I created CannaBotanicals to help bring cannabis back into the modern herbal apothecary, to keep it in the hands of the people, and utilize it as the powerful transformational tool that it is.

Like many of us, I discovered cannabis as an early teen. And while in many ways, it opened up my world and made me who I am today, I was not working with the plant mindfully, and in retrospect was abusing it to escape reality. After many years of this abuse, I eventually found I couldn’t handle cannabis in my life anymore – it would trigger massive anxiety, paranoia, discomfort and depression.

With a feeling of resignation, I quietly handed in my rebel card and threw myself into the academic path, which eventually led me to graduate school. 

 

And although everyone told me it was where I should be, something inside of me was screaming. Needing a break from normalcy, I heeded the voice inside of me begging me to go west. What I stumbled upon would change me forever.

Because despite my innocent intentions to volunteer on veggie farms, I somewhat magically found myself living and working on a cannabis farm in Northern California. 

There in the hills of Mendocino County I discovered a different way of interacting with cannabis. I was living among herbalists and permaculture farmers who approached the plant with respect and as a powerful herbal ally among many others.

I began to learn about the many ways that cannabis can heal, especially when combined with other plants, and I followed this trail of bread crumbs to Vermont, to study clinical herbal medicine at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism and to work on the ground floor of the burgeoning medical cannabis industry as their official kitchen witch.

Over the course of the next several years I learned everything I could about cannabis science and herbal medicine, and helped countless people on their healing journey through my work in the VCIH clinic and by making medicine at the dispensary. But I was still struggling. I gave birth to my daughter in the middle of all of this, and was launched into a storm of postpartum anxiety and paranoia, perpetual exhaustion, loneliness, isolation, and physical pain as my body was buckling under the pressure.

Despite my growing knowledge of herbs and wellness, I made zero time for self care as I worked multiple jobs, including the dispensary work, which were no longer fulfilling me. And despite singing the praises of cannabis to all those around me, I still struggled with it myself as it often made my anxiety and fatigue worse. I was confused — how could this plant, which had called to me so clearly, not be a good fit for my body?

But then two things happened that again changed my world. I discovered high-CBD hemp and found that these plants provided all the benefits of cannabis without the negative side effects. And as my California experience and herbal education had taught me, working with hemp alongside other plant allies seemed to crack open its full potential even more.

Inspired by this experience, I also finally gained the courage to follow my dreams of starting my own business by developing these hemp+herb formulas into products, and teaching others how to make their own cannabis medicine at home.

As I began working with cannabis as both a personal plant ally and as a business partner, something magical happened. The anxiety faded into the background. I was sleeping better. I had more energy. Life got less “blurry,” and I rediscovered a sense of balance, wholeness, and vitality that I hadn’t felt in years. 

Herbs are agents of transformation, and Cannabis sativa in particular has some powerful magic to offer. When we partner with the plants and commit to our healing journey — incredible things are possible. Through my work in CannaBotanicals, I hope to be a conduit for this magic, helping you to rediscover your own power to create the life and the world you want to live in.

The cannabis industry is booming right now, in large part due to decades of racism, classism, prohibition, and mass incarceration. As a result of this “green rush,” products and services within this industry are often priced outside the range of affordability for many people, often the same groups who have been most harmed by the war on drugs.

While it falls far short of addressing the root of these larger systemic problems, business owners increasing financial accessibility of our offerings is one small way to level the playing field, and to push back against the trend of high-quality hemp products being a luxury item rather than the people’s medicine.

To that end, I am experimenting with a shame-free, Pay-What-You-Can model. With no application to be verified or conditions to be met, it relies on trust, self-reflection, and honesty – qualities that we are being increasingly called on to cultivate as we build a more just and sustainable world.

Context: Setting prices for things is not something we are taught how to do, and is difficult to do without understanding the relative privilege of both parties involved. So some context: I am a white, cishet, able-bodied, neurotypical pansexual witch as well as a mother of a five year old. I grew up low-income and was the first in my family to graduate from college. As I had access to need-based scholarships, I have less college debt than most people. Last year (2020) I took home $43,000 from my business, which is admittedly the most money I’ve ever made in my life. Combined with my partner’s modest income we use this money to support our daughter and our community, as well as to care for extended family members who are unable to work.

Guidance: In setting your price, I ask that you consider your racial privilege, relative earning potential, and access to financial support from your family/network, even if you currently have financial need. If you are able to pay the suggested price or higher, I ask that you do so, as these funds enable those who cannot pay full price to continue to have access to remedies, as well as to my 6 month herbal/CBD business coaching program (more on that HERE).

Note: As there are real costs associated with the production of hemp remedies and maintaining a legal hemp business, there is right now still a minimum price set for each product that reflects those costs. If that price is still too high and you would like to request a donation for either yourself or a group, please reach out to me at stephanie@cannabotanicals.net

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