In this episode, we explore the use of cannabis as a natural remedy for managing ADHD and anxiety in college. Our guest, Madison, shares her personal journey of how cannabis helped her in every way, from feeling calmer, more productive, happier, and more focused. We discuss the importance of responsible cannabis use, especially for college students, and how to find what works best for you.
Table of Contents
- Release Date: Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
- Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 33
- Special Guest: Madison Maria
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Episode 33: Using Cannabis in College to Manage ADHD and Anxiety with Madison Maria
Why You Will Love This Episode
In this episode, we talk to Madison Maria about her journey of navigating ADHD, anxiety, and college with the help of cannabis.
Madison shares her experience of starting cannabis use as a way to manage her ADHD symptoms, but eventually realizing that it was also helping her feel happier and more like herself.
She turned to cannabis to cope with anxiety and depression, and now she passionately believes it is a better alternative to traditional medication.
We discuss how she uses different strains to manage her symptoms while studying in college and how it has helped her stay focused and motivated.
Join us for a fun conversation about the potential benefits and risks of using cannabis to manage mental health and how it can help us navigate challenges in college and beyond.
Madison: All progress is progress, no matter how long it takes. And if cannabis is what’s going to be what helps you get through it, then do the damn thing.
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 Kyle: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Well with Cannabis Podcast and I’m so excited to be here with our guest today, Miss Madison Maria. Welcome. Thank you so much for joining us. I am so excited. We’ve got a lot of things to cover on your journey with cannabis. We’re going to be talking a little bit about ADHD, anxiety, depression, and using cannabis to turn it all around. I’m going to give the floor to you and please give us a little bit of background and how you ended up here today.
Madison: I was that ADD kid growing up. I was the one that, you could put me in a padded room, I will find a string and it’ll all fall apart. I was placed on several medications, Concerta, things like that. Once I reached, I think, 14, I started coming off that medication, and I don’t think anybody talks about how dark of a place that it sends you into coming off of that medication, and you don’t realize it.
Madison: And it wasn’t until I was, I think, 18 when my friends smoked pot and I tried it one time. At the time I lived in California and I had never tried it before. I slept for three hours and realized, I don’t think I’d ever slept that much in my entire life.
Madison: When I was completing college, I found myself constantly struggling to finish tasks. One assignment would take me three hours, but someone else could have it done in 30 minutes. I wondered what’s wrong with me and I remembered, I think it’s like a college thing that people do, they take adderall.
Madison: I don’t really mess around with pills, anything like that. My friend gave me one and I was chill. I was perfectly fine, and they were like, “Why is this not working for you?” And I had remembered that it was because I was the ADD kid that was prescribed these things to physically function.
Madison: But the adverse effects started to happen, the racing thoughts, the constant fixations and compulsiveness that follows. And I met a friend who made these brownies and I had one of the brownies. And my mind was quiet. And after that, I had this realization. I started to cry, actually, and I said, “I feel like myself.”
Madison: And that was such a wake up call to sit there and think that this one small herb can bring you back to the center of who you actually are.
Emily Kyle: Yes, it is so crazy to me how many people say that exact same thing. Saying it, that’s how I always felt, but I had never really come out and said it to anybody. The amount of people who continue to say it and it is the perfect way to say it. It’s like you can be yourself comfortably.
Madison: Yes, of course, I think about the whole ‘in moderation’ thing, I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have a couple of days where I’d like to get toked and watch TV,
Emily Kyle: Of course.
Madison: But, for the most part, I think that the more specific strain that’s helped me the most would probably be, I thought it was going to be an Indica, but it was actually a Sativa, more specifically, maybe a sativa hybrid, like a Wedding Cake. And my mind? It’s quiet. I’m able to sit there and focus on the one thing. I’m able to not hear a billion people in my head at one time while trying to read a sentence.
Emily Kyle: Tell me a little bit. How did you get from trying the brownies for the first time to knowing what strain helps you? Because I feel like for a lot of people that’s the tricky part of being able to find what is perfect because we’re all so different.
Madison: Exactly. I want to focus on that. I think we’re all so different.
Madison: I am a person that has really, I didn’t, I knew that I had anxiety. I didn’t know what it was called at the time. And in my journey with cannabis, I found Blue Dreams. It’s great. It makes you get all the things done around the house, but then you can’t sit still. And then the anxiety starts to set in.
Madison: And I started doing more research and that’s when I became very picky and particular about the strains that I use. And other people say that it’s just weed smoking. No, what are we smoking? And I tried different things. I’d have sativas and try to get work done or I’ll have an Indica and I’d keep realizing I feel too relaxed.
Madison: I cannot sit down here and read a textbook or sit down and try to read a book. I’m going to fall asleep. It was a lot of trial and error. I had gone to Vegas one time and got to go into their physical dispensaries and I learned so much from them. I think you grow up thinking or there’s this stereotype that all weed is the same, the old school ‘all weed is just weed,’ but it really is different.
Madison: And I have my own favorites. I have ones that I specifically use for specific things based off of the first experience I had with it. So let’s say wedding cake. I will never forget. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this.
Emily Kyle: Please do, yes.
Madison: Okay. I was in Jamaica one time and we were staying at this resort and I had a final exam that was due within, I think, two hours.
Madison: I had just flown in. I had just met my mom at the hotel because I flew in with a friend and I was like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t have any time. I literally have, there’s three hours for the exam, but there’s two hours left. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” And my mom looks at me and she goes, “Do you need some wedding cake, friend?” Yes.
Emily Kyle: I love it.
Madison: I love it. And we have a friend and within 15 minutes he was there. He was, my mom told me that I need to smoke this shit and take my time.
Emily Kyle: So how did it go?
Madison: It actually went very well. I did pass the class, but I could not believe that I could take a hit, and in five minutes I was okay. I didn’t know I had bad test anxiety until one day I took a test and it wasn’t English. I couldn’t understand the words. It was like I’d never seen them before, and I panicked, and I walked out, and I just felt like I couldn’t breathe, and now, whenever I have to take an exam, I go ahead, and I will either, I have these Delta-8 pens, because of course, I live in Georgia now I will take a hit of that, and then I’m able to chill, but I do find some weird effects with the Delta-8.
Emily Kyle: It is so tricky and like it just has to be so hard for you who said you originally lived in California and now you’re moved to Georgia where it’s two different worlds, I’m sure, when it comes to cannabis and if you don’t have a lot of choices that can be really difficult.
Madison: It’s really hard. It’s really hard, but it’s really unfortunate because in my past experience where I’m able to have access to something that actually helps me versus having adverse effects from a prescribed medication, it comes from the earth, it grows, it works, it helps.
Madison: And now I’m here. struggling again in my career and with courses. I’m still finishing school and I feel like it’s taking me so much longer, and I only have a little bit of options. I have CBD that wears off really quickly so I have to keep taking it. I don’t like smoking CBD. It tastes weird. It feels weird.
Madison: Delta 8 which has its weird things. I will never forget, I went on a small weekend trip, and I, they had this big sale at one of these exhale cities, I think is what they’re called. And I got a Delta 8, CBD and HHC blend or something like that. I vomited the entire four hours to Savannah. I don’t even remember getting into the Airbnb.
Madison: I, it was horrible. It was absolutely horrible. And I don’t feel like that with cannabis. And it’s so hard. My dad’s a veteran who would highly benefit from something like this, but we can’t here.
Emily Kyle: It’s crazy when you think and thank you to your father for his service to the country, but your father who could benefit and you could benefit. And yet the government, the powers that be, would rather you choose something that has side effects that could make you feel unwell. They would rather you do that than have exactly what you need to be a productive, happy member of society. At what point are we just bashing our heads against the walls?
Emily Kyle: It makes no sense. And when we say that we want to improve the health and the mental health of our overall population, but we’re holding back one of the tools that could be one of the most powerful tools to do it, it drives me crazy.
Madison: It does because we’ve lost a lot of veterans in the past year to suicide, unfortunately. They always talk about how the VA does so much that they can do, but there’s only so much that they can do aside from prescribing you a bunch of these trial and error medications, putting you through different tests and research programs and different things like that. But, there are so many times I’ve heard them say, “If I could just smoke a little bit of weed…”
Emily Kyle: It’s so true. It really is true. I have interviewed several veterans on this show, and I feel like it’s becoming more and more of a theme of veterans turning to cannabis because it helps them so much. And finally, people are starting to feel brave enough to share that with others.
Emily Kyle: And so I’m so glad that you mentioned it for anybody who’s listening, because for that very specific population, this is a very important tool that might seem scary, but we just need more of them.
Madison: We do. I don’t see, this world has become so crazy. You don’t see people hurting people on cannabis.
Emily Kyle: Thank you. Thank you. And a lot of people in this show have discussed how cannabis helps them feel more compassionate, more empathetic, more kind, nicer, more tolerable. All of these things are very important in today’s society. Imagine if we all had a little bit more patience or kindness or forgiveness. We need that!
Madison: Cannabis definitely gave me some patience, I will say.
Emily Kyle: A lot of patience. And for moms out there, like me, patience is very important.
Madison: It is. It really is. Patience, not only with others, but with yourself. I always find myself beating down on myself and I… Delta-8.
Emily Kyle: There are so many women who say that cannabis has given them the ability to forgive themselves, to work with themselves, to enjoy themselves, and to really be proud of the person that they’ve become. And so I’m so glad that you’re echoing that for so many people who are listening. There’s that classic stoner image, you’ll become apathetic, you won’t care about anything.
Emily Kyle: And for so many people, it is legitimately the opposite. You become so much more fulfilled and enriched and I just feel like we need to scream it out loud for people.
Madison: Yes, we really do because it helps so much. There’s so many studies. There’s cancer patients. I believe there was even one with children with autism that they were using. I don’t know why they won’t allow more access to something that clearly helps. And I don’t know if it’s because they can’t profit from it. I don’t know if it’s Big Pharma. I don’t know.
Emily Kyle: I truly believe it’s Big Pharma, government money. Everybody’s hands are in one pot over here. And if you allow, like you said, you can’t profit off of it because if you teach people to grow it themselves, it’s not like they need to go buy it from you. You can’t tax it if they grow it themselves. And it’s just a profit over people situation. Nobody cares about the suffering of real people. And that’s why I’m so glad that we are in this renaissance of where people are not going to suffer anymore. “I’m not going to live like this anymore. I don’t need to.” And the more that we all come out and say, “we don’t have to live like this,” the more, hopefully, it helps other people who are stuck feeling that way. Maybe they’ll see a glimmer of hope, there is another option to try.
Madison: There definitely is. And I don’t think we have to go crazy with it in a sense of just being greened out, stuck to the couch, because even that can be very intense. But I will never forget, I had two options. It was either Ativan or cannabis. I chose cannabis because I knew that with my anxiety and having a panic attack or anything like that, there will be more of a domino and a spiral effect with using something like Ativan than it would be for something like cannabis.
Madison: I created this personal rule that I can get through the day and my generalized anxiety with a little bit of CBD and a little bit of this. For panic attacks, I will use cannabis, but it also wasn’t working. CBD wasn’t enough. It was still like, scraping the surface. It wasn’t doing anything. I hope that more people come to terms with cannabis use and its benefits because it has truly been life-changing.
Madison: I don’t think I would be the person I am today if I didn’t have access to it. I do think that, not that it has shaped me, but it allowed me to discover who I am as a person. Having that first discovery of, “Wow, I feel like myself.” Not that only I feel like myself when I’m high, but for the first time, I can think clearly, my shoulders are dropped, I’m happy. I don’t have those racing thoughts and worries. I’m not always beating down on myself. I actually feel like a normal functioning person.
Emily Kyle: It’s a beautiful thing. If somebody’s listening to this and they’re recognizing all of the great things about cannabis, but they’re too scared to try it, what advice can you give them moving towards cannabis?
Madison: I think when we talk about naturally-derived substances like cannabis, I think it has to do with intention. It’s how you feel now versus what this can do for you. And the pros do have to outweigh the cons. Okay, some people might have anxiety. What strain are you looking at? What specific strain are you looking towards? If you have a lot of anxiety, maybe a hybrid with a lower sativa percentage might be the thing for you. Start slow. I don’t recommend synthetic options because I have had some very icky experiences with those.
Madison: I think that slowly introducing, taking that first ‘baby hit’ is what I call them, or trying it the first time with someone so you have a safe space. That always helps. And having that person be, what are they called? I think when people do shrooms? Trip guides or something?
Emily Kyle: Oh, yes! I know what you’re talking about. Having someone there.
Madison: It helps, but at least someone that knows that you’re struggling with anxiety too. That was really hard, was to come out and say that I’m struggling with this and I need help. Having someone that already knows every ounce of you or is familiar with anxiety there next to you so you can experience this you’re going to have the same realization that you can breathe, you don’t feel like you’re in a room filling up with water and you can’t get out because that’s exactly how I felt for 45 percent of my life.
Emily Kyle: So now, cannabis is a part of your life. Do you openly share that with your family and friends?
Madison: Yes. Yes.
Emily Kyle: How has that gone? How was the discussion with your parents? Because a lot of people are very scared of having that first discussion with their parents about trying cannabis.
Madison: My family’s from California, so it’s a little different. They’re originally from the East Coast, but we spent most of my life in California. Growing up, they were very strict, but I later found out it was because they were the fun ones.
Emily Kyle: That’s funny.
Madison: They wanted me to come out okay.
Emily Kyle: That’s awesome.
Madison: So it wasn’t until… Oh, gosh. How old was I? I think I was 21. I’m 25 now. I think I was 21, where I had an idea of what was going on. I had an uncle that used cannabis heavily and had his own seedlings and everything. And that’s how he was. I started sharing with my mom and I shared the experience with my dad.
Madison: My dad actually wrote a research paper on cannabis and the effects and benefits. He had to write the cons versus pros or like how it benefits versus negative effects. He was so against cannabis and he could not actually find many reasons as to why someone shouldn’t. Of course you can talk about productivity or something like that, but not life changing effects of why you shouldn’t.
Madison: And they’ve been really chill. My mom, both of my parents, I think, have definitely had their experiences with cannabis. But no, they were fine. It was definitely one of those things where they said that helps me, they want the best for me. They know that I struggle with anxiety, depression, of course, ADHD, and they saw how I was coming off of that medication. They didn’t want to lose their daughter to some medication just so she could sit still and be a perfect child. They’ve taken very well to it. It’s definitely been a blessing, I’d say.
Emily Kyle: I’m so happy. So many people are so scared to have that conversation. But if you can get the support of your family, there’s nothing better. And like you said, they just want to see you feel better. That’s what most loving people care about. Do you feel better? Is your quality of life better? Great. Perfect.
Madison: And I think for those who are nervous about it, I think you can go in two different directions. I think you can either just light up and say, “This is me,” or you can sit down and have the conversation and say, “I know that you don’t appreciate this. I won’t do this in your space, but please know that I do this in my space. And I hope that you can respect that and still look at me the same because, as you can see, my life has become so much greater.”
Madison: I’d say for anybody who is currently in college trying to find a trial and error or they’re concerned about not feeling productive, I’d say do a mock day.
Madison: Two strains, maybe do it over the course of two days. If you’re someone like me who, if you smoke just a little bit too much, it lasts very long or, and also doing that mock day will give you an idea of what works for you. I’d say pick a day when you don’t have a lot of stuff that you have to do.
Madison: Pretend as though it is a normal school day or productivity day. Choose one strain or choose two if you find that it wears off quicker for you. I’d say start with a sativa because it happens to be more stimulating. I always think sativa = stimulating and indica = insomnia. And see how that works. Does it make you feel a little anxious? Does it have you just going the way Blue Dream does? I will get up and dance with Blue Dream. Toy around and figure that out. See how you feel when you sit down to try to actually get work done and then see how long it takes you to get those things done too. That’s it.
Madison: That’s a big thing. Does it take you longer? Are you getting things done quicker? Are you getting distracted a lot more? And maybe if you do it over the course of those two days, like a Saturday and Sunday. Try the Indica after and see how that makes you feel. Does it calm your mind the way that like brown noise would? Does it quiet the thoughts?
Madison: Does it help you just focus better? Really pay attention to how you feel when you were experiencing it? And then from there, you can have an idea. This may be excessive, but different strains for different topics that I’m studying actually help. So things like math, I absolutely despise math. It’s not my strong suit. It gives me the ick.
Emily Kyle: I’m have anxiety just thinking about it. I failed algebra in college four times. I think at the end, she was like, “Just go. You’re good.”
Madison: That was me twice. I’m now in a year long, take your time class. I’m running out of time. So there’s that.
Madison: But I would. I think Indica for math for me. And the reason is math gives me anxiety. I have to sit there and think so hard about the problem. I have to keep redoing it and I retake the notes on it that I know I’m going to make myself feel anxious just from studying it.
Madison: So I actually do choose something like Indica for math. As far as like reading, I cannot do Indica. When I read, I want to take a nap about five minutes into it, without taking anything. So I’ll use a sativa for the reading, but reading makes me feel antsy. I think different topics, trying different things for different topics helps me though.
Emily Kyle: It’s great advice. Now, in our young stage of life, there’s a lot of our friends who enjoy drinking. Have you used cannabis in place of drinking? Can you do them together? What does your relationship with cannabis and alcohol look like?
Madison: I was never a big drinker. I had never been to a house party like when I was in high school. My first house party was in college and it was something. It was something. I would say I have been crossfaded before. I had a roommate who loved being crossfaded. It was not…
Emily Kyle: That’s really brave. For anybody listening, crossfaded is where you drink alcohol and consume cannabis at the same time.
Madison: Yes. It’s not for me. It gives me the spins, but can never actually vomit.
Emily Kyle: It’s the worst feeling.
Madison: No, I absolutely do not recommend it. I think, though, what would be really nice is maybe having a little bit of cannabis and then touring a winery.
Emily Kyle: That would be, that’s nice. In moderation, you got just a little bit of everything. And it’s like the experience, social experience. It’s fun.
Madison: Yes. I could do that. I don’t, I can’t do both at the same time. I could do one or the other. I do a lot of underground events and electric music events and things like that, and I use cannabis. Other people use, party drugs, molly, things like that, and I actually use cannabis because what I didn’t know was that crowds make me anxious, but when I go to an EDM event, I feel most in my element and with cannabis, I’m allowed to enjoy the music, enjoy the vibes without feeling like I’m going to get trampled.
Emily Kyle: It’s so nice. There’s so many people who have said that cannabis makes music so much more enjoyable. I don’t know what it is about it, but it really is. It turns it into an experience. And I’m glad you shared that because there’s a lot of people who are afraid to go out and do social things. But if you have a little bit of confidence in your back pocket, think about all the amazing things you’ve gotten to experience now. I love it.
Emily Kyle: Any advice for our college friends before we move on from this topic?
Madison: I would say that don’t be too hard on yourself when it comes to completing college. I have the saying for myself is we’re all different flowers and we all bloom at different rates. And what I mean by that is, just because so and so completed in three years, and now they’re at John Hopkins doing incredible things doesn’t make you any less of an incredible student.
Madison: And I wish that’s something that someone told me, because if there are any other college students that do struggle with it, it has really made my college experience extremely difficult. And I thought that it was something I’d grow out of and it wasn’t something that I grew out of.
Madison: I would say that my biggest pet peeve about myself or the biggest thing that I actually put myself down for is how long it’s taken me to complete this. With that I would say that all progress is progress no matter how long it takes and if cannabis is what’s going to be what helps you get through it, then do the damn thing.
Emily Kyle: Absolutely. Did you ever face any stigma or criticism from using cannabis? I know our older generation struggles with it so much because they were told forever how bad it was. Do you experience that at all in being in the younger generation?
Madison: No, actually a lot of people were shocked.
Emily Kyle: Oh, really?
Madison: Yeah, they never would have ever thought that I used cannabis until they saw the food concoctions I put together.
Emily Kyle: But not shocked in a bad way, right? They were just happy you were feeling well?
Madison: It was more like, “Wow, I never would have thought that you, of all people!” I’ve noticed people would be hush-hushed talking about those things around me and if I went to an event with them, they would try to hide it and then they’d see me do and they’re like, “Oh, wow. I never thought that you did those things.”
Emily Kyle: And that goes to show I feel like everybody does that, so nobody knows, but like in real life, we’re all secretly using cannabis. And so I’m glad we’re out here talking about it because we don’t need to hide it.
Emily Kyle: It’s fine. We can all do it together. And if you don’t want to do it, totally fine too.
Madison: Exactly. Exactly.
Emily Kyle: Let’s move on towards looking towards the future. I want to be respectful of your time but I want to ask you the same four questions I ask all of our guests. Are you ready for them? Alright, the first one up. What are you most proud of to date?
Madison: I’m proud of the fact that I haven’t given up. There’s so many times in my life where I’ve wanted to give up in many different ways and every time I feel like that, a little bit of cannabis and I remember who I am and I get it done.
Emily Kyle: Beautiful. What do you think your life would look like without cannabis? It’s like the hardest question I ask people.
Madison:I know. As sad as it sounds, I don’t know if I would be here if it wasn’t for cannabis. So when I say that it saved my life, it really did. It really did. Because, of course, I still do have depressive moments several times a year. That has been one of the things, that one hit where your shoulders can drop and you can finally breathe. It means so much. It has changed my life.
Emily Kyle: I’’m so glad you shared that with us. Thank you. I know it’s hard and it’s the one question that gets people the most because it’s such a special thing. It’s a gift, truly. And I’m so glad that you have it. Our next question, if you could go back 5, 10 years ago and give yourself a piece of cannabis advice, what would it be?
Madison: Use it when you need it. It’s okay. Use it when you need it. It’s okay. It’s not going to define you or make you any less of a person or make you that lazy stereotype that people put out there. As long as you respect it, it will also respect you. It’s okay to need something in order to function as long as it’s the right something for you and as long as you’re using it properly.
Emily Kyle: That’s perfect advice. Very last question. If you could be remembered for just one single thing in the cannabis space, what would it be?
Madison: I share. I share. I’ll make you some food. I’ll make you the cookies. I just want everyone to feel good too. It’s definitely one of those things. I can be your safe space. Just let me know if you need me.
Emily Kyle: That is perfect. And thank you so much for sharing here with us. I feel like it’s going to be so meaningful for someone to listen to on the other end.
Emily Kyle: We all struggle, but for those who are struggling with ADHD, anxiety, depression, I hope they listen to your story. How amazing you’re doing now. Thank you for being brave and open and sharing all of your wisdom with us. Any last words for the audience?
Madison: Stay cozy.
Emily Kyle: Perfect. Thank you so much for joining us. We’ll talk to you soon.
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