and that is an act of political warfare.”
Our host pours the tea with a sweeping motion, her arm deftly swinging and dipping over the translucent purple glass bowls. Water vapor rises, its subtle aroma lingering for an instant before melting into the air. Her hands now sliding, turning each cup toward its drinker.
I reach for mine, hold it with both hands, its warmth traveling up my limbs and through my body. Lower my face to its broad surface. Breathe in. Close my eyes. Breathe out. Aware of the way the glass feels against my palms, the faint sound of music, the slight movements of the bodies around me. Sip the tea. Continue to breathe.
“Plant medicine comes in many different forms,” explains Margaux Muller. “Tea ceremonies help us find calmness within self. The ceremonial aspect of tea allows our senses and subtle bodies to interact with the medicine in ways that go beyond the possibilities of language. It [is] a great way to incorporate cannabis and all of its healing elements as plant medicine in with herbal plant medicine. The simple act of drinking tea mindfully reveals to us the accessibility of the biggest questions and the divinity of the smallest moments.”
This is the first time I’ve attended a cannabis tea ceremony, but I think it deserves a regular slot on the calendar.
Parenting, self-care, and cannabis
One of the most exciting aspects of this movement to end prohibition is our rediscovery of cannabis for self-care. Aside from its medical applications and recreational appeal, the cannabis plant holds a multitude of benefits for our physical and emotional wellbeing.
Like our young children, parents are not typically known for their self-care skills. How many times have you skipped a workout because your kid needed help with a school project? Substituted coffee for a meal because you didn’t have time to eat? Operated on five hours of sleep or less because you have to make more hours in the day somehow? See what I mean?
This year has felt particularly difficult. Our favorite musicians are dying, we’re still working to convince folks that black lives matter, and we’ve just survived (so far…I think) one of the most contentious, surprising, and anxiety-provoking presidential elections in history. We all could use a little self-care right about now, and, if we want to make ourselves useful to others, we must attend to our own needs.
Take some time now, while we’re all feeling introspective, and establish some self-care rituals to preserve your sanity, soothe your mind, and refill your tanks. The holidays are coming, and, after that, we have a long road ahead.
We all know the basic things we must do to feel our best; we recite them to our children on a daily basis. Nutritious meals full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other real, whole foods. Plenty of water, exercise, and time in nature. Calming, contemplative rituals like yoga, meditation, or prayer. Having fun with people you love. A restful night’s sleep. And if you’re lucky, a massage, a steam, a float, or a bath.
The harder part, of course, is prioritizing these practices, doing them with enough consistency that they have a cumulative positive effect. I’ve found that cannabis can act as an assistant here. It reminds me to pump the brakes when I discover that I’m on autopilot and encourages me check in with myself to uncover what I truly need. It helps us breathe, and to remember to breathe, it helps us create space, ceremony, and the sense of something sacred. Cannabis helps me more easily cultivate those self-care habits.
Not only does cannabis bestow a welcome pause when life gets chaotic, but it is also available in a number of delivery methods that are designed to complement self-care. Topical cannabis applications, such as creams, ointments, and oils, are a favorite way to incorporate cannabis into daily rituals. They’re also an easy entrée for new and returning consumers. With all the healing properties found in cannabinoids and without a psychoactive effect, topicals are your skin’s best friend. And they make you feel like you’re doing something special, even if you’re just moisturizing your legs after the shower. If you’re looking for a treat, try an infused massage or a cannabath.
Juicing raw cannabis provides an assortment of health benefits including reduced inflammation and improved immune function. Nutritionally, the cannabis plant is on par with other leafy greens, packed with enzymes and vitamins with the added benefit of cannabinoids but no psychoactivity. Because cannabis juice should be made from fresh, organically grown, raw cannabis leaves and flowers, it is still hard to find. But if you grow your own, you should definitely try juicing.
Microdosing has become more popular lately, and many people swear the effects are amazing. The practice involves careful consumption of extremely small quantities of cannabis, often so small that you notice no psychoactive effects. In order to achieve maximum benefits from your microdose, you’ll have to experiment with titration and your personal thresholds, but the key is to start low. Particularly effective ingestion methods include low-dose edibles, vaporizers, and tinctures. Anecdotal reports suggest that microdosing helps increase focus and attention, and promotes overall health and wellbeing.
Nurture yourself first: self-preservation as political action
The final pot of tea has steeped. We’ve cycled through all of the offerings donated by Goldin Leaf Apothecary in Portland, Oregon: an astringent herbal concoction, a bright and refreshing Earl Grey, a spicy turmeric-heavy chai blend, and a sweet floral rose. The past hour spent in virtual silence, communing with cannabis tea and exploring the mental spaces it awakens. The plate of infused shortbread cookies sits nearly empty, and the candles burn low.
Owner Jessica Goldin, a mother herself, developed this line of teas as a unique and healthful way to ingest cannabis. She envisioned her creations as an experience, not just a product, in which the soothing properties of both cannabis and tea combine to elicit feelings of tranquility. “My thought was to provide a relaxed atmosphere in which people could sample my tea. The goal with my tea is provide a nurturing experience. I think that was achieved.”
When you take the time to take care of yourself, you can burn brighter and longer. I walk out into the sunny day feeling present, connected, at ease, and peaceful. The tea ceremony was a reset, a clarification of both my senses and my internal processes. I am subtly high, but more than that I am energized, determined, purposeful, ready to respond. The unrelenting result of revolutionary self-care.