Bethany Rae, BotaniQ columnist
In my own life experience the unhealthiest thing about cannabis has been the lack of education around it.
The “just say no policy” didn’t get through to me in my youth despite being raised in a loving Christian home, with extensive education and extracurricular opportunities afforded to me.
When family trouble and emotional trauma arrived in my life at 14 years old, I turned regularly to cannabis and consumed heavily to soothe my pain.
Throughout my adult life I felt guilty about consuming cannabis in my youth.
I worried that I wasn’t as smart as I should be or that my career had taken a lower road. I felt shame and fear at being associated with cannabis when it came up in conversation.
It was in my early 30’s in 2015 when I was reintroduced to cannabis.
I was going through another emotionally testing time, recently divorced and feeling lost in my career.
It was a sour diesel vape pen in an apartment on the upper east side in New York and with one or two draws I felt uplifted and I felt joy.
I experienced a heightened self of awareness and a feeling of self-love and compassion towards myself after years of dislike and putting myself down.
This vape pen was not the cannabis I once knew.
I became determined to understand what the difference was between the way I consumed cannabis in my youth and the way it could be a tool for self-care in my life today.
This sent me down a path of cannabis discovery, learning the science, carefully sampling products, talking to experts, attending events, completing courses, and eventually becoming an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry.
Ultimately, I discovered that cannabis can be a healthy addition in my life but only when I personally took on the knowledge to know how to pick which products and what quantity for each reason I was consuming.
I also discovered along the way that cannabis can be used therapeutically to treat or relieve the symptoms of hundreds of different conditions.
When this sank in I felt let down by our society, I felt lied to.
Would this information in our communities instead of cannabis prohibition not have made a difference in my young life?
Today, I’m a proud and enthusiastic cannabis consumer.
Welcome to my ‘Introduction to Cannabis’ series with BotantiQ magazine where I’m sharing the things I’ve learned along my journey about healthy cannabis consumption.
I’ll explain how I consume cannabis and why, often without smoking or getting high, and what kind of products we are going to see in our cannabis stores as we legalize cannabis in Canada.
Bethany Rae is the founder of Flower & Freedom, an education platform and community, empowering people to explore cannabis as part of an active lifestyle. Originally from Australia, Bethany is a cannabis education advocate and international speaker. By removing stereotypes and simplifying the science Bethany makes understanding cannabis in legalization a lot less intimidating. Follow Bethany’s cannabis industry adventures on Instagram and Twitter.