Growing up in a Latino household, I felt that most of the time my parents and family were trying to shield me from the truth about cannabis. I believe it stems from a cultural stigma that persists not only around issues like cannabis and mental health.
Both my grandparents’ generation and my parents’ generation have passed down the mindset that cannabis is a drug that is addicting and causes nothing but trouble.
My journey with cannabis started around three years ago when I was ready to take my life.
My mental health was worsening each day and I reached out to a professor at my university. I received the help and guidance I needed. My psychiatrist gave me medication to help with my mental illnesses, but I hated the feeling they gave me. Each day I experienced numbness, grogginess, and emptiness. My daughter was growing up before my eyes and my medication was preventing me from being present. I spoke to my psychologist about stopping my medication and finding an alternative.
That’s when I first started to research and educate myself about cannabis. It made me feel good, but my family was extremely upset when they knew I was consuming.
‘What would people think?’
‘Justine, you’re a mom!’
‘What are you teaching your child?’
‘How to be a drug addict?’
It hurt not receiving the support I thought my family would give me. So I did what was best for me. Ignoring the haters, let people talk, and showing them that all those “factors” are false. I’m open with my daughter and educated her about life, mental health, and cannabis. She is proud of me and that’s all that matters to me.
I once found a bottle of alcohol with cannabis in it hidden in the house and asked my father why it was there and what it was for. He responded that he used it for pain and not to ‘get high’ or ‘get into trouble’. It started a discussion and when I began to educate him and my whole family on why I consume, the ways to consume, the benefits, and even have them try it with me, we slowly began to bring down those bricks on that wall of stigma.
My family began to notice a change in my presence and overall happiness, and realized that cannabis was a plant from earth and it helps people like me, my grandfather, my father, and my fur babies.
I’m proud to say that my family is more open to cannabis, and no longer believe it’s an addictive drug that will cause nothing but trouble. It’s a plant that has helped and healed many people around the world.
~ Follow Justine and her cannabis journey on her Instagram ~