends, cafe dwellers and extended creative community about their Cannabis habits over the course of a week. From strains to supplies, anecdotes and advice, the outcome is always interesting. Here’s one story:

I think the best way to describe me in University was a Pothead snowboarder. I loved weed – LOVED IT. But then something happened when I turned 30. I became an adult and a father, and it was time to put the weed away and focus on my new baby boy. I guess the other thing that happened is I tried to smoke weed about 8 months after he was born I found some weed that I had from before. My wife and son were out for a couple of hours and I thought “Hey why not?” Well what happened was terrible. I full freaked out thinking I had forgotten everything from sending a work contract, to buying the right diapers. This lasted for an hour or two, then I calmed down and that was it for weed for me for a long time.

 

Fast forward three years, I have a new job working in tech sales, my son is 3 years old, and the weed revolution has happened where I can choose weed like wine. The below is a month of my weed consumption as I am not a regular smoker any more but I do love to unwind with a joint from time to time.

 

Monday

 

Fuck I hate Monday’s sometimes. This was a particular bad one as rough day at the office. Came home and my friend had given me a strain called Jean Grey. He said it was lighter high and I wouldn’t burn out. I helped my wife put my son to bed, waited till he fell asleep and then smoked a little out of a pipe. Just relaxed for the rest of the night read a magazine caught up on Netflix and talked with my wife about Family holiday coming up in November.

Left weed alone for the majority of the week, but then came Friday.

 

I rolled a little joint, (my favorite way to smoke), and my wife and I cooked dinner together. I have no idea what type of weed it was, another friend grabbed me a half quarter (That will last me a while). The difference with this is that the two of us were not functional stoners. The weed was too strong; we got down on a big meal. Laughed are asses off at a stupid comedy and my wife feel asleep on the couch.

 

Next week I had a terrible cold. Could be that I smoke cigarettes as well, but it felt like I had nails in my throat. So no smoking of any kind this week.

Monday

 

And I’m Back! Between getting my kid to daycare, making sure I’m a good husband, and trying to excel at my job I find it hard to relax. Sure I have beers and see friends, but sometimes I just want to relax for an hour or two hence joints. I do the dad thing, my wife and I go downstairs after bath time, stories, and bed time. I pull out the pipe and the same Jean Grey that was great the first time. Smoke a bowl, and draw a little – something I am trying to do to help me relax. We call it a day early and head up to bed.

 

Thursday

 

Grab some after work drinks. My buddy invites me over to smoke a joint after we leave the bar. We get to his house and he pulls out a bunch of pre rolled one paper joints. I ask what kind this is and he says “it’s some sort of sativa that I got from the dispensary”. We smoke it and I ask him about how he got hooked up at a dispensary. He tells me the story of how he just went in and got a prescription within an hour or two and now he can buy weed. I have known this was happening and a lot of my friends do it but damn that sounded easy. Also this weed was way too strong for me. I have realized that I like “light” highs. I can’t handle this intense high anymore, and I now know what I am looking for.

 

Sunday

 

My wife is heading to NYC for business, which means it’s a boys day! My son and I drop her off at the airport and I have a couple of friends coming over to watch football. I grab some chicken wings, and then put my son down for a nap. Look at my two friends and say who is rolling? We roll two strains the Jean Gray and Hawaiian Punch I think. The high was great super mellow, laughed a lot, yelled at the TV because my fantasy team and real team suck.

 

Just had myself a nice little Sunday. My son wakes up a couple hours later and we have dinner. Hang out put him to bed, and I feel like drawing again. I roll up a little joint smoke it to myself through on some amazing 90s rock and draw for the next hour. I finish doing what I’m doing and realize its 10:30 first thought Oh shit gotta get ready for Monday.

a

High Expectations – Part 1

Vanessa-Lyn Mercier (photo: Sean Berrigan)

High Expectations is a photo series that aims to challenge the negative connotations attributed to women in the cannabis world. We want to explore the taboo and change modern perceptions in an effort to educate and bring to light the positive aspects of cannabis for those who have been prescribed cannabis as a tool for care. We live in a society that has such ‘high expectations’ of women and want to break that mold.

My name is Vanessa-Lyn Mercier and I’m a young 27 year old working professional living downtown Toronto. I come from a very French Canadian family in the Montreal suburbs. You could say I was raised in a typical middle-class suburban setting with very strict parents. I was raised in a home where discipline and respect were at the core of our values. Let’s just say that discipline didn’t fly back then for me, but I’m grateful today because hard work definitely got me places.

I was a very creative child and teenager that did everything from singing, writing songs, painting, making jewelry, etc. However, I don’t think my parents quite understood creativity because it wasn’t something they had been exposed to and here I was, trying to do everything and anything. As a result, I lost sight of that side of myself and threw myself into sports. I believe the environment I grew up in definitely helped shape who I am today, but I also don’t blame my parents for not understanding a crazy loud and imaginative kid like me. I also didn’t have the best time in school because I was bullied a lot and because I was considered different. It took me years of therapy and self-care in order to realize that your difference is what makes you unique. A wonderful life coach once said to me “hurt people hurt people” and from that moment on, my whole perspective changed, and I knew that I had to try and forgive in order to grow. I have so many people to thank for making me the woman that I am today, but I also have to thank myself and this is part of why I am telling my story. I want to reinforce the choices I made as a woman and for my health even amidst the current stigmas, repression and ignorance we face daily.

Photo: Sean Berrigan

Needless to say, I truly believe in knowledge and education and my parents did too: I attended private schools from grade 3 on and they made sure I was always getting good grades. I didn’t really speak English until I was 11 years old, so bare with me if some expressions below sound distorted; that’s just who and how I am. In 2008, I also decided to move to Italy by myself to try and learn the language. When I came back four months later, my Italian was near perfect; there was something appealing about being completely immersed in an Italian family and within their culture. When I came back, I enrolled in the Honours BA with Specialization in French-English Translation at the University of Ottawa. I graduated in 2013 with Cum Laude and was able to find a job in Toronto 3 months later as a translator for a medical company. I packed everything I owned (or almost) and moved to the big city that is Toronto. I worked there for two and a half years perfecting my craft and learning a ton. Last year, I was recruited by a leading pharmaceutical company to lead their Translation Services team. I decided to take on the job in January of this year, but unfortunately, because of my health, I had to go on disability since the spring. Today, even though I am still nursing myself back to health, I consider myself a pretty successful young woman. Ironically enough, I’m also a regular and daily cannabis user and a lot of people don’t know that about me…

I first contacted Tokyo Smoke about a month ago because I really wanted to share my personal story to inspire others, and especially women. I had been thinking for a while about how marijuana has affected my life in the most positive way and really believed that there should be plenty discussion surrounding women and cannabis. I was lucky enough to be given the chance to present a photo series (with my amazing photographer boyfriend Sean Berrigan) through their social channels and I am really grateful for that, so here it is!

Photo: Sean Berrigan

I was probably 14 or 15 when I first encountered cannabis. I don’t remember who I was with or exactly when, but I do remember inhaling (or taking a puff like we Quebecers say) and choking on the smoke. I immediately hated it. I would later grow up to go to parties and when joints were being passed around, I always passed my turn, much like all the other girls in my circle of friends. If you didn’t know already, the province of Quebec is pretty conservative when it comes to any type of drug, and that is directly reflected in our education, but also deeply rooted within our family core values. I remember dating this guy when I was 17 years old and I had broken up with him because he smoked weed. I was convinced that using marijuana led to a life of laziness and damaged brain cells. I guess I had to grow up a little and see for myself that this whole war on drugs had simply been created based on ignorance and inaccurate testing of monkeys in the 70s. Quebec is also great at doing things differently (if you didn’t already know! haha) and I always found that people judged more, gossiped more and of course, created more rumours. Don’t get me wrong, and I speak from personal experience, I love my home and it’ll always be a place I have copious amounts of respect for, but the environment it created for me as a young woman definitely discouraged me from using marijuana. My opinion was tainted for many years and so, I never really tried using marijuana until I turned 24.

To give a bit of a background, I have to say that I’ve been living with chronic back pain for over 10 years. I was a huge athlete in high school and sports were my outlet. I was in the school’s golf, soccer, volley-ball and track and field teams, all while playing competitive tennis and soccer outside of school. I lived sport because I loved it and I was pretty good at it. And then the back pain started. On some days, I couldn’t walk and I was fueling on Advil every day. Then ensued two long years of investigation and testing at Montreal’s Children Hospital as to why I my back was in pain all the time, and at such a young age. They discovered I had gotten a compression fracture in my lower back which resulted in some disk slippage and that I had something called Scheuermann’s Disease (a growth condition in which the normal curve in the upper spine is increased, forming a hunched back and creating pain). So ten years of daily pain definitely forged my character, but I also learned to live with it. I’ve had flare-ups for years where pain lasted months at a time. And I couldn’t walk, or work, or concentrate during those months… To be really honest, my back pain prevents me from doing so many things I love and that’s what has been really hard on me. I loose my independence and myself and it is so debilitating.

Photo: Sean Berrigan

You see, my back pain started intensifying about a year ago and I started experiencing neuropathic pain as well, which is something I hadn’t experienced before. Nerve pain can be so painful that it prevents you from being comfortable in any position and so, it makes sleeping, sitting, or even lying down, barely possible and barely endurable. I’ve been experiencing an increasing amount of pain in the last year and trying to do everything to get better. My neuropathic pain still cannot be explained and it is still under investigation so this past year has mostly been spent in hospitals or clinics and I’ve been doing so many tests and going to specialists’ appointments and it has been exhausting. I have become so tired and because I have a history of mental illness, I am also now going through depression and have daily anxiety. I’ve been diagnosed with recurrent Major Depressive Disorder and panic disorder. Things haven’t been easy this past year and it has been really hard on both my physical and mental health combined. I think that we should really talk more about mental illness because it affects so many different souls and it doesn’t change who I am as a person, but I definitely have to fight for my happiness. It takes a whole lot of effort in order to live and overcome depression and a whole lot of understanding and compassion (I can’t thank my friends, family and boyfriend enough who have helped me navigate through this past year – I am so eternally grateful). On top of that, I have to walk with a cane on most days, which I have yet to accept because I’m so used to feeling alive with sports and movement. It sometimes feels like I have lost myself completely and I have to try and cope in order to live with my new disabilities.

 

And sometimes, persistent pain, mental illness and life don’t go so well together; and so, as a result, my doctor and I decided last May that it would be best if I went on Short Term Disability. I am not afraid, nor ashamed to say that I am still recovering today and still concentrating on my health while going on Long Term Disability. But I’m also really happy to say that medicinal cannabis has been a huge part of my quality of life and my pain management. It has completely changed my perspective on the multiple benefits of cannabis. I still think that access to medicinal cannabis is still too complicated and especially for women because it’s a known fact that women experience discrimination and that there is a gender bias in medicine. Before meeting my amazing doctor at Integra Health Centre (thank you for always advocating for me and for believing in alternative medicine!), there had been so many occasions when I felt vulnerable or judged by a medical professional. And I remember a doctor asking me if I was “certain” my back pain wasn’t just “period pain” (come on!).

 

I think the taboo and discrimination for women in cannabis goes back years and years, but I believe there needs to be a change and I want to be a part of that reform. Even before today’s talks of legalizing marijuana, and the recent pop-up of multiple dispensaries, people were buying off dealers… And I don’t know a lot of women who would meet a dealer in the street at night all by herself! As a woman, I like to remain safe and so, I really believe it’s also one of the reasons why a lot of women have never tried using marijuana or maybe don’t feel comfortable enough to. And I really don’t blame them, because I never did myself. The cannabis industry needs to feminize products in a way that we will feel comfortable trying something new. That’s why I’m telling my story: I want women to know its ok and I want them to educate themselves because medicinal marijuana is an amazing and natural way to medicate.

Curator: Vanessa-Lyn Mercier

IG: @fallforvee

 

Photographer: Sean Berrigan

IG: @seanbephoto

Web: www.seanberrigan.com

 

Strategist: Katlyn Jennings

IG: @silent___e

From Seizures to CBD – Part 6

Part six of a six part series where Adam Singer discusses his journey from a seizure sufferer to CBD advocate. In part six, our loquacious sojourner reaches the end of his pilgrimage

On June 22nd, 2016, I returned home from a few days in Detroit to find my bottle of Charlotte’s Web waiting for me.

 

Before discussing its effects, I must clarify the precise dosage that I took. This was a 1oz-bottle, with a concentration of 500mg CBD; the site I ordered from offers three 1oz-bottles, in concentrations of 200mg, 500mg, and 1500mg. On the bottle, it suggests “30-40 drops twice daily, or as directed by a healthcare provider.” It also says that one serving-size is ¼ teaspoon (1mL).

 

Not knowing how this would affect me, I decided to begin by taking just 5 drops.

In the photo above, you can see that 5 drops fills perhaps 1/3 of a ¼ teaspoon. From this (and what follows), I feel that 30 drops would be excessive. And certainly does not line up with the recommended serving-size. This isn’t a criticism of the product—which, as I will shortly detail, is excellent—but a clarification so that new users can gauge how much they will want to take.

 

Following the advice I was given, I poured my 1/12 teaspoon of CBD under my tongue, and left it there to dissolve/mix with saliva for 10-15 minutes. As I was doing this, my mom pulled up the latest Last Week Tonight segment (“Brexit”). This was a good idea, in terms of gauging the wait-time. Less so, cuz of the terrible temptation to laugh. I very nearly lost my mouthful of CBD to the badger.

 

But I stayed strong, and when enough time had passed, I swished it around like chocolate-mint-flavored Listerine, and swallowed.

 

I believe in doing things right. So I poured a tall glass of ice-water (to preemptively combat cottonmouth), threw on my LP of The Doors’ Waiting For The Sun, and….I waited.

Within five minutes of swallowing the tincture, I was feeling it. By the time “Not To Touch The Earth” began (with those jungle-drums rising out of the darkness, the surreal sense of urgency to escape, to run out of the darkness and into the…..oh yeah. OK.), I was definitely feeling it.

CBD doesn’t get you high, as you might think of being ‘high’. It is intensely mellow, and while you may feel sleepy or spacey (again: I took 5 drops. 30 drops, I think, might knock me out for the night.), you don’t have trouble moving or functioning in any physical way. When I took the dog out for what turned out to be a revelatory 40-minute stroll, I felt a slight tingly sensation—a heightened awareness of the sun on my skin.

The only effect that I know the Lamo had on me was the psychosomatic anxiety over its side-effects. I have experienced a number of the things it says that the pills may cause (e.g. exhaustion, anxiety, migraines, &c)—but since my skin didn’t rot off, I can’t be certain that lamotrigine has done anything to me besides winding me up with the fear of how it might hurt me.

During that walk, I was intensely aware of how beautiful everything around me was. I saw the shapes of leaves in ways I hadn’t noticed in years: the veins on them, suddenly recalling science-class in 6th grade, when we had to collect leaves from trees around the school and sketch them. (“Sometimes I feel absent from the present, swept into the past and future as if I were really there” – Melges, et al; “Temporal Disintegration and Depersonalization During Marihuana Intoxication”)

SiDEBAR: I came across Melges’ study on 9-22-16; I’m rereading this blog on 9-25-16, about an experience I had on 6-22-16, and can see my past self realizing something that was expressed more succinctly 46 years ago by Melges (et al, but he was frontman for the group)—and I’m sure by others still further back, that I haven’t found yet.

Now, I’m moving ahead: the night-shift at T_______. Business lunch on Wednesday. My 26th birthday is in five days, and (NOW@11:55am. 9-25-16) and I’m consciously projecting myself between that anticipation, and the deepset memory of my 25th. Both amazing, unforgettable adventures; one exists in memory, the other in potential.

Marihuana (which has fueled this sidebar—if that wasn’t already obvious) allows you to think in ways and at speeds that would get you pulled over. My main energy is on editing this blog, but there’s another one brewing as well. Plus the magazine-article & breakfast I’m gonna earn by finishing this Edit.

Time is flexible, and with marihuana, your approach to it takes on nuances you can’t SEE normally.

And nowwww. I’m sliding back to 6-22-16. There will be no further interruptions of the scheduled blog content.

I heard the calls of six different birds. Normally, I’m aware OF birds tweeting—but during this walk, I listened to each of them. I felt present in the moment, and blissfully aware of the tiniest textures around me.

Lamo makes me feel nothing. It is a chalky pill, which so far as I can determine or am concerned, is a pharmaceutical insurance-policy against the unlikely possibility (for ME. Not in all cases.) that I will have another seizure.

Given the rarity of my seizures, CBD is just as likely (if not, from other cases, demonstrably more so) to stop me having them. And also doesn’t list “may cause seizures” as a side-effect. And also doesn’t come with a warning that stopping taking it suddenly will cause, quote, “seizures that will not stop”.

It’s not just a matter of choosing between two possible cures. One of them (Lamo) comes with a truckload of side-effects which make the cure demonstrably worse than the ailment. The other gives me a sense of joy, well-being, and delicious calm.

It’s been a helluva journey: from that seizure (3/8/16) to 6-22-16.

I hope that these blogs have been both entertaining and instructive. Part of my goal, in writing this series, is to give anyone in a similar position an idea of what you should/can do, if you want to begin using CBD for medicinal purposes.

Thanks are due to Dr.’s R____ & J______, for their guidance and tacit admission to try CBD. To my various confidantes and sources along the way, who shall remain anonymous but far from forgotten. To my usual circle of first readers, whose feedback and guidance is always appreciated.

Great thanks to Bill, for his advice—and for the CBD itself. One last time: if you’re in the market for medical marijuana, drop me a line on Twitter and I will point you to his site.

Thanks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, for his stellar series of documentaries on cannabis. His segment on Charlotte Figi was instrumental in this journey. My thanks are not sufficient, but go out to the Figis and the Stanley Brothers (the producers of Charlotte’s Web). You have blazed an important trail in the growing acceptance of medical marijuana.

An especial thanks to my parents, for Blog #4. I want to clarify that, while they grew up in, as I put it, “a culture where they mixed drinks instead of rolling joints”—that phrase was meant to streamline the comparison between their generation and mine. When we watch Mad Men, they are revisiting their childhood, NOT their first desk-jobs. I love you both.

And, of course, to the folks at Tokyo Smoke, for hosting this feature on their site. I was thrilled when you accepted my proposal to write this series, and gave me a channel to share my experiences with an audience that I think will best benefit from what I’ve got to share about my journey……

From Seizures To CBD.

Namedrop.

Mic drop.

Peace out,

Adam Adam Singer is a joker, smoker, [legal] toker, philosopher, and psychic harvester. On March 8th, 2016, he had a seizure which has been a catalyst for deep introspection and drastic change. You can find him on Twitter, @timeofposting. If you have had a similar experience, or are investigating medical CBD, he encourages you to tweet @ him.
AFTERWORD: While I am still happy with the course of my journey, and a strong supporter of making marijuana legal for medical (and recreational) purposes, I have written a seventh blog (To be posted week of Nov. 7) which discusses certain hazards inherent to what I have done and described. By all means explore alternatives—but consider your personal risks as well as the potential benefits.

Cannabis Diaries The Active Weekend Smoker

Friday

6pm – Get home, kick off shoes and pants, turn volume UP and press play on Life of Pablo / Ziggy Stardust / Action Bronson / LCD Soundsystem (depends on the week). I have a sterling silver tea serving plate. I use it as a weed plate cause I’m fancy like that. I grind up my newest and most favourite Indica strain “Nuken”. Pull out my “Smoking Maiz” inch and quarter (rice) rolling papers, fold up my pre-cut filters, bite them to round them out and roll it tight. Pop a top off a Modello beer, lay flat down on my patio and smoke half that thing.

True to most Indicas and generally my reaction to most weeds, My imagination starts running hyper fast and so do my muscles. Unlike most of my other friends, I’m a social, functional and active high. I love to build things, despite not knowing how to or successfully doing so. On Fridays though, on all Fridays, my favourite most calming excellent tradition is smoke, cook, drink and clean. I’ll start scrubbing, organizing, designing and cooking.I wont stop for three hours before I realize its been three hours.

I dance, rap, cook clean and smoke on and off. Will Ferell is right, “it gets the people going.” Given that my mind is often on other things, I’ll wake up the next morning and think, damn how’d this place get so clean. Its very satisfying.

The second benefit is my appetite. I don’t have a very good one.. I like food and can appreciate a good meal but if you gave me PBJ sandwiches all week I wouldn’t notice. This is to say Im no “Foodie”. When I smoke I get a little more creative with my cooking and more importantly I eat it all. When I do eat, I am a healthy eater. Too many times, I’ve done my fruit and vegetable shopping for the week on Friday only to wake up to half of it eaten by Saturday morning.

The third benefit, as an on and off private (cigarette) smoker, when I’m high, I never smoke cigarettes, It takes the craving completely off my radar.

I don’t know if I have a more stressful job than anyone else, but I’m a property manager which often means I deal with problems. From tenants, at buildings, with the city or public services. Its a reactionary position; ‘here’s the problem, what should we do’. With any of those issues its my philosophy that “patience is power”. Brampton Hydro may keep me on hold for 28 minutes but when that “service specialist” answers the phone, cursing them out for the wait won’t get you anywhere, being polite calm and direct will achieve your goals, plus you can hang up the phone knowing you’re not an asshole yelling at an employee who has very little control on wait times.

When a tenant is ready to take a bat to his neighbour for parking in his spot, being a clam voice on the other end of line will help diffuse the situation, yelling won’t. I’m a generally calm person but work like this can add up, it can add up for anyone.

So at the end of the week, when business are closed and no one is calling me, I turn off and reconnect with the imagination I’ve always had and kept me entertained when I played alone as a kid.

I’ve smoked weed for most of adult life. I feel that it inspires my sense of humour, makes me self reflective, allowing me to be open to self improvements.

Smoke weed like Snoop but not as much as Snoop.