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The Diversity of Cannabis | Cannabis History


Writing for The Cannabis Cactus gave me the opportunity to explore cannabis and the variety of ways that it intersects, and often influences, different aspects of life and society. We’ve covered everything from science to sub-culture, history, politics, and religion. Whether it’s learning a new recipe or an ancient cannabis fact, it can be exciting to dig a little deeper into a subject that already interests you and play a version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Cannabis Edition. I can’t guarantee that you’ll win every time but it’s pretty likely that if you like something and you look long enough, someone has incorporated cannabis into that thing in some way, and now it’s better. Hey, I don’t make the rules, ok? We all know that cannabis only makes things better, has probably never ruined anything, and hasn’t ever been used by bad people for nefarious things.


Shout out to that one person who ate an edible I made before a flight, missed it, and had to sleep it off on my couch for a day and a half. To their credit, it was an unreasonably strong cookie. To my credit, I didn’t pee my pants when they (barely) woke up to eat a handful of bites out of the middle of a burrito I brought them before passing back out for another 12 hours. All this to say that I can promise you that cookie did not enhance their airport experience. Their main goal for the day was “get on an airplane” and boy oh boy did that not happen, so we’re just going to call this one a “cannabis fail”.


But just because I couldn’t make an edible without an absolutely unhinged amount of cannabis in the butter doesn’t mean that all cannabis cookies are going to make you forget how to eat a burrito. I’d argue that most of them are probably much better than my unhinged butter cookies.


It’s one of the things I love most about cannabis. Not cookies; diversity. Cannabis has gotten its sticky little buds all over everything I enjoy in one way or another, and I thought it was about time that we pick some topics and dig a little deeper. Over the next few issues, we’ll look a little more closely at how cannabis has influenced or impacted things like music, food, and media throughout history.


We’ll jump into the research-heavy deep dives next month because I wanted to talk a little bit about why I chose the topics I did and the impact they have had on my life and the lives of the people I love. Ok, mainly just my partner because I don’t get out that much and he has some way cooler stories than I do.


Music to My Ears

Next month, we’re going to talk about the long and complicated history of cannabis and music, specifically in America in the early 20th century and beyond. It’s important to learn about and try to understand different aspects of cannabis history in order to better understand how we got to where we are today – but I’d like to take this opportunity to keep things light before we really get into it next time. By making fun of myself a little.


For some people I know, their early experiences with cannabis are inextricably tied to music; whether it’s a specific band, song, or just the memories of enhancing your listening experience in a way you had never tried before. I’ll bet that if I say “stoner music”, a specific band or song immediately jumps to mind and you likely have some fond memories that come along with it. It’s hard for me not to immediately think of Bob Marley and Sublime and of course the classic from my childhood, “Because I Got High” by Afroman. These stick out to me because they’re the obvious choices, even though I hung out in my high school best friend’s van to get stoned and we listened to a lot of Disturbed, which is markedly less chill.

I was not cool. I’m probably still not cool, but I care a lot less now than I did in high school. And I, embarrassingly, cared even more about being cool after high school. The least cool thing of all. Becoming involved in the cannabis industry was, at the time and in my opinion, the most interesting thing I had ever done and I let it become my entire personality. Cannabis became my job and that made me feel special, so it became my main identifier. Don’t get me wrong, I had been a cannabis consumer for a few years at this point, but I had been terrified of getting caught gettin’ high after school, so I did my best to be discreet. I was probably bad at it.


About the time I started “experimenting” with cannabis in high school (ie. how high can I get in the hour before I get picked up?) was around the time I started discovering more about myself and the things that I liked. Looking back, I can recognize this as a time in my life when I started to form my own genuine opinions about my taste in music, fashion, and media. They might have been bad, but they were mine. I can’t give any direct credit to cannabis for informing or influencing my taste in music – Bob Marley makes me think of AP history class because it’s the only thing our teacher played during study times – but there is a definite soundtrack that comes to mind when I think of this time in my life. My Chemical Romance, The Used, and Disturbed are just a few and the first to come to mind, but also the Party Monster and Garden State soundtracks for some reason? I will not be making a playlist and you can thank me later.


My partner, on the other hand, had an objectively cooler time in early high school; getting stoned at live shows and hanging out with bands and I’m not jealous at all. With an older sister and the Live Music Capital of the World only a short drive away, he had the opportunity to meet some really cool people and enjoy some really good flower.

Our personal experiences aside, the relationship between cannabis and music is long and complicated, and I’m excited to share what I learn with you as I start these deep dives. Until then, maybe it’s time to revisit some of your favorite anthems, enjoy a smokeable or edible, and get lost in a little bit of nostalgia.


Always Munching

Learning more about the history of cannabis and music is going to be fun and interesting and my partner is going to be very tired of listening to me talk about it as I do more research, but I would be lying to you if I said I’m not very excited to talk about cannabis and food. Food and mealtimes have been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember, and cooking for and sharing meals with the people I love is one of the greatest feelings in the world. The only thing that makes that better is also giving the people I love a little pain relief or relaxation with a delicious, cannabis-infused meal. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m no chef. When I say “delicious cannabis-infused meal” picture french toast with canna-butter, or substituting regular oil with infused oil in a salad dressing or something. I wish I was fancier, but I’m just not. My mother, on the other hand, made some of the best edibles I had ever had.


Mama can cook, and I have stolen a lot of her tips, tricks, and recipes now that I’m an adult who has to cook for herself, but baking wasn’t what I would have called her “thing”. She made awesome muffins, and she wasn’t a bad baker by any means, it just wasn’t something she did all the time. Well, not until Arizona legalized medical cannabis and edibles became an easy and legal way to help her stay sufficiently medicated. From traditional brownies to caramel corn or crackers, you name it, my mom can find a way to medicate it.


Food is such an important part of our lives, cultures, and histories. The fact that we live in a time where we have the knowledge to effectively incorporate cannabis medicine into food that we love is so exciting to me and exploring traditional and modern intersections of cannabis and food may provide an opportunity to implement new methods or inspire us to try new recipes.


Wrap It Up!

Alright, so, in conclusion, my edibles aren’t to be trusted, ask my mom instead, my partner has objectively better taste in music – and I didn’t even tell you what he likes, just trust me on this one – and I had to limit my excitement during the food section or this would have been way too long.


Seriously though, taking a closer look at how cannabis has influenced culture, sub-culture, politics, and more, is not only critical to understanding how far we’ve come but also where we’re going and the possible outcomes and consequences. Not everyone is on our side and not every influence has a cool and chill effect on people. Sometimes, it’s used against us, which should surprise none of us at this point. Regardless, like all history, cannabis history is often complicated and intertwined with other issues, so I only hope to do it justice when we start to cover cannabis and music history next month.

 


Laura Mastropietro

Kelly Mahoney worked at a medical cannabis Co-op with her mother, Laura Mastropietro, dealing mainly with helping new patients acquire their medical cards and helping them find the best strains and methods. Diagnosed at a young age with spinal muscular atrophy, she was also a medical cannabis patient and still advocates for the incredible benefits, and downright fun, of cannabis. She now lives in a prohibition state as a cat mom and gamer wife.

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