Bonus: Edible For Your Thoughts? A Pandemic Check-In May 12, 2020 Illustration by Iris Gottlieb On Something is back for another bonus episode! How are you doing? We’re checking in with a dealer in NYC who says a cooped up city has been good for business. An anxious listener who says weed helps to untie the knot in her stomach. And another listener who says cannabis is helping him grieve a loved one lost to COVID-19. Join us for another quick visit, we’re just checking in.Is there a substance — legal or not — that’s helping you manage your mental health right now? Maybe it’s marijuana, or maybe it’s microdosing something else. Leave us a voicemail at 720-420-6587 and tell us: What are you using? Why? How does it help you? You may hear your voice in a future episode of On Something. Transcript Ann Marie Awad: From Colorado Public Radio and PRX. This is On Something. Carla: Hey wait 30 seconds cause I have a tester cookie in the oven. Ann Marie Awad: Oh wait 30 seconds? Carla: Yeah, just because I’m going to pull this out of the oven. It’s going to make a weird noise, which is great. I have extra time to try new recipes out. Ann Marie Awad: This is Carla. Over the last couple of months she’s lost pretty much every legal stream of income she had. So instead, like a lot of people these days, she’s in the kitchen baking, but we’re not talking sourdough. Carla: So I live in Brooklyn, New York and have a small gourmet edible business that is now currently my full time job. Ann Marie Awad: It’s full time. Not only because she lost her other work, but also because of the demand for her edibles has tripled. Carla: I do feel like I’ve gotten quite a bit more customers that are looking to eat their weed instead of smoke it, with the … this whole respiratory situation happening. Ann Marie Awad: Hey, it’s me again. Edible for your thoughts? From Colorado Public Radio and PRX. this is On Something. Stories about life after legalization. I’m Ann Marie Awad and we have to stop meeting like this. Nope. But seriously, the second season is in the works. But in the meantime it seems like there’s plenty to talk about. Last time I dropped into your feed all unannounced, it was to talk to you about my anxiety and my feelings about medicating with weed. But we’re not here again to just talk about me. Thank goodness. No, I am back again to check in on you. On Something cares y’all. I really wanted to call this episode the ‘How You Doing?’ episode, but I got vetoed. But this is an episode dedicated to picking up the phone and getting the lay of the land from folks all over the country. Folks like Carla. Carla: The first two weeks I couldn’t even get high. It was heightening my anxiety, it was way too much and it really made me mad. I was like, this is not what’s supposed to happen. This was supposed to help me through it. Ann Marie Awad: Alright. So this is the part where we acknowledge that what Carla does is not officially kosher in New York state where recreational weed has been decriminalized but has not been legalized. But nonetheless, Carla and her oven have been working overtime to satisfy the demand. Not only is she making everything herself, but she packages it and delivers it on her own too, if a customer is still the city. Carla: I am actually doing, I’m shipping orders via mail now too, so I’m doing that once a week as well because I do have a lot of my customers that went out of town. Thankfully, you know, shipping a box of cookies isn’t something to be concerned about. Ann Marie Awad: Are you doing your part for the postal service? Carla: Yeah, I am definitely using USPS, you know, they, they do need to raise their prices because they are still the cheapest. Ann Marie Awad: But most of her customers are local. She’s serving a city cooped up. I mean, people don’t move to New York to stay inside their tiny overpriced apartments. Carla: You know, I’m not delivered to a lot of people that live in giant penthouses. It’s a thing here in New York, you know a lot of us live alone in small apartments and you know we really have to abide by the social distancing rules because it’s a mess over here. Ann Marie Awad: Meanwhile, staying at home has its own stresses. Homeschooling and childcare for starters, roommates because it’s New York city. And the sense that staying indoors doesn’t completely shelter you from the realities of what’s happening outside. Carla: There was quite a few weeks where it was just the sirens are nonstop and you gotta you can only play your music so loud for so long and I think that was causing our business to pick up too. It really increased my cooking time. Ann Marie Awad: That’s that tester cookie ready to come out of the oven. Carla: I have actually been shipping out quite a bit to like Maine and Massachusetts and stuff like that. I’ve gotten a lot more customers from up that way. Ann Marie Awad: So she’s getting three times as many customers during the pandemic and shipping orders to states where weed is legal but hard to get legally. Over here in Colorado I can still slap on a mask and walk into a dispensary and shop or at least order online for curbside pickup. Dispensaries here are considered essential. Across the country in New York City, Carla texts out a little pink menu each week including different flavors of gummies, sea salt caramels and cookies. A lot of this stuff might be things that people get for like a special occasion. And it sounds like from what you’re saying, this is more like daily maintenance. Carla: I do have a lot of customers that use my product for to help him sleep better and that is a definite need right now. And I have a lot of people that do use my stuff for daily use for anxiety and to help them sleep and and stuff like that. So I feel like there is more of a medical need behind my products. Ann Marie Awad: And after the break we’re going to hear from a few listeners on how their relationship with weed has shifted during the pandemic and maybe that’s you. Has your job in the legal industry been impacted or maybe you’re not in the legal industry and you’re more like Carla, how have things changed for you? Or maybe you’re just a regular person using marijuana or some kind of substance to cope. What are you using? Why and how does it help? I want to hear it all call (720) 420-6587 and leave us a voicemail and you could hear your voice on a future episode of this show. The number again is (720) 420-6587 it’s also in the show notes. Speaker 1: I have started smoking marijuana on a daily basis since the covid crisis came into being. And I’m now working from home just to relax and get that knot out of my chest from the anxiety that builds up over the course of the day with having to work from home, which I don’t like at all. Ann Marie Awad: Last time we asked you to tell us your stories about self-medicating with weed or other drugs for your mental health. This is one of the voicemails that we received. This person asked us not to use their name. Speaker 1: And listening to the news, which I try not to do, but um, I find that it just helps smooth out the edges and I’m able to handle the stress of life a lot easier and I don’t have to struggle as much. Ann Marie Awad: The idea of daily maintenance is intriguing to me because what you’re maintaining on the day to day is probably completely different than what it was before the pandemic. It could be way more than you’re used to dealing with or you could be struggling to fill the hours. A lot of folks out there might be thinking about their own mental health for the first time ever. Speaker 1: But at the same time I worry about becoming addicted to it and I have spoken to my therapist and we did try increasing medication, but that just turned me into a zombie. So I’d rather be a relaxed happy person than a zombie. Ann Marie Awad: And this is the big old elephant in the room. We can’t talk about using drugs for your mental health without addressing the fact that there are legal drugs out there meant to address those needs too. Legal drugs that lots of folks feel don’t suit them. But full disclosure, I take one of those legal drugs every day too. But whether it’s because of side effects, lack of health insurance, costs, access, it’s not a secret that many people look for alternative ways to feel better without a doctor’s prescription. So disclaimer time. I am not trying to tell you that you should do one thing over the other. But as I said before, the number one focus of this show is examining the relationship between people and drugs and how vastly different that can look from person to person. Speaker 2: I use cannabis for anxiety, depression, pain. And um, right now I’m choosing a vape vape pen with a, with an old, uh, CBD THC. Uh, it’s like a 50, 50 cartridge and it’s, it’s really helping me. Ann Marie Awad: Here’s another voicemail. This one is Bill from Delaware where only medical marijuana is legal. Bill: It’s helping me feel something because I just feel numb right now. Um, you know, my aunt just passed away from Covid-19 at a hospital last week and I didn’t feel anything. It’s just all the numbers that are coming in. Uh, all the panic and all the fear, it’s just, I’m just so numb I’m just trying to feel something again, trying to get myself centered. And um, so that’s why I use cannabis and it’s getting me through this. Helping me feel again. Ann Marie Awad: I am very, very grateful to the folks who found something that feels good and called us up to share their story. And it seems like it’s bad news all around, right? Everyone’s having a hard time dealing with death, uncertainty, anxiety, depression. Rob: This is Rob. Ann Marie Awad: Hey Rob, this is Ann Marie from Colorado Public Radio. How’s it going? Rob: Hi. Hi Ann Marie. How are you doing? Ann Marie Awad: Well, not everyone. This is Rob Trotter. We met him during the first season of On Something. He’s a pot grower living up near Gypsum, Colorado and he grows weed as sustainably as possible. Oh yeah, and legally. Rob Trotter: I’ll tell you what we are doing. We’re just working. The one thing you can do is turn off the boob tube. Ann Marie Awad: I had called to hear how he was doing and sure enough he is not feeling cooped up. Rob Trotter: It’s 60 degrees, 70s coming next week, so when you’re outside and you can stay a distance apart and follow all these protocols, I think that kind of thing is no problem. In fact, it’s going to be good for people and just for the soul. Ann Marie Awad: Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God. For sure. Yeah. Rob Trotter: Can’t be cooped up. Ann Marie Awad: Rob lives in Colorado’s high country where being outdoors is like being in an actual postcard. He has an outdoor grow, which is rare in Colorado. Rob Trotter: So it’s kind of easy for this business, especially that we’re an outdoor grow, you know, it’s beautiful out right now. Ann Marie Awad: Most legal weed is grown in indoor facilities where Rob says he’d have to be a lot more worried about his employees’ social distancing. Rob Trotter: When we’re planting plants, you get in your own row and you’re doing your own thing and you’re away from the other guy. Ann Marie Awad: And because both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, state officials consider Rob and his employees to be essential workers. Rob Trotter: Well, they clearly understood that if they shut it down, they’d create a weird problem to the black market, which is probably going to be a worse problem than having dispensaries follow really smart rules. We’re lucky to be selling through this. Ann Marie Awad: Not only to be selling through this, but to still somehow have free time left over. Rob Trotter: We’re going to have a victory garden. We’re going to do, you know, uh, beets and potatoes and carrots and lettuce. We’re really good at growing marijuana. But crazily enough, I’ve never really grown that kind of produce thing. Ann Marie Awad: Rob is lucky. Not everyone can plant a garden, although if you can, I highly recommend it. Not everyone can keep their job, live in an actual postcard and tend pot plants in the field all day, but sometimes it’s just refreshing to hear that someone somewhere is doing okay. That’s it for the ‘How You Doin’ episode, but we’d still like to hear from you. Are you getting through these anxious times with the help of a substance, whether it’s legal or not, I want to know more. What are you using, why are you using it, and how does it help? Leave us a voicemail at (720) 420-6587 and you can hear your voice on a future episode of this show. The number again is (720) 420-6587. See ya, maybe not so much later. On Something is a labor of love reported and written by me Ann Marie Awad. This episode was produced by Mark Pagan. Our editor is Curtis Fox music by Brad Turner and Daniel Mescher. Our executive producers are Rachel Estabrook and Kevin Dale. On Something is made possible by lots of talented people like Francis Swidler, Kim Nguyen, David Burdick, Alison Borden, Matt Herz, Iris Gottlieb, Kendall Smith, and Jodi Girsch. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. This podcast is also made possible by Colorado Public Radio members. Learn about supporting Colorado Public Radio at cpr.org. Ann Marie Awad: Cookies are real popular? Carla: Cookies are real popular unless you’re sadly vegan or gluten free, which I don’t think anybody is gluten free at the moment, but it took me forever to find flour. I had to buy 50 pounds of flour the other day. Ann Marie Awad: People are getting a lot of cookies. Carla: Yeah, exactly. I’m putting two on the menu this week. Ann Marie Awad: Nice.