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Ilse’s Story

Soul searching and questioning lead me to a greater understanding of the plant and how it is perceived across different communities.
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How did I get into Cannabis? It came with much soul-searching, much anxiety about what other Christians say, and a deep search for what the Bible says and ultimately what God says.

I am a compliant person by nature. As a kid, I was unquestioning. But I fell in love with a rebel. And he questions everything. Every. Single. Thing. It was after marrying Natie at 22 that I did a lot of growing up, including cultivating a more critical stance in life. When he admitted to me one New Year’s Eve in an intimate conversation that he had been smoking dagga, it didn’t really come as a shock. But it came with the very real question – what do I believe?

Is dagga "gagga"?

It felt wrong. I had been raised with the very firm judgement that drugs are bad. No question about it. Drugs are bad. To be fair, I did grow up in a home where the everyday, acceptable drugs of alcohol and tobacco were also absent. Even swearing was unheard of. My folks gave us a healthy lifestyle. Good, hearty food, limited sweets and desserts, and even then, desserts were usually homemade. We almost never took medicine (I remember preferring a stomache ache to Chamberlains Colic) and barely ever needed to go to the doctor. And I had a glorious childhood. We were happy, innocent, carefree. I grew up shielded from the harshness of life, one of 5 siblings born in a span of 6 years to a nurturing, stay-at-home mom and a humble but wise dad who was our authority figure and respected by everyone in the community. My dad was home at 5 pm for dinner and family time. I lived the epitome of privilege. Could my amazing parents be wrong about this?

The Endocannabinoid System

Natie knew I was uncertain about dagga. He took me to a talk on “hemp oil”. The guy explained about Cannabis sativa and its subspecies. He talked about the endocannabinoid system. I remember being fascinated by the G-protein receptors and how conventional pharmaceuticals target those receptors with some severe and significant side effects. He explained that cannabinoids fit perfectly into those receptors. And he broke the (not exactly accurate) news that cannabinoids only occur in the Cannabis plant and in the human body, including specifically, in breastmilk. Breastmilk! The best thing I could do for my 4 kids when they were babies was to give them the healthiest and most natural food that their bodies could possibly have. Breastmilk. This was a convincing factor.

I didn’t understand anything about phytocannabinoids vs. endocannabinoids, and the guy’s talk was fraught with inaccuracies that I had no clue of at the time. I only knew that we have cannabinoids in our bodies and the Cannabis plant contains cannabinoids. If God made us with these compounds and He didn’t say anything in His word about abstaining from the plant, then could prohibition be wrong?

Is smoking dagga a sin?

A family member confronted me: dagga is sinful. The entire plant. Any derivative of it. It’s a sin. It’s pulling me away from God. It didn’t make sense. Not even grammatically. How could a noun be a sin? Wouldn’t it need to be a verb to be a sin? And if Cannabis itself is not a sin, then doing something with the plant is supposedly the sin. But doing what, exactly? Smoking it? Eating it? Using it as an ointment on my skin? Giving it to someone to alleviate pain? Making tea with it to help lighten someone’s insomnia? What exactly is the sin? Getting high? I consent it may not be wise in every instance to get high. I personally don’t like the feeling. But I’ve seen the good it does. I’ve seen how it helps people. In my own life, being high certainly helped me in one specific instance where I was able to put aside my anger and calmly confront a bad situation with spiritual revelation (that I was too emotional to receive otherwise). And that conversation changed the course of my family’s life for the better.

So, for me, it was the opposite. This lonely, misunderstood path that I was walking brought me closer to God. I felt that we were called to this industry. To help people. To shine a light. God made this plant for a reason. Why was it prohibited?

Leap of faith

But I was still safely removed from being in the industry myself. It was in the most notorious year of our time that I took a massive leap of faith. I had been in marketing in the tourism industry, which, at the height of COVID, meant much harder work and longer hours for less money and more stress. And I realised that if I couldn’t pay my bills anyway, now might as well be the time to start our own business. I believed God called me to a higher level of trust in Him. No more cushy certainty at every month-end. This was going to be a new journey of relying on Him for our daily bread. Literally. Natie and I had big plans. We strategized our brands and our involvement in the industry. I jumped into Qure with limited knowledge of the plant and the science behind it and an eagerness to learn. We started Dagga Farmacy and revived Tamatie. I learned about the entourage effect and the cannabinoid acid forms. With every social media post that I researched, I learned more. I tapped from Brenda and Kris and Jean and Natie, and 3 years later, I am not looking back for one moment.

I believe we are on the right path. It is narrow and not always easy, but it’s where we are meant to be. At least for now. And as I continue to learn, one thing I am certain of is that knowing truly is growing.

Knowing is Growing
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