Breaking the Stigma: Stevie Kaye
After a series of injuries ended her volleyball career at 22, Stevie Kaye turned to cannabis for relief. She has now been a cannabis activist and advocate for close to a decade, and we are excited to feature her first in our new Breaking the Stigma interview series.
LS: Thank you so much for sitting down with us!
SK: My pleasure! It is an honor to have the opportunity to express my truth through Lightshade’s conscious effort to break the stigma.
LS: Let’s start with your athletic background. Can you give us a basic rundown of your history?
SK: I started playing sports at age 8 but got into volleyball at the age of 11. I dropped playing basketball and softball to focus on high school and club volleyball. I then played NCAA Division I volleyball on athletic and academic scholarship for 3 years until I decided to transfer to the NAIA where I continued to play on both athletic and academic scholarship. Now that I am no longer competing I still find ways to get better on the court or on the field as a way to continue the evolution of my human potential.
LS: And what is your current profession?
SK: My professional life has become a trinity of roles. First as a healer. I work with people who are interested in using holistic alternative medicine and spirituality instead of conventional western medicine. Between giving massages and consulting everyday life conflicts I am honored to help inspire and bring health and happiness to my clients lives. Just recently I was able to help a client find a new job at one of the top CBD companies in the world while also removing the knot out of her back.
My second role is being a volleyball coach. I’ve coached high school and club teams, but now I specialize in 1 to 1 coaching for skills development as well as active play therapy. A parent might come to me and ask to help improve their child’s skills, or prepare them to tryout for a club team, and other parents might come to me and ask me to help improve their child’s overall behavior and health through their passion and focus in volleyball.
The passion of my professional life is wrapped around advocating for cannabis and assisting people that might be interested in including it in their lives. Clients, strangers, friends and family come to me but never know where to start. I help guide them to what kind of products or strains might be a good fit for their health and lifestyle. Given my athletic background I find myself helping a lot of college and professional athletes or retired college and professional athletes interested in trying CBD products for recovery or sports-related injuries. Or it could simply be helping someone that’s canna-curious and just doesn’t know where to start. I help whoever I can, whenever I can.
LS: How did you first discover cannabis?
SK: I was introduced to cannabis when I was in high school and was strongly against it. After I graduated I dabbled a handful of times but didn't feel the need to smoke cannabis until I started taking adderall to study. I wouldn’t be able to handle the adderall unless I also smoked cannabis. l didn’t make a connection between cannabis and my health until I was 22 when it lowered my blood pressure and released me to play from being medically ineligible. But even then, after losing my scholarship for failing a drug test I was ashamed of how it made me feel. It wasn’t until I was 24 and met a western medicine pediatrician with a license to prescribe cannabis that I discovered the truth about my cannabis use. I discovered that it was helping me heal from the damages of prescription drugs I had been given throughout my injuries and health issues. Now I use cannabis for my emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health.
LS: How would you personally describe the stigma associated with cannabis use?
SK: It’s like a dark cloud of shame and punishment that you have to carry around for no reason. Being a volleyball coach and having a passion to work with kids I walk in the door feeling judged by some of the parents and coaches. And yet those same coaches and parents are out excessively drinking with each other when they travel for tournament games. Then wake up the next day in a bad mood, hungover, and taking it out on the kids. All the while I was enjoying cannabis and a nice quiet night of sleep so I could wake up and be present for the kids. It’s a stigma that haunts me and is incredibly hard to shake while pursuing a place coaching kids. I guess this is how Batman must feel.
LS: What can cannabis users do to help break the stigma associated with cannabis?
SK: Be honest about your cannabis use. It makes people feel uncomfortable, but to me it provides me the boundaries and limits to the people and things I choose to include in my life. If you’re an adult and have authority to speak up, it is your social responsibility and divine honor to be honest with who you are even if it makes people uncomfortable, including your family. Some of my family used to be closed off and uncomfortable with my cannabis use but over the years our conversations have evolved along with their perception because I am an educated patient of cannabis. In the end, I know way more about the benefits than they know about the negatives. It has just takes courage, faith, and integrity to keep the conversation going.
LS: What’s your preferred method of consumption?
SK: There’s so much we don’t know, so it’s still hard for me to say! Until then I have always smoked flower throughout the day depending on how much pain I have that day. I have just included taking edibles throughout the day along with smoking. In a perfect world I used consume cannabis orally for medicinal use and smoke cannabis for social and creative use, for now I smoke for medical until I find the same instant and consistent relief.
LS: Do you have a favorite strain or product?
SK: For flower, I prefer hybrids of OG’s and a good CBD with a 1:1 ratio. I’ve also really fallen in love with the Wana brand. I am having great results with their edibles.
LS: What advice would you have for people that are new to cannabis and might be intimidated about making their first visit to a dispensary?
SK: Take somebody that you trust and love and go with them. Having somebody that cares about you that can walk you through the process will really help. Be open with the budtenders by telling them it’s your first time and you aren’t really sure what you’re doing. They’ll joyfully guide you towards mellow, low-dose products that are good for beginners. Also remember, you don’t need to commit to buying anything, you can just go and have a conversation about the products and enjoy the experience. The feedback I get about first time visits is always a positive experience for everyone in large part to the wonderful professional and educated budtenders.
LS: Stevie, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!
SK: My pleasure! Always great to connect with the team at Lightshade!