CANNABIS & HOW IT’S CHANGED ME

 

 

Cannabis has helped me become a more creative, emotionally open, and appreciative human.

I’ve always been weary of sharing that I’m a cannabis user on social media, but that’s just me giving into a stigma that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Society uses a broad stroke to paint those who partake as lazy, stupid, criminal, binge-eating stoners.

 

 “GOOD PEOPLE DON’T SMOKE MARIJUANA”
Jeff Sessions

 

The only way to break down a stigma is to replace it with real human experiences, so here’s mine. In short, I can 100% tell you that Cannabis has had an unquestionably positive impact on my life, my work, my relationship, my mindset, and my understanding of who I am.

Despite what the stigma may have convinced us of (we’ll talk about where the stigma came from later), cannabis is loaded with medical benefits as well as fun perks for recreational users. It’s regularly prescribed by doctors for patients going through chemotherapy, experiencing insomnia, chronic pain (no pun intended), gastrointestinal disorders, spasms, etc. It’s also often recommended by therapists and psychiatrists to relieve anxiety, help patients work through traumatic experiences, break cycles of alcoholism or hard drug use, and more. All of that, plus a benefit for recreational users; It can make music, art, sex, nature, bad movies, petting cats, food, conversations, and just about anything else more enjoyable.

I recently posted an Instagram story asking my followers to send me a few sentences about their experience with cannabis (good and bad experiences, or reasons for staying away from it) and one stood out as a particularly powerful glimpse into how threatening a stigma can be to curiosity and progression:

 

 

 

“I’ve been wanting to find something that can help with my daily anxiety, rather than medication. I hate that a stigma is stopping me from educating myself and asking questions that can help me.”
Anonymous

 

After reading that (and 500+ other messages, some of which I’ll share), I found myself shaken over how deeply a stigma can be buried in a person, and hopeful that honesty, education, and open-mindedness will lay a path towards changing it.

 

INTRO TO CANNABIS

 

For those who have absolutely no clue what cannabis actually is, how you ingest it, or what it makes you feel, here’s a majorly simplified version based on research and personal experience:

 

 

WHAT IS IT?
Cannabis is a plant with that can have psychoactive and medicinal properties when ingested.

It contains THC (which is the compound that makes you “high”) and CBD (which is the compound at the root of it’s medicinal properties). You can also buy products that only contain CBD, removing the “high” feeling, and only giving you the medical benefits.

 

HOW DO YOU GET IT?
Find a dark alley that smells like piss and regret. Then find the scariest looking person in that alley (usually the one in closest proximity to a dumpster). Finally, you’ll timidly lean in (don’t make eye contact!) and say “Do you have any reefer?”

In states where cannabis is legal recreationally (there are currently nine), you can buy cannabis at a dispensary as easily as you’d buy a sandwich at a deli. Pot shops in states like Colorado and Oregon actually outnumber Starbucks. In the states where it’s only legal for medical use (there are currently 30 states), you would go to your doctor, ask them if cannabis is good fit to relieve whatever health issues you’re dealing with, and they’ll offer you a Medical Marijuana Card if they think it is. With that card, you’ll be able to to purchase Cannabis in medical-only states.

Here’s a map showing where in the United States it’s currently recreationally or medically legal. It’s also now legal in all of Canada.

 

HOW DO YOU INGEST IT?
Smoking a joint is the first thing a newcomer might think of, but a huge amount of users actually stay away from smoking all together because of the negative effects it can have on your lungs and throat. There are a ton of healthy ways to enjoy it; vaporizing (the difference between breathing in smoke, and breathing in steam), edibles, pills, topical oils, drinks, etc.

 

 

WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL BENEFITS?
Each use below has scientific evidence backing it up, but research for some are still in early stages (and often put on hold due to government restrictions/funding).  If any of these might apply to you, I’d encourage you to do your research, and talk to your doctor about it.

CHRONIC PAIN
A recent report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said there was definitive evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids (which are found in the marijuana plant) can be an effective treatment for chronic pain.

ANXIETY
In low doses cannabis is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Along with chronic pain relief, relief from anxiety is one of the more popular uses.

MUSCLE SPASMS
Cannabis has been proven to relieve muscle spasms related to Multiple Sclerosis, as well as others.

INFLAMMATION
Proven to reduce inflammation and the pain it causes, helping patients suffering from countless conditions from IBS, to Arthritis.

PTSD
Cannabis helps regulate our body and brain’s system that causes fear and anxiety which is why it’s already approved in certain state’s for the treatment of PTSD.

INSOMNIA
Proven to help insomnia sufferers fall asleep more quickly, and to stay asleep through the night.

GLAUCOMA RELIEF AND PREVENTION
Glaucoma can lead to vision loss as a result of pressure inside the eye damaging the optic nerve. Cannabis reverses this by relieving that pressure.

EPILEPTIC SIEZURES
Treatment resistant seizures are often subsiding to CBD treatments (CBD is one of the main compounds in Cannabis)

CANCER
Proven to slow and stop the growth of cancer in cell cultures.

CHEMOTHERAPY RELIEF
Cancer patients undergoing chemo often experience nausea, vomiting, and lack of appetite (which can lead to complications). Cannabis can reduce these effects which is why there are multiple FDA approved drugs containing THC, which is the main active chemical in Cannabis.

ALZHIEMER’S
Proven to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice, and to reduce behavioral disturbances in patients suffering from dementia.

HEPATITIS C
Proven not only to reduce the side effects of Hep C treatments (naseua, fatigue, muscle pain, etc), but also to increase the effectiveness of the treatment. Out of a group of Hep C patients who used cannabis, 54% got and kept their viral levels low, while only 8% of non-cannibis-users did the same.

PARKINSON’S
Proven to reduce tremors and pain associated with Parkinson’s.

BRAIN TRAUMA
Based on laboratory and clinical data, Cannabis has neuroprotective properties which means it can protect the brain from trauma related to concussions, and strokes.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Legalization of Cannabis in certain states has been proven to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths, and to help people suffering from substance addictions (alcoholism, hard drugs, etc).

 

WHAT ARE THE RECREATIONAL BENEFITS?
This answer is vast. Later on I’ll share some of my personal, and crowd-sourced experiences to give you more specific anecdotes, but here are some of the most common descriptions of it’s effects:

• Sense of Calm
• Euphoria
• Heightened Senses
• Deeper Appreciation of your Hobbies
• New-found Appreciation of Things You Usually Glance Over
• Creativity
• Unapologetic Laughter
• Feelings of Warmth and Connection to Those Around You
• Focus
• Deeper, More Open Thought Patterns
• Introspection

If you’ve enjoyed it already, you’ll know how hard this one is to answer. If you haven’t that answer probably sounded lofty and vague.

 

 

ARE THERE NEGATIVES?
Of course. Cannabis isn’t magic, and it isn’t for everyone.

Research and crowd-sourced experiences show that some users might experience paranoia, anxiety, apathy, etc. If you choose to smoke cannabis instead of enjoying a safer method like vaping, edibles, or drinks, you’ll also run the risk of causing damage to your lungs and throat.

If you’re under a certain age (17 years old, according to a study published by Cambridge University Press), using cannabis can affect your cognition since the adolescent brain is still developing. If you’re interested, please wait until you’re of age.

Those who are predisposed to certain mental illnesses or psychosis may find that cannabis strengthens those illnesses, so, if that’s you or you’re unsure, I’d absolutely suggest talking to a doctor first.

Just like anything else, it can be abused. The point of me writing this isn’t to promote uneducated Cannabis usage. It’s to promote a healthy understanding about what Cannabis is, what it isn’t, and to help break down the stigma attached to it.

 

WILL I DIE?
Yes. We all will, but probably not because of Cannabis.

The current DEA fact sheet on Cannabis states that there has never been a reported death from a cannabis overdose. Compare this to the current statistics from the CDC showing that alcohol poisoning causes 6 deaths per day in America alone.

 

THE STIGMA

 

Knowing the root of a problem can make you question whether it’s really a problem at all.

Here’s a condensed version of where cannabis’s negative stigma began:

In the 19th century, American pharmaceutical companies (including Bristol-Myers Squib and Eli Lilly) sold cannabis based medicines in pharmacies throughout the US at the same time that scientific journals were publishing hundreds of articles citing cannabis as a therapeutic drug to treat things like insomnia, migraines, and rheumatism.

It wasn’t until just after the Great Depression, when American politicians pointed that familiar blaming finger at immigrants and people of color that the stigma was born. As immigrants fled to our southern border from the wake of the Mexican Revolution (over 890,000 Mexican immigrants legally entered the U.S. between 1910 – 1920), America’s poverty-stricken moral fueled it’s bigotry, causing it search for (and find) a way to control the new immigrant population and the public’s perception of them. As Mexican immigrants came in, they brought with them their favored form of medicine/intoxication, which turned into handcuffs when the first anti-cannabis laws were passed (the border states being first to criminalize it).

The name “marijuana” has largely replaced the proper name of the drug, “Cannabis,” in the U.S. thanks to America’s bigoted ideology and the easy political marketing decision of using Mexico’s name for the drug (originally “mariguana”) to tie it to the already negative sentiment that American’s were feeling toward Mexican immigrants.

 

 

The man who’s, arguably, the father of cannabis’s negative stigma (also the man who is largely responsible for the rebranding of the familiar, household name of “cannabis” into the foreign, fear-inducing word, “marijuana”) is Harry Anslinger, the first director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger, an outspoken man who also used his new cannabis shaped handcuffs against the African American population, testified before congress saying:

 

 

 

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music; jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. …. Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men… the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.
Harry Anslinger

 

Politics & Racism.

They’ve turned medicine into handcuffs. They’ve turned creativity and open-mindedess into an election point. They’ve turned a culture against something that was once untainted.

Politics and Racism is why the stigma exists.

 

PERSONAL ANECDOTES

 

From the outside, it’s hard to understand how cannabis can affect a person. I absolutely understand that if you haven’t used cannabis before, some of these anecdotes might leave you thinking “Yeah, but what do you mean when you say that it allowed you to step outside of your normal thought patterns? That makes no sense.”

Instead of trying to explain the actual sensation for some of these (which could be equated to trying to describe a new color to someone), I’m going to share a handful of impactful experiences in a way that feels more natural to me.

 

Natural Light Editorial / Leo Carrillo / Ben Sasso

 

ART IS IN THE SURPRISE
I’ve been a creative for well over 10 years now, but most of that time has felt like I had blinders on. I created work that I thought was decent, but I couldn’t see what made it decent. Every now and then I’d be lucky enough to create something or see something that really spoke to me, but I wouldn’t be able to replicate that feeling because I didn’t know what, specifically, was causing it.

It’s early spring, I’m high, and the breeze dancing through the room has a note of nostalgia to it. As a feeble stab at meditation I let the comfort of our bed trap me. My eyes close, and the music in my headphones controls the tempo of my thoughts. As it lulls me deeper into peace, I’m pleasantly jolted back into clarity by an unexpected piano note that forces out a laugh of appreciation for it. A laugh that said “Oh shit! That’s awesome!” It wasn’t the note, alone, that I loved (although I’m sure it’s a great note, probably someone’s favorite). What I loved about it was the fact that it surprised me.

That laugh changed the way I create. My creative blinders fell off and I finally understood what I love about the art that I love. It’s the surprise. I’m drawn to work that makes me say “Oh Shit!” Sometimes that surprise comes in the form of a creative use of light, sometimes a unique pose, and sometimes an idea that’s so beautifully illustrated that it leaves me astonished.

In the past year, I’ve been creating with that in mind;
“What would make high-Ben say OH SHIT?”
“What’s the surprise in this image that’s going to force out that laugh of enjoyment?”

High Discovery = Evolution of my Creative Process

 

 

SEEING KATCH
Cannabis can show you the notes hidden in the song.
It’s 10pm, Katch is washing a dish, and I’m higher than usual. As my mind decides to glance over towards the person I’ve deeply loved for over 3 years, I’m stuck by something that I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen before. It’s Katch. Not the things she is on the outside, but the thing she is underneath all of that identity. I loved it so much that I cried.

 

STARE AT THAT RIVER
Cannabis tends to expand your ways of thinking. Imagine your sober thought pattern as a fish in a river, restrictively guided along by the walls of earth that limit it’s path. With cannabis, the river floods, giving that fish access to everything beyond the river banks that used to imprison it. From the bank, the fish can stare back at the river, using the new perspective to understand it more fully.

The ability to step outside of my normal thought patterns and look back at the river that carries them is how I learned more about who I am as a person, how my positive/negative thought patterns influence my emotions, and how I can create a mindset that allows me to live a happier, more enriching life. It’s honestly changed me, I’m a new person.

 

IDEAS & MY CREATIVE PROCESS
Cannabis has allowed me to look back on the river of my creativity as well. Staring at it from the my new perspective on the bank has given me a deeper sense of what my creative process looks like. Now I know that I typically create in one of two ways:

1. A friendly idea knocks at my door, and asks me to follow along as it takes me where it wants to go. I follow.

2. Desperate to create, but without any guiding ideas, I open my door and blindly stumble forward hoping to arrive to where an idea might have led me.

(Option 1 always leads to fulfilling work. Option 2 only does 50% of the time, and sucks.)

Understanding this about my creative process has taught me the importance of experiencing things. Every time I soak in the things that inspire me, I’m filling up a tank that gives life to the ideas that might knock on my door.

Reading that book.
Going to that museum.
Having that conversation.
Studying that painter.
Buying that photo book.
Questioning that belief.
Watching that movie.
Analyzing those lyrics.
Staring at that river.
Taking that trip.
Doing that thing.

If I want great work to come out, I need to put great work in.

 

Lake Pleasant Editorial / Ben Sasso

 

STOMACH ISSUES
This past year has been a rough one medically. I’ve spent about 2 months going back and forth between hospitals, doctors, and a couch thanks to chronic intestinal inflammation (causing cramping, bloating, pain, nausea, etc). Cannabis allowed me to keep away from harmful, addictive medications by giving me relief from those sensations, and helping me understand how to control my stress levels (which are big causes of IBS-type symptoms) through mindfulness, to lead a more comfortable life even when the Cannabis isn’t in my system.

 

OH HEY! HIGH-BEN, HERE!
This next part is written by me, High-Ben:
“I’m high and decided to jump in to the article for a live (I literally got distracted right at this part of the sentence, watched a few minutes of a show, and am just now coming back to you all) update. Katch and I joke that our high selves are different beings than our sober selves, and that we must respect each other. (*Katch walks by in background with a plate that has two cookies and a line of whip cream turning them into the eyes of a smiley face) Clearly this will be more of a stream-of thought type of anecdote.

I’m not really going to structure anything here, instead I’ll just write whatever comes to me. Here we go:  Wrestling was the backbone of my life for almost 10 years. Back in my yesterdays, I was 100% dedicated to the sport (I even coached for a few years). Now I’m living in an entirely different chapter of my life and the only people who really know about my wrestling chapter are my parents, brother, high school bestiepal (Donnie), and Katch. I’m not one to brag, but I’m going to make a bold, positive statement about myself (*realizes that maybe I shouldn’t feel weird about confidently complimenting myself): I’m a very talented wrestler. I trained hard, physically and mentally. I studied, I ran upwards of 50 miles a week, I was just flat out mentally strong, and my record showed it. I’m really proud what I accomplished during that time of my life. I’m not saying this to brag, but because it’s a huge part of who I am. If anything, pretend it’s a lesson:

There’s always more under the surface.

Everyone is filled with things you may never know.

 

A few months ago, I learned something about two of my best friends, Joe and Katie, that blew me away. During a fairly ceremonious high-night involving Show & Tell, we all shared something we’re proud of. Joe pulled up an old video of himself doing a snare solo during his time in Drum Corps. It was the most unbelievably precise, free, and complex drumming I’ve ever seen (I know it sounds like I’m over-selling it, but I was genuinely blown away). After that, Katie pulled out a portfolio of illustrations she’s made. Again, I’m absolutely floored. Two talented photographers, who have oceans of talent that the world doesn’t know about. I loved how proud they were when they showed us and I wish that type of pride in yourself was more widespread.

And now, to end out this weird stream-of-thought:
I enthusiastically believe in the power of having a strong mind. That’s what all of my happiness/perceived creativity comes down to; I accept who I am, and I have confidence in being 100% me. I love my art because it’s the real me that’s making it, not a masked version of me that’s hiding away the weirder parts of itself. I’m not fighting to hide or repress anything about myself. I’m just opening up, and removing any resistance to what naturally comes out.

I feel so free and it’s because of something we all have access to; our minds.

OKAY. HIGH BEN, OUT.”

 

THINGS I’VE MADE WHILE HIGH
To end this section out, here’s a bunch of things I’ve made while high. Not because I think it matters, but because it might be fun to know, and putting a collage of work here will make this article a bit more enjoyable to read by giving your eyes a break from text (you’re quite welcome):

 

 

CROWD-SOURCED ANECDOTES

 

In June, I posted an Instagram story that said “Send me a DM with a few sentences about how cannabis has helped you (medically, emotionally, artistically, etc), or why you’re against it and I’ll share some in my stories.” Within a few hours I was over 300 messages deep. Then 400. Then 500. There’s value in crowds. Learning the opinions and experiences of others is to work towards having a more holistic understanding of yourself and your own opinions.

Hearing from someone with shockingly different opinions than you often forces investigation.

 

“Whoa! They think that way?

Why?

How were they raised?

Wait a minute, why do I feel so strongly about my stance?

Is it because how I was raised?

Are either of us right or are we just different?”

 

With luck, that curiosity leads towards investigation in the topic rather than the opinion, and then education, and a more well researched opinion.

 

Taylor Lashae / Alabama Hills Editorial / Ben Sasso

 

Here are some opinions and experiences for you to dig through. I have plenty more of these saved to the Cannabis story highlight on my Instagram, but here’s a sampling:

 

MESSAGES FROM CANNABIS USERS

“I have bipolar disorder as well as scoliosis so I really rely on cannabis to relieve mental and physical pain. Using cannabis has also just brought out an appreciation and utter awe for things like food, art, and music!”
@strangecolores

“It helps in SO many ways but for me – there is nothing better then smoking and then digging into a long all-nighter of editing with great tunes plugged into my ears. It helps me focus… it’s amazing!”
@mollyburnsphotography

“I admit I used to be someone who believed in those stigmas; but now, years later, I can honestly say it had changed my life for the better. As it does for you, it has helped me become more creative, but it has also helped me focus so I’m able to make proper use of that creativity! Oh, and also headaches. My headaches are practically a thing of the past!”
@blueskyspeculation

 

Alex Noiret / Natural Light Studio Editorial / Ben Sasso

 

“I only recently started smoking it at 31. I started with my bff who was dying from cancer and whose docs recommended she smoke it, but she didn’t want to do it alone. It was the one thing that helped her laugh, eat, feel less pain without the awful side effects of the heavy narcotics she was on… It was a bright spot in a horrific situation—for us both. I still smoke, even now she’s gone. It’s helped me cope with the intense grief and also helps the pain I have from an autoimmune disease.”
Anonymous

“I’ve also had some incredible experiences in nature – hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, swimming, and playing in the mud. 😂 Incredible. I feel so much more gratitude, curiosity, and love for our beautiful earth!”
Anonymous

“Cannabis has drastically improved my ability to sleep without night terrors and has almost entirely eliminated my panic attacks. It also has aided my social skills (when meeting new people / keeping me calmer and more confident while speaking). 100% stand behind it’s ability to help people in so many ways.”
@brookemswartz

 

 

“I have chronic pain that nothing else has helped as much. In my darkest days, it helps my depression. And most importantly, my anxiety is non existent. My mom was just telling me how sad she is that her brother takes bottles of pain meds a day when we know he could benefit from edibles. We’re watching a lot of older family members struggle because they don’t want to give it a chance because of religion. It’s mind boggling to me how it’s been warped as a bad thing when I’ve seen it do so much good.”
@lizosban

“Hi! It has helped me immensely with my anxiety/panic disorder! I used to be on a Xanax prescription (which quickly turned into a Xanax dependence), yet I needed to find an alternative solution to help me calm myself down when panic attacks struck. Cannabis has been so helpful, especially as I don’t feel the dependence that I felt while on Xanax. Also, for migraines- THE BEST. So much better than OTC meds that take forever & barely help when they do.”
Anonymous

“I only recently started smoking recreationally, after being raised in a very strict household. Now having tried it, I realize that it truly isn’t as big a deal as people make it out to be. It’s fun, it’s soothing, and it doesn’t affect my ability to function day-to-day. Plus the sleep afterwards is better than any medication I have ever tried.”
Anonymous

 

 

“It helps me with my auto immune pain issues. I was on a ton of narcotic pain meds for about 6-7 years and it was what helped me get off of them. It helps me sleep through the night, it helps my body relax, it helps me with anxiety and it stops the constant thoughts flowing through my head. It slows me down and allows me to enjoy my life.”
@nicolemandelphotography

“I have issues focusing on work, even if it’s a type of work I deeply love (photography). Cannabis has helped me process and organize my work load into sizable chunks. I’m more daring with my edits, creative with my captions and confidant in my work. My friends would define me as a “high functioning stoner” because I’m actually able to get more work done high than spastic and sober. Weed is safer, non addictive, and in my opinion, the solution to ppl struggling with alcohol or hard pain meds. ✌🏼”
Anonymous

“I know this isn’t really in your question, but it helped me to think more. I know it sounds silly. But I am someone that just accept things as is, and it helped to to widen my thoughts more. I thought of thing in more depth and had a sweeter appreciation for everything around me. And it would heighten my emotions ten fold. Normally I keep it all bottled in, this helped me release it cause I physically just couldn’t keep it in.”
@nicolettebosch

 

Meredith Adelaide / Editorial / Ben Sasso

 

“My husband passed away from cancer a few years back at 37 years old. 100% it helped him during his 4 years of treatment. It allowed him to eat by increasing his appetite. It helped him relax from the anxiety of the unknown. It helped him sleep.
I couldn’t sleep at all after he died. The doctors were eager to give me pharmaceuticals like Xanax. Now cannabis helps we sleep. It’s amazing.”
@jenberry77

“Well, I have million reasons why I smoke weed, but the main one is because I just love how it improves my creativity. I don’t think I’m MORE creative than normal, but It really “opens my mind” into new ways of seeing things. For example, when I have to find music (I’m a videographer) I’m more open to consider new stuff. But hey, I’ll be really honest, I LOVE how it tastes and I enjoy smoking like someone else enjoys having a beer. ❤️”
@Latxina

“I use CBD oil and it’s the ONLY thing that relieves my autoimmune-related chronic pain. I’d been waking up in pain and still exhausted for nine years, but after the first night I used the oil I woke up and was like “THIS is what most people feel like in the morning???” It was a game changer. I feel like I got a big part of myself back that I had forgotten ever existed.”
@houseoffigsphoto

 

Alex Noiret / Experimental Photography / Ben Sasso

 

MESSAGES FROM NON-USERS

“I’d rather stay away from it. I want my creativity excel without the help of substance use.”
Anonymous

“I am not against other people smoking, especially if it helps them. However, I have seen people, be triggered into a full-on psychosis, due to weed, those who are pre-disposed, or their mental health issue is ‘dormant’ in a sense, can be triggered by cannabis, into terrible states, they probably would have never experienced if not for cannabis. For people like this, it is a huge risk, and for some it does damage mental health issues, instead of calming them down.”
Anonymous

“Smoking weed is terrible for me and a lot of people I know. Helps some but hurts a lot as well.”
Anonymous

 

Taylor Lashae / Alabama Hills Editorial / Ben Sasso

 

“Love this! I have been wanting to find some that can help with my daily anxiety, rather than medication. I hate that a stigma is stopping me from educating myself and asking questions that can help me!”
Anonymous

“I don’t like it. Don’t judge it either. I have done sports all my life and I can feel all what you describe doing what I like. Just don’t feel the need and quite honest is hard for me to understand why people need that to feel good / open or whatever when you can do it on your own.”
Anonymous

“So sad. I used to love your work but lately it’s not really clear. … Not trying to offend, but art is not about blurry pretty model swaddled in foil. I’m no one to judge, but it’s so very sad that you’re basically promoting pot on Instagram among young people and possibly teens. I mean, c’mon. Just sad.”
Anonymous

 

 

“I am scared to try it because i don’t know what the stuff I will get will be laced with. I’m scared to die. If someone offered me weed fresh from the ground I would def smoke it lol.”
@karbowiakrose

“I understand that it can help some people but everyone claims it to be completely harmless. Like everything else everything has a equal and opposite reaction. My brother has smoked it daily and has done for years. Morning, noon and night. Now I think that by doing this he has built a false reality and when he can’t get that high he will feel even more down and depressed. He’s constantly arguing with our parents looking for money. I believe it can be harmful if abused.”
Anonymous

“I fully support legalization and further research as Cannabis has benefits for so many, but I come from a family with a history of mental illness and psychosis…there have been some serious negative consequences for some of us who have used it. For those with certain predispositions, I believe it’s better to avoid completely or at least wait until complete brain maturation in the mid 20s before trying it.”
Anonymous

 

TYPES OF CANNABIS

 

There are 3 types of cannabis plant; Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid, which each have hundreds of unique strains. Each strain will give you a unique effect based on it’s chemical makeup. While most cannabis will give you a mix of euphoria, relaxation, creativity, giggles, and a handful of other surprises, each of the three types will implement those sensations in it’s own way.

 

Natural light studio editorial / Experimental / Ben Sasso

 

SATIVA
Often referred to as “Day-time Weed”
Known to give a “heady” high. Sativa strains generally makes you feel lighter, mentally active, focused, and giggly. Although you’ll still be high, you’ll keep a pretty clear head. If you’re new to cannabis or are prone to anxiety, I’d suggest staying away from Sativas to start because their tendency to make your mind race could lead to an anxious high.

A common choice for those who want to partake while working, socializing, exercising, or doing anything that doesn’t involve a sitting on a couch.

 

INDICA
Often referred to as “Night-time Weed”
In-da-couch. Indicas feel a bit heavier. As if you’re muscles turn off and only wake up if you convince them to. Indica’s are known for increasing body sensation/relaxation, relaxing the mind, and opening up your thought process.

A popular choice for those looking to relax, get a great night’s sleep, or sink into the couch to enjoy some Planet Earth.

 

HYBRID
Just happy to even be referred to at all.
Hybrids are just that. Mixes between Sativa and Indica strains, giving you a balance of both sensations.

 

It’s also worth noting that some sativas feel like indicas, and vice versa, but this is a general template of effects.

 

STRAINS

 

750+ strains. All with unique chemical makeups, giving you unique experiences and benefits. Plus, some silly names like Space Queen, Liquid Butter, and Laughing Buddha (in countries with more progressive cannabis laws, these strains are renamed to be more scientifically accurate and to making tracking strain genetics more efficient).

 

Alexis Hutt / Indoor Natural Light Editorial / Ben Sasso

 

Each strain’s chemical profile dictates the type of high you feel, how high you feel, how relaxed or energetic you become, the medical benefits, etc. If you love discovery, you might enjoy picking up a new strain each time you visit a shop. If you’re like me, you’ll find a few favorites that you enjoy! Here are a couple of mine:

 

GIRL SCOUT COOKIES (Now known as GSC)
Hybrid

I’m not even close to alone in calling this strain a favorite. It’s a classic, and it’s well loved.

EFFECTS
A great mix of Sativa and Indica effects. Giggly, creative, cerebral, happy, energizing if you want to be energetic, and relaxing if you want to chill.

WHEN I LIKE TO USE IT
Shoot planning, visiting a science museum, exploring nature with Katch, friend-time, creating, etc.

MEDICAL BENEFITS
Pain, inflammation, stress, insomnia, lack of appetite.

 

AFGHANI
Indica

If it’s relaxation and pure comfort you’re after, this strain will do it.

EFFECTS
Heavy. Like putting on a warm, blanket. Calming to the body and mind, euphoric, giggly (but in a way that feels more like a deep chuckle), and sleepy.

WHEN I LIKE TO USE IT
This is one that I use when I’m ready to be in the same spot for a while, whether that means I’m watching a movie, or I’m in bed looking forward to the best sleep I ever have.

MEDICAL BENEFITS
Insomnia, pain, inflammation, nausea, cramping, anxiety.

 

If you want to learn more about different strains, I highly recommend you check out LEAFLY. There you can read the general effects, genetics, and reviews of every strain out there, and search for strains based on the type of effect you’re after.

 

THAT’S IT

 

After writing a few unsatisfying conclusions to this article, I figured that I might as well take a hit and let High-Ben write it for me:

 

 

 

“Stigma’s are the enemy of progression. If one fills your head, there won’t be room for truth.

Stigma’s sneak into your mind every time you make a decision without doing your own research, so please don’t let me or anyone else make up your mind for you.
Do your own research.
Make your own decision.
Be safe. Be smart. Have fun.”
High-Ben

 

Feel free to share, and feel free to ask questions over on Instagram or Facebook.

I’m an open book.

  1. Reply

    as always, so well put my boo

  2. Reply

    Excellent post! What you learn while being high stays with you forever. Not just new ideas but a fresh new perception of the things that are around you everyday. Love your work. Greetings from Argentina. Cheers!

  3. Reply

    I love that you included what so many other people think – stigmas included. There definitely are a lot of thoughts on the subject and none of them (INCLUDING laws) are based on science and truth. I have never tried it, but i think about trying it someday to relieve anxiety and focus better without those anxious feelings. thanks for writing this regular ben and high ben. hahaha

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