I often get letters from folks sharing their experiences… I call them “Field Reports”. And these field reports offer spectacular insights and musings that answer questions that many others have on their mind. So I’m sharing one with you today.

Hi Becca,

In the past I have abused cannabis via over-consumption. I have dealt with depression for most of my life and cannabis has been of great help – until it wasn’t. Basically I was in a toxic relationship with someone else who was abusing it and we were smoking entirely too much.

Fast forward three years after leaving that relationship and I still have a fondness for cannabis but I am no longer a ‘lifestyle smoker.’ That is to say I’m not utilizing it to enhance every component of my life or to get out of bed. I’ve taken extended breaks of months at a time but I do find myself returning to cannabis eventually. I often struggle with extreme guilt over using cannabis… “Does this make me a drug addict?” etc. I realize this is a question that is highly subjective and difficult to answer.

I’m wondering how you define cannabis as a healing medicine vs cannabis as a crutch?

Full disclosure I am remarkably hard on myself and struggle with perfectionism. I haven’t been adversely affected in my work or routine and I don’t avoid situations so I can partake. I guess I really struggle to understand where the line between my perfectionist/self guilt feelings cross into legitimate cannabis problem that does deserve attention.

I really don’t want to be on anti-depressants and I do believe in the power of positiviity and gratitude but I also do seem to be someone who has a tendency to be sad. So I sort of feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place. Do you have any insight you can offer? Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. I truly appreciate your caring messages on your youtube channel.
– Josh R.

Dear Josh,

Addiction is a loaded word. And this might help you understand why it’s such a tricky thing to navigate.

The most cutting-edge understanding of addiction comes from the renowned addiction expert, Dr. Gabor Maté. He’s connected the dots to show that addictions originate in trauma and emotional upheaval, often during childhood. And that addiction is always a strategy to escape from emotional pain. In fact, he reminds us that it’s a smart strategy – as it’s a way to numb the emotional pain that can make life unbearable.

Personally, for me, this was right on the mark. From college onward, I self-medicated with cannabis to alleviate the on-going anxiety, self-doubt, sadness and depression that I struggled with. When I was under the influence of cannabis I felt better (I’d suggest that this is the same thing you’re doing). But when the effects of the cannabis went away, my unruly emotions returned.

If only there could be something long-lasting and permanently healing 

For quite a few decades I searched for answers to my dilemma and while talk therapy and New Age spiritual approaches might have made me feel better for a while, it seemed the yucky feelings always pushed their way back and I was at the same place I started.
That is until I was introduced to the work known as Emotional Liberation®, which shows you how to “meet” and identify the unruly emotions so that you can trace them to why they’re present. In doing this – often called learning the language of emotions, you can go about releasing them and healing the trauma that underpins them. It worked so well for me, that I teach it!

Read more about what Becca does at this page.

And, the thing is, when we add the judicious use of cannabis to this equation – and now psilocybin microdosing, the intentional use of these plant medicines can support and amplify this amazing process. As an emotions therapist and clinician, when people work with me, we explore their addiction(s) and coping mechanisms – by strengthening their intuition to identify and “receive” the difficult emotions. This is what’s called shadow work – delving into our “Inner terrain” to explore the dark side of the psyche, where the trauma resides. But we do it with all kinds of techniques to make the work as efficient and effective as possible.
Sooooooo, in answer to your question, there is a BIG difference between using cannabis as a numbing agent to escape difficult emotions and using cannabis to go the other way, to amplify the feelings so we can work with them. When you can learn to use those emotions that are a problem for you – the depression, guilt, perfectionism (a form of self-doubt) as an inner guidance system, they will support your emotional healing.
At that point, using cannabis – or anything else as a crutch – will no longer be needed. Once you’re able to “meet, greet and release” the difficult emotions there will be no more need to medicate or find coping mechanisms. And you’ll be able to navigate in calm, centered clarity.
With Love, Becca
P.S. If what we’re talking about here resonates for you, email me at becca@emotionallib.com and let me know!