Meet the Budtender – Candice Wakoff

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We sat down with one of our Williamstown Budtenders, Candice, to hear what she had to say about Cannabis. Interview by Avery Witherell.

“Cannabis helped me take my life back, and in a very real sense.”

Meet Candice – Age: 40 years

“I feel like I’m ‘young without the stupid’; it’s like I finally reached a point in my life where I make holistic, healthy choices for myself, and it feels good to be where I’m at. It’s like ‘you’re finally in control of your life’, so it’s a good place to be.”

Currently Residing in: Williamstown, MA

“I’ve been here since Summer of 2014, about 6 years. It’s unlike anywhere else that I’ve lived before. The people here are some of the most real and authentic people that I’ve met anywhere in the places (I’ve called home). Even though the winters are hard for me, it’s the people that actually keep me here. There’s a realness here.”

Birthplace: Southern California

“I’ve lived everywhere, pretty much, West of The Mississippi. There are just a few states I haven’t lived in. I spent about 12 years in Colorado. The cool thing there was, as a citizen and med-patient in Colorado, I was able to vote-in Recreational Cannabis, and then when I came here, it was just at the time to vote-in for Adult Use Recreational in Massachusetts.”

Outside Profession: Professional Writer — published 15 novels to date

“I’ve written for HarperCollins Publishers and other independent publishers. I have ‘multiple identities’, you could say; I write Contemporary Romance under the pseudonym Jennifer Seasons, and I write Historical Romances as C.C. Soltry.”

So, tell us: Why Cannabis? How was cannabis introduced into your life?

“Cannabis helped me take my life back, and in a very real sense.”

“I have trauma in my past, and I have PTSD, and I’ve been on so many different pharmaceuticals; when I came to cannabis—I was actually in my mid-twenties when I discovered it—I wasn’t somebody who grew up with cannabis. I was 25 and the first experience I had was so cathartic for me that I realized that there was something medical there for me that made me feel relief, and so I went searching for it. I went and got my medical card out in Colorado and I started on this journey that allowed me to get off of pharmaceuticals. This is the only thing I do now—aside from running, for my sanity!—I use cannabis to control these things that I had been given 3 or 4 different prescriptions for… for the PTSD and the anxieties that go along with it.”

“So being able to finally take control of my life without the horrible side effects and put myself back in a direction, that was positive and healthy for me and for my family. It became so huge for me that it became… well, not a driving force in my life, but when I have it and I utilize it, I’m present and I’m healthy and I’m whole, and when I don’t utilize it, I’m not. So I realized that not just for myself but for other people, too, it truly can be a wellness that brings balance to both mind and body.”

“So when news of Silver Therapeutics first came my way, I wanted to be a part of that here, and that’s ‘Why Cannabis?’ for a career. I wanted to be able to say ‘Look. I’m an example of a success story here.’ You know, I’ve had this horrible past, but at the same time, through the utilization of this product, I’ve been able to make gains in my life.”

“I’ve published fifteen novels. I write, in general, three to four books a year; and I have four kids, and I have a husband and we’ve been married forever and it’s a successful life that I’ve been able to create for myself, and one in which I feel like I have choices. I wanted to be able to come here and be with people who also understood that, yes, recreationally it’s fun! But also that there is more to it than that.”

“I wanted to be able to interact with customers who weren’t just looking to get high, but who were like me, who were seeking something more, and being able to be compassion-care for those people and being able to advocate for a natural, holistic balance within your body to people, and helping them find that, and having them come back and say ‘Oh my God, that worked so well!’ To know that I was able to help them through this thing is actually what keeps me here.”

“That’s what I love because it did that for me, and knowing that not only am I not alone, but that I can help be a driving force for other people to make those positive, natural changes, too, feels really good.”

You’ve already alluded to “why cannabis for a career” — Why Silver Therapeutics?

“I wanted to be a part of something that didn’t feel intimidating, and Silver Therapeutics, from the get-go, never felt that way to me. In the sense of welcome, when I was first a customer, I remember coming in here and being surrounded by genuine smiles and being immediately set at ease. Even though I’ve been a Medical Patient for what seems like forever, one can still go into medical facilities and it feels very impersonal, even when you’re there for something personal like your medical needs. Coming in here it didn’t feel like that… it actually felt more like friends.”

“…I was really excited to put in an application and potentially become a part of that feeling, and when I did get inside and I got to know everybody who works here, there’s such a diverse group of personalities, but at the same time we’re all here for this common good and this common goal. Underneath it all, everybody is working together and they’re all trying so hard to make the best of it and have a good time, and you can feel that. I take that in and when I leave I feel like I’ve actually connected with people, with my coworkers, and I’ve met people that I could really count on or look to–even outside of work, if necessary–and I’ve worked in a lot of different places in my lifetime, and all I can tell you is that’s not normal… but man, is it a thing of beauty to watch.”

Do you have any personal highlights or memories about your time at Silver Therapeutics that you’d like to share?

“Everything from the fact that we can all bust out into song with each other, and even with the customers. The customers can join in on our little choir, and we can all share in joy and create memories. That’s really special. They become a part of your life, but you become a part of their lives, too. When they come here and they’re actually happy to see you because you matter to them and they care about you, and not just because you’re the deliverer of their weed, but because you, yourself and the energy of it all helps make their day so much better.”

What are some of your favorite cannabis and non-cannabis products at Silver?

“I buy glass pieces here when I don’t need any–I have plenty already. Kelly works really hard to find us good glass suppliers with great glass artists and unique little pieces–some favorites of mine being from Distilled Glass, especially considering I have already purchased two from them.”

“I love that I can get my flower and my vape cartridges right here. I love the Pax Era, and will usually buy a new Pax Pod over a new cartridge; either way, anything that comes from Rythm catches my attention right away.”

Are there any particular marijuana strains that you have a preference for, and why?

“Rythm’s Brownie Scout is one strain I keep going back to and have a hard time staying away from. That strain has a way of hitting all the spots for me, with my medical needs as well as being a perfect cap at the end of the day to help me de-stress without immediately putting me to sleep.”

Has the concept of wellness-through-cannabis made an impact on you, or has it affected your lifestyle or that of a loved one?

“Absolutely. I’m living proof of wellness-through-cannabis. I’ve been a med-patient for over ten years now; wellness through cannabis has brought me from a place of struggle to a place of balance and hope. Most prominently, I have PTSD, and with PTSD comes a whole host of ‘fun’ things, like anxiety, depression, OCD, insomnia, you name it. All of those I treat with cannabis, and I treat successfully with the side effects that everybody gets, you know, the red eyes, the dry mouth… and yet, I don’t have the mile-long list of side effects that you’d get from pharmaceuticals.”

“Also having Celiac Disease, whenever I get into a bout where my joints hurt immensely or I deal with nausea and vomiting–with all of those things, cannabis can help take the bumps out of it and just smooth the road a little bit more so that my joints aren’t screaming at me and I don’t have two weeks of utter misery while my celiac is trying to get back under control.”

After consuming cannabis, are there any particular activities you like to engage in?

“One of my favorite things to do after consuming cannabis is gardening. I know it can be a quiet activity, but it’s a mindfulness practice and I find that cannabis can actually bring you to that place of mindfulness and presence more easily than without, so that when I am there, it’s serenity. While I absolutely love to garden after utilizing cannabis, I’ll also sometimes turn to painting or drawing, and even running for the same reasons. Being an avid runner, if I’m dealing with a celiac episode and all the pain that goes along with it, there simply is no running; but if I do utilize cannabis, it does help the joints ease enough to where I’m able to go and continue to work on my health and my fitness without so much of an interruption.”

Thank you, Candice! Before we wrap-up, is there anything else you’d like to say?

“Actually, yes! — Above all, as a mother and parent, one of the things that cannabis has actually really helped me with is being present and patient and joyful with my own kids—you know, because life can be stressful and things can be really hectic, but when you do utilize cannabis, sometimes it can just take all of that and put it on the back burner so that you have time for your kids.”

“Of course, you should always find time for them, we’re parents, that’s part of what we do, but it can sort of de-escalate the stress from the world so that you really get every bit of those moments, and so your kids can get the best from you. I’m not inferring that cannabis will make
you a better parent, but it certainly can help you be more present, and if you can be more present, there are only benefits that can come from that.”

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