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Cannabis Wellness for All Ages?

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

With the new school year upon us what choices do you have for you and your children?

Growing up in the 90s everything dealing with weed was just bad. The Reagan's "JUST SAY NO" Campaign and McGruff the Crime Dog was so intimidating the thought of using drugs created a lot of fear. We saw how terrible the crack epidemic was on our family members and community that I did everything in my power to stay away from drugs. Back then I couldn't differentiate weed from dope. TV, Society all used the term "Smoking Dope" for weed, heroin and crack. You did not want to be that kid being teased because your parents were on crack or heroin, so you just didn't associate yourself with any of it. But what about weed, it has a funky smell and people's eyes turn extremely red and look like they are from Asian descent. You couldn't see any negatives effects as you did with the other drugs mentioned above. This is when you begin to ask yourself, if people are laughing and seem to be having a great time, what could be wrong with it?

Just Say No

These were my thoughts all the way up until I tried weed for the 1st time at 17 years old. I basically begged to smoke everyday so I can feel the bubbliness and happiness that exuberated around me. Because I was wet behind the ears and never indulged, my request was met with a no. Then finally I got my 1st shotgun.

It was like the image of heaven in my mind rained down on me and all my cloudy days just went away. Or so I thought they went away! Back then we didn't know the differences in strains, terpenes and all the effects associated with cannabis use. It just made us feel good because we were self-medicating to deal with our traumas and ailments.

What if Mental Health and Wellness was as normal as a Sports Physical?

In our community playing sports is what most seek out to do because they see it as a way out of the everyday struggle of poverty. Society likes to glamorize all the wealth that being a professional athlete brings. Most of the athletes that make it to the professional area come from impoverished backgrounds. Many of these athletes chose to self-medicate with weed as teenagers and into adulthood. In 1995 I witnessed some professional basketball players smoking weed, a couple of them are cannabis entrepreneurs today. Not understanding the science behind why weed helped in many ways for self-care many of us began to abuse weed. I am speaking from experience as I abused weed for many years to help cover/hide my traumas. Airmiess Joseph Asghedom (Nipsey Hussle) mentioned having to put the weed down in this clip:

What are your thoughts on what Nipsey said? My break from weed was a strong 11 years. I used this time to focus on my mental wellness. I thought it best to confront my traumas head on without any influences from drugs or alcohol. In my opinion that was the best choice for me to heal. The weed allowed me to have a f it mentality around emotional, financial and mental abuses. It also allowed me to pass out and sleep my pains away. That wasn't living! That was depression covered, that was abusing the benefits of cannabis health. In 2018 I made to decision to return to Cannabis as a Medical Patient. Doing my own research, following stories of Charlotte Figi and other parents that have chosen to use Cannabis for their children, documentaries, books and VICE channel I was excited about my new journey into Cannabis.

By this time my eldest was out the house and using Cannabis regularly. I would tell myself that once my son was old enough, we would smoke together. 2019 my son and I shared our 1st joint together on my deck. I asked him when he began smoking...

LaWann: When did you consider using weed?

Ashanti: I first considered using weed around the age of 15 at my grandmother's house with my brothers and cousins. However, it was entirely too many heads on one blunt and I’m pretty sure they were smoking Reggie (low grade). Which I didn’t know at the time and wasn’t able to feel the high either.

LaWann: Where you experiencing trauma?

Ashanti: I wasn’t experiencing trauma to my best knowledge at that time, but I did actually start smoking about a year after that and experienced my first high. I wasn’t too happy with my every day and wanted a switch up. My first high provided that enlightening switch up.

LaWann: Have you ever stopped for a period of time or tolerance break?

Ashanti: I have stopped for a period of time when I was studying for my Asvab (military aptitude test) and also when I was actually in the navy. Since then, no breaks really.

LaWann: Do you feel it's helped or hindered your process?

Ashanti: I feel that it’s definitely helped in some ways and hindered in other ways. I feel I opened my mind up to a lot of different views of the world instead of being stuck in my own small world that I was living in. I was able to think about so many different subjects and topics that previously did not matter to me.

LaWann: What would you do differently?

Ashanti: If I were to do anything differently, I probably wouldn’t have started smoking until I was 21. Smoking made me disinterested in the trivial thing that I thought school to be and I do believe I might’ve grown another inch or 2. I’m about 6’1 though, so it’s not that big of a deal

LaWann: Would you allow your children to consume Cannabis before 21?

Ashanti: I had a lot of mental loneliness that I thought many did not understand or could even see. Depression and anxiety in forms that I did not know. I plan on doing everything in my power to prevent my children from having these issues. Therefore, not feeling like they need something to take the edge off. I’d like for them to be properly introduced to marijuana when they are waking up happy every day and only if they want to indulge. I’d probably want them to hold off until the age of 21 but I wouldn’t be opposed to 19 either. 18 year olds think too highly of themselves in my opinion. I know I did.

LaWann: What was it like sharing a joint with your mom the 1st time?

Ashanti: Sharing a nicely rolled joint with my ma for the first time was like a childhood fantasy come true. It meant so much to me to once feel like my mother understands something about me without question. We shared laughs, reminisced past memories and discussed current societal issues. I like a good conversation and that first time blunt with my moms was probably the best conversation we had ever had up to that point. Since then, I’ve felt way more comfortable to be myself around her.

My son will be 27 years old on September 15th. I feel hearing his outlook on cannabis could be beneficial so I hope you enjoyed our Q&A session. But what if the parent is the one to make the decision to use cannabis for their child?

When the adult makes the decision for the child

Living in Maryland and navigating the Cannabis space you meet many different wonderful and amazing people. I was happy to be introduced to Tricia Sheffield, Secretary to Connor Sheffield Foundation and mom to Connor. Tricia's journey into cannabis began because she was in dire need for options for her son Connor. Here is our Q&A session about their journey to Cannabis.

LaWann: What made you consider cannabis for Connor?

Tricia: Connor was extremely sick then and constantly nauseas and couldn't eat or tolerate his tube feedings . We had nothing else to try so we finally decided to just try it, not really thinking it would actually help.

LaWann: Did you use Cannbis prior to having children?

Tricia: No. So I didnt know anything about it, especially that there were real medical benefits.

LaWann: Do you use Cannabis now?

Tricia: Yes occasionally for my anxiety, and it helps.

LaWann: What is/was Connor's diagnosis, was he born with it?

Tricia: Yes, he was born with it, but we did not know what was wrong with him for years. Connor has Intestinal dysmotility, chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, and dysphagia. As a baby he would constantly vomit and choke, but we didn't know it was related to his disease. As he got older his digestive issues got worse, and he stopped growing. We were sent to lots of specialists and even was offered hormone meds to help him grow, which would have been terrible because it was actually lack of nutrients not hormones that was keeping him so small. Connor ended up getting a bowel resection, feeding tube, and an ileostomy. We did not start Medical Cannabis until he was 14. Shortly after he started cannabis, he stopped using his feeding tube and was able to eat solely by mouth and he stopped having intestinal blockages.

LaWann: What advice would you give parents in the same predicament?

Tricia: The advice I would give a parent in the same predicament, which I have is, don't be afraid. You won't just be able to go get cannabis and boom you are cured. You will have to try different strains, different doses, different forms. It may only help with symptoms not all. It is not a cure, but it is a tool in our toolbox that has been safe for us to use. And to ignore people who judge you for making this decision. If it helps, that is the only thing that matters. Connor has been treated terribly when we first started using cannabis, but he stood up against that judgement and proved people wrong. That has been the hardest part in all of this is the judgement… but he knows it's the only thing that has helped so he just kept going. Now I think the people who judged us are now medical cannabis users.

LaWann: Tell me about your foundation and the event you'll just had?

Tricia: Through our journey of learning about cannabis, we also learned that there is a lot of “trial and error”. We have learned that different strains work help with different things, and even the way that you take the cannabis works differently on the symptom you are trying to treat. Because of months/years of throwing darts at the problem, Connor wanted to start a foundation to raise money so that we could get medical research done with Cannabis. One to have proof from research it does work, two, to try and pinpoint specific types that can cut out some of the trial and error for new patients. Our most recent fundraising event was the CannaBall. The venue was donated by the Boebel Family, and Sponsored by Kind Tree, Vet22 and Vireo Health. Board members are, Nurse Laura Barrett Nutting as Clinical director, Dr. Paloma Lehfeldt Board Advisor, Otha Smith Data Expert and Board Advisor, Tricia Sheffield Secretary, Michael Sheffield Treasure, Connor Sheffield Founder, Alex Boebel Special Events coordinator, Roilyn McWilliams Development Coordinator.

I can verify that many naysayers now use Medical and Recreational Cannabis for Wellness. I hope you enjoyed this article from 3 very different perspectives. August is Wellness Month so please do ensure you are catering to your needs for not only physical health, but mental, emotional and financial health as well.

Cannabis overall has many benefits when you use it respectfully and responsibly. For me at 45 almost 46 years old my main points of wellness for using this medicine are a great way to relax from the demands of my busy life and schedule, it helps to improve my focus and organizational methods and sparking that creativity that sits dormant as an introvert.

If you suspect your child is using cannabis, sit down with them and have a true conversation to understand their why. You have the ability to properly treat yourselves and your children and to address the ailments that are hindering processes.

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