Navigating Depression and Cannabis Dependency

Host April Pride opens up about her personal experience with depression and cannabis dependency, triggered by the dissolution of her marriage. Explore the symptoms of Cannabis Use Disorder, harm reduction tools, and the overlooked signs of high-functioning depression.
a woman sharing a personal story to a podcast microphone

Ketamine Pt 2 – My Opinion On Cannabis Use Disorder & My Experience

To kick off Season 4 of The High Guide, creator and host April Pride opens up about how depression and dependency were provoked by the dissolution of her marriage and starting life on her own for the first time as an adult.
After listening to this episode, you will have a better understanding of:

  • Cannabis Use Disorder and today’s contributing factors
  • Symptoms of Cannabis Use Disorder
  • Harm reduction tools to avoid or curb cannabis dependency
  • The overlooked symptoms of high-functioning depression

Episode Guests

Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE

Episode Resources & Additional Reading

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of High-Functioning Depression? [LINK]
Understanding Medical Marijuana, CBD and more, with Ziva Cooper, PhD [LINK]
Face Behind the Mask: High Functioning Depression [LINK]
Cannabis/ Marijuana Use Disorder [LINK]
Comment: Don’t Ignore Science on Cannabis Concentrates’ Potency [LINK]
MEDIA ADVISORY: Public hearing for Davis bill addressing serious mental health consequences of high-potency cannabis products by regulating the sale of cannabis concentrates. [LINK]
In The Weeds: Cannabis Clinical Trial Expands, Topicals Often Mislabeled, High Potency May Mean High Addiction [LINK]
Researchers warn of mental health risks of high-potency cannabis [LINK]
Cannabis Legalization And Acute Harm From High Potency Cannabis Products: A Narrative Review and Recommendations For Public Health [LINK]
Cannabis Regulations Inadequate Given Rising Health Risks of High-Potency Products [LINK]
A Joint Conversation: Cannabis Use Disorder with Dr. Deepika Slawek [LINK]
Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health [LINK]
Recommendations for Regulating High Potency Cannabis in Recreational Markets and Why [LINK]
Hunting For A Rare Congolese Weed Strain With “The Kings of Cannabis” | VICE on HBO [LINK]

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Podcast Episode Full Transcription

0:00:00.0 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: Cannabis is not gonna help your depression, it’s gonna mask it in the long run, you have to deal with that, ’cause you can hide your trauma behind any addiction, your depression, your anxiety, if you don’t deal with them in a holistic way. Yeah, they’ll definitely find you through your drug use… When I see tiktok people kind of like talking about their pain is, and sometimes it is perceived as a place from judgment, Oh, you so glad I used to smoke a lot and it didn’t work out for me, so I copied… My life is so much better. I was listening to a podcast this morning about the cult, Decatur, and I got on a diet and I’m skinny now, and I feel so much better, and you should do the same thing if people are coming from a place where they really want to help other people and share their Cannabis Use Disorder story. I think it should just be that you wanna be a beacon, you wanna be a light, but you also wanna just acknowledge that your experience with the plant is not everyone else’s experience with the plant, this happened to me, it…

0:01:07.4 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: So this happens to everybody. I think if someone is coming off like that, that I feel like that gets very combative, people are just defensive about their cannabis use and sensitive about it, so it’s like… No. They might not even wanna talk about it, and I don’t know if that’s right or wrong. And I get why people just get initially very defensive about it, ’cause we’re used to defending it as… Okay, I’m not gonna stop slipping, but I’m gonna gonna cut back or be more intentional, and it’s like I went through that kind of thing too. We’ve never talked about your cannabis consumption before and after baby… I have to be a lot more intentional now, as the mom of a young child, I still smoke daily, but now it’s more regimented, I literally cannot smoke as much as I used to just ’cause I don’t have the time, and then I also wouldn’t be able to enjoy it too much with like a top chasing around in Toler. So in the morning after I drop my son off at school, I might like it. I might light up after I put him down, or if it’s Demetrius, I to put him down, then I’ll like I…

0:02:23.5 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: Once he goes to sleep. Smoke weave in college once or twice, I didn’t really start smoking weed on a regular basis until I was probably in my late 20s, probably 26 or…

0:02:34.7 April Pride, host: And what was your attitude toward cannabis before that

0:02:37.5 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: With it. I was cool that I grew up in Oakland, my mom worked, we… My mom has always worth… From what I can remember, all my cousins and my family, and we was always something that was like four adults, it was like alcohol, it’s not like for everybody, but it’s an adult thing that adults do…

0:02:52.5 April Pride, host: What happened at 26… Or what changed at 26

0:02:55.5 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: When I turned 26, that’s when I started regularly keeping my own stash was living at home with my mom, I was working in tech, and it helped me distrust… People have debates about when she stops working in your appetite and different… So

0:03:28.4 April Pride, host: I’m trying not to do a daily for a variety of reasons, a lot of it has to do with my ADHD, I’ve noticed a difference in the beginning with my anxiety, I had a lot more… Right, because that’s what cannabis was helping me with, it’s not alarming, but there was a difference I can still notice sometimes like, Oh, oh, okay, this is your mind playing tricks on you. Relax bitch.

0:04:10.3 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: My scattered brain can be going everywhere, especially in the morning when you first get to the office, one of the reasons I look after I drop my son off before I start work, it’s because it helped get your day started, I find that… It kinda helps me relax. What I say Relax, I don’t mean the sense of sitting on the couch, like chillin, relax, I mean, just calm down. What we’re talking about, anxiet. So I’ve been trying to practice the art for the past couple years to focus on the task at hand, doing what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

0:04:50.6 April Pride, host: I love how you just said that, Raven and I totally understand how we…

0:04:55.2 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and they had prescribed me a few different medications, women are often left out of medical studies, especially black women, I think there’s definitely that fear around those medications… I’ve never picked it up because you wanna stop it, you can’t just stop it, and that kind of telecasted not have any physical reactions to it, but of course, I think emotionally, I will miss it. I’m gonna stick with what I know for now to deal with what a doctor has agreed that I’m going through.

0:05:26.3 April Pride, host: Since you were prescribed the medication, it was after you had rack, meaning you were smoking last… Do you notice a difference?

0:05:34.4 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: Yes, I would get…

0:05:36.0 April Pride, host: Which is it Raven? Is it the fact that you had a two-year-old or the fact that you’re smoking less… That’s increasing your anxiety.

0:05:47.0 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: Find yourself stoked and isolating yourself, then stop that and… If you wanna help people with Cannabis Use Disorder, let them know the other side of it, I stop smoking weed, which is great, but I also started journaling where I started trying to have a daily conversation with your best friend

0:06:10.5 April Pride, host: In psychedelics, right. It’s your integration tools. What are you doing in… Till telling yourself, don’t do that.

0:06:17.2 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: I don’t wanna be punishing myself for a mental feel bad because I wanna get up and smoke weed every day, but if it is a problem, give me some reward things, so it’s like, Okay, well, I didn’t get up and just smoke weed right away, I got up in a journal and I showered and I had some coffee and I answered an email as wel…

0:06:51.4 April Pride, host: You are choosing to consume anything because it’s making you feel better than when you don’t… For a reason, because you don’t feel well, and so it’s going to take time to not only figure out how to feel well, but also how to feel well with less of the crutch for a little bit. The problem for me is that I don’t wanna lose my privilege to be able to say yes to anything at any time, because I’m doing it at times when I don’t need it, it’s not helping or hurting, but it’s not helping. So what is the point?

0:07:36.5 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: I don’t really necessarily need cannabis for sleep, if it’s after 1-10 PM, I will check in with myself, you really need to smoke because you’re gonna waste your weed…

0:07:52.2 April Pride, host: It was the pandemic. As a person with ADHD, you stuck in one place forever, never, never, never, never did the same thing every single day. Is a recipe for an entity, I was super not insane, ’cause everything was not easy and the easiest it’s ever been, right. And I really think that cannabis had so much to do with that, and I’m super appreciative of it, the pandemic ended and I moved out of my family home, my partner and I have over two decades. Got divorced, and I was living on my own for the first time as an adult. Since I was 22, I continue to consume cannabis the way that I had because it wasn’t a problem, and I was sad. Right, and I was alone a lot. Cannabis was helping me stay motivated, it wasn’t taking away my motivation at all, then I definitely slept well, that’s huge to have such a transition and to not be able to sleep, but then it got to a place where I was like, Oh, I’m feeling more like myself again, and I can see the ways in which it’s taking time away from other things that I want to do, and I felt like I was isolating myself, I was getting high by myself, and I wasn’t leaving my apartment after a year in that was maybe Nile, I couldn’t stop, and I started by microdosing psilocybin in about three days went by and I was like, Oh, I haven’t so weed.

0:09:11.7 April Pride, host: Oh, that’s good. Okay, so why is that good? Right. Got an email from a ketamine company, and then I did that treatment in September, what I realized is I had let my cannabis consumption go on so long that it was actually covering up an underlying depression, I had never been diagnosed with depression, but situational depression, and that was a result of just this huge life implosion and not being with my kids all the time and losing my partner too, which was devastating, use was addressing symptoms of a bigger issue that I really needed to address, and I didn’t know it when I realized that what I was doing to help myself was actually keeping me from realizing that I needed to really help myself or transition that none of us have really dealt with…

0:10:12.6 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: This is a good time. Do you talk about Cannabis Use Disorder, because who we were as people, individual people in a society before the pandemic 2019, who we were like 20, 20 to 20, 22, and then who we are and want to be in 2023 are all drastically different people, and I think everyone can say that whether they went through a major transition.

0:10:35.3 April Pride, host: The reason I am sharing my story, I think with the pandemic, I’m not the only person that has found themselves in a life transition, you don’t have to move out of your house to go from like, Oh, I’m in a pandemic lifestyle to… Oh, I’m not in a pandemic lifestyle. That’s strangene.

0:10:53.9 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: So like me, I got to a baby during the pandemic while also going through the pandemic, and then I’m hearing you say like you were smoking weed and not leaving the house, which in 2020, that was what we were told to do. That made sense back then in that

0:11:07.5 April Pride, host: Is all just trying to not lose our shit…

0:11:09.9 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: Right, exactly. 2023 is a good time to re-examine your relationship with cannabis and create an intentional relationship with it, ’cause it is a tool, it really does help with immediate anxiety and immediate depression, but it’s not a long-term solution for someone who is actually depressed. Cannabis is not gonna help your depression, it’s gonna mask it in the long run, you have to deal with that, ’cause you can hide your trauma behind any addiction, your depression, your anxiety, if you don’t deal with them in a holistic way. Yeah, they’ll definitely find you through your drug use, air quotes, drug use knowledge-ing that cannabis is a tool that will mask it, cannabis is a band-aid that you put over a little depression Bobo and feel better for a couple of hours, but it’s not healing anything

0:12:15.4 April Pride, host: Yeah, and after you address your depression or while you’re addressing your depression, cannabis is something that you choose to continue to consume on a daily… Fine.

Episode Credits

Producer & Host: April Pride

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