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 Anna Seflorian for TONIC

Anna Seflorian for TONIC

 

A Few Things to Know About Sex and Cannabis…

Whether you’re having a self-love session, with toys, a partner, or all three — cannabis is an herbal way to enhance your experience. Weed naturally can relax us and being relaxed is good. Especially when it comes to sex.

What Science Tells Us

Marijuana is known to aid with chronic pain, mental health, and even symptoms of the terminally ill. But what many are just learning is that cannabis can also help with positive sex frequency. Stanford University held a study in 2017 that examined the relationship between cannabis and sex. The study, of 50,000 people between the ages of 25-45, found that “Frequent marijuana use is associated with increased positive [sex] frequency. This doesn’t necessarily say that if you smoke you’ll have more sex,” says Michael Eisenberg M.D., but according to his research study, “pot users are having about 20 percent more sex than pot abstainers.”

Dr. Mitch Earleywine, professor of psychology at the State University of New York explains that, “CB1 receptors [a cannabinoid receptor located in every human’s nervous system] seems to be involved in improved tactile sensations and general euphoria.” Euphoria and tactile sensations — yes please! Coupled with marijuana’s calming effects, this allows you to relax and tap into your body and your high. Lovely.

How to Use Cannabis with sex

There are various ways one can use cannabis during sex. You can use marijuana topically on your skin: as a cannabis-based lube, body oil during a sensual massage, or in a soothing medicated bath. It’s a great method to nurture your skin while relaxing you. Edibles however, are effective for an increased overall body high. Try low-dose chocolates, gummies, or food cooked with weed. And then there’s the OG (original) method of just smoking a joint, a blunt, or a nice hit from your favorite pipe.

Each method might affect you differently depending on how the cannabinoid enters your bloodstream. A topical will relax your actual muscles, targeting your skin. Edibles may give you a long lasting body high. Smoking from a pipe or a joint could give you a sense of euphoria. What’s the most ideal way? Try a cannabis body oil massage followed by couple of tokes from a pipe. Take it slow with little hits until your reach a gentle high to relax your mind, letting the topical cannabis relax your body.

Understand your experience

Not all bodies — or brains for that matter — are the same. We respond differently to natural herbs, stimulants, and sex alike. Luckily there are serious shifts in the way that we examine cannabis scientifically, medically, and socially. With more scientific research and more personal experiences, we can accurately and safely analyze how this magic herb can help us to collectively thrive and heal.

Take note and take notes of what sex feels like for you when you’re blazed. Are you more nervous or blissfully relaxed? Does your body feel more sensitive to the touch or do you need a little more intensity? Figure it out and let us know your thoughts.

(commissioned for Laundry Day)

 
 
 Image by Ronan Mckenzie

Image by Ronan Mckenzie

 
 

Coming Out of the Weed Closet as a Person of Color

Despite the sweeping decriminalization and legalization laws for cannabis, why are so many POC still in the closet to their parents about weed?

In June of 2018, The United Nations World Health Organization officially declared Cannabis as a “relatively safe drug.” Yet many people of color who consume marijuana still find themselves in the weed closet with their parents.

This is a topic of discussion relevant to most, regardless of ethnicity or race. Still, when it comes to POC, many of their parents and mentors take a particularly strict approach. Why? One reason might be that black and brown people are up to eight times more likely to be arrested for weed than their white peers — despite similar rates of consumption. Parents, mentors, and family members are often overly protective of the young people in their communities for fear of them being arrested and thrown into the woes of the criminal justice system.

The good news is that the decriminalization and legalization of medical and recreational cannabis is sweeping the globe. National and global advocacy efforts are pushing us toward a more accepting stance. But most importantly, when we share stories about our healthy relationships with cannabis, we can help put an end to its stigma. The truth is that POC also use cannabis to aid with mental and physical health issues in a positive and healing manner. So here are some tips to help guide you through the awkward yet liberating conversation.

Be honest but not pushy

Your parents may be parents, but it’s important to establish as the conversation begins that you’re an adult who makes sound decisions in your life. So long as you are not hurting yourself, anyone else, or your future, marijuana consumption is your choice. You may be using medical marijuana for anxiety, cramps, or simply to relax. Understand that though your parents don’t have to agree with you, they need to respect your decisions.

Be a weed advocate

We’re finally reaching a crucial point in modern society where science and medical research has confirmed the countless benefits of the healing herb we know as weed. Educate yourself and your parents, but try not to be condescending or preachy. Read studies. Share accredited articles with your folks. Talk about the facts and show them that knowledge is key.

Set a positive example of what is means to be a “stoner”

There are millions of highly successful stoners. There are myriad businesswomen, policy makers, and world leaders who are high achievers — and still get high. Set an example of how a functional person acts. Get promotions, make strong partnerships with people you admire, and maintain a healthy relationship with your family to show them that people who smoke or consume weed can thrive in the many facets of life.

Give Your parents time

Be patient. One important thing to understand is that it’s difficult for someone to change deep-seated views overnight. Telling your folks is great, but give them time to do their research and figure out what it means. Be gentle with them, and be gentle with yourself. Remember that they love you. Besides, they may have been known to have taken an occasional toke after sending you to bed.

It’s your prerogative

Being a cannabis user, whether medical or recreational, is your personal choice. Don’t ever feel you have to subscribe to anything or be pigeon-holed into any stereotypes. Maybe you smoke once a month, only CBD, after work, before the gym, or every single day. Figure out what works best for you and your body, and roll with it. The world of weed is yours.

(commissioned for Laundry Day)

 
 Image via Glamour

Image via Glamour

 

WINDOWSILL WEED: How To Grow Ganja as a Houseplant

Growing ganja as a houseplant can be a low-key form of rebellion—the iconic leaves add a touch of elegant danger to any dwelling. Marijuana grows fast like a weed (hence its colloquial name) but does require some special care. Cultivation is a skill.

GENDER  & BABY HAIRS

Whether you start from seed or clone, identifying your plant’s sex is crucial. Like the baby hairs of FKA Twigs, female plants form tiny yellow hairs at the base of each internode. Males grow sacks. Separate male plants from females to avoid cross-pollination.

VEGGING OUT

A ganja houseplant’s vegetative stage can last for several months. To ensure healthy growth, always give your plant full sunlight, feed with nitrogen, water thoroughly, and prune monthly. During the vegetative stage is the ideal time to transplant into a larger pot.

BLOOM STAGE

Cannabis eventually flowers (blooming takes five to eight weeks). Good news: flowers can be harvested. Sad news: flowering is the end of the life cycle. Feed flowering cannabis with phosphorus. Hairs on ready-to-harvest buds will transition from a pale yellow to deep red orange. Cut the stalks; hang them in a dark room until they are dry enough to snap. Trim the buds, storing them in a glass jar to finish curing.


(commissioned for Broccoli Magazine, publishing in print)

 
 Image via NPR

Image via NPR

 

A REALLY GOOD INTERVIEW ABOUT MICRODOSING WITH AUTHOR AYELET WALDMAN

Ayelet Waldman is the kind of woman you want to hang out with, the kind of woman you want to be. Incredibly intelligent and a distinguished author with charisma, a wicked sense of humor, and enough heroism to heal herself in the way she chooses — legal or nah. Her most recent memoir, A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life blew up the nation’s conversation on drug policy, pharmaceuticals, psychedelics and the power of microdosing.

In August of 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a trial, the first of its kind, for treatment-resistant depression with psilocybin aka magic mushrooms. This will be the largest ever conducted in the the United States. In light of this new shift in dialogue, we took the opportunity to chat with Ayelet Waldman about her journey as a self-healer, a writer, and the first woman to shed light on microdosing in the mainstream.

Q. How is it possible that you studied at Harvard Law, are a mother of four, an author of 13 books, a federal public defender — all with some extra time on the side to teach at the UC Berkeley School of Law?!

Ayelet:  Well, I did most of those things serially. I worked as a public defender before I had kids and before I started writing. It’s just that I’m old so you’re seeing it through different eyes.

Q. In light of all of your accomplishments, you’re quite young. I know a healthy amount of folks from various stages of life and few are as accomplished as you.

A. I’m 53 and like most women — especially in my generation — have a deep sense of impostor syndrome. Nothing ever feels like an accomplishment and it is sort of grudging yourself on the idea of what you should be doing. I never really think of it that way, like, “Oh look at all of these accomplishments.” I think more like, “Why aren’t I writing more? Why am I lying around? Why aren’t I volunteering at the border?”

I’m mentoring a first-generation college student. We just had this training session and one of the things that they were trying to train, is that most of the kids we mentor have a deep sense of imposter syndrome. They go off to four-year colleges and no one in their families has ever been to college. So they think that they are not as smart as everyone else or that they don’t deserve to be there. As mentors, they’re talking with us about ways to combat these thought patterns. Then I look at myself — my mother went to Swarthmore and I went to college thinking the same, that I’m not smart as everyone else and I don’t deserve to be there. So how the hell am I going to help this kid overcome it?!                

But I do think these sentiments are gendered. I do think that men experience it, but not in the same degree or way that women do. I think us women are much harder on ourselves. Even now in 2018. But it helps to talk to an accomplished young woman like yourself and hear her ask me these questions. So then I think to myself — yeah I guess I’ve done a couple things.

Q. As a woman, I’ve found that sometimes one’s accomplishments can be overlooked. Have journalists ever made you feel eclipsed by the successes of your husband Michael Chabon? Also with Michael Pollan’s book on microdosing — have you had the chance to read it?

A. I mean yes. Obviously everyone always asks about my husband but I really do feel like he is one of the greatest prose stylists of American literature — ever. Period. Certainly contemporary American literature. We’re doing very different things, so I don’t feel any real sense of real competition. Sometimes I feel like I get frustrated because I am what they call a midlist writer. That does, at times, frustrate me which brings me to the Michael Pollan question.

I’m so glad that he wrote this book. And I’m so glad that he mustered his massive audience to get behind this issue of microdosing. I’m really grateful to him for doing so much leg work. Honestly, I wouldn’t have tried seven different crazy ass hallucinogens. I wasn’t about to go down that road. But he was able to bring the full weight of his reportorial experience and gifts to it. So I’m really glad. But sometimes I do think, “What happened?” Why did one book sit on the shelves forever? And why did one not sell nearly as much? I think my subtitle was too soft and we could’ve made it a harder subtitle. I do think it has something to do with the fact that [microdosing] is a topic of interest primarily, though not exclusively, to men. And men are just not interested, by and large, by reading books by women. They’re much more willing to take a  male authority’s word for things. Some of that, but also my book came out on inauguration day. I think that did it more than anything else. I think I really did suffer from that.

Sometimes I do feel like saying, “Yeah, I’ve been talking about this for a while.” But he’s been doing this work for a long time and he’s been doing it with great rigor and I have so much admiration for him. I don’t think it’s a case of discrimination.

I don’t think it’s a situation that so many women of color have experienced. Although I do have a friend who had an interesting experience where it was a white dude and he wrote an article about going to Japan and renting a friend. And then this amazing young female writer, Elif Batuman, who I love and is a wonderful writer. She wrote an article for The New Yorker a couple years later about going to Japan and renting a family. And they’re very similar in tone. But her book got optioned for a movie or something and I know he’s feeling like, what?! So sometimes it’s just the question of the moment.

I’m a privileged white lady and I try not to go down that path because I know that it is not my time to whine about discrimination right now. But yeah, every time I open up The New York Times best seller list I’m like — ahhhh!

Q. On that note, regarding microdosing in general — whether it be cannabis, acid, or mushrooms — have you seen more scientific research being done?

A. There’s not a lot of scientific research. There are two studies that are sort of beginning. One is a real study  as in they are administering microdoses of psilocybin. It’s happening under the The Beckley Foundation in England. Unfortunately what they are doing is giving people microdoses and then seeing how they play the game Go. Amanda Feilding is really into Go as a way to assess creativity by how they play the game Go. I do not give a flying fuck about the game. So I really wish they would just study depression or anxiety, but that’s their plan. I wish they would administer a standard depression screen. There’s more of an ad hoc, they are using an assessment formula where you get in touch with them and you say, “I am microdosing” and they send you these documents. The documents compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges. This will be at least a more coherent analytic tool. Because most times you don’t know whose microdosing on what amount. But I do think that we are seeing a much more increased interest in microdosing and so much interest in psychedelics as treatments for therapy.

Q. You stated in your book: A Really Good Day, that you’ve used medical cannabis in non microdose forms for pain management and issues with sleep. Do you microdose cannabis?

A. I’m still doing that, I do that now. I only take CBD because I do not like the psychoactive qualities of THC. The few times I’ve accidentally taken THC instead of CBD, it’s made me feel super anxious. I’ve tried CBD in microdose forms. I’ve taken those mints that have 1mg of THC but even that is a lot for me. CBD has been incredibly helpful to me. It’s been helpful for my anxiety, for sleep, for pain. I really do feel like cannabis is kind of amazing. It has replaced in many ways, Advil, Tylenol, Ambien — it’s replaced so many different medications that I used to take.

Q. Two weeks ago the World Health Organization officially deemed cannabis as a “relatively safe drug.” What are your thoughts on that?

A. I feel thrilled. It’s amazing. I’m so happy. I think it’s terrific. My biggest concern right now. First of all, I don’t trust Jeff Sessions and I feel like anyone could be prosecuted at any moment for cannabis. So that’s one thing that makes me really anxious in the United States. But I think the biggest issue facing the legal cannabis market is how to compensate the people who suffered so much for the criminalization of cannabis. Particularly communities of color, as you know, who have suffered an increase of over-incarceration when compared to white people. The statistic I give to my students in classes is that proportionately white people use so much more drugs than for example, African American people and way more than Latino people—cannabis specifically. Yet they almost never get prosecuted at all. They almost never go to jail. At all. So I feel like in California and Colorado and states where we do have this big lucrative market being creative. We need to address first and foremost, compensating those individuals whose lives were ruined [by marijuana possession and charges]. Giving them access to the gold rush of legal cannabis. I feel like when we’re looking at opening and licensing new cannabis retail centers and dispensaries, that there should be a bias in favor of traditionally victimized communities. So that is the issue that I am more interested in right now.

My husband said a lot of these weed shops are like Bose Stereo stores — they are like the Apple stores but with weed.

Q. When you see this shift of legalization as someone who has been a public defender — where do you stand?

I would like to see decriminalization of all drugs, I would like to see full legalization. I think that’s probably a pipe dream in my lifetime. But I think that we — if we are still a country in the next three years — I think we will see a shift towards decriminalization, or more so some form of psychedelics-based therapy being legitimized. I think. But you know what, I’ve lost my ability to prognosticate. Even when we knew Trump was elected as President, it never occurred to me that he would be setting up prisons for small children. So I don’t know what’s going to happen in this country. Maybe California will secede and we’ll have a paradise here on the West Coast of decriminalized drugs and egalitarian politics and an equal rights amendment and it will just be joy to the world and the rest of the United States can go fuck themselves. But I’m not holding my breath for that one.

Q. I’m speaking to a group of late teens/ young adults who are doing a summer program on drug policy here in Mexico — what do you think is the most important issue to drive home to them when it comes to policy and being involved?

A. I think the most important issue is criminal justice reform. For me, I think there is a myriad of injustices associated with drug policy. But the most important thing to me is reforming the criminal justice system. It is the criminalization that causes all of these cascading ills. So I think you have to come from a criminal justice perspective — it’s a really good place to start. It’s very easy because it’s mostly about harm reduction. You can scoop up people on all sides of the issue if you say, yes. Even if you have some kind of moral or religious objection, when you think just in terms of what causes the least harm to society. What’s going to cost the most to society? I think we can all get behind criminal justice reform and drug policy reform if we focus on that. Then you don’t have to delve into those greater issues like fundamental rights and things like that. People are always going to disagree with that, but if you approach it in the way Timothy Leary did, you’re going to lose people. But if you say, look this is costing us too much money — we can’t afford this — it’s costing us too many lives, people are dying — or the only people making money off of this are the cartels — I think when you come from this perspective, you’re more liable to come to a consensus with people who come from different perspectives.

Q. I was listening to a lecture by Yasmin Hurd, PhD. She stated that approximately 80 people die each day of  opioid related overdoses. She mentioned that medical cannabis not only can replace opioids and help wean people off of them, but that what’s more is if we start looking into cannabis treatments in place of opioids, it could save the U.S. 500 million dollars per year.

A. Right, there’s research that shows where cannabis is legal, there is less use of opioids. It’s sort of a matter of asking, what would you rather your kid do? Smoke weed or start shooting heroin? Twenty-four percent of people who use heroin go on to become addicted. That’s a huge number and I think I say this in the book as well. To me, it’s an high number of people who grow dependent on marijuana, but it’s not an addictive substance. Even when someone is dependent on it, the harms associated with it are so much less that it doesn’t even bear talking about in the same sentence. Also just from a purely medication point of view, if you have legal cannabis available, people who have pain issues can use that instead of the overly prescribed opioid derived drugs. When I had this frozen shoulder pain, the pain was unbearable. I would’ve done anything to have stopped the hurting. And it’s just pure luck that the opioid I tried did not work and what actually worked was cannabis. The truth is, if the opioids prescribed to me had worked, I would have become dependent on them. I was in so much pain and all I wanted was for the pain to stop.

Q. In the very beginning of A Really Good Day, you powerfully quoted Terence McKenna, “If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it’s written on.”

When we speak of our liberties to heal with cannabis and any other psychedelic drugs for that matter — what is your stance on that?

A. Personally, I feel like it’s ludicrous that we as a society believe that we can legislate what someone does to their own brain. I don’t understand it at all. I even understand that I am fervently pro-choice, I even understand that if you believe that life begins at conception, why a person wouldn't be pro-choice, and why one would want to legislate what someone wants to do to her body. I can even understand that—though I don’t agree with it and I’ll battle it until my dying day. But at least I can understand that mindset.

I cannot for the life of me understand why anybody in the world gives a shit about what someone else does with his or her  brain. It makes so little sense to me. As long as no harm is being done to other people, I just don’t understand why it would make any difference to anyone else what I, you, or anyone else does in their own head. It’s so mysterious to me, that hyper judgmental mindset. It’s really mystic to me and speaks to an authoritarian impulse. There are people in the world who feel that they have the right to tell people what they should believe, feel, how to vote, and how to pray. Then there are other people who believe each individual should have the right to themselves and those two groups can’t communicate. That’s the lesson I’ve learned over the course of this past year and a half, is that we don’t even speak the same language.

(Got A Girl Crush Magazine, publishing in print)