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Journeying through the History and Culture of Cannabis in South Africa » Emily Kyle, RD


Dive deep into a heartfelt and enlightening conversation with Jennifer Peters, who beautifully navigates us through her personal journey with cannabis in South Africa. Join us as we explore the transformative power of cannabis, challenge misconceptions, and discover its potential to bring about positive change. Let’s learn, grow, and break stigmas together!

Features

  • Release Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
  • Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 53
  • Special Guest: Jennifer Peters

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Why You Will Love This Episode

In this engaging episode, Jennifer Peters, a passionate advocate and user of cannabis, takes us on an enlightening journey through her experiences with this diverse plant in South Africa.

Jennifer shares her personal journey with cannabis, from understanding the difference between CBD and THC to educating her family about the health benefits of this amazing plant. She found solace in cannabis for her anxiety issues and discovered its potential in alleviating inflammation-related pain.

In this episode, Jennifer recounts her visit to a memorable cannabis expo in Johannesburg, Sandton, in the province of Gauteng in 2022. She recounts a bad experience with cannabis that taught her a valuable lesson that shaped her approach to cannabis use and how she uses that lesson to educate people on responsible use of cannabis.

Jennifer also educates her family about CBD, breaking down misconceptions and stigma associated with cannabis use. One Christmas, she introduced her sisters to CBD edibles, which led to a discussion on the differences between CBD and THC. Through her actions, Jennifer is doing her part to challenge the stigma surrounding cannabis in South Africa.

Join us in this episode as Jennifer shares her fascinating journey with cannabis, shedding light on its cultural significance and potential health benefits. Her story is a testament to the power of education in changing perceptions about cannabis. She reminds us that it’s not just about getting high; it’s about understanding and appreciating the uses of this incredible plant.

Full Transcript

Jennifer: Get informed; knowledge is power. Read, do your research. Trust me, you will be informed. Seek help where help is needed. When it comes to cannabis, I tell people to research.

Announcer: Welcome to the Well With Cannabis Podcast, a show dedicated to telling the life-changing stories of those who live well with cannabis all while teaching you how to do the same. Meet your host, Emily Kyle, a registered dietitian nutritionist turned certified holistic cannabis practitioner. Emily changed her life for the better with the help of the cannabis plant, and now she’s committed to helping others do the same.

Tune in each week to hear heartwarming stories and gain the knowledge you need to feel connected, inspired, and supported on your own cannabis journey. Whether you’re a new cannabis consumer or a lifetime lover, you’ll benefit from these uplifting tales of real-life journeys that will show you how you, too, can live your best life well with cannabis.

Disclaimer: Hi there. Before we jump into today’s episode, I wanted to share a note on potentially sensitive content. The episodes on the Well With Cannabis Podcast are created for adult audiences only. We will, at times, cover sensitive topics, including but not limited to suicide, abuse, mental illness, sex, drugs, alcohol, psychedelics, and the obvious use of plant medicine. Explicit language may be used occasionally. Please refrain from watching or listening to the show if you’re likely to be offended or adversely impacted by any of these topics.

The information on this show is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. If any of the content on this podcast has brought up anything for you, please reach out or speak to a professional or someone you trust.


Emily: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Well With Cannabis podcast! I am so excited today for a very special interview with our guest, Ms Jennifer Peters and she’s coming to us all the way from the future. She is several hours ahead of me because she is in South Africa, and I’m so excited to get a different perspective and learn more from Jennifer. Thank you so much for being here with us today.

Jennifer: Thank you for inviting me. I’m so excited to share my thoughts when it comes to cannabis. Thank you. 

Emily: I’m so excited. So give us a little background. You said you were born and raised in South Africa, but you did high school in Michigan and now you’re back in South Africa.So give us a little background story on you.

Jennifer: When I had two years of high school left to complete, I had an opportunity through my aunt (my father’s sister) to finish high school in the US and maybe go further with my education there. I was so excited. I went to Lakeview High School and graduated from there.

Jennifer: After high school I went to Kellogg Community College and got my associates degree in 2001. I returned to South Africa, intending to return to the US, but I met my husband and now we have four beautiful children. I stayed here and obtained my BA in Psychological Counseling from the University of South Africa.I want to open my own practice, so I furthered my education and obtained my Honors, and now I’m hoping to complete my Master’s in Psychological Counseling and open my own practice soon.

Emily:That is amazing! Congratulations on all that you have coming up in the future. Now I’d love to apologize for my ignorance, I don’t know much about South Africa so I’d love to learn a little bit more about it. Are they cannabis friendly? What does cannabis look like in your lifestyle there?

Jennifer: My interest in cannabis started in 2018. I knew about cannabis growing up and it’s funny how you grow up hearing about cannabis and you only think about the psychoactive properties, getting high, and not the health benefits. I was ignorant about cannabis in that sense. So when I decided to do my own research and dig in more, I realized that it’s not about getting high and the forbidden plant. It actually has health properties.

Jennifer: And that’s when I actually found you and I’m so grateful. I know there is so much information online, but you are credible because you’re a Registered Dietician and also a certified cannabis practitioner. I could do more research on my own, but your content and videos are easy to follow. 

Jennifer: In 2018, South Africa was getting to the point of decriminalizing cannabis and that’s when I began to read more. The case was at the Constitutional Court, which is the highest court in South Africa. People who believe that cannabis has a lot of health benefits realized that we weren’t getting anywhere pleading with the government to decriminalize it, so they took it to court.

Jennifer: There are many people who were helped by the cannabis plant. It alleviates pain, it can relax and calm a person. We’re not saying that it can cure a lot of illnesses. Like you said in one of your videos, we need to allow science to do it’s part.  We’re not there yet, clinically. It’s not a proven cure, but it can help. 

Jennifer: Cannabis has helped me a lot and I’m interested in learning even more. I’m still a novice when it comes to cannabis. I’m still new, but I am learning and I’m looking forward to it because it is such a beautiful journey. To give you a little bit of background, when I first heard that cannabis could help with pain, I had a backache. It was so sore and painful and I wanted to see if edibles could help. There were two stores that I knew to be credible at the time, but there are many now that cannabis has been decriminalized. The gentleman was so helpful and told me to take it and see how it worked for me.

Jennifer: I remembered that you said that it’s better to take edibles at home because you don’t know what kind of effects you could have. So, I decided to wait to take it until I was happy at home. I took one when I was about to go to sleep and it worked wonders. That’s when I realized what a world this was that had been introduced to me. I was excited. You always say that there is a balance and that you don’t want to introduce something that is healthy when you’re not keeping your body healthy, so it goes with food as well. That’s where I am. Cannabis was decriminalized in South Africa in 2018.

Emily: I’m so excited to hear that it is decriminalized and that you have dispensaries or stores that you can go to. Is there a social stigma there? There still is here in the States. A lot of people think that cannabis consumers are in it for the high. Do you see that changing or do you see people starting to accept the medical uses too?

Jennifer: You know what? That’s a great question. Many people here are still ignorant, even me. I was swimming in a sea of ignorance and used to think of cannabis as the forbidden drug. I didn’t know that it has health properties and that it is a good plant if you use it correctly. There are still many people who need to be educated on the health benefits apart from the recreational use for getting high. 

Jennifer: I suffer from anxiety. I haven’t been diagnosed by a practitioner, but I know that I do get anxious. Cannabis helps, trust me. It calms me down. I also have insomnia. An edible a day before bed helps me go to sleep. I used to sit up the whole night, struggling to sleep. Now I sleep more. I used to have to fall asleep with the news on because I couldn’t sleep when I went to bed. Cannabis has helped that, too. 

Jennifer: Cannabis was decriminalized in 2018, but we’re still new. The laws are still a little sketchy because they say that you can only use them in the privacy of your own home. They’ve not given us clear permission to grow in our own homes. Some people won’t want to grow it in their own homes, so they’ll have to buy it. The government would like to make money from cannabis. The president always comes back to the cannabis issue saying that they’re speaking about it and that they want to make sure the laws are clear.

Jennifer: I want to learn more. I hope that people don’t forget that cannabis has been used for centuries by our forefathers to keep themselves healthy. That education stopped somewhere along the way, but some people were still able to pass it on so it wasn’t lost. That world is opening back up and it’s a beautiful one. I’d like to say to people out there, especially in South Africa, to open yourself up and learn more. It’s not just about getting high, but even that’s okay as long as you’re safe. Let’s learn about the beautiful health properties of cannabis.

Emily:  I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I had a question about South Africa. Are you allowed to grow it where you are?

Jennifer: Yes. In the privacy of your own home for your own private use. 

Emily: Can you grow it in your backyard or does it have to be in the home?

Jennifer: Yes. In your backyard. 

Emily: Oh, good. Okay. That’s nice. 

Jennifer: I’m still not completely clear on the laws because even though the laws are sketchy, people still grow cannabis. Remember that for some people, cannabis is a way of life. For example, the Rastafarians use cannabis daily. The government had to realize that it wasn’t only healthy, it was a lifestyle for some. They need to allow people to use cannabis freely whenever they want to. Even though we’re waiting on the government to monetize the cannabis industry and make clear laws, we need to be informed so that we can move on positively when it comes to cannabis.

Emily: Absolutely. Now, you are an educator. Do you have plans for incorporating cannabis education into your work?

Jennifer: Oh, yes. And yes, I’ve actually started educating my own kids because they also were ignorant. They thought that when I talked about CBD, I was talking about an edible that makes you high. I sat them down and explained it to them and they actually got it. I want to teach them because I don’t want them to judge me as a bad parent, as people judge others sometimes. How can you introduce cannabis to your children, not knowing the health properties and how it’s good for the whole family.

Jennifer: You also need to know where you’re getting your cannabis. I liked what you said about having your edibles tested. You cannot get your edibles from just anyone. You have to know how much CBD and THC is in them. I like edibles that don’t have THC at all. I don’t judge others for wanting to use cannabis recreationally at all and I know it’s okay for me to use it that way, but at the moment I’m just using it for health properties.

Jennifer: I’ve started educating my children and my extended family. Let me tell you what happened on Christmas Day. We had a Christmas gathering with my siblings, my kids, and my husband at my oldest sister’s house. I showed them my edibles and explained that they were 100% CBD with no THC. They started laughing because they thought I wanted to get them high. I told them that they’re not going to get them high; they were going to make them calm. It worked. My sister was actually calm and relaxed, sitting on the couch, while people around them were making noise. They told me that they weren’t feeling anything and I said, “Exactly. These are supposed to make you calm, not high.” I explained the difference between CBD and THC.

Jennifer: Before then, I didn’t know that CBD does not have psychoactive properties. I learned from you that it does not have the same effect as THC and that’s why I use it. So I educated them. I’m still a novice myself. Open yourself up and learn more.

Emily: That’s so exciting. And it sounds like Christmas was awesome. Everyone is calm and happy. That’s so fun. Did your sister say she would be interested in trying it again? Did she enjoy the experience?

Jennifer: Yes, they certainly did. I’m telling you, my sister actually ended up falling asleep so nicely on the couch. She normally wants to go home when it’s getting late, but she was so calm that she fell asleep. She woke up and was ready to go and I knew it was working.

Emily: And I love that you shared that you don’t have to use THC if you don’t want to. There are so many people who are under the misconception that THC is the only beneficial property in cannabis. Many people are absolutely able to benefit from it medically without feeling high and I think that’s a great point for listeners. Not everybody wants to feel high and you can still reap the benefits of cannabis without that high.

Jennifer: Yes, and there’s also nothing wrong if you want to get high, but I also like what you said in one of your videos that you do it in the privacy of your own homes.

Jennifer: Can I tell you a little story? I went to a cannabis expo for the first time last year. It’s important to know your body. Try cannabis for the first time at home and see how it’s treating you. You want to be in your comfort zone before you take cannabis out in public, so that you’ll know how you’ll react. I wanted my husband to come with me to the cannabis expo, but he was working. I even asked a friend, but they were busy. So I went by myself. I wanted to learn more about cannabis from all the different people selling cannabis edibles.

Jennifer: And trust me, I did not take a lot. I did keep track of the milligrams I took, but I hadn’t had anything to eat at the time and I’m anemic. I hadn’t had anything to drink because it was in the morning. I only took a little piece, but I thought I was dying. I called my husband to pick me up. 

Jennifer: I wanted to share that because it’s important to remember that everyone reacts differently. Your system and another person’s system are not going to work the same way. So, I had a bad experience, but it taught me a lesson about taking cannabis at home. I was tired, but my heart was beating fast. I was so embarrassed, but upstairs it was quiet and there was a couch. I felt like I was going to die and they even called the paramedics. So I share this experience to educate them about trying cannabis in the privacy of your own home. Someone may suggest a dosage that works for them, but it may be too much for you. Know your limit at home first. That’s where I am with that.

Emily: I’m so sorry that happened to you. But I am glad that you shared that with us because it is a great warning for anybody who’s taking edibles for the first time that you really have to be thoughtful about how big that first dose is because you just never know. Some people are really sensitive and you don’t want to find out that you’re really sensitive in the wrong situation. So I’m so glad your husband came and got you and that everything was okay in the end. 

Jennifer: Thank you. Yes, it was fine. 

Emily: Honestly, I feel like we all have a story like that. I feel like edibles can get the best of us all and so just being patient and, like you said, staying small is the best thing to do.

Emily: Now, I want to be respectful of your time, but I also want to ask you the same four questions that I ask all of my guests on these interviews. Are you ready for them? 

Jennifer: Yes, I am. 

Emily: Awesome. Perfect. So the first one up, what are you most proud of in your life? 

Jennifer: I would like to say I love myself. I’m proud of who I am and how I was created by the Most High. Foremost, I’m proud of being a mother to four beautiful children and a wife to a loving and caring husband. Not to say that you don’t experience challenges in life, especially when it comes to being a wife and a mother. But, I have a family that is loving and they keep me sane. They bring me joy. The positives of my family get past the challenges. I’ve been married for over twenty years, so I’m happy and I thank God for that.Congratulations. 

Emily: Congratulations. That is so amazing. It’s so beautiful. It’s such a wonderful thing to have a family and a husband you love so much. Now, the next question we have is: “What do you think your life would look like without cannabis?”

Jennifer: Trust me, I would be lost because like I said, knowledge is power and I would be swimming in a sea of ignorance as I was when I was younger. Now, there’s this beautiful world that has opened up.I’m looking forward to this beautiful journey of learning more when it comes to cannabis. I would be lost. Cannabis is also helping with inflammation, relieving that pain and helping me relax. I’ve realized that it’s also helping me with my inflammation and I’m sure that there are so many other wonderful things to find out about cannabis so that I can help my family, as well.

Emily: Oh, that is so beautiful. I’m so happy that you have cannabis. It helps pain, anxiety, sleep, inflammation. I’m so happy that you have cannabis. Now if you could go back 30 years ago and give yourself a piece of advice, maybe related to cannabis, what would it be? 

Jennifer: Oh yeah, that’s a good question. I would actually say to myself, “Don’t be too harsh on yourself. You are worthy. That’s why you are alive. You have a purpose, and your day is coming.” I used to ask myself why all these wrong things were happening. I had a traumatic experience when I was younger that I don’t want to dwell on, but I would tell myself to move on positively and stop reviewing and analyzing what happened. There is so much more in the world, so many beautiful possibilities. So that’s what I will say to myself, “Don’t be too harsh. Look up and keep your head high and look forward to all these beautiful possibilities.”

Emily: That is beautiful. Very last question. If you could be remembered for just one thing in the cannabis space, what would it be? 

Jennifer: I would like to be remembered as a loving person and a person who genuinely cares about people, especially the marginalized. As much as I tend to be reserved at times, I do talk a lot when I’m with the right people. I would like to be remembered as loving, caring, and sharing information. 

Emily: I feel like you gave us all of that today. You shared with us, you shared your love, your wisdom, and your experience. I can’t thank you enough for coming here and doing this with me today. You have one last piece of advice for anybody listening, whether they’re in South Africa or not, what would it be?

Jennifer:  Get informed. Knowledge is power. Read; do your research. Trust me, you will be informed if you were to seek help where help is needed. And also when it comes to cannabis, I think I can just tell people enough research, get knowledgeable information out there.

Jennifer: There is so much information, vast information on the internet, but your content is easy to follow and many people will learn a lot from a person like you. There are people out there that aren’t credible, and there are also people like you who are credible. I tell people to get informed and that they will be glad that they did.

Emily: And Jennifer, tell us a little bit more about what you’re working on, where people can find you and learn more about you.

Jennifer: Okay. So at this moment, my husband and I have started a nonprofit  organization called Mind and Dignity Foundation.We try to raise awareness about mental health and try to destigmatize mental illness. There’s still a lot of stigma when it comes to mental illness.

Jennifer: If people would like to follow us, they can find us at Mind and Dignity Foundation on Facebook. This organization was born from the realization that we could encourage people. My husband has been living with Bipolar Disorder for over twenty years. There are many people who don’t seek help because there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues, especially here in South Africa. We are trying to encourage people to seek help and know that support is out there by sharing our thoughts and stories and encouraging others to share, as well. 

Jennifer: We want people to know that they can lead productive lives. My husband has been productive for many years and ist still going strong. Our family doesn’t see a person who is living with Bipolar Disorder and sometimes I even wonder if he was diagnosed properly. We do have challenges in our family, but they aren’t drastic or to the extreme that you would expect from someone living with Bipolar Disorder. 

Jennifer: So that’s what we do. The Facebook page is where you can follow us now because our website is still under construction. Thank you so much.

Emily: Perfect. That’s amazing work you’re doing and you’re doing it together. That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. 

Jennifer: Thank you so much for inviting me and just know that I wish you all the best. Thank you for also opening up this world because if it wasn’t for you, I think I would still be lost. I didn’t know who to follow or who to trust, but I feel so comfortable after having learned so much from you. I’m looking forward to seeing what is next in your life, because you are also bringing so much into our lives.

Jennifer: And so many, you have blessed a lot of people with your content. 

Emily: That is so nice of you to say. Thank you so much.

Announcer: Congratulations, you’ve finished another episode of the Well With Cannabis Podcast and are one step closer to discovering how you, too, can live well with cannabis.

Thank you for listening in today. We hope this episode has been a helpful and informative one. Please visit emilykylenutrition.com for more information on today’s show, show notes, guest information, recipes, and other resources.

If you want more support and encouragement on your cannabis journey, please consider joining the private Well With Cannabis Community. In this group, you can connect with like-minded individuals focused on improving their health and wellness through cannabis.

Join the group today to continue your journey of wellness together!

Cover art for the Well With Cannabis Podcast featuring Emily Kyle standing in a cannabis garden.



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