"I just hope you can enjoy life without it."
"I can, and I do. It's just a lot easier to find joy when you don't feel like there's a parakeet trapped in your chest."
My mom and I had this conversation recently. We were talking about my cannabis use — a relatively comfortable topic for us — when she voiced her concern. It wasn't the first time she said this to me, but it made realize something: I'm amazed by how often people worry that daily cannabis users can't enjoy their lives unless they're high, but it's not because I'm hurt by the implication. At least, not entirely. The truth is, cannabis does make it easier for me to find joy — I just don't know why that's considered a bad thing.
Don't get me wrong, I can, have, and do enjoy life when I'm sober. I've taken numerous sobriety breaks since I started smoking weed nearly seven years ago, and I actually prefer to use CBD products during the day. (Unless it's the weekend, of course.) But it is easier to be thankful, kind, patient, present, and joyful when you feel your best, and cannabis helps me do that. I'm a better person when I use weed, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
Cannabis has been helping me manage anxiety, stress, depressive symptoms, appetite issues, and debilitating menstrual cramps since college — and in recent years, I've leaned heavily on the plant to help me deal with PTSD symptoms from sexual assault and intimate partner violence as well. For me, consuming THC and CBD every day means waking up rested instead of waking up terrified and sweaty. It means feeling hungry enough to finish an entire meal, and motivated enough to clean, exercise, cook, and run errands. Microdosing cannabis helps me meet writing deadlines, and CBD demolishes my social anxiety.
I also feel like weed makes me a better daughter, sister, and aunt. CBD quiets my physical anxiety symptoms, which makes it easier for me to focus on the important things, like taking my mom to the beach, watching Pitch Perfect with my sister, or playing Sleeping Queens with my nieces. And although I'm definitely guilty of snapping at my mom from time to time, I tend to do this far less when I have access to cannabis. Simply put: weed and CBD don't just improve my life, it's safe to say they make me more fun to be around.
There might come a time when I don't need help from CBD or THC to be the best version of myself, but there also might not, and I'm more than OK with that. What I'm absolutely certain of is this: cannabis is an essential part of my self-care, and I'm a better person when I have weed.