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Dynamism happens. Case in point, writer, photographer, and producer Erica Edwards: proof positive that focused energy, heaped with lots of care and attention, can yield spectacular results in humanity.
New York Magazine is currently featuring Erica’s cannabis strain photography, and her writing and photographs regularly appear in the Shakti Yoga Journal. Big media’s growing acceptance of cannabis allows the best work to flourish, and as stigma fades, artists of all kinds are finding the strength to encourage adults to come out as cannabis users through the sheer honesty of their work.
How to use the energy provided to us? What to create? How to grow? Erica Edwards is answering those questions with spectacular results and I’m lucky to bear witness. See what I enjoy seeing: @the_stoned_pixie (Instagram). Find the full depth of her character hinted in the words below.
LB: How has your life been enhanced by cannabis?
EE: My life became enhanced by cannabis the moment I started using it. I was unaware of the plants many benefits beyond its psychoactive appeal for quite a few years. Looking back, I can’t help but realize I was attracted to the medicine of cannabis all along.
I began suffering from excruciating pain at the age of fourteen. It took four years and two surgeries for my doctors to identify the problem as endometriosis. After my third and final surgery the mind-numbing pain subsided, but I was still left with a sensitive stomach and picky appetite.
Cannabis helps to slow my overactive thought process, encourages me to eat, lulls me to sleep, boosts my creativity, enhances my mood, reduces my stress, soothes my nausea and eases the physical pain within my body. I use cannabis today for the very same reasons I have always used it. The only difference is that I can now tailor my use of the plant beyond the idea that “anything will do.”
LB: What is your hope for the near future for cannabis in our society and in the world?
EE: There are many things I’d like to see for the future of cannabis. I look forward to the day when we all have safe access to the plants medicine. I’d like to think this movement would also bring us another step closer to ending the failed war on drugs altogether.
As prohibition comes to a close, new doors have already begun to open. Patients will start to notice a difference in industry standards and will be provided the tools they need to make their own choices in medicine. When we know what to expect from our cannabis, we have the ability to successfully pair its effects with our ailments and activities. I believe we will one day come to a point in time when cannabis is utilized as preventative medicine more so than a form of treatment.
When we think of cannabis in terms of sustainability, the opportunities for industrial hemp are beyond exciting. Hemp provides food, medicine, toiletries, clean fuel and textiles galore. Most products created from hemp are completely biodegradable, and we can build entire homes that are so sustainable they leave a carbon-negative footprint. We strip our forests barren with the knowledge that hemp grows faster than trees many times over and improves soil for crop rotation. Using a technique called phytoremediation, hemp can also help purify the air and soil from various polluting toxins, including radiation.
The future of cannabis is one filled with endless possibilities. It is time to apply new healing methods and modalities. Not just for humankind, but for our great mother earth as well. It is her health that ultimately determines the state of ours.
LB: I hear you are primarily a flower girl. Is there any particular reason you prefer flowers?
EE: Flowers were the only semi-consistent form of cannabis available in Upstate New York during the nineties. Back then I would have been happy to receive a bag of anything, so much as it somehow resembled weed when I smoked it.
Cannabis isn’t just some weed to smoke. It is a delicate flower that deserves to be appreciated for the fine specimen that it is. When someone receives a colorful bouquet of flowers, one of the most common instincts is to immediately smell them. It is in our nature to appreciate the beauty and fragrance of a flower.
The cannabis flower offers an extensive variation of aromas and flavors that produce more than a pleasant olfactory treat; they too are a form of medicine. Similar to an herb such as lavender or chamomile, the aromatherapy of cannabis is heavily composed of terpenoids and flavonoids. When I find myself inexplicably drawn to the aroma of a specific strain, I make a point to add it to my medicine cabinet. Odds are, that particular strain contains a compound or set of compounds that uniquely benefit me in some way.
LB: What activities make you happy?
EE: I love to create. I always have and I always will. The act of creation is a powerful form of expression and a healthy release as well.
Through photography, I became fascinated with all things tiny and the underlying tales they tell. The detail of macro imagery made me feel as if I had slipped into an alternate universe. This fascination eventually led to the building of my own living realities. Most of my terrariums consist of moss, stones, sand art, crystals, plants and figurines. I use photography to share a glimpse of these tiny worlds the way that I perceive them to be.
When I began photographing cannabis, I already had the tools I needed to tell a visual story relating to the flower’s profile. The medley of crystals and cannabis naturally fell into place with one another.
Similar to cannabis strains, crystal energy offers a variation of healing abilities that can be tailored to our specific wants and needs. I’ve grown into the habit of sharing these energies with friends, family, new acquaintances and complete strangers. The emotion crystal energy evokes in others makes my heart sing. I cannot express the love, light and joy these crystal gifts have given back to me. I am truly grateful.
LB: Will you remind us of the path which lead to your participation as a professional woman in this new cannabis marketplace?
EE: There are many chains of events that led to my participation in the cannabis marketplace. The most direct link would be my introduction to StickyGuide’s Director of Operations, Ty Palmer. Soon after meeting one another, I began writing and photographing flower reviews for StickyGuide’s 91LIFE blog.
Creating reviews allowed me to pursue my interest in writing, unleash my outrageous supertaster abilities and perfect my photographic technique for flower profiles. Through my research on the genetic lineage of strains, I inadvertently began to learn a plethora of information on countless cannabis subjects and studies.
As time progressed and my knowledge increased, my research veered off into specific topics of interest. I was reading up on breeders, growers, activists, writers, doctors, scientists, patients and parents. Their stories, efforts and tenacity spoke to me. I began reaching out to people through social networks and shared interests. I eventually found myself attending cannabis related events on behalf of StickyGuide. This provided me the opportunity to introduce myself and speak with people in person. The more people I met, the more there was to learn. In truth, it has been a non-stop whirlwind of knowledge over the last couple of years since I became more heavily involved in the industry. In this time, each and every person I have met in the cannabis network has been warm, welcoming and engaging.
The people of the industry inspire me. Their tireless devotion provided me the educational tools I needed to fuel my own passion for cannabis. With that kind of collective drive, people start to change the world. Humanity as a whole has the opportunity to literally turn over a new leaf with this plant. I am honored to stand up, throw my hands in the air and help push this powerful movement into place.
LB: I’ve heard rumors of future projects. What can you reveal?
EE: Yes, the rumors of future projects are quite real and very exciting. Through my work with StickyGuide, I met a fellow writer, reviewer and lover of cannabis flowers. Together, she and I will delve deeper in detail and discussion on our critiques of the various flowers we sample. Our reviews are jumping off of the page and moving into video format. The series will have an educational undertone, with notes of entertainment and a stony finish.