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Navigating PTSD Recovery for Veterans with the Help of Cannabis » Emily Kyle, MS, RDN

In this personal and inspiring conversation, our guest Dusty Crystal shares her journey of finding relief from PTSD and severe anxiety through the use of cannabis. She is truly a testament to the transformative power of this amazing plant and offers hope and inspiration to others facing similar challenges.


  • Release Date: Monday, September 11, 2023
  • Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 48
  • Special Guest: Dusty Crystal

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Why You Will Love This Episode

In this episode, you will meet our guest Dusty Crystal, an advocate of the healing powers of medical cannabis, who shares how she is navigating her life living with PTSD and other ailments.

Dusty is a cannabis advocate and helped legalize recreational cannabis in the state of Washington. Dusty is not just a medical cannabis advocate; she’s also a grateful beneficiary.

Having wrestled with severe anxiety and PTSD after her military service, Dusty found peace and relief in the benefits of cannabis. Today, Dusty is calmer and capable of leading a productive life, thanks to her daily dose of this natural plant remedy.

In this episode, Dusty shares her journey, shedding light on the potential of cannabis as an alternative treatment for PTSD and chronic pain. Her story is a beacon of hope for many grappling with similar challenges.

Full Transcript

Dusty: Anxiety issues, sleeping problems, moving problems, eating problems, psychological issues. Trust me, I’m there, and it’s helped me a lot with everything. Since I can’t take regular medication, it has been a game changer for me.

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, welcome back to another episode of the Well With Cannabis podcast. I’m so excited to be here with our guest today, Miss Dusty Crystal, and we are going to be talking about all things cannabis, anxiety, PTSD, and how cannabis on the medical side can help with those things. So Dusty, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us today. 

Dusty: Thank you so much for having me.

Emily: I appreciate you coming here and taking the time to talk with us about what you said is your favorite subject, which is cannabis. Can you start at the beginning and give us a little background about who you are and what led you to cannabis? 

Dusty: My name is Dusty Crystal. I was actually led to cannabis by my family, ironically enough. I have a lot of family members who have cancer, and one of the newest things was really scary because nobody wants to accept cannabis as being good. I worked with my dad to find new pain relief methods, and nothing worked. 

Dusty: The prescriptions kept getting more expensive and more difficult to find. The dosages kept going up, which meant the price kept going up, and it got to the point where he couldn’t even find some of the stuff he needed without spending upwards of  $10,000 for one treatment. That was just for pain relief.

Dusty: I told him that I thought I might be able to help him, and he responded that he would take anything at that point. I told him about CBD and that I’d heard about the good things it could do for folks with cancer. What was the worst that could happen if he tried it? He already had cancer. I talked to his doctor about it, and he said it was brilliant and we definitely needed to try it.

Emily: You don’t usually hear of doctors being like that. That’s awesome. 

Dusty: Oh no, it gets better. He’s still consulting with me to this day. I’m helping him learn about dosing: good doses, best doses, what the percentage is, and how it breaks down.

Emily: That’s amazing. Wow. 

Dusty: I’ve been educating people who have been doing professional stuff for other folks for quite a while now. I know that it works really well for me. I’ve been really grateful to have access to it. I was using it before it was considered legal, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. It was just because I couldn’t take any conventional medication. I’m allergic to Tylenol and aspirin.

Emily: Oh no. 

Dusty: So I can’t find relief from things like that. I also have arthritis; I have carpal tunnel syndrome. There are a lot of things that slow me down. As I’ve gotten older, they’re slowing me down more. I can adjust. There are different doses and different ways to consume cannabis or other different things. And then, when I discovered that I could introduce cannabis into cooking, oh man. That was a game changer, and now I literally put it in everything. 

Emily: Oh my gosh. How exciting!

Dusty: Yeah. So it’s been one of those really great things because it doesn’t have any weird smell; it’s not scary. It’s good for you; you’ll be fine. I have anxiety from being in the military for eight years, and cannabis relieves that anxiety.

Emily: Thank you for your service. 

Dusty: I was a financial specialist assigned to a bunch of green berets, with no other females in that group. It was overwhelming at first because we were about to go to war. 

Emily: I can’t imagine.

Dusty: Yeah. I ended up with PTSD from that mess. Being in the military and unable to find any pain relief wasn’t easy. They want to give you drugs that ultimately have more side effects than benefits. How is that helping? So now that I live where I do, many of the laws have become much more positive, and they’re starting to talk more about initializing new rules and new laws that can expand to other states.

Emily: Which state are you in right now? 

Dusty: Washington. 

Emily: Oh, okay. So you have lots of options out in Washington. 

Dusty: A lot more than some other states. I talked to some folks who are in Indiana, where they don’t have any at all, and Ohio, where it’s only medical, no recreational, no intermingling, which means you have to be a state resident and have a prescription from your doctor. Nobody else is allowed to use it in any other form. You can’t even grow your own. They obviously don’t know how medicinal marijuana works. Their restrictions are keeping people from the properties and chemicals that benefit not just people like me but everyone.

Dusty: It’s helped me a lot. I used to have really bad night terrors because of the military and whatnot. Counseling wasn’t working for me. I’m allergic to the over-the-counter stuff. They eventually told me not to go off and kill myself but that there was really nothing else they could do. 

Dusty: They asked if I had considered talk therapy. I can only do so much talking to people who don’t understand what I’m saying. It’s impossible to get relief from mental anguish when the people who are supposed to be helping you are ill-prepared, ill-educated, and not knowledgeable of everything that I went through and that many of us veterans have gone through. They’ve never served in the military and don’t know what it’s like to do anything like that. 

Dusty: The government is doing more now to discuss cannabis positively and expand it for federal legalization. That would be the best. That way, everybody can use it and benefit from it. The best thing I’ve really enjoyed about cannabis is that you don’t have to worry about overdosing.

Emily: Truly. Absolutely. You can use as much as you need. 

Dusty: Unlike alcohol, which can make you forget that you’re hurting, but you’re still in pain, not to mention deplete your finances way faster. There are no negative side effects from cannabis, except for maybe the munchies. 

Emily: Or a long nap, but they’re so few and far between. 

Dusty: Yeah. It has multiple uses, too. It can help if you want to cut your grass in the morning. You know how badly your body is going to take a beating, and by the end, you’re going to be saying some bad words. There is only so much hot water you can get in the shower; you can’t live in your shower. But if you have a Sativa that has a little CBD in your system, you can mow your grass and not feel like you’ve been in the yard for three days. Your hands don’t get strong vibrations from pushing the lawnmower or dealing with the weed whacker, or pulling the weeds because some of them are really crappy. It’s basic stuff like that, that folks don’t really think about, that it can actually benefit them. 

Emily: Oh my gosh, I know. I’m always telling people that people come to cannabis for one thing: pain relief or anxiety relief. Still, they find all of these other really amazing benefits that come along with it that really help to improve your overall quality of life in a way that you didn’t even know was possible.

Dusty: It also helps me increase my appetite. I am hypoglycemic, so getting hungry is hard. I’m usually nauseous most of the day, so trying to get an appetite when you’re not feeling that great on top of it fights the whole thing. So I have to have reminders and stuff to remind me to eat, and even then, it’s a struggle to take more than a few bites. But if I have some cannabis in my system, I can actually have a meal. I am actually hungry. I’m not feeling nauseated. I have a little bit more energy. I can tolerate moving. Huzzah! 

Emily: Yes. And then, hopefully, your food feels a little bit more enjoyable when you’re consuming it then, too.

Dusty: Not to mention the fact is if you’re already struggling with nausea, keeping your food down is like the biggest struggle. 

Emily: Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine.

Dusty: So trying to breathe through all that on top of being anxious, on top of being insane, on top of… Really, how many things can you put in one body?

Emily: I know it’s terrible, but on the other hand, thank God for cannabis, which can hopefully touch as many of those as possible. 

Dusty: It helps with insomnia, which I have issues with. I know I’m just a mess. But, I know I’m not alone; anyone who’s ever lived past 20 knows what it’s like to be an adult for five minutes and knows how much of a pain, literally, it can be.

Dusty: You have anxiety about going to work, anxiety about missing work, anxiety about going to sleep, anxiety about getting to sleep. Am I going to be able to have enough food to buy at the grocery store? Am I going to be hungry enough to eat the food that I am getting at the grocery store? There are just so many variables, and then I remember cannabis. I can do this. 

Emily: I can do this. Absolutely. That little vote of confidence in the back of your mind says, “ I can get this done.” 

Dusty: Absolutely. And because of that, it also allows me to go to work, interact with the public, and get paid. It sounds like a little thing that you shouldn’t have to think about, but when you’re dealing with anxiety or movement in general, you ask yourself some questions. How much energy do you expect me to have? How much attention am I going actually to drain out of me to get to the car?

Emily: Yes

Dusty: And if you have fibromyalgia or some other issues, joint pain, muscle pain, human pain, it all helps, and there are so many different ways of consuming and using cannabis. Folks that can’t smoke it or don’t like the idea of how it tastes, that’s okay. Cannabis has you covered.

Emily: Yes. Absolutely. Then, I don’t know if you do the same thing, but based on how I’m feeling, I like to adjust how I use my cannabis as well. It’s nice to be able to adjust the dose, strain, or application methods so that however you’re feeling in the moment, you can address that. Do you have the same experience?

Dusty: Absolutely. I actually have doses set up throughout my day. I know my mornings are going to be super busy, so I have an appropriate dose for that. I know my afternoons will be hectic, and I won’t even have time to think about using the bathroom. That’s okay – I have a dose for that, too. And then in the late afternoon, when things have really gotten crazy, traffic is nuts, and you’re ready to let out a stream of curse words, cannabis helps me deal with all of that. I’m not going to prison; I’m going home. Hooray for cannabis.

Emily: Absolutely. It just makes all the regular daily activities more tolerable and more enjoyable, for sure. 

Dusty: Absolutely. And not to mention the fact that, if you’ve ever had a chance to grow it, you know how much fun it is. 

Emily: Talk about this a little bit for anyone who’s never grown. I always tell them that it’s so magical. Please tell me what your experience growing this plant is like.

Dusty: Oh, man. It’s great. I’m happy to have a green thumb, so there’s that. 

Emily: Yay. 

Dusty: But I was that kid that went along and found seeds and just had to put them in the dirt to see what happened. And poof, we got cannabis. And I’m like, “Ah, magic.”  

Emily: True magic. 

Dusty: It smells so good and tastes so good, especially when it’s from the plant. It’s different when you dry it. If you drink wine, you know that because grapes are plants, they have different characteristics as they grow. It’s the same with weed. When you walk around your cannabis plants, enjoy them, touch them, look at them, and play with them, you feel quite wealthy. It’s the best feeling ever.

Emily: It really is watching magic happen before your eyes. To start with such a tiny seed, to watch it grow into such a huge plant. I love watching the transformations, going from the vegetative to the flowering stage. You’re proud of yourself and the flower, and in the end, you’re getting medicine that you grew yourself. There’s no better feeling.

Dusty: Totally. I was surprised by it because when I was little, everyone would say that the flowers were blooming, and I would wonder what they were talking about.

Emily: There’s so much to learn about growing cannabis. We always say the word ‘flower’, but a lot of people don’t know what we’re talking about because they look at a cannabis plant and don’t see a flower. It’s good to mention that because it’s definitely a learning curve the first time you do it. 

Dusty: Oh, for sure. It’s like night and day between the different types of cannabis and how differently they grow. It’s like when you plant squash, peppers, and pumpkins. They’re all fruit but grow a little differently and have different smells and tastes. They also have different growing times. I didn’t realize cannabis was so colorful!

Emily:  And it’s sometimes even from strain to strain. They can be so different. It’s unbelievable. 

Dusty: One of the ones that I grew it had green, dark green, brown, gray, and silver in it. There was one that had almost a purple tinge around the edge when it was blooming.

Emily: Oh, so pretty! Then, there’s also the pride that comes from being self-sufficient. You feel like you can take care of yourself, make your own medicine, and be a superwoman.

Dusty: It feels great knowing that it’s such a productive plant. You can get so many things out of one plant. You can use the whole plant. You can make tea out of it, press the leaves, and get oils. 

Emily: It’s such fun, then it becomes a fun hobby too. Growing it is a hobby and then processing it is a whole other hobby.It really can take up a lot of your time. 

Dusty: Oh yeah. Drying can take days or even weeks, depending on how the plant is cut and where it is in the season. Each flower responds differently to things like heat or light. And you can do a whole lot with just those small little changes and turn a meal into something just wow.

Emily: Let’s talk about the kitchen. What are your favorite things to prepare? What have you learned, and what do you want to share with others? 

Dusty: I started out pretty much like everybody else, throwing sugar in it and calling it good. It was easy. But sugar isn’t very filling, and not everyone has it. I have a lot of friends and family who are diabetic or are cutting down on sugar because of other health issues. I learned how to break it down to where I can use it when I cook my everyday meals.

Emily: Perfect. Tell us a little bit about this because a lot of people think that they have only to make brownies or cookies. How do you incorporate it into your everyday lifestyle? 

Dusty: I almost said it was easy, but it’s become easy. There are so many different parts of the cannabis plant. There’s the actual flower, which you can break down like rosemary and add to a finish on top of fish and chicken. If you’re making a barbecue, you can add it as a last touch. If you want to sous vide, you throw it right on top, and the temperature will be perfect to break down for you. You can consume cannabis right in the food with no middleman, extra chemicals, or wait time. It goes into your system, and you feel way better. I’ve been showing my 22-year-old daughter how to use it in her food.

Emily:  How fun? You’re teaching your daughter. 

Dusty: Yep. So yesterday, she showed her boyfriend how to infuse hoagies, and we had steak and cheddar hoagies with au jus dipping sauce.

Emily: Oh, that sounds amazing!

Dusty: The whole thing was infused: the bread, the meat, the cheese, the sauce. 

Emily: Oh my gosh. Tell me how you did each one.

Dusty: Okay, so the bread was simple. We just put a little bit of oil on the bread, so it sunk right in. The cheese was really easy. You just put a little distillate on there, and you’re good to go. We use actual flower flakes for the steak, and we put that in with the marinade. So it literally sunk into the meat itself. Now, the au jus, because everybody was having a little bit, I only put a little bit of CBD into the au jus sauce. So it tastes like au jus, it looks like au jus, it works like au jus, but you’re getting CBD au jus. 

Emily: Oh, amazing. Oh my gosh, I’m so hungry. 

Dusty: Can you believe that something like that could be accomplished in the kitchen with cannabis? 

Emily: It’s amazing. How did you feel afterward? 

Dusty: Oh, my gosh. I wasn’t hurting, that’s for sure. It’s a beautiful thing. It felt like I could actually go shopping at Walmart for three hours and not feel like I just got to go shopping at Walmart for three hours. 

Emily: Yes, absolutely. 

Dusty: Not that anyone volunteers for that, but we’ve all got to do it. 

Emily: And cannabis can make it easier.

Dusty: Always. Not only that but also the vibe in the kitchen is chill. Everybody is low-key. You’re not feeling like you need to be anxious like you can’t breathe, and you’re constantly thinking about where the exit is. I always need to know where there is an exit because the downside of having PTSD is also being hypervigilant. You’re always worried about whether or not you can go or if you have to stay. Cannabis makes that feeling subside enough so that I can spend time with my family, friends, work, and even myself. I can actually go out and do things.

Emily: That’s such a beautiful thing. 

Dusty: It’s like my passport for being able to move about freely in space. It’s something that I genuinely enjoy on multiple levels. 

Emily: I’m so glad that you and cannabis have found each other. Did you find cannabis immediately after you left the service, or had you dabbled before, and were you excited to return to it?

Dusty: I dabbled before because that was one of the things that my family actually grew. My grandfather had some issues with arthritis, and he couldn’t take aspirin, so that he would have cannabis tea. I got that from him, and as soon as I got out of the military, I started working locally here in Washington state to make it legal, talking to the senators and talking to the congressmen and writing letters to our officials, and even talking with the public about their thoughts on legalizing cannabis. People wanted to do it now. They wondered why we hadn’t done that already. Those laws were passed and implemented. It took about six months to figure out how everything would work, but it got much better once it all got sorted. And now anyone over the age of 21 can easily go into any cannabis shop and help themselves to some cannabis.

Emily: That’s amazing.

Dusty: You can get cannabis in so many forms. They offer seeds, leaves, pre-rolls, distillates, and cartridges. And if you like to dab, they have different dabbing stuff. There’s sugar and crystals and crumble, and then they have their own drinks and stuff; some are sugar-free. They even have cannabis-infused Tabasco now. They also have cream for muscle aches. If you want some cannabis lip balm, we’ve got you. If you need some cannabis lubricants to get a little naughty in the bedroom, they have that too.

Emily: I give a vouch for the lube. 

Dusty: Cannabis lube for sensitive skin, even. 

Emily: If anybody out there is curious, I highly recommend it. It’s definitely worth trying. 

Dusty: It’s an amazing product. I can’t put on any makeup. I’m not sure if you can tell – my lighting sucks. I can’t wear anything. Not even that mineral stuff that they say is supposed to be good for you. I am too sensitive to it. Cannabis on my skin, in my skin, in my body. I even use it for my hair to bring body to my hair.

Emily: Oh my gosh. It’s so amazing.

Dusty: It’s the best product, and it’s also really awesome, too, because it helps our economy. A lot of people don’t realize that it helps everyone. Everyone should be able to benefit from it across the board.

Emily: Absolutely, and it’s amazing that you got out there to actually do the work to make it legal so that people could access it. That is amazing. Good for you. 

Dusty: Oh, yeah, I figured if we can outlaw things like hemp to make cotton a thing so that slave ownership could be a thing back in the day, why not change our mythology and change things so that everyone can benefit? I don’t see why we can’t just use all of it.

Emily: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s amazing to see that Washington is one of the most progressive states now that we have. And that is a standard that hopefully the whole country can reach.

Dusty: That would be perfect, not just legally. I am a very big proponent of making sure that we’re all protected whenever we’re using whatever products we’re using, but also I don’t think that it should be limited based on interest or intellect, that it should be available to everyone everywhere and at an affordable rate. It’s so easy to grow and almost grows as quickly as bamboo.

Emily: Everybody can just put a seed in the ground. I know many people think they can’t, but it’s a weed. It will grow. It’s really resilient.

Dusty: And that’s the other benefit too. You can literally grow it anywhere, just like dandelions. They’re related, believe it or not, and they have similar healing properties. They’re both used for medicine. Crazy, huh? 

Emily: It’s amazing. And to think that like we could literally turn around, put a seed in the ground, make your own medicine, save money. I want that to be an option for everybody.

Dusty: That would be great. There are so many ways to use it.

Emily: So many people think it’s limited to smoking. You just listed off a million things that you can get at the dispensary that have nothing to do with smoking. 

Dusty: There’s more. There are also transdermal patches.

Emily: You have those in the dispensary? I’ve never seen one in the wild.

Dusty: Honey, we have them in different grades and different types. There’s one-to-one. So, if you want THC, there’s just THC. There’s just CBD. There’s CBG. There are so many different variants out there; each patch tells you what it does and what it’s good for. So, there’s no question about why you’re using it. All of the patches last up to eight hours. That’s more than any over-the-counter patch.

Emily: I think the patches are like the next big thing for people with chronic pain.

Dusty: Oh, yeah, it’s been fantastic. They came up with an application that is skin-friendly. Because I have very sensitive skin, I’m really careful about using anything. I like to make sure I use products that aren’t going to hurt me, and I definitely wouldn’t suggest it to anyone if I were having any issues. I like to use the patches. They come in handy, actually, when I’m traveling. They don’t have any smell. No one is going to know that I’m wearing one, plus it lasts a long time.

Emily: I know. It’s amazing. It’s incredible.

Dusty: Here’s another little-known fact that a lot of people don’t realize. As long as that patch is within contact with your skin, even if the main dose is already dispensed into your system, low doses of it will still go into your system as long as you have it on your skin.

Emily: Oh, my gosh, that is I feel like it’s a product of the future. I’m in New York State, We’re recreationally legal here but don’t have dispensaries. We have nothing like that. I’ve not seen anything on the marketplace like that. I think it’s so exciting. I’ve heard of transdermal patches, but I’m not even in a medical dispensary. I’ve not seen them here.

Dusty: The company that carries it here is Mary’s. I feel like they’ve been around for over 12 years. So check them out and see if maybe you can start pulling some leads over there to get things like that. I couldn’t have them without having a dispensary here. Just the idea of not being able to go and get what I need to make myself feel better. That’s like a nightmare. 

Emily: It’s crazy when you think about people living in other states like Texas where they’ll literally go to jail for trying to medicate. It’s so crazy. 

Dusty: Yeah. And not to mention the fact you can’t transfer it from other states. So, I can’t travel to see my mom in another state because Idaho is a bad place for folks who use cannabis. It’s so messed up with Idaho, specifically where they are encouraged to purchase it from other states; just as long as they don’t use it publicly, they have to use it at home. How is that supposed to work? It’s crazy to go to Canada to get cannabis to consume it in Boise. How does that help anyone? Then there’s the fact that if I get caught going to any other state that has legal cannabis, I could still get arrested for possession. Is that benefiting society, the economy, or anyone?

Emily: I don’t get it if it doesn’t benefit even like the general economy. It doesn’t benefit the general society. There’s really truly no benefit. That’s why it’s mind-blowing.

Dusty: Yeah. So here in Washington State, dispensaries are about as common as a pharmacy. Every city has at least one dispensary in it, and they’re open throughout the week. 

Emily: The way it should be, just like a pharmacy.

Dusty: Dude, the one I really favor, they’re open at eight o’clock in the morning, and they close after midnight, seven days a week.

Emily: That’s amazing.

Dusty: They’ve got a really good staff. They get paid more than minimum wage. They get offered benefits for going up the proverbial ladder, as it were. It’s not a dead-end job. They’re serving the community, so they’re definitely not going to have to worry about being unemployed anytime soon.

Emily: Definitely not. It’s funny. I actually just did an interview with a woman who was a budtender, and she was talking about how much she loved her job and being able to help people. It felt like she really helped people working in the dispensary. And it’s full circle for everybody who visits and works there. It’s really a beautiful thing.

Dusty: Yeah, I talked quite a bit with the vendors that distribute the cannabis to dispensaries, and they were telling me how, in the beginning, they had maybe one Rubbermaid container for an entire store, and now they have trucks unloading, with multiple people bringing in multiple containers and they’re all filled to the hilt, and every time they get a delivery, that’s once a week. All those things are gone in six days. 

Emily: Crazy. It makes me happy to think about how many people are getting the medicine they need on a weekly basis. That makes me feel better. 

Dusty: So because of medical laws here, I can purchase upwards of three and a half pounds. 

Emily: Wow. That’s a lot. There’s no limit.

Dusty: That’s crazy as long as I have the money. They don’t care. 

Emily: That’s the way it should be. It’s not like they should ever put a limit on somebody’s any other medication.

Dusty: Exactly. I cannot think of any reason they would try to, other than not being educated on everything it provides and all of the people that could benefit from it, from breathing issues to functional issues, anxiety, sleep, mobility, appetite, and psychological issues. Trust me, I’m totally that, and it’s helped me a lot with all of those things. It’s been a game-changer for me since I can’t take regular medication. The VA cannot legally prescribe cannabis because it’s not federally recognized yet. I can’t wait for that day, though.

Emily: I want to be respectful of your time as we get to the end of this interview, but I did want to ask you a question. Do you have any recommendations for veterans or active service members who might be listening and wondering if cannabis is something they should try? Do you have any suggestions for them on what they should do moving forward? 

Dusty: Honestly, I would do some research to find out what your happy place is, just like you would try out a new medication. If you’re not sure, start small; don’t go delving through the entire bag of gummies because they taste so good. Honey, you’re going to be in the ER within less than an hour because you’re freaking out. It doesn’t have to be scary, and it’s not going to be an immediate thing like you see in the movies where there’s a constant inability to behave, think, or do anything. It doesn’t work that way.

Dusty: 10mg is a great starting dose if you cannot smoke. Many of us who have been in the military don’t have great lungs anymore. Start with a flower or even distillate, but start small and then work yourself up to where you feel relief. Keep track of it just like you take a prescription. Keep track of how much you’re using so that you can continue to do that throughout your day. That way, when you go see your provider or talk to your counselor or spend time with your family, and they want to check on things, you can tell them how easy it is and have no regrets.

Emily: Awesome. That is such great advice. Thank you so much for sharing that. Can I ask you the same four questions I ask all of our guests? All right, first one. What are you most proud of in your life? 

Dusty: Being able to see my age and raising three wonderful children. 

Emily: Gosh, parenting is so hard, and to be able to feel like you’ve done it successfully has got to be the best. 

Dusty: Oh man, yes. I was also a single mom on and off because of career or other choices. I have no regrets at all. I am blessed and happy. As far as kids go, I couldn’t have asked for a better trio. Being a parent isn’t for everyone. It’s a lifelong choice, not something you pick up one day and decide to put down the next. It was definitely life-changing for me.

Emily: Oh, absolutely. Now this is everybody’s least favorite question. What would your life look like without cannabis? 

Dusty: I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t be able to do that. Before I was using cannabis the way I am now, I couldn’t leave my home. I couldn’t interact with my kids. I had a hard time moving. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. And I was always worried all the time. So yeah, I wouldn’t be here. 

Emily: Oh, my gosh. I’m so glad that you have cannabis, and thank you for sharing that with us because that’s always a hard question. 

Dusty:  That was a fun one. I liked that.

Emily: Okay, good. 

Dusty: I nailed this for you, honey. No worries. 

Emily: Perfect. If you could go back 10, 20, 30 years ago, give yourself a piece of advice related to cannabis, what would it be? 

Dusty: Invest. 

Emily: Oh, that’s a good one.

Dusty: Invest because cannabis is marketable more than just economically. It’s also marketable environmentally. It provides oxygen. Since we have no clear sense of how to do anything about the environment, we should be pushing more things that bring in oxygen and are a benefit to the world, not just us and not just locally, but everyone everywhere.

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

Dusty: Oh, a big-time supporter. I’m a huge advocate. I will advocate cannabis until I die.

Emily: Thank you so much for advocating with me today. I really appreciate it. I hope that the right people hear your advice, your wisdom, and your story and get the confidence they need to bring cannabis into their lives and feel as amazing as you do now. So, thank you so much for sharing everything you did here with us today.

Emily: I really appreciate it. Any last words of wisdom before we go? 

Dusty: I can’t really think of anything ridiculously witty. If you think it’s too hard to get, it’s easy to grow and not too expensive. You can grow it in your kitchen, closet, backyard, storage, shelter, car, or wherever it is that you call home.

Dusty: Cannabis has a place for you, and you have a place with cannabis. 

Emily: That’s a perfect way to end this. Thank you so much for joining us, Dusty. I really appreciate your time today. 

Dusty: Thank you for having me.

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 for more information on today’s show, show notes, guest information, recipes, and other resources.

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

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