My whole life I have been told to "chill", "settle down", and "mellow out". Well, I cannot! I was (and still am) an incredibly high-energy person who struggles with anxiety. Growing up, my energetic nature caused problems for me both in school and in my personal life. Additionally, I found it very difficult to relax, quiet my mind, and even sleep. It felt like I had 10 different trains of thought all happening at once, and it was exhausting being the conductor.
But everything changed when I discovered Cannabis.
My first time smoking weed, a wave of calm washed over my mind and body. Suddenly all of those different trains of thought collapsed into one. I had focus, clarity, and the giggles.
However, it wasn’t until I was in college that I became more mindful and aware of the effects that Cannabis had on me. Most interestingly, I noticed that these effects were not just limited to when I was under the influence, but that they permeated throughout all aspects of my life: situations that would normally stress me out were more manageable; nature became more enjoyable; and I was actually becoming a much better listener, instead of constantly interrupting people to throw a joke into the conversation.
Despite these obvious benefits to my life, there was a stark contrast to how schools, media, and society demonized the drug. Many people who are anti-weed have a view that was largely shaped by the 1936 original antimarijuana film, Reefer Madness. This blatant propaganda piece tells the story of devil weed that drives men to savage lusts and women to unspeakable depravities. How marijuana affected me versus how it affected the characters in the film were in direct conflict. One of us was wrong, and it clearly wasn’t me.
Ganja has been instrumental to me becoming who I am today. It has taught me about the world, about other people, and about myself. Beyond that, the plant has proven therapeutic and medicinal benefits, has been shown to be a safer recreational alternative to both Alcohol and Tobacco, and is being used by a rapidly growing population of like-minded people to unwind, meditate, recover, create, and inspire. Given all of these positives, combined with the mental health and addiction data coming from other states that have legalized, it's mind-boggling to me that some people remain firm in their beliefs that it is a “bad drug”. I want to help destigmatize the plant, promote safe use, and show the world that Cannabis is more than just a medicinal or a party drug.
That is why I started ANJA.