Written by by Christopher Earl, CNN
Meera and Leslie spend their days together on the dance floor of underground bars in Brooklyn. They smoke cigarettes and talk about the night’s events. Occasionally, they dance on a park bench too.
They’re both 24, and neither of them has any plans to become vegetarians anytime soon. But on a recent Tuesday night, they’re listening with trepidation to the sound of a “lol” in one ear and raucous chatter in the other.
“It’s just insane,” Meera says of their secluded surroundings.
Around the corner from their Brooklyn dance spot is a rain forest of a building, an auditorium off a main thoroughfare where people who may or may not be using cannabis gather for meetings. It’s called the Creative Vapes Conference — and this is one of its annual events.
Previous conferences have revolved around understanding the cannabinoids (the psychoactive plant extracts of cannabis) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound responsible for creating the psychoactive “high”). But what about non-psychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), the element found in hemp and marijuana plants that has become increasingly popular?
For many people, who may have loved ones or friends who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, this side of cannabis is still not entirely understood.
Cannabis isn’t a cure for everything
Shannon Smith, who is in charge of the speaker program at the conference, told CNN in an interview that CBD is becoming increasingly important in terms of medical research as it’s increasingly tested for its ability to address problems such as pain, muscle spasms and anxiety.
The possibility of relieving epilepsy , which currently has no effective remedy, is something that’s highly appealing to people attending the conference.
“We needed to do something for someone to really understand the world beyond medicine,” she said.
Pot brownies are gaining in popularity. Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Businesses offering to grow the cannabis are on the rise, and Canna Botanicals is one such company. Co-founders Kelly of Charlotte, North Carolina and Sean are also growing their own marijuana, which they say provides a more “natural” experience than medical marijuana, which has been altered at large industrial facilities.
The men are avid fans of the TIKI app, which makes it easy for users to capture, share and react to social media videos. They especially like the way TIKI is demystifying death: the idea that someone suffering from depression would want to share a clip of cannabis to the Internet.
“Why would you smoke weed and eat cake or pizza if you’re depressed?” Kelly asked.
Both Kelly and Sean are quite knowledgeable about cannabis. Which means that they are the best people to advise how to capture and share a video with all the paraphernalia required to do so in the most user-friendly way possible, using the complete range of cannabis strains.
Their advice is to find the tiniest amount of weed you can: one cannabis strain can contain as much as 300 mg of THC. When it comes to combining a variety of strains to give a single strain the best effect, they advise watching their videos.
“One will make you pretty high, one will not make you seem so high.”
Cannabis can be used to treat physical problems too
Meera and Leslie agreed that the slightly negative connotations associated with the use of cannabis are simply a misunderstanding.
“It doesn’t help people with anxiety and depression,” Meera said, adding that the negative connotations, which make people think of stoned people drooling in the back of vans, often lead people to associate all people with the drug.
Patients using marijuana to treat their illnesses should see it as a tool, not as a substitute, said Leslie.
But for many others, such as adult marijuana users who don’t smoke but drink alcohol to help them forget how they feel when going to the doctor, the stigma associated with alcohol and drugs is just as unfair.
“There’s an idea that you cannot do one without the other,” said Meera. “So you can get high one day and go to the hospital the next. Well, I don’t see a problem with that.”