Today, we will delve into an inspiring story about how cannabis has empowered a single dad and veteran to succeed. With the support of this incredible plant, he’s overcome life’s challenges to thrive as a father. Get ready to be amazed by this exceptional tale of perseverance, and discover how cannabis can bring strength and success to all aspects of your life.

A picture of Emily Kyle and Lew Spencer with text that says "how cannabis empowered a veteran and single father's success"


  • Release Date: Wednesday, March 29th, 2023
  • Episode Number: Season 1, Episode 6
  • Special Guest: Lew Spencer

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Why You Will Love This Episode

Do you feel like there needs to be more education available to veterans on how cannabis could help them?

Do you think there needs to be more resources for veterans to access cannabis for medicinal purposes?

In the latest episode of our podcast, we speak to Lew, a veteran who has been using cannabis for over 50 years.

Through his journey, Lew shares his experiences with cannabis use and how the plant has impacted his life, especially after returning from military service.

Lew also discusses the social stigma surrounding cannabis use and how his relationship with the plant has empowered him.

This episode is a must-listen for anyone who wants to learn more about the power of cannabis and its potential to change lives.

Meet Our Special Guest

Lew Spencer is a veteran and cannabis enthusiast who has smoked cannabis for over 50 years. His journey with the plant began as a social activity, but he soon discovered the benefits of cannabis over alcohol.

Not only did he avoid getting sick from cannabis, but he found that it also helped him to be more relaxed and calm during tough times.

Lew doesn’t have any medical reasons to smoke cannabis, but this plant has been his go-to social fix for several years now.

In this podcast, Lew opens up about the stigma surrounding cannabis use and shares his experiences with the plant.

The helpful links and resources listed below will offer insight into the world of cannabis, providing knowledge and guidance if you are seeking answers on your cannabis journey.

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

Full Transcript

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, and thank you so much for joining me on the Well With Cannabis Podcast. Lew, I have here you have been using cannabis for over 50 years. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?

Lew: I was first introduced to cannabis, oh, around when I was 16. I didn’t do very much cannabis use the first year or so, but I joined the Army when I was 17.

Emily: Thank you for your service.

Lew: Thank you. I’d say, maybe about a year and a half into my military service; I started participating in cannabis use, more as a social tool when the other veterans were partying, drinking, and smoking.

During those years, it was okay, drinking and smoking, but I soon learned that drinking really wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s very easy to consume a lot of alcohol in a short period of time, which I did. And it seemed like I always ended up getting sick.

Then, I continued. I did my two years in the military, in ’74 and ’77. And got out in ’77. I was stationed on a military base in Georgia. I met a young lady down there and started a relationship with her. Then, I got out of the military and decided to come back to New York; New York was my home.

Correspondence would go back and forth and end up, and I got out of the military in February. Then in December, I guess I wanted to go back to Georgia to continue our relationship, which I did. And in doing that, we ended up having two sons.

Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. Some situation occurred that ended up separating us, and she told me to take my two sons and go back to New York. They were a year and a half and three. I did; I got on a Greyhound bus and returned to New York with my two sons.

And being a single father with two sons, I had to work many years and be the breadwinner. I knew I had to continue that to support my two sons and myself. And that’s when I realized that the party years, that the drinking just wasn’t a thing to continue.

I ended up just continuing my cannabis use. Back then, well, it wasn’t where it was now. Schools were teaching the kids the DARE program. You know, you smell this, school’s cool, you know, good for ya, yada yada yada. Luckily that never happened to me.

Emily: Good.

Lew: But at the end of my work day, I definitely would go home, go in my bedroom, consume cannabis, and that helped me be more mellow. I say that, but that’s not what it was.

It was definitely not easy to raise my two sons, and I continued working; I did that for many years. Eventually, I did meet a couple who would help me, without being in a relationship, and help me raise my sons. ‘Course, now they’re both grown.

Emily: Thank you so much for sharing. It sounds like you’ve had a long relationship with cannabis, and it sounds like it has really served you well.

I think it’s really interesting when you talk about cannabis as a social enhancer over alcohol because I feel like, as a culture, we are so brainwashed to believe that alcohol is fine and safe when it really is the opposite.

Especially if you have a hard time controlling yourself around it, for you socially, do you enjoy using cannabis before you go out or when you socialize with friends? How do you incorporate that into your social life?

Lew: Believe it or not, nowadays, I don’t have much of a social life.

So what does life look like for you nowadays? How are you using cannabis to feel your best self?

Lew: Basically smoking, and it’s daily, all-day, routine. My girlfriend and I are semi-retired.

Oh, good.

Lew: I have a little cleaning job two days a week.

Emily: Oh, nice.

Lew: Five hours each day. My girlfriend is four years younger than me and still works full-time. She works for a local ARC agency.

Emily: Nice. Aww.

Lew: That job is very, very stressful.

Emily: I can imagine.

Lew: So, between the two of us, we both smoke quite a bit of cannabis, weed.

Emily: Now I am always so surprised how many veterans have reached out to me, and thank you again for your service. Do you feel like cannabis could play a bigger role in the comfort of veterans than we have right now?

Lew: That’s the thing, so I have seen where a lot of veterans use cannabis that are suffering from PTSD. Fortunate or, unfortunately for me, joining the military in ’74, Vietnam was on the down-slide.

Congress didn’t declare the Vietnam conflict over until 1975. But I was lucky enough to be classified as a Vietnam War Vet, even though I never went overseas. I took my basic training in New Jersey and went to Georgia from the previous station.

So yeah, I have seen a lot of veterans that have served overseas and have participated in cannabis use for PTSD and other issues that they have.

Emily: I do want to say thank you so much for coming here and talking about this because I hope that somebody in the audience, perhaps a veteran, will hear your story and hear that cannabis has really helped you, and hopefully, it can bring them some relief as well.

Lew: And I totally agree; smoking for as many years as I have and going through all the stages. Society and the government. Their attitude towards cannabis has been very negative. Where on the other hand, as far as alcohol goes, society is kind of stupid

Emily: Yeah.

Lew: More people die from, not only car accidents and things like that, but there are just, and I mean this more in a way, there are more people that die from alcohol poisoning, and the is, stopping alcohol. So, in my opinion, alcohol is definitely a whole lot worse than cannabis.

Emily: I agree, and I think that’s just a really good message for veterans, too. If they’re looking for relief, you know, cannabis can provide that relief and provide that relaxation, I guess, if that’s what people are turning to alcohol for.

I just, I’m really glad that you said that. I hope it resonates with a lot of other people. I want to be respectful of your time, but before we go, I have four questions that I want to ask all of my guests. Are you ready for the first one?

Lew: Yes.

Emily: All right, first one, what are you most proud of in your life?

Lew: Well, I successfully raised two sons that turned out to be good, upstanding citizens.

Emily: That’s amazing. And really, I’m glad you shared that you did that as a single father as well because I feel like, hopefully, there are a lot of men listening who can resonate with that.

Hats off to you for caring for those boys and raising successful adults because that’s not always an easy feat, especially to do it on your own.

Next question, if you could go back 10, 20, or 30 years and give yourself a piece of advice regarding cannabis, what would it be?

Lew: I guess I just have to be thankful for the exposure to cannabis over alcohol.

Emily: Awesome. If you didn’t have cannabis in your life, what do you think your life would look like without it?

Lew: That’s a very good question. I guess if I had continued my alcohol abuse.

Emily: I am so glad you found cannabis because it sounds like it has made all the difference for you. A very last question before we wrap up today. If you could be remembered for just one thing, what would it be?

Lew: I would have to say, very hard worker, even though I had two sons, that I was, even though I was a cannabis user, all the years that I’ve been a user.

Sometimes I worked two or sometimes three jobs. You know, did that probably for that helped me build my Social Security up, where I could retire at the age of 63. If I hadn’t worked all those jobs for all those years, I would not be receiving the amount of money I do.

And even though I was a cannabis smoker, a user, it didn’t have any effect. I worked whether it was just to afford the cannabis or not.

Emily: I think that is such a great place to leave off. Lew, you have done so many amazing things being a cannabis user, and I hope our listeners take away from this that you can use cannabis and be a hard worker.

You can be a veteran, you can be a father, and you can do; you can live a happy, productive life being a cannabis user, and you are the embodiment of that. Thank you so much for coming here and sharing your story with us.

And again, thank you for your service to our country. I appreciate it; I know our listeners do. And thank you for sharing with us; we really appreciate it.

Lew: Thank you very much. I do want to say to you, though, that how I became aware of you was I caught the last episode that you did on Good Morning Rochester.

Emily: Oh my gosh, it feels like a lifetime ago. So we must be really close physically, then, right?

Lew: I’m up North, East of Rochester.

Emily: Oh, okay, so we’re not far.

Lew: Lake Ontario is only five miles in our backyard.

Emily: Okay. Well, that’s awesome that we are actually so close together. And, my gosh, when I think about Good Day Rochester, do you know I did that show every week for almost six years? I loved it.

Lew: And I just happened to catch the last episode left that you were on.

Emily: Well, I’m glad it somehow brought us together.

Lew: And I watch channel 13 and Good Morning America every morning.

Emily: Ah, me too.

Lew: You being on the air for six years; it’s kind of funny that I missed you through all those years and just happened to be watching the morning that was your last morning.

Emily: I don’t know if you believe in, like, fate or bringing us together, but I’m so glad that it did because I really, I think that’s awesome.

Lew: I also do. New York State has relaxed the marijuana laws.

Emily: Yeah.

Lew: In New York State, this summer, my girlfriend and I tried growing our own plants.

Emily: Awesome! How’d it go?

Lew: Not too bad. We started out with twelve plants, and seven of them made it. Being the first time-

Emily: That’s a lot. Yeah.

Lew: I wasn’t sure what was male and female. So unfortunately, out of the twelve plants we started, only seven made it to where we could transplant them. We started them in the house.

Emily: Perfect.

Lew: Then our garden, and then three of them turned out to be females, and four of ’em were males. I didn’t know what was a male or was a female until it was too late. So, unfortunately, we ended up with a seeded flower.

And they didn’t grow; your plants that I’ve seen you have grown. It made me so jealous.

Emily: You do always comment, and thank you.

Lew: They look so beautiful.

Emily: Thank you. Well, I mean, we live so close together; if I can do it, you can do it. I literally just put those seeds in the ground and walked away. I didn’t touch ’em, didn’t do anything. The only difference, I knew they were feminized seeds when I put them in the ground.

And then I guess our secret sauce is that we use turkey manure for the soil, and that’s it. That’s what makes those beautiful plants. So if I can do it, you can do it.

Lew: What fertilizer did you use?

Emily: Turkey manure. We raise turkeys for meat, and so my husband, you know, composts it all and then puts it out in the garden.

Lew: Uh huh. That’s interesting to know.

Emily: I’ve heard of many local farmers using any kind of manure. Turkey, chicken, goat, alpaca.. something about its nutrients; it just provides a lot of what the cannabis plant needs, I guess.

Lew: Right. I have used cow manure. No, I’m sorry, not cow manure, horse manure.

Cow manure is, I don’t know if it’s too, I don’t remember if it’s too alkaline. Horse manure is what we’ve used in the garden in the past. I didn’t get any this past year.

Emily: Maybe you should get some this year, then.

Lew: May have to get a, see about gettin’ another load for this upcoming grow, too.

Emily: I think the fun thing about growing your own cannabis is that every year is an opportunity to start fresh. You get to learn things from the year before and do just a little bit better each year, and it’s a fun process.

I don’t know if you enjoyed watching the plant grow, but I really enjoyed watching it because it just happens so fast, and it’s so beautiful.

Lew: Oh, definitely, definitely. It is a very interesting event.

Emily: Well, I’m super proud of you for giving it a try, and I hope that this year is super successful. And if you need any hints, tips, or tricks, please let me know.

Actually, that also reminds me, you are in my Well With Cannabis Community, and I am going to be doing a live video all about seeds, growing, and getting your garden ready for planting in the spring. I’ll make sure I’ll send you an email about that, and you’ll be able to attend for free.

Lew: Awesome. That would be awesome.

Emily: Perfect. Awesome. Anything else you want to leave our viewers with today, Lew?

Lew: I’m very thankful for the person that you are, and the information and all the things that you are doing for cannabis.

Emily: Well, thank you so much; I appreciate that. And I want to give a thank you to you, too, because you are out there helping, too. I know that this episode is going to reach somebody who needs to hear your words of wisdom, so thank you so much for your time today.

Lew: Thank you very much, Emily.

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.

If you want more support and encouragement on your cannabis journey, please consider joining the private Well With Cannabis Community. In this group, you can connect with like-minded individuals focused on improving their health and wellness through cannabis.

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

About Emily

Hi, I’m Emily Kyle and I teach people just like you how to use cannabis to find joy, enhance productivity, improve relationships, and naturally support your overall health and wellness.

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