By Jennifer Walker Sophie Saint Thomas is an award-winning journalist and the author of five books, including Weed Witch, out in April (Running Press/Hachette Book Group). Her support of cannabis as a widely acceptable form of plant medicine is both personal and inspirational, as she connects cannabis usage, tarot, astrology and spirituality. Jennifer Walker: […]
By Jennifer Walker
Sophie Saint Thomas is an award-winning journalist and the author of five books, including Weed Witch, out in April (Running Press/Hachette Book Group). Her support of cannabis as a widely acceptable form of plant medicine is both personal and inspirational, as she connects cannabis usage, tarot, astrology and spirituality.
Jennifer Walker: Weed Witch appears in a series of books relating to the practice of witchcraft. For those unfamiliar, talk a little bit about how modern-day witchcraft and related theories can apply to everyone.
Sophie Saint Thomas: Spirituality and religion are such personal choices. But, in recent years, thanks to social media, the occult (which means secret, or hidden knowledge) has become accessible. Almost all major magazines have astrology columns, the use of crystals such as rose quartz is so commonplace you could call them basic, and there’s a massive market for tarot cards and books like mine. Forms of the occult and Paganism have been used by all generations, but I think many people are drawn to this form of spirituality- a refreshing break from more traditional religions. In a time of pandemic, protest, and economic stress, a spiritual practice, and the use of rituals offers comfort, solace, and is just plain fun.
JW: You have a rich history involving cannabis. Elaborate a bit on your personal beliefs and how you think that cannabis can be medicinal, spiritual and/or beneficial for creative development and overall health.
SST: Cannabis can be used for spiritual and medical purposes, and these beliefs are rooted in science and history, not opinion. The use of cannabis for spirituality dates back to India during the Vedic period, approximately 1500 BCE, but perhaps as far back as 2000 BCE. Many indigenous religions, in addition to Rastafarianism, see cannabis or other psychedelics as a sacrament and a key to opening the door for enlightenment. We have research that shows cannabis can help with everything from cancer to PTSD to glaucoma. I look forward to seeing what else we uncover as research becomes more accessible. In my spiritual practice, cannabis lowers my inhibitions and makes me more comfortable in my own skin, whether I’m meditating or doing a candle spell. This helps me read tarot, finding patterns and meanings enhanced by my elevated mindset.
I began using cannabis (medical) in 2013 to treat my PTSD, particularly anxiety and nightmares. While I no longer experience the same PTSD symptoms a decade later, I primarily use cannabis in small doses to manage my anxiety disorder.
JW: Weed Witch seems to be a great tool for introducing readers to the benefits of cannabis. Feel free to give a brief overview of some of those points…
SST: To find what works for you, you have to “start low and go slow,” as they say. This means trying a small dose, knowing the cannabis is very safe, and being honest with yourself about its effects. Cannabis can also lower inhibitions, which can help you relax, dance wildly at a party, and open up to your partner. It can help with creativity, and for those looking for an alcohol alternative, cannabis fits amazingly into the harm reduction model as another social lubricant. I find that it can also help treat nausea, depression, and epilepsy. However, if you’re looking to use cannabis medically, please talk to a doctor- I’m just a Weed Witch!
JW: What do you see for the future of cannabis consumership and how do you feel about more people turning to cannabis for relief?
SST: As cannabis is normalized, and the science comes out showing its benefits increase, more people will see it as a medicine or a way to relax and not a dangerous drug. An easy answer to this is to say that we must legalize on a Federal level. While I support this, I must point out that there is so much red tape and such a high barrier to entry that the legal cannabis markets. We need less red tape and more accessibility. Right now, it’s hard for cannabis companies to work with banks, which needs to change. Because it’s so expensive to open a legal dispensary, those affected by the drug war, especially BIPOC folks, or anyone convicted of a non-violent cannabis charge (aka, the people who have been running the cannabis industry this whole time and really know what they’re doing), have a tough time entering the legal industry, and that absolutely needs to change.
JW: Name one (or a few) of your favorite witchy facts pertaining to cannabis!
SST: While we think of spliffs as cannabis rolled with tobacco, there are so many other herbs you can mix weed with. In Weed Witch, I discuss a cannabis and rose spliff for love, and one of my favorite ways to smoke weed is with lavender, which is super relaxing. However, my favorite witchy fact is that cannabis helps you chill out and be your true, authentic self, so you’re more likely to go ahead and play with that tarot deck, or allow yourself to enjoy astrology, or get really creative with a candle spell. As I always say, the most important ingredient in witchcraft is you, and for many people, cannabis makes it a little easier to be yourself.