Explore the fascinating world of cannabis cultivation and the journey of our guest, a retired military veteran who discovered her passion for growing. Our guest, Becky, shares her experience with trying cannabis for the first time, leading her to learn how to grow. Tune in to listen to the benefits of growing cannabis at home and how you can learn to grow cannabis successfully.
Table of Contents
- Release Date: Monday, July 24th, 2023
- Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 34
- Special Guest: Becky Davis
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Episode 34: Military Veteran Finds Her Passion in Cannabis Cultivation with Becky Davis
Why You Will Love This Episode
In this episode, our guest Becky Davis shares her inspiring journey from retiring from the military to finding a new passion in cannabis cultivation.
She talks about how learning about cannabis led her to receive her Certificate in Agriculture and Horticulture of Cannabis.
Becky’s husband, also a retired Air Force veteran, has a medical cannabis card, and together they have experimented with various growing techniques to find what works best for them.
Becky shares her experience with the growing process, shares her favorite online resources, and divulges her favorite recipe.
Whether you’re a seasoned cultivator or just starting out, this episode is packed with valuable insights and information to help you cultivate your own cannabis successfully.
Tune in to learn more about Becky’s exciting journey into cannabis cultivation, hear her tips on growing cannabis, and discover the potential benefits of cannabis for veterans.
Becky: Stuff happens in life. We could all fall down that hole. And I do; I fall down that hole. And once you get out, you don’t want to go back down there. It helps me deal with stuff a little bit better. I can take a break from that and just zero myself back out and then refresh and step back into it with an all-new open mind.
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’m excited to be here today with our special guest, Becky Davis. We are going to be talking about cannabis, and what I’m most interested in is her Certificate in Agriculture and Horticulture of Cannabis. Welcome, Becky. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Becky: Thank you for having me.
Emily: I’m super excited because you have a very interesting background, and if you’re okay with it, I’d love to talk about your military background. Thank you so much for your service. I want to focus on that a bit because I’m finding that so many of our service members are using cannabis and benefiting from cannabis. So if you want to talk a little bit about your background, I would really appreciate it.
Becky: I joined the military right after high school. I’m from a small town, so I needed to get out of there before I got myself where I couldn’t leave. You know what I mean? Life would happen. So I joined the military and intended to do four years at a time. When I first went in, I trained to be a lab tech for my job. I cross-trained out of that because I got burnt out; it happens, but we had the opportunity to switch jobs.
Becky: So I switched jobs and worked on the ejection seats for F16s, A10s, and F15s. It’s really intimidating because there are a lot of males. I was the only female in my shop. What ended up happening was that I basically had a shop full of big brothers. So after that, I retired in 2015. I had served for 20 years and was ready to be done. You’re told when to shit, shower, and shave in the military, so it’s, “Hey, you get to do whatever you want now.” I didn’t even know where to start.
Emily: Did you plan for retirement? Did it come up quickly, or have you been waiting for it? What was the transition like?
Becky: I was 38 when I retired and am 46 now. So I just did my 20 years. I was ready to just be focused on my kids, let them be number one. My husband was also active duty and retired at 22 years. So I was just ready to let my kids be my priority. I feel like they missed out on a lot of stuff.
Becky: First thing I want to do is I want to smoke pot because I couldn’t do it the whole time. I was so excited. You get to have your life back. I waited till my exact 20-year mark because I was always scared they would come back and tell me to pee in a cup, and then everything was gone.
Becky: I retired from North Carolina and now live in Illinois. I went back home to Illinois to visit my sister, and we smoked together. It was weird because I was 18 the last time I did it, and now I’m 38 and a grown-up. So much life has happened in between.
Becky: And then I don’t have anyone to consult because all of the people I know are in the military. So I was in North Carolina, and I would call my friends here in Illinois and ask if I should go up to people in the bar. How do I ask someone to buy pot? What should I do? I went back to school once I retired because there isn’t much use for ejection seats in the civilian world.
Becky: So I went back to work in a medical laboratory to catch up on all the new stuff, and in there, I found some younger folks that I could ask. Once we moved back to Illinois, my husband got his medical card.
Becky: We’re into doing syrup. We’re doing canning. We’re doing chickens. Everything that we put on hold that we didn’t get a chance to really do, we’re doing it. I love that we can grow this ourselves. The reason I took the class is because I don’t know anybody that also grows their stuff themselves either. I am driven by research, just being a medical career field and military, your research.
Becky: I wanted something I could fall back on if I had a question about something other than somebody down the road whose cousin grew up in the basement. I want to know the real way to do it.
Emily: So what made you decide to actually go to school? Because that’s a big deal. Many people will go down the internet rabbit hole, but what about the program that made you decide to enroll?
Becky: When I was looking it up, I took it out of University of Wisconsin in Platteville. It was an online course. Of course, the military wouldn’t pay for it. The military wouldn’t pay for it because it’s cannabis-driven.
Emily: Would they have paid for something else if it was a different topic?
Emily: I didn’t know that.
Becky: They paid for all my stuff. They paid for me to return to school but won’t pay for the cannabis.
Emily: Even though it’s offered by a college? That’s crazy. Wow.
Becky: Exactly. So then, I don’t qualify for the online stuff.
Becky: When you’re in the military, if you take an online class, the certain amount of hours you take, they’ll give you money to stipend that, like, $600 a month or something. So they didn’t pay for any of that, which is fine. I discussed it with my husband because I felt we should do this ourselves.
Emily: Absolutely. So it sounds like you’re living that homesteading lifestyle. You said you’re doing the syrup and the canning. Talk a little bit more about how it fits into the overall lifestyle you’re living.
Becky: I would never have been able to do any of this without being in the military first. We’re able to do that, I should say. When the kids would tell us things that they wanted, we would always tell them to wait till we’re retired, and we’ll do all that stuff. So they’re coming back and saying, “Hey, you remember when you told us we would do that?”
Becky: And I like doing that stuff. My family was farmers. I love the simple. I grew up gardening – or not me, my family gardened, and I just liked that. I like giving, getting from the earth, and I don’t know, it’s just, it’s natural, where it’s coming from right outside. I like that as we get older, we realize all the stuff that is put into things, making you wonder how much more crap you need to put in your body.
Emily: I’m finding so many people who are already interested in gardening, homesteading, and incorporating cannabis into it, and it’s such a perfect fit. So now I have to ask you, what did you learn about growing cannabis for anybody who already has a garden but is interested? What did you learn from your training?
Becky: Everybody says it’s so easy to do. We have run into a little situation outdoors. It tells you how to germinate your seeds and just getting looking for a healthy seed, I can’t maintain it per se because I don’t have my medical card, but I can guide my husband and then look for certain things or if it’s a female or a male plant, get rid of the male plant before it fertilizes everybody else’s.
Becky: I think it’s cool that we can grow this stuff. In our first year of growing, we grew two plants and got six five-gallon buckets of flowers.
Emily: That’s a lot!
Becky: Yes, but every single time is a learning process. We had bugs and found out what to do with them. And then, we’re now inside since it’s winter. So we’re doing that. We’re doing an auto right now. So it does its own thing.
Emily: I feel like indoor growing is another learning curve in itself. Indoors and outdoors, for me, seem to be two different worlds.
Becky: It is. It is. We put ours in our compost pile, our two plants that we did outdoors, and they just got humongous, and the ones inside don’t really get that big.
Emily: It’s something about the soil, I’ll bet. A compost pile, or we use turkey manure from the turkeys and the chickens. Something about getting the right soil, and the plants will grow huge. It’s so exciting.
Becky: Oh, they’re awesome. Yeah. We threw stuff in there from the chickens, and then I did worm composting, and yeah, it’s just fun.
Becky: It’s like a big science experiment. I love it.
Emily: It’s a nice hobby too. It’s a nice way to spend your time.
Becky: Yeah. We enjoy it.
Emily: Have you faced any hesitancy coming out and discussing cannabis? Do you feel that stereotype or stigma from being in the military or now that you’re retired? Are you like, I can do whatever I want? How is that looking for you?
Becky: It’s a little bit of all of those things. So my grandparents are still around. They’re 84, 85. So they come out, and my grandma, she’s just tough, and I don’t want to make her mad or disappoint her in any way. So when she comes out we’re just going to have to tell everybody because it’s not like you can hide that.
Becky: She’s 80-something. So she’s going to be like whatever, but I think for them, trying to educate them on it is that stigma that a lot of people have. My uncle is going through chemotherapy and radiation right now, and I’m trying to find something that’ll make him feel better. He says he doesn’t smoke, so I told him that I get that and I’m trying to find something else. Tincture is my favorite of all time, and it might be something to help him get some relief. So there’s that stigma.
Becky: But then there are other people; you have people who’ll take whatever you give them. And then there are other people like moms that I’ve met that want to have the feeling, but not be completely Friday night special where you can’t function. You need to get stuff done. It’s just a variety, and I love that. I love that everybody is from somewhere else. And that’s something that we can talk about without the stigma.
Emily: It’s so nice that we’re just having this conversation. How, if you’re okay talking about it, how do you incorporate cannabis in motherhood? Because I know we have a lot of moms listening, and some moms feel guilty. Some moms are not ready to use cannabis. How does that look in your life?
Becky: I feel like I understand the guilt, but at the same time, what’s the difference between alcohol? I feel like this is a lot better than alcohol. I don’t wake up with a hangover in the morning, and I can’t function. I was in the military, and I drank all the time, but once the kids came, I just couldn’t do that. It didn’t work for me. The kids don’t care that you were out till two or three in the morning; they’re up at five or six.
Becky: Obviously, in the military, alcohol is really what I had. But now that I’ve gotten out, I just really don’t drink that much. I don’t care to drink much. So for the moms, I feel like it just helps you just give you that little bit of push to just get stuff done.
Becky: And, of course, it depends on what strain. If you do an Indica, you probably won’t get much done, but that’s okay. You can lay around all day. That stuff will still be there when you get up. I like that I can let the tincture go strong or not strong, depending on what I have going on. I think it just gives me a little pep in my step.
Emily: I love it. And what could be better for your kids than just a little mom who’s a little bit happier?
Becky: And I’m already peppy. So they’re just like, “Oh my God.”
Emily: Perfect. And for a lot of moms who are listening, for so many people, cannabis can absolutely enhance your parenting experience, not take away from it. And that’s what I’d really love people to take away from this message it’s not that typical stoner image where maybe if you use an Indica and you use too much, you’re on the couch, but in most cases, if you know what strain you’re using and you’re using it responsibly, it can make everything just, like you said, a little pep in your step. Cleaning seems better and regular chores seem better, and parenting tasks are a little easier. And I have a lot more patience as well, which is another positive.
Becky: That definitely is positive.
Emily: Next, I want to talk about your relationship with your husband and cannabis because you said he has his medical card, and he uses cannabis as well. My husband doesn’t use cannabis, but I still find that cannabis benefits our relationship as a whole. Do you find that cannabis benefits your relationship as well?
Becky: Yeah. I know getting out of the military has been seven years, but it’s still an adjustment to be together all the time versus away from each other. We would be separated every now and then, which I looked forward to, but we don’t have that now. So it’s just a big transition. I think that has helped us. A little bit in that because it’s just a whole new lifestyle. Our lifestyle is completely different.
Emily: So nice to have something just to be a buffer as you move through big life transitions. For me, I felt like cannabis is always like a friend there to help, as you make these big life changes.
Emily: So now you’re growing it, all about growing it and now you’re making stuff. You said you are starting with tinctures. Talk a little bit about your tincture process and what it looks like in the kitchen for you.
Becky: I used your recipes for decarboxylating and also to make the tincture. I put a lot more than what is suggested in the recipe because we have it. Why not use it? And I really like the freezer technique where you put the Everclear in there and let it sit in the refrigerator or freezer. I have a testing kit that I’ve used. As I said, I’m a lab tech, so I love testing stuff out.
Becky: I’m always up for an experiment. Everything is an experiment here. We hatch eggs. I’m looking at raising bees. I’m wondering if we can pollinate weed. I don’t know. When I first started, I thought that’s how it worked, but it’s not a pollinator that way. So that wouldn’t even work anyway, but I had no clue. So in the kitchen, I try to make things with cannabis on days that my daughter’s at school and my son’s at work. I know they know I do it, and they know we have it because, obviously it’s there. I’m not going to be right in their face with it either, though. You know what I mean? So I bake it when they’re not home.
Becky: I do the 40 minutes at 235, I think, is what I ended up using. And mix it around, put it into a mason jar, fill it with Everclear, and then just put it in the freezer. I actually have a big jar right here if you want to see it. It’s just a small jar.
Emily: Just a small jar. I know most of you are listening, but if anyone is watching, that is not a small jar.
Becky: But I really like it. It just… It fits my lifestyle. I can drop that in my water.
Emily: For anyone who’s not used an alcohol-based tincture, talk a little about how you use it because many people are scared of the alcohol part.
Becky: That is 100% true. So when I first started, I watered it down, probably More than 50/50, because it has that Everclear and it’s burning.
Becky: You put it right into your mouth, under your tongue. No one likes that. I started mixing it, and it was probably three to one because it was so strong. And then just went from there, just played with it. I have a tester that I got, so I can, hopefully, round about how much I’m putting in because I don’t like to wing it when it’s during the day and I’ve got to function. It’s just hard for me not to test stuff. I want to know what everything is, but I use a dropper. I got these little brown droppers, and I just put that in my water because I drink coffee and water; I don’t drink any soda, really, no alcohol.
Becky: So It’s really discreet. I also use the tincture to make candy. I like making hard candies. Those are good and discreet as well. I like the discreteness of it, and it also processes through the liver completely differently. I don’t know how to explain it unless you try it.
Emily: Yeah, it feels totally different. She’s talking about the difference between smoking and eating an edible. With smoking, the head high comes on really fast, but with edibles, digestion takes a little bit of time, comes on a little bit slower, and a little bit more of a body high. It’s different for everyone. It depends on the dose, but there is a noticeable difference for sure. Yeah.
Becky: And oh, I didn’t even know where I was going to go. I like that I can use it. I can make it strong or not strong. And I recently found some gelatin capsules to drop my tincture into. It’s like a gummy, but gummies to me just… I don’t know. They’re not my favorite.
Emily: It’s so nice that you found something you like, though, and I’m so glad you’re sharing that with us. Often, people assume gummies are the only option, assuming brownies are the only option, but this is a wonderful option because it works for pretty much all dietary types. Many people think that if they’re vegan or it’s harder to incorporate, but what you’re doing is discreet, and many people are not ready to be out there screaming to the world that they use cannabis. You can absolutely stay discreet and enjoy that and enjoy it to yourself every time you put a dropper in your water so that no one has to know what you’re doing.
Becky: I really like it.
Emily: That’s awesome. Now, how has cannabis improved your overall quality of life? What are the feelings that you enjoy the most?
Becky: I guess it just depends on what I’m doing because, if it’s during the day when I want to get stuff done, like it helps me clean or gives me that energy or some, I’m trying to think of a word that pushes me through to get. Get up, get doing something. I don’t know. Some motivate me a little bit.
Emily: Motivation, but not; it’s like a pusher. I feel like motivation is like you’re reaching for it, but I don’t know. Something like a driver.
Becky: Oh, yeah. I feel like it helps me break through my anxiety a little bit, just it doesn’t even have to be a lot. It’s just that little bit.
Emily: It’s so true. And a lot of people, a lot of people, it’s like social anxiety. So if you want to go out and be in crowds or socialize with people for a lot of people, just a little bit of cannabis can help that social anxiety and make it much more enjoyable.
Emily: I want to be respectful of your time. So let’s jump into those questions. Okay, the first one is, what are you most proud of to date?
Becky: I’m most proud of my military service. That’s basically it. Without any of that background, I don’t think I wouldn’t even be who I would be right now. I’d have to go through all those struggles to be where I am.
Emily: Thank you for your service. Thank you. I really appreciate it. I have a special place in my heart for military families, so thank you, both you and your husband.
Becky: Thank you.
Emily: Next question, what does your life look like if you never found cannabis or hadn’t retired and been able to access cannabis?
Becky: As I said before, I would probably be like a hermit because it helps me get through my anxiety. You’re leaving one thing that you’ve known for 20 years. I’m coming over here to do this. Now, how is it going to be? I don’t know. I’m scared. Shoot, just going to CrossFit when I first started that; I would do a little on the way because I just wanted that anxiety out of the way. You know that, I don’t even know how to explain it, but that thing that you’re like walking in, you’re like, “I want to do this, but I don’t want to do this.” And then afterward, you’re like, “I’m so glad I made myself do it.”
Emily: One hundred percent. I relate to that so much. And for me, cannabis is the same way. I take a little bit, one, two, three, go. I can do this and exercise too. We don’t talk about that.
Becky: Today, I was like, do my podcast. I’ll go to the gym on Friday. So I got a plan. I fell off the wagon a little bit, so I have to get back on it.
Emily: I promised myself that if I could do two days a week, that’s all I would ask myself. Two days a week, building that consistency. But if I motivate myself with a little bit of cannabis to start, it’s a lot easier.
Becky: Absolutely. It’s a lot more fun. Absolutely. And I just found yoga and I love that so much. Oh my God. I love it so much. And with cannabis as well. I know.
Emily: I did have both together. It’s so perfect.
Becky: It’s perfect. So perfect. But it helps me do that. What else? It’s a lot; it’s allowed me to actually sit and relax because military life is like, yeah, it’s nice to sit and relax and enjoy life, the slower life that we have here in this little town.
Becky: Without cannabis, I have IBS. Smoking helps settle my stomach, so I love that. I love that food can possibly stay in my gut just a little bit longer.
Emily: It’s something huge to talk about because many people suffer from IBS and think they have no relief. So to hear that it brings you at least a little bit of relief to settle your stomach is amazing.
Becky: Yeah, because the other pills they prescribed would still make me crampy, and it would just prolong. I just would rather not with that. But I found that smoking helps. I’ve not really paid attention to the stomach part as far, I’m sorry; as a tincture part with it, the smoking seems to do better, which is funny because. Everything seems to do something different.
Emily: It’s true, though. It does all do something different, which, for a lot of people, if you can begin to track it, can help you find that progress that you’re looking for.
Becky: If people try what we’ve had, I want to know notes. I want to know how you feel. How long did it take to kick in? Because I want to be able to share that and help somebody. I feel like if I have more information, they may be more willing to try it.
Emily: Yes, absolutely. And it’s going to drive you crazy; as someone coming from a medical background, you want to know everything. Cannabis is such a nuanced free-for-all in so many ways. You can’t really ever give someone a definitive answer.
Becky: It does. And then I’ll ask how it made them feel, and they’ll tell me that they felt good. I’ll follow up by asking how long it took to kick in, and then I’ll leave it. Obviously, I won’t be able to get information from some people other than the fact that they liked it.
Emily: Which, in a lot of cases, is success on its own, so that’s always good too. Now, I don’t know if the next question is applicable to you because it’s not like it was an option, but the question is, 10, 20, or 30 years ago, if you could whisper a little piece of advice to yourself about cannabis, what would it be?
Becky: Being in the military is like being in a completely different world, but I think maybe I would have gotten to agriculture and horticulture a little sooner; instead of trying to wing it, I just went right into it.
Becky: I just went with nothing. I didn’t know anything about anything. I didn’t know where to start, and it just really helped, just like I said, pick out seeds or how the seeds looked or how to germinate and then, male or female, and then just all of the different things that I just really learned a lot with the class. I would have probably told myself to get into that a little bit sooner.
Emily: I will also put a link for that in case anybody is listening and wants to know more. I want to take that. They can learn more about that, too.
Becky: It was funny, too, because when I signed up, there was a gentleman that called me, and he was so excited because this was a newer thing for the University of Wisconsin. I thought that it was cool that they gave me a call. I’m all about that small stuff.
Emily: How long did the program take you?
Becky: It was a 16-week program. It’s not bad at all. It does go over the history and all of the stuff from back in the day. I remember saying that I didn’t think it was what I thought it was going to be. They encouraged me to stick around because it gets better after you get through the first part. I’m glad I did because that’s when I learned a lot about how to get a hold of your water department to check your pH in your water and everything else. I really liked it.
Emily: It’s great advice, especially for a lot of people who are interested in growing. As you said, they can probably save a lot of time and effort if they get a little education ahead of time too. So I’ll definitely share that so people can if you’re listening and want to learn more about it.
Emily: Our very last question. In the cannabis space, if you could be remembered for just one thing, what would it be?
Becky: I’d put my positive attitude just because stuff happens in life, and we could all fall down that hole. And I do; I fall down that hole. And once you get out, you don’t want to go back down there. I want to stay out of there for a little bit. And so I feel like it helps me deal with stuff a little bit better, like a little bit of a crutch. I can take a break from that and just zero myself back out, refresh, and then step back into it with an all-new, open mind, positive, relaxed, and ready to go. What else are you going to do? You’re just going to give up? I can’t do that. I can’t do it.
Emily: Thank you so much for sharing your positive attitude here with us today. Before we wrap up, if you have one piece of advice for our military members, past service members who are listening, who are unsure of whether or not they should try cannabis and give it a try, do you have any advice for them?
Becky: I do. I think you should start small. If you don’t want to do it by yourself, have somebody around you. Sometimes people panic because it’s something new. What if something happens? What if I freak out? Just have somebody there with you.
Becky: Be smart. Don’t get messed up, and then try to do some family function when you haven’t seen your family in 20 years or something. That’s really not the best. Do it in a nice, relaxed state, knowing you don’t have anything going on, and enjoy it a little at a time. That’s the big one, especially with edibles. People will take too much sometimes, and you don’t feel very well if you take too many gummies.
Emily: That’s great advice to leave off with. Thank you so much for joining us today, and for sharing your positive attitude and your experience with cannabis. It’s been a pleasure. We really appreciate it.
Becky: Oh, thank you for having me. I love it. I love it. Love it. Good talk. Thank you.
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