Louis Armstrong once described in his biography the way cannabis helped him and his fellow musicians navigate their love of music along with the racial subjugation they faced: “It makes you feel good, man. It relaxes you, makes you forget all the bad things that happen to a Negro. It makes you feel wanted, and when you are with another tea smoker it makes you feel a special sense of kinship.”
All of this combined led to the birth of jazz.
Now, fast-forward to 2018, as human society has changed much over the last centuries, our vision of cannabis has continuously progressed along the way.
“I feel lucky to live in an age where the stigma of plant medicine, like cannabis, is slowly breaking down. We can begin to see the usefulness of this medicine and have a more nuanced conversation about drug use and abuse,” says singer-songwriter Tristen (born Tristen Gaspadarek). “We live in a culture where we want quick solutions, ‘High blood pressure, give me a pill. Pain, give me a pill.’ It’s hard to have a clean, sober mind and cope with the pain of life.”
“As a culture, we frequently ignore diet and what you put into your body as a source of the disease. I have always been an advocate for integrating diet, exercise, and pharmaceuticals to treat a problem. We need antibiotics; we also need lots of water. It’s not one or the other,” states the 34-year-old Nashville-based musician. “People with an agenda to sell something will always corrupt the truth. Each medicine works differently on each person so a good doctor can find out what works for you. I wish plant and chemical treatments were more integrated in treating people.”
As a music creative, Tristen loves “the way CBD makes me feel: calm, but clear. I can take CBD to calm my anxiety and not get so high that I lose my keys.”
As a matter of fact, cannabis contains a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes that shape its aroma, flavor, and effects. While the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, we will need to learn the fascinating role cannabis and CBD have played in the evolution of human medicine. “It’s new so people don’t understand that it’s not an illegal drug. For anyone who has never smoked weed, or feels a stigma about using it, you will run into the problem that people are afraid of it,” Tristen comments. “It’s all about educating the public on the benefits and seeing if it works for people, and also increasing research on the plant. But I’m hopeful that CBD could be the natural answer to a lot of pain and suffering. Our government works slowly, and some states are more open to change than others. This is going to be a slow process, and the more research we can do on the plant, the better the case will be.”
For such a long time, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, she mentions, has already listed a myriad of health conditions that CBD can help with: neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, stroke, glutamate toxicity, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, neurodegeneration caused by alcohol abuse, central and peripheral neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer pain – in addition to the research on the use of cannabinoids in palliative treatments for cancer, reducing pain and nausea, and increasing appetite.
“I think CBD has potential to decrease marijuana abuse. I think you can abuse weed, the same way you can abuse alcohol. The minute you are looking to numb out every day and you can’t stand being sober, you are addicted. I say this as someone who has a strong affinity to abuse weed,” she candidly shares. “I’ve recently become the soberest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I think people use marijuana for anxiety, but I also think THC causes anxiety, the same way people drink alcohol to cure a hangover. CBD may become the balancing force in drug use. The future is bright!”