The Wisdom of Weed

With John Bayes, Green Bodhi

Meet John: Grower, Breeder, Buddhist 

If they're growing without intention, motivated by corporate greed, it's garbage. Just buy Frosted Flakes with the fucking tiger on it. Garbage.

I first met John during a seed excursion. 

It's hard to hide from yourself if you're high. Cannabis is awareness. 

He makes me think of the place beyond high. The more elevated state. 

John has been an endless source of cannabis teachings and leaves me with Buddhist wisdom to boot. A man of incredible kindness and great depth, John is not afraid to speak exactly what’s on his mind. I can learn with the luxury of not having to read between the politically correct lines.

Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

Enjoy.  🖤Nina

Above: Green Bodhi strain Silver Surfer


John Bayes: If things are grown with the intention to profit and make money solely, then of course it's going to be subpar. This is reality. It's just like having food from your grandmother versus McDonald’s. 

It’s easy to boil intention down to human not machine, handmade not mass produced, but there’s more to it than that. There’s soul in something that has true intention. For the recipient there’s a connection back to the maker.

If I can offer the best of what I can do, meaning my best intention, then when someone consumes my cannabis, they experience the blessing and there’s the revolution and continuum of awareness — because look at the world, it's a dark scene out there.

We are offering a little taste of happiness, peace of mind. The mind that clings to this or that, is illusory because it all starts with ‘I think.’ A mind that starts with ‘I think’ is generally unhappy because it’s a self-centered view.


JB: Every cannabis trichome head is a wax covered blessing pill of medicine. Hence, it’s the gateway drug to awareness, where your body and brain can access different levels of continuums. 

Cannabis helped me be aware of all those self-centered perspectives that actually hindered me in my life. I've been able to dissect my ignorances and see where I'm just full of my own self, feeling like a superhero. It's a good tool to deal with your self-centered bullshit. 

It's hard to hide from yourself if you're high. When you observe all of yourself, it's easier to be honest about who you are, instead of whoever you want to pretend you think you are.

With cannabis, you have the opportunity to observe those things and do something about it.


JB: It's like the human condition's kind of fucked right now and people don't know how to deal with it. Everyone's in desire, survival mode, wanting to try to abuse people and use people. It's harsh. It's greed based, right?

But the old-school people, it was heart based. We didn't want it to be a system.

To be able to be aware with an aware counterpart, it's pretty powerful, as well as rare. Two people that are evolved to the level to drive things home versus to the level to get what they want until they aren't getting what they want.

If you're doing compassion for the sake to be known or to get something out of it, it's not compassion. You're doing it for yourself. If you annihilate The Self, then you can actually act intentionally and purely.


JB: You have to get Your Self out of the way for magic to happen. We can overthink ourselves out of a good thing almost every time. That means we are unenlightened.

To grow cannabis is to recognize its subtlety. Meaning controlling a situation to death with the Selfish Self. There was this little cartoon girl that just had to have everything. She wanted to love her doll so much she strangled the fuck out of it by mothering it to death. That's not love. That's attachment and ignorance.

You must respect what nature offers us. Too often, corporate greed takes the living essence out of nature. That’s happening with cannabis. 


JB: I like cannabis after it's dried five to seven days. From that point for the next two weeks its consumption is at its best. Cured weed sounds like old weed to me. I'm not going to the farmer's market and saying, ‘got any cured strawberries that are two months old?’


JB: I thought this philanthropic collaboration would be a good opportunity for both us to share with the cannabis community something special that matches both of our intentional aspects of reality. Bodhi Seeds aka @plantmoreseeds is someone that’s created many popular and amazing strains, not to mention someone whose character and heart is rarely found these days in cannabis, or any other community.

We thought it would be a good way to give back to His Holiness Monastery for all that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has done for the human conditionEveryone that buys, sells, or consumes the medicines derived from this collaboration is then in turn entangled into that karmic field of merits.


JB: We don't do feminized because it's not natural. You have to spray chemicals on the plant and make it change and start shooting pollen. We offer 21 seeds per vial so you're going to have plenty of opportunities to find female seeds.

Female seed is natural, feminized seed is not natural. It's definitely not organic.


JB: Landrace core root genetics to work with is crucial. I take them and create amazing hybrids. I blend a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Just like cooking, you can have 20 ingredients but salt is always the core.

Unfortunately, hybridization has been over-hybridized. You need people that are going to know how to breed correctly so that when they bring something to the table, it's unique.


JB: A sativa based hybrid that has a little bit of kushy aspects to it. I like earthy, anise, licorice-y, afghani kind of style base.


JB: Mixed-light greenhouse would be the best.


JB: My seeds, soil and nutrients are as organic as it gets if you're not growing straight in a native soil.


JB: They've shown THC attacks cancer cells. They don't understand why, but they've shown it does. There's evidence out there. My experience is if all the conditions are right, anything can happen.


JB: Our brain has inputted all these conditioned memories and thoughts that keeps you from your potential. You basically delete your files and all the things that are holding you back. You will come to a lot of realization. You have to have a lot of deaths.




JB: A wisdom plant. @greenbodhi For Dynamic Blends Soil and Limited Edition Green Bodhi X Bodhi Seeds contact Green Bodhi cannabis and hash coming to Oregon early this year. Stay tuned…

Green Bodhi Tenzin Kush #4

Climbed up from the ground floor

There’s the sunrise and a new pen waiting for me

I write quietly, sitting next to God

I can think and everything is slow

I feel love

-Highly Epiphanies, post psilocybin life

Send in your epiphanies to All will remain anonymous.

And check out The Highly. She’s updated, for now.

Trip, trippin, tripped

by Nina 🍄

For weeks, I was prancing around this world, a carefree and joyful ballerina under the spell of a wonder drug. I was beyond infatuated with microdosing psilocybin (aka magic mushrooms) - I was in endless love. Then, without warning, I fell into the abyss. Literally. The seemingly deepest well on earth had taken prisoner of the ballerina, and she had no hope of escape. 

It began over the summer. The cannabis routine needed shaking up. (Newsletter No 10). For all of its spiritual goodness and wonders for my mind and emotional well-being, I’m not putting smoke in my lungs for a mediocre experience. Mind you, the thought of cannabis losing its luster was terrifying. Nonetheless, some cutting back was in order. I would think of it as a ‘vacation’. A two-week escape from cannabis that would allow me to have a new experience, and to then return home feeling more appreciative, and fully re-energized to engage with my steady flower again. I couldn’t help but think, How clever, Nina. A vacation.

With that plan firmly in mind, I started going through my metaphoric travel guides. I had never considered psychedelics, but maybe, just maybe, it was the perfect two-week trip :). Like lightning in my mind, I was fixated, and not long after I was doing my research on microdosing psilocybin. The same loose research everyone else was stumbling upon. A couple of books and Ted talks.

My ‘trip’ was booked.

How harmful could microdosing be? I know a bunch of people who swear by it. With cannabis, microdosing is a ‘barely’. This was mistake number one. Underestimating the word ‘microdosing’ when it comes to psilocybin and not considering cumulative effects. Choosing microdosing before understanding what macrodosing is. And mostly, comparing it to cannabis in any way, shape or form.

Oh, this is a nice place.

I took my first dose on Yom Kippur, which seemed like a good day for that extra spiritual connection that didn’t happen. Nor did halos appear or was I hugging trees. I wasn’t high at all. What I experienced had meaning and I liked that. I felt the same calmness that Nina pre-baggage-life had enjoyed. To push things along, I introduced a little cannabis at night to go with a psilocybin pill 2-3x a week. The synergy between the two was balancing. The cannabis and psilocybin combo highlighted my two You’s. Outside looking inside and inside looking outside. And I liked what I saw :). It was fun, funny and quite a conversation piece with my friends. Most of my pals were entertained, some a little worried for sure. The cannabis was suddenly great regardless of strain. This kept me very interested. 

Social Anxiety. I was much more open socially. I was down to go wherever, whenever, which is typically not the case if there’s any type of small talk involved. It was all good and I laughed a lot. Good times.

Right on. I’m gonna enjoy this vacation.

Tension. There was none. I felt so grounded. I was practically skipping and bopping around from place to place. I thought of the two times I suffered from burnout. It took a long time to get my equilibrium steady again. A few months of this would have been heaven for that transition.

Movement. Halfway into a yoga session, when the sweat kicks up, the psilocybin kicks in. My orchestra was playing and the person on the next mat had no idea. Perfect! I was savoring watching my hands come into prayer. I would look at the light in tree pose with a very different gaze. It made me think of the time I had whiplash. This would have been amazing for reducing the frustration of PT. 

Why stay on this vacation for just two weeks? This is too much fun. Life is too good. So clever, Nina.

Physical Reactions That No One Else Could See. It’s quite a therapist, this psilocybin. If you love something, you love it x100 and feel it in your bones. If you don’t, the physical cringe is there. There was no denial with psilocybin. What a compass to how you really feel.

Attachment. The grip on anything and everything was gone. Those threads that keep us attached to stuff. CUT! It had me obsessed about end of life care. Thinking of my mom going through the typical cancer stuff. Overdosing on Fentanyl patches as a standard method of end of life care. Her last weeks were not at all representative of the purist life she led. My mom would have loved this. A few weeks of separating from her kids, her story, any trauma, bills and enjoying the sounds and the atmosphere. Total game changer.

I started thinking of my past like it wasn’t even a part of me. I was indifferent. Not even compassionate. This was the first negative shift. Why was I thinking about past trauma at all? I dropped my story a long time ago. 

Now I’m at the 5-week mark. I don’t like where my thoughts are going. I should have called it quits earlier… or right here. 

Then I lost my appetite in a way I didn’t know was possible. It had me thinking of both ends of eating disorders. This feeling was a whole other ballgame. Then my hair was dry.

More distressing signs appeared, and quickly. I was not looking well, but I still felt good and lovin my yoga class. I wouldn’t put up with so many negative side effects from cannabis, food or even people, which made me start to question the promise that this stuff isn’t addicting. Isn’t anything addictive?

Then the psilocybin stopped losing all of its sparkle. I began to tank. 

My brain just turned off. A thought would get to 60% and stop. I couldn’t piece things together the way I normally did. I didn’t see colors the same way. 

Okay - Need to book a trip home fast. This vacation needs to come to an end, Nina. 

I declared an end to psilocybin and stopped abruptly. Looking back, weaning off may have been a better idea. When managed properly, my ADD brain is a positive brain that thinks in puzzles without any right or wrong pieces. When something catches its attention, it’s laser focused and curious. Turn it off and nothing’s left. I felt dead, flat, removed. Even worse…uninspired. 

It was the absolute worst feeling in the world. And yet, I wasn’t worried. I figured I would be back to normal asap.

Flow Nina. You’ll be home soon.

For two weeks I had sporadic moments being stuck in a haze, doing less than zero. Listening to music and staring at the skyline. It was clear how someone could go from real life, to living in the woods half comatose. My two You’s weren’t friendly either. One was getting jumpy, the other half dead. Why, Why, Why was I fixing something that wasn’t broken? How cumulative is this stuff? I could sense its presence.

There are no flights home. It’s as though a storm has hit my luxury island and all the tourists must stay… trapped in this increasingly horrifying hotel. 

I didn’t want to listen to music anymore. I found myself in the back of Ubers, eyes closed, focused on the sounds of cars and the city. This happened for a few months when I first began my mediation practice. Weird not to have a say in it.

Somehow I knew I was at my worst. I was beginning to worry I’d be messed up forever.

Breathe. Do your best NinaMaybe a new home was in the cards. Trust and surrender.

The next day, I had my first ever hallucination. Oh my, would I love to shrink that one! 🤐 Seconds in, a surprise trap door opened and I fell right through. I was falling backwards, and there was no stopping. No net. No one to hold onto. A free fall into the cold, dark abyss with no turning back. I was in the deepest well on earth with no hope of escape. 

I was filled with compassion for anyone who experiences this. I was transported from a positive life, now deep into a negative one. It was traumatic. Not casual traumatic. Not, a-dog-ran-in-front-of-the-car-and-I-had-to-swerve-to-avoid-it-traumatic. Real deal, real life traumatic. All of this happened while I stared in the mirror, not moving. Decades old flashbacks came. A reckless ADD mind that suffered consequences. My brain, when I didn’t honor its needs. That feeling… oof. Revisiting it was a horror. 

Then all the little voices with their lessons came out to play. One-by-one popping up and taking turns calling out the ways I’ve been putting my mind at risk by following protocols that make zero sense for someone like me. There wasn’t one surprise in there. How was I going to defend, and sort through the laundry list of evidence presented at this hearing?

I was smacked in the face with a major dose of psilocybin tough love as opposed to the endless patience of the cannabis plant. 

Two weeks later, I can still feel the psilocybin although things are turning around now. Music is making a comeback, I’m happy and laughing again, colors and randomness are just beginning to catch my eye, and most interestingly — the curiosity switch is back on with a few slightly shifted perspectives. I’m still deliberating on how to best address all the voices and their compelling assertions. And I’m getting increasingly fascinated with that hallucination. 😍

I shared this experience with some close friends. One simply texted, “if it’s too good to be true…”

Sometimes cliches are useful. This one a good reminder that there are no free rides.  

It’s good to be home. Nina, you’re clever… but not that clever. 

Happy Holidays Everyone,


Illustration Jenny kroik @jkroik

Dear God, thank you.

Highly Epiphanies 🌱

Hemp Sweet Hemp: Building a Healthier Home with Hempcrete

with Anthony Néron, DuChanvre

Here in U.S., stories that include pot in the walls generally don’t have a positive outcome. That’s not the case if you live in France where people are quite familiar with Hempcrete, and its many benefits.

It didn’t take a lot more than the simple concept of living in a hemp nest to sell me on Hempcrete. As many of us cannabis lovers evolve — the more we crave nature in every aspect of our lives. But the real benefit here: a safer, healthier home. 

I met Anthony Néron, founder of DuChanvre, a family business based in Quebec at the ‘Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference’ in NYC. Anthony combines Hempcrete with a lime plaster finish to create homes that are indestructible and beautiful inside and out. Anthony’s mission: bring art and integrity to construction.

Hempcrete or Hemplime is a bio-composite material made of hemp hurds (shives) mixed with a lime-based binder. Together they yield lightweight, cement-like blocks ideal for insulating walls, and most often paired with wood stud framing. Hempcrete is fitting for most climates as it combines insulation and thermal mass - eight Hempcrete blocks weigh about the same as one of its concrete siblings.


Anthony Néron: Hempcrete is the most durable insulation material available. Lime plaster is the finish that’s applied directly on the hempcrete to create a wall system that can resist fire, humidity, vermin, compression, and even earthquakes, because it’s so fibrous. It’s a great option for people living in California. It's not going to decay, lose color or fade out. It's not going to dust off or peel off.  You do a lime plaster once in your life.

It’s reminiscent of a pre-war home or building built before the 1930’s. Those homes and buildings are considered to be of the highest quality, because during those times, toxic materials did not exist.

Now hemp and lime together is an insulation with high flexibility, and therefore not a load-bearing material.  Not hard like concrete or as strong as stone, but within proper framing it is considered as solid and durable as a stone wall. 

If you punch the wall, you will break your bones. 

Also, Hempcrete and lime plasters are classified as fireproof and can resist heat up to 1,800 degrees. 

Need more convincing? Fireplaces are built with lime. 


AN: Because these are natural materials (lime and hemp), they are noble materials. They come from nature and are totally balanced. It's already been exposed to the elements. So, the electric charge of the materials is negative. That means it's neutral to the human energy field and doesn't interfere with our electric balance. 

Plastic (traditional insulation) is electrostatic. So, what contains plastic becomes positively charged. When your walls are covered with conventional paint that contains acrylic or synthetic materials, what happens is that your environment becomes electrostatic. It's an environment that the particles would attract each other and likely create more dust.

And if you have hot or cool air that is pushed through a metal conduct, that creates positive electric charge and particles. For sensitive people it can cause problems.

The place where you spend most of your time should be in harmony with your choices and values. 

Why eat organic if you live synthetic? 

 If you want to buy fair trade, then choose a clean environment and surround yourself with natural materials. 


AN: Hempcrete houses are much more efficient. They perform in heat and cold.  That's the purpose of Hempcrete insulation. There’s a thermal reflection factor meaning it reflects temperature — radiating warmth in the winter and cool in the summer.

Hemp has long been used in the building industry as a fiber in the coatings, and plasters, as a reinforcement. But it wasn’t until the 1980’s in France that Hempcrete was created. In many ways, this is a return to artful, quality construction. It's slow building and it's quality building.


AN: Hemp homes were a rustic kind of a design, leaning toward hippie. As soon as I saw it, I needed to know more. My mother was an interior designer, so I am aware of design and I could hear her voice in my head as I was looking at it. She taught me her version of being aware of how things are properly done. To create beauty and precision. I grew up in that and so my immediate reaction was to be a part of the future solution.  

When I was younger, I was very creative, active, moving fast, moving on. I had to feel like I was using my power and my skills. And so, being introduced to the first Hempcrete house in Canada just triggered everything. Through apprenticeship, I learned how to use Hempcrete. 

I learned about plasters from other craftsmen and I blended it with the Hempcrete to create something more complete and beautiful.  If this was going to be a new way to build houses, we needed it to be more standard to fit in the market. It couldn't be too rustic. It had to be unique and precise.

This evolved into my craft.

For myself and my family, our deepest goals are extending our values into our everyday action, whether it’s buying organic, fair trade, consumption. We wanted to extend those values we hold dear to construction and housing.


AN: We source it most of the time from Europe, some from France, some from Belgium, or it could come from Switzerland. But it's mostly coming from France or Belgium. That's where the industry is the biggest.


AN: Well, the good news is that Hempcrete is rapidly growing in popularity and use. The bad news is that options may not be on the forefront or easy to find. You have to look and ask for it. It's a matter of education. These philosophies in construction will become more and more available over time. 

But to me, I'm already living in the future. 

These are houses that are built and last for hundreds of years. If you have a long-term vision, its something to go for. You're not going to have to make over in 30 years from now. It takes a little more time than conventional homes to do, but it lasts much longer.


AN: The budget is 30% higher than conventional homes. So, a little more costly and a little slower because there are drying periods. You have to compare it to houses that are artisan made, and in many ways, our homes are really handmade. Everything is custom. We have custom lime plaster that they're looking for certain colors, certain textures. So, it's different for every client. We are usually finishing a 2,000 square foot house within one year of work. 

In Europe, some lime homes are a thousand years old and still beautiful, still comfortable. We are bringing back tradition in a modern way.

duchanvre @du.chanvre

How much plastic is in my walls?

— Highly Epiphanies

Mind, Body, Sensimilla 

The Class with Founder Taryn Toomey

by Nina: The Class ends. Still in the zone, I’m gifted with Conner Youngblood singing and playing guitar. I sit there in a complete trance, soaking in the magic of music, no distractions to compete with my sense of peace. My mind is flooded with happy ‘highly’ epiphanies, reaffirming that the secret to being ‘well’ is a 360 approach.

I’ve spent the last two decades chasing calm. I thought I had it down pat. Yoga, sun, rest, prayer, pleasure, and great cannabis — all while loosely following the Earth’s cycle. 

When I began taking The Class this summer my mind and body transformed immediately. Through The Class, I realized why the calm I mastered and polished up with cannabis was becoming more challenging to execute. As someone who hates yelling, it never occurred to me I was really angry. And how come we don’t talk about anger? Perhaps it’s another emotion that has a stigma attached to it. It certainly does for women. It explains why my cannabis usage is up for what I considered a ‘disposition of no change.’ 

 Meet Taryn Toomey, founder of The Class. Many ‘A-listers’ refer to The Class as ‘Church’ as it’s something much deeper than exercise. A cathartic purge of toxins, both biological and emotional — trauma and anger release, joy and fitness — all rolled into one.

Founder Taryn describes The Class as ‘an expansive, heart-clearing and body-strengthening release. This Class will challenge and enlighten you, all while building an incredibly strong, lean, resilient body.’ 

The Class begins with jumping jacks, that spill into long exhales as we shout HAAAAA! The anxiety diaphragm that never really exhales, automatically exhales to its fullest, and it feels soooooo good. The yang to my cannabis inhale, yin. I’m breathing again, without having to ‘focus on the breathe.’

Taryn Toomey: The creation of The Class is really 40 years in the making. I had a rocky childhood and experienced a lot of trauma, so essentially I was seeking a way to heal myself. I taught the method for two years with no name, really with the intention to track what was going on inside of me. I've always had a very fiery personality and found that after I moved my body I was able to have a more grounded, kind approach with myself. Being around community and music, a safe space to self express through sound not words, resonated with me. That’s really where it began.

As I look around The Class, and we’re sweating, shouting and sometimes crying, I begin to understand when our shouts as a collective become insanely loud is when Taryn touches on certain topics that aren’t so obvious — like confusion. Truly, I’m not alone.

Taryn: Your body will change physically, but that is not the intention. It’s a side effect. The burpee is not about the burpee. We're using intense physical movements to get the thoughts going. In that place is where we begin to practice - it's just a thought. We can condition the thought by believing it or by reconditioning a new thought. This is the power of choice. Without the awareness that you are having the thought, you cannot make a choice to stay with it, or to redirect it. You can apply our practice to anything. Through physical intensity, we are unleashing emotions and bringing them to a place where it stares us right in the face. 

Caleb’s drumming vibrates through the room. I’m zeroing in on my angst living in a world that’s the opposite of connection but rather miscommunication. Have I really been reduced to emoji speak now?🤢 I’m angry we’re forced to communicate in this meaningless way — and I’m BEYOND angry that the right to my privacy has been swindled away by a group of unstoppable master manipulators.

Our HAAAA’s spill into free form dance from Taryn’s mood altering playlist. Happy and free, easily transitioning from drama to joy. The room is uninhibited and it doesn’t feel weird at all. Taryn guides my mind with ‘where are you going?’ A far cry from my hacked social media brain, that’s not an easy transition for my ADD.

Taryn: The reason why we continuously repeat actions, often through an entire song is to release the brain from focusing on choreography. We put the motion into play and then drop into a consciousness practice, observing thought. I found this approach worked because you're not thinking about what to do next. You’re having to marinate and deal with the frustration, irritation, strength, and whatever else comes up. In there the practice begins. Do it or don't. Stay present or stop. Lift the leg up or don't. And then it's just one more...and one more....and one more. And then boom it's over. Child's pose.

We’re hot, sweaty and completely still. Taryn tells us to ‘clean the heart.’ We open the heart, moving the arms with light wrists and hands. Prana flows through my wrists, reversing the damage of typing and letting the energy flow.

Taryn: I just knew that I always felt things deeply in my heart. Present day, I am still very affected by hurtful words, comments, and judgements. I have always felt them in my physical heart space. So after we've ignited this fire in the body, it only made sense to drop into the heart and massage it back and forth with the physical sensation. Close your eyes, bypass your brain, and drop into the heart and listen. Cleaning the heart out. For me, that's really what it is. It is a heart-centered practice, physically and emotionally. 

Full circle from where we began The Class, now with open hearts, throats, no anger, and free spirits. We go back into jumping jacks, every mirror is fogged, the room is strong, energized and in sync.

Taryn: It's important to bring it full circle because the main thing we don't want to do is ask people to bring up and activate things and then leave them undone. It is a slow and intentional engagement of all things physical, mental and emotional, with loads of work built in to keep one safe while doing so. Integration is very important. We must pacify the nervous system to allow people to feel integrated before sending them back out into the world. This has been something we focus a lot of attention on in teacher training because we understand the power of what we are inviting people to experience in the room.

The Class ends and I’m light. Since taking The Class regularly my cannabis usage is cut in half, keeping my high, higher and the wellness dance exactly where it needs to be.

On the way out, I spot CBD on the shelves.

Taryn: I use CBD when I wake up, in the middle of day and before I go to bed. I think it's important in the wellness industry for the basic things like reducing inflammation, managing pain and improving overall heart health. I've personally always been the girl that believes in using myself as my own case study. When I first heard about CBD I tried it to see what the hype was about and I experienced many of the effects that it claims to have. Particularly, I noticed a decrease in anxiety and a great improvement in my ability to sleep. I love the idea that you can take something that doesn't eventually lead to substance abuse, which then leads to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing...

Taryn, whats next?

Taryn: We are working to bring The Class to as many people in the world as possible, from all walks and stages of life. We will be expanding our reach through a digital platform this fall, giving people the opportunity to access The Class whenever and wherever. We have a lot of exciting things brewing for the upcoming year. We’re on a mission! 

Taryn Toomey, Namaste. It’s been a pleasure 🙏

I hit the sidewalk, automatically look at my iPhone and leave it alone. I have the power. 

The Class @TheClass Taryn Toomey @taryntoomey Caleb Spaulding @csspaulding @conner_yngblood

Photo Credit: @RachaelDunville

I manipulate my mind to fight my mind being constantly manipulated

— Highly Epiphanies

Anecdotal Conversations: Cannabis Dependency

with Adie Rae PhD and Alice Moon

People are so excited that they get to consume cannabis that all other bets are off… and we have a huge responsibility and opportunity to make sure that we reduce harm. If we get the message out early and wisely enough, that is literally prevention. — Adie Rae, PhD

Illustration Sara Andreasson @saraandreason

I was in Paris, an annual holiday that always brings me joy, relaxation and detox from the hectic pace of The States. I was a bit on edge that I didn’t have access to cannabis. So much so, I began to question if I would even return to France until cannabis is legal. Having to decide between my favorite city and my favorite plant was the first sign of some type of dependency brewing.

I knew the tolerance dance well and it took a few decades for this to set in, but lets be real, I’ve smoked more in the last two years than I have in my entire life.

With accessibility, dependency lurks in the shadows for many of us. Learning how to have a healthy, sustainable relationship with cannabis is like any other relationship. One that requires respect and absence of abuse to ensure that it continues to be a happy, rewarding, and above all, an enduring one.

After returning home, my first call was to Dr. Adie Rae Phd, an award-winning neuroscientist with more than 15 years of experience with addiction, cannabis, and opioid replacement. When she explained dependency could lead to Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), I thought about Alice Moon, a cannabis influencer, who has been vocal about her ‘almost daily’ usage turning into an awful full blown cannabis allergy — a story that deserves attention.

So for today’s newsletter, a friendly reminder that on occasion, absence does make the heart grow fonder and every once in a while we need to take a T-break. Because, if you love this plant the way I do, understanding that this is intuitive medicine and we have to own how we treat it — will keep us, our loved ones and the reputation of this magical plant in tact.

Side note: I was shocked to discover that the last real study on cannabis dependency was in 2012? Say what? 🖤 Nina

In Conversation with Dr. Rae


Dr. Rae: The latest numbers were from 2012, and it was roughly 9% of the people who ever tried cannabis; however, that data comes from the era that was before all potent products, extracts, and vaporizer pens. It was also when many people chose not to engage with cannabis because it was illegal. With reduced barriers to consumption and less experienced users entering the mix, we're going to see the numbers go up.


Dependance is a diagnosable condition that totally exists.  DSM-V diagnostic criteria to qualify for the disorder, you have to have cannabis interfere with your life--your social relationships and/or your economic performance.

The number one red flag and leading indicator that happens in that whole litany of effects is tolerance. Tolerance is the first step on the way to physical dependence. You need more of the drug to achieve the same effect. Physical dependence rears its ugly head when you experience withdrawal which has tell-tale symptoms like irritability, lack of appetite, insomnia, and the all too familiar sense that, ‘I'm having a bad day.’ With increased dependency then comes more difficult consequences, whether they be social, economic, or physical.  


All the same things that contribute to cannabis use disorder also contribute to Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) which is a nightmare. ( See Alice’s story below)

CHS is where you have cyclic periods of nausea and vomiting. You have used so much cannabis over such a great amount of time you've completely dysregulated your endocannabinoid system to now essentially having an allergy because your body is telling you ‘you're poisoning me.’


When you notice you have developed tolerance, it is time for a tolerance break, a ‘T break.’

Every single human being who consumes cannabis, with perhaps the exception of terminal patients, requires a minimum of a 48-hour tolerance break on some kind of regular basis. How often? This is where it’s intuitive, but with our chronic pain patients we recommend one break every 30 days.

It’s also just good for your brain. Your endogenous cannabinoid system is involved in so many homeostatic processes that you really want to give yourself the opportunity to function at your maximum potential.


We've got lots of moonshine but we have no rosé. We're severely lacking moderate products. In Oregon, retail intake managers are not permitted to buy flower from a wholesaler that is less than 17% THC and yet, it’s exactly that kind of moderation people find enjoyable. Balanced with a tiny bit of CBD is going to provide the most insulation and protection from cannabis use disorders and hyperemesis.

Using a handheld vaporizer for flower (not to be confused with vaping oil) like The Mighty or the PAX, you're getting whole-plant vaporization which is essentially a symphony. You've got the conductor THC up there doing it's thing, and you've got all of the winds and all of the string instruments and then you've got the choir in the background as the terpenes.

ON VAPING OIL (not to be confused with flower vaporizers)

Here we are again, no regulation, preying on the public's perception that this is better.

If you look at the E-vape juices, flavorings and terpenes from other sources, such as essential oils, no one has ever studied their effects when they are heated, broken up into smaller molecules and then absorbed into the human body. We have no idea of the toxicity of those things. Lavender oil is fine to put on your skin or to put in your smoothie but it's not okay to heat it up to a point where it's no longer lavender oil. It has completely morphed into something else. It has broken down into its constituent smaller molecules, some of which are totally carcinogenic.

Not to mention the fact that the tobacco companies have long known that some flavors are more addictive than others. So if you find an orange pen, that pen is more rewarding than those other pens simply because of the flavor. 

I think, honestly, the first thing that's going to happen is states are going to start outlawing concentrates because we already have 17-year-old girls coming into the ER with pneumonia because they're dabbers, which is really bad for lung health. I think after that, we're going to start to see all the similar kinds of concerns we have with concentrates are even more magnified and varied because of the vape cartridges.


The ‘regular tolerance breaks’ conversation should happen at retail.

In the State of Oregon, we have this regulation where you have to send out a 3x5 card with every consumer that says, ‘Marijuana can hurt your baby.’ That 3x5 card also needs to say, ‘Cannabis is rewarding. Here are the warning signs to look for. If you notice any of these things, take a break for a couple of days. If you're still having trouble, here's a phone number to call, an addiction hotline.’ 


People are so excited that they get to consume cannabis that all other bets are off. No other considerations are made. If it's there [on the retail shelf], then it's okay and we have a huge responsibility and opportunity to make sure that we reduce harm. If we get the message out early and wisely enough, that is literally prevention.


The Mariana Trench of pharmacology. We have many decades of work left to sort out exactly what we’re dealing with and how we can better tailor it to our needs, as humans.

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) with Alice Moon

If I was in a hot tub, I wouldn't puke. But within seconds of getting out, I was vomiting. I spent so many nights on my bathroom floor rotating between the two. One day I passed out in my front yard puking. A neighbor came and found me and was like, can I take you to the hospital? What can I do for you? I was just crying because I was like, I don't know what you can do for me. There's no answers. Just leave me be. I just continued to lay there and vomit. Alice Moon

I’ve been following Alice on Instagram for a couple of years now. She’s been talking a lot about her ordeal with CHS. Of course, it’s the one story that never gets echoed.

In 2016, Alice, a cannabis ‘influencer’, began having random vomiting episodes once a month with a misdiagnosis of acid reflux. By 2018 the vomiting became weekly and dangerous. She was diagnosed with Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome — a developed cannabis allergy. On the night before the big day to quit, Alice went out for her last hoorah. The last hoorah kicked up a 14 day full blown attack of daily vomiting and things haven’t been same since.

Alice’s routine was mostly edibles ranging between 5 mg and 20 mg and smoking approximately half joints in a sitting. Her routine was ‘almost daily’ and she hadn’t been taking long breaks.

ALICE: It was very scary. Just not knowing, when is this going to stop? When am I going to be able to have a sip of water? Am I going to die?

People were saying that this is pesticides. So I started smoking pesticide free weed and wasn't using a lot. Just a few hits here or there. And after a few months I had a four day episode. 

I quit using cannabis for three months, and ended up taking CBD which made the next episode shorter. So from there, I was like, okay maybe I can use CBD. I used hemp derived CBD for a few months. Then December 2018, I had my period and used more CBD than I had been using. That triggered my worst episode which was 16 days. With that I got two ulcers, a hernia and a bacteria infection. I had two urgent care visits, one at-home nurse visit and was in the hospital for four days.

I was near death with both of those severe episodes due to severe dehydration that can cause organ failure if you don't know what's going on or if you can't afford to go to urgent care.

I know of people who've developed this within one year but the majority of the people who answered my survey have been using for over eight years. So it does seem to be a lot of use over an extended period of time. Basically your endocannabinoid system is overloaded and your body just can't handle it anymore and completely rejects it. It's like once that switch is flipped, you can't turn it back. 

Now even secondhand smoke bothers me. I can't live the life that I used to live. I can't go to all the events I used to go to. I get so pissed off with all of this, honestly. I get a lot of online hate. Whenever a new article comes out, people are like, you work for the government. I'm like, ‘you guys, I love weed!’ These days, I do have a few people who will repost some stuff but ultimately, people are afraid to talk about it. It's a career ruiner, you know.

One thing that's been really hard for me this year is my mental health. I was using cannabis for depression and anxiety. People need to realize, this isn't just like, ‘oh, this girl can't smoke weed anymore.’ It's like, ‘no, this has affected my whole entire life.’ 

From all the data I've collected, there's no core commonality between all of us with CHS, and there’s tons of us. It's literally people of every age range all over the place and all different forms of consumption.

I want to be able to smoke weed again. And I don't want anyone to have to go through what I went through. It’s been so traumatizing.

We need research but we also need honest voices. These people know. They know that they haven't tested everything. Do you know what I mean? 


I miss it so much.

Alice on CannMed Panel @alicemoon

@Dr.Adie @smartcannabis


Find ‘Hi’ 5X

Without any real research, it’s through anecdotal conversations that will keep our relationship with cannabis one that lasts through sickness and health, and has many anniversaries. That’s the magic of cannabis — the conduit to open dialog and communication with ourselves, Earth, and each other. Thanks for reading all the way to the end. 💨 Nina

My headphones got me through it

— Highly Epiphanies

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