CANNABIS... my story

I wrote this essay for an article a few months back. The original topic was changed and I wrote something new but I was still left with this piece. Over the last few months I have "come out of the cannabis closet" on social media, but I had yet to do that here because I wasn't quite sure how. And then I remembered this article. As I reread my words from a few months back I realized that this was the story I needed to tell, with a few minor changes I want to share a piece of my heart and story with you.


Like many others teenagers I wasn’t sure who I was, what I wanted to do, or who I wanted to be in my life; but I can tell you this, my experience with cannabis opened up my eyes to so many people, opportunities and experiences.

Cannabis has been with me for half of my life, we have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Together we have experienced friendship, laughter, love, milestones, vacations, happiness, sadness and so much more. I can honestly say I am not sure I would be who I was if I had never been introduced to cannabis.

It was my freshman in high school when I was introduced to the plant. It was early in the school year, and I was at one of my first open house parties. I was hanging out with my girlfriends, and a guy we had met in school offered to “get us high”. I remember being interested in joining him to smoke, I don’t remember who else decided to smoke, all I really remember is the feeling. We smoked a bowl, I remember coughing, after that a dry mouth and finally fits of laughter.

That night I went home and told my sister all about it, something I stopped doing shortly after because she decided to tell my parents. For most of my friends this would have been awful, but I am truly blessed with honest and open parents who waited until dinner the following evening to discuss it. I don’t remember all of the details from the conversation but I do remember them being honest about their experiences as well as a discussion about how they expected me to make smart decisions, and that no matter what ever was going on in my life I could always come to them without judgment.


From that conversation forward cannabis was normalized to me. I no longer needed to view it as an egg that is then fried in a pan with the slogan “this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs”. It was something instead I could have an open conversation around.

The weekend following my introduction to smoking, my sister hosted an “open house” even though my parents were just in the city at a Knicks game (that entire night is a whole story of its own.) I was hanging out upstairs with three friends when all of the sudden my house was filled with strangers, they were drinking and smoking pot. I knew this was a terrible idea but I couldn’t stop my sister so my friends and I went outside to see what was going on. One of the guys at the party had been in a car accident a few years prior and had a prosthetic arm. He came and sat down with my friends and I, popped off his arm and took out a joint and offered to “get us high”; I guess you can say this is when I started opening my eyes to new people and experiences.

I can’t recall when or how, but at some point my friends and I obtained a bowl, it is possible my sister got it for me for Hanukah that year; she was a bit of a rebel back then. On weekends my friends and I would chip in and buy a $20 bag, which at the time seemed so expensive and rebellious. But the truth is those early days of smoking we were so carefree and fun, we were teenagers finding our first steps into a bigger world.

Cannabis was pretty much one of gang throughout high school. We would meet up someone with weed another with a bowl and then go to the movies, or grab some frozen yogurt, we would smoke before going to the mall, or hanging in someone’s backyard. I remember this one time my senior year of high school. My sister was in college and my parents got snowed into Florida and I had my group of friends over. We sat around all day watching cartoons, smoking from a bong. I recall someone saying we should go outside and fill it with snow, so outside we went and smoked from the snow bong and next thing you know we were making snow angels and laughing and having the best time. We were innocent and young, we were elevating our lives and not destroying them.


Smoking sure was a lot of fun back then. Once college hit I wasn’t sure where I stood with smoking. I was headed somewhere new with just a few friends, I would be living in the dorms where smoking was prohibited so that was it for me and cannabis for a while, during first semester I would see her on trips home but we were distant.

When I came back from my winter break my freshman year I met a girl on my floor who had a boyfriend that lived downstairs and one day they asked if I smoked weed and well the rest is history. I went over to her room and while I was worried I may get caught they told me they had a method aka a “spoof” which was just an empty Gatorade bottle stuffed with dryer sheets with holed poked through the bottom. Well it was official that day cannabis was coming to college.

Over the next four years cannabis was pretty present in my life, many of the friends I made smoked, I think without knowing it we were all using it to escape something. It was an outlet a way to get together, laugh and enjoy the time and not think about the pressure of school let alone the realities of life outside of that.

I used weed to help me cope with many things in my college years. I had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder in high school and had been taking Adderall for years, in addition to the Adderall I would need to take an antidepressant at the end of the day to “come down” from the effects. I hated that, I did not want to be taking unnecessary medication, I knew I needed the Adderall based on the knowledge of how I changed as a student but I was not depressed. So instead of taking the pills at the end of the day I would enjoy some weed and not only feel better then if I took the antidepressants but I would also get my appetite back which I would lose from the Adderall side effects.


It is safe to say cannabis was in my life and we were serious, I knew when I needed her and would rely on her for those times. She was also there for those fun times with friends and those times when I needed to escape.

After college I went through a “weird time” I was dating someone who suffered from addiction. I was suffering with severe acid reflux caused by food allergies and years on pain killers and muscle relaxers for a serious of jaw surgeries I had needed. And all the while I was working at my dream job as a personal assistant and event planner to professional athletes, which eventually led me to work at a talent agency and public relations firm. While my career was “really cool” and what I had thought I wanted I was constantly overwhelmed and felt anxiety all of the time.

Always there for me during that time was cannabis, she would help me relax and cope when I felt anxious or overwhelmed and she knew how to make me feel good physically when I was in pain or discomfort.


The problem was that I didn’t realize that I was giving so much of myself to the plant and that I wasn’t proactively working to continue the journey of figuring out who I was and what I wanted.

I set out on a new path, I left my old career and enrolled in school to be a Holistic Health Coach, I knew I wanted to help people heal and but I was not yet sure how, but soon enough my how found me and I was working as a chef and health coach for clients recovering from addiction. Yes me, the girl who didn’t know how to cook and used cannabis to cope for years had entered the addiction space.

It was during this period of time that I learned so much about addiction and life. It was a time in which I was given tools that could help me cope in life. At times I pushed them to the side and relied on cannabis as my tool but I knew that wasn’t fair to either of us.

Cannabis deserved to be with me when I was laughing and having fun. She had already helped me in so many ways but also taken so much from me. I knew I wanted to start living my life and no longer be a bystander to it. Its funny if you ask any of my friends or family or people I have worked with and met over the years they would tell you I am a confident and funny woman who radiated positive energy but for many years my insides did not match my outside.

Once I uncovered the reality of my relationship with cannabis I was able to stop taking our relationship for granted. I began to live a clearer life and chose fitness, yoga and meditation as my way to cope and find the clarity I needed in situations, and I let cannabis go back to being who she was, that fun playful friend who elevated my mind.

Through those changes I was able to hear a deeper calling to bring Reiki into my life and the life of others. Similar to cannabis Reiki elevates you through energy healing. It aligns your chakras and helps you open up to new situations, It allows you to deal with the present and make peace with the past as well as have insight and clarity into the future.


Cannabis is still very much still a part of my life. I offer cannabis infused private chef services, elevated healing sessions and of course consume with friends, the thing about our relationship now is she has grown up just like I have, we respect one another, we have matured we are honest with our intentions and we are versatile.

I mean lets be honest cannabis is the type of friend that will ask you if you want to go on an adventure or ask if you would prefer to relax and she will fall right in line with your plans.


Lauren Courtney


Are you wanting to learn more about cannabis and the ways you can benefit from it? I am here to help.