The cannabis industry is steadily increasing and booming, which means there are a wide range of opportunities within the industry to dive into. And with anything, you definitely need a strong marketing technique to stay ahead of the ‘competition’.
Veronica Castillo, also known as Vee, is on a mission to remove stigmas surrounding Cannabis and psychedelic medicines, educate at least one person a day on the power of plant medicine and diet, and inform her readers about what’s coming, what’s happening, and what impacts them in the plant medicines/psychedelic space: new products, vegan brands, minorities in Cannabis and veganism, psychedelic legalization, and so much more.
As a Cannabis Writer-Journalist/ Psychedelics Writer/Journalist, she contributes to various Cannabis/Psychedelic industry publications (digital and print) and industry blogs. She helps plant-based companies: vegan, Cannabis, and psychedelic industries, increase their social media and website traffic. Additionally, she creates content that ranks on pages 1-3 of Google search results.
I recently interviewed the fabulous and dynamic Ms. Castillo where she chatted more about what she does and what she has planned for the future.
La’Tanya: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Vee: I am literally living my wildest dreams. I am from Miami and I always knew that I wanted to live “out of the suitcase” I come from a place where so many people come to go to college or to retire and I always knew that I wanted to leave. So I did and I moved to Orlando and then from there I moved to number of places. In 2018, I left Ohio and starting heading west and I love it so much. I threw myself into cannabis culture so that I could learn everything about the plant. I was introduced to the plant through some friends because I have been diagnosed with migraines and vertigo. I had been on 5 different medications and the most popular one is Topamax. I really believe that having gone through taking all of those medications, it left me experiencing things that I had never experienced before. So, one of my friends was rolling a blunt one day and said, you keep messing with those meds when you can just smoke this. I was so desperate, that I tried it and I have never turned back.
Because I know from experience that cannabis heals my entire mission out here is to educate and inform. If I can get one person to be comfortable with using CBD, then I am winning. I am literally out here learning and experiencing and writing about it and telling people stories, especially in the Black community. I am trying to tell the Black story, I do not feel like we get enough appreciation in the industry, we do not get enough light. I use my small platform (it is small now) but it is growing.
Latanya: Small platform? Everyone you need to follow her so that you can see all that she does.
Vee: Thank you! But you know I am not someone who has 100 thousand followers and if I do have a lot of the content that people think is popular, like how people are mixing cannabis with sex and I am about cannabis and education. I want people to understand the value of this plant and what I am appreciative of is that my following is very engaged. If it were not for them sharing my work and really supporting my mission, I call them my tribe because it really does take a village. So, I am very appreciative for the following that I have because without them I do not believe that so much of my message would be heard.
Latanya: I see how you got started in it but let us go back to migraines because a lot of people suffer from them, especially in the African American community, a majority of my own family suffers with migraines and I am one of those individuals that suffers from them and it puts you down.
Vee: It does, and people always look at it like, oh you are fine…there is nothing wrong with you.
Latanya: It puts you down; the sound, the lights and the noise and they think that you will be fine, come into work.
Vee: Sometimes for days, people will think that all you need to do is to pop a pill and within an hour you will be good.
Latanya: No, it is not that way at all. A migraine can last up to 72 hours, at least and it depends on the person, for instance with me, it gets to the point when I am not able to do anything and it can be like that for about a week.
Vee: Yes and the thing is you cannot, the pain and then the recovery, the headaches that come from the pills that you are taking…it is something else.
Latanya: Were you experiencing a migraine at the time that you first tried cannabis?
Vee: I was. I have on-sets and I remember it clearly. I was sitting at the table and I began to see spots or I experience dizziness and I thought here it comes and I went to get up to take some medicine because I want to take care of it before it hits and then my friend and I had that conversation and I have never looked back. I went and got some the next day and I smoke it daily. Once I started doing that, then they started to occur less and less. It has been months since I have had a very painful migraine. I want to say that it has been at least 6 months. So, I will feel the on-set, I will “spark up” and I see that cannabis will not let migraines turn my body up.
Latanya: Well, I have to say that I may indulge in CBD, not THC.
Vee: That is totally fine, it is totally legal, and CBD works too. My preference is THC, but CBD, flowers, smoking it some people do not want to smoke it but that is fine, RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), there are so many different forms, and THC is not for everyone, sometimes people who experience migraines also have anxiety, so strong THC may be good for the migraine but not so much for the anxiety, so CBD can be the perfect balance.
Latanya: What kind of tips can you give for people who might want to try CBD for pain relief or autoimmune deficiencies?
Vee: I think that because it is so new, I think that everyone should try every form in order to determine what works best for them. For me, flower is my go-to, so I am a smoker first and whether it is THC or CBD, my go to is going to be flowers. Because with flower the onset is immediate and so for someone in pain, for someone that you know with an onset of migraines or maybe you were not able to catch it before having a full-blown migraine, smoking will hit your body within minutes. Oil tincture, you take it under the tongue it will absorb, and it will go into your blood stream, but it takes a little bit of time; it could take about 20-30 minutes.
If you do something like an edible, that will take closer to an hour before that kicks in. For people who are in pain, I would say try smoking first, but if smoking is an absolute no for you then you should try the oil tincture under the tongue. I also support taking it as a vitamin, so whether I am in pain or not cannabis flows through my veins. So, I do CBD edibles even, because as long as it is in the body, I do not need it to kick in right away…I might go ahead and eat a piece of chocolate. So I support trying all versions of it. I have social anxiety; I have to smoke and take oils just to get my nerves calm enough to be social. I think that it is important to try everything, in order to find out what works best for you.
Latanya: Yes, it is about finding what works best for you because I know people where smoking is a definite no., I like the oils because I can put it under my tongue and can just go about my day and at least I know that if I am going to a place where I know that there is going to be a little bit of anxiety, then at least I know that by the time that I get there, I will be calm. Now you mentioned earlier that you may eat a piece of chocolate but what struck me when I pulled up your page, is your incredible weight loss. As I pulled up your page, I came across a picture and there was a comment that you made which said, “I’m not that kind of woman that can show more than this of my body to inspire you to take that journey,” I am like that as well I do not like showing a lot of my body. You go on to say, “But please start that journey, you will have hard days, it will take time,” and that is absolutely true…it takes time to work out and for weight loss. You cannot think that you can just do crunches, squats…etc., and just think that you will wake up with a fabulous body, it takes time. There is a quote that I noticed on Pinterest that basically says, it takes you 12 weeks before you start to see change, 4-8 weeks for your friends to see it because they are not around you everyday and then after that, the person says that it took them 3 years but that investment was one of the best ones made. Invest in yourself and in your health (She then pulls up a picture of Vee to showcase her incredible weight loss). Please folks go and follow her at vee_traveling_veg_canna_writer; her page is inspirational. She is also a writer she has really great content. So, what did you do and what got you started?
Vee: I went on a cruise to the Bahamas and I was in jeans the whole time and it was because I was uncomfortable with my weight. So, I was planning a new cruise and I wanted to get 20 lbs. off so that I could be in shorts. I lost that 20lbs. and then I thought that I wanted to lose 20 more. I wanted to get to that weight that I was supposed to be at (I do not want people to obsess about it) because I obsessed, I wanted to get to that weight that they say that you are supposed to be at on those charts at the doctor’s office that are actually not realistic for people. So, I was stressing that, and I was obsessed to getting to that point and because I was so hard on myself, I did it and it took me three years. In that journey, I went vegan because when you are on a lifestyle change, you start looking at food differently; you start reading labels differently and so you start learning what is really in food. So, for me my weight loss journey got me to start the vegan journey. People lose weight all the time, yet they are still consuming animal in their diet. You have to want to make the change, you have to want your health more than hanging out with your friends at the local pizza spot who really do not understand your journey.
In my writing, I am going to have more vegan content because a lot of it is that we need to stay home more and cook.
Latanya: I love cooking at home. I know what is in my food. I know what I can eat and what I cannot. I have made sure to wash my hands before I cook, I wash my food before I cook. So you know exactly what goes into your food and not only that, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment after you have prepared a delicious meal.
Vee: You are eating food that is prepared with love and that matters so much just like with cannabis. I do not want hands that are irritated or angry or shifting energy.
Latanya: No, not at all. Energy transfers. I like to say, “If attitudes were contagious, is yours worth catching?” I do not want anyone who has a negative attitude, touching anything of mine. So, tell us more about your vegan journey because I am considering that journey for myself. I have tried the 21-day vegan challenge and I have vegan cookbooks. Tell us about the pros and the cons and what were some of the struggles along the way?
Vee: I did everything in baby steps. I lost my first 35 lbs. still consuming animal in my diet but then I watched a documentary on Netflix and that is what did it. The name of the documentary was, Vegucated, thing is I did not start the journey because I wanted to lose weight it was because I saw that documentary. Once you start eating healthier, you have to clear up your gut and your perspective on how you see things in order to make change. So, I was already on a health journey so when I saw what we as a collective society contribute to when it comes to having that chicken on your plate, I was done. So, I went pescatarian and then as I started learning more about fish, it is just a different society and we do not feel as connected to fish as we do to cats and dogs, but they still are animals. So, then it became a compassion journey, but I started noticing how the weight flew off, my body and soul felt different, I became nicer…everything was just transformed. There were moments in life where I would stress and the one thing was that I was not paying attention to “this diet” because it was too much to come home and cook, I fell back into being pescatarian and I gained half of my weight back just from introducing fish back into my diet.
In 2017, I promised myself that vegan was just what I was going to be until I leave this earth; I am going to be vegan. I noticed that when I went back to eating fish, my attitude starting changing. I just noticed that I was a lot better overall being vegan. I am not a perfect vegan, there will be some vegans that will look at me and say that I am a “trashy” vegan, because I will eat a Beyond Meat Burger or a Burger King Impossible burger here and there, along with a few other things and they will look at me shaking their head. I am vegan but I do not eat the best diet. It is really hard to just eat fruits, nuts, and vegetables. I am a girl from the south who likes to eat; I still want comfort food (laughter). That is one thing about the south, I can leave It, but it will never leave me. I am one of the thicker vegans out here because I still want my comfort food (laughs).
Latanya: You are doing what you need to do for you. Your overall journey is fantastic. Looking at your IG page, it is inspirational (you will need to follow her guys). A lot of people gain weight when they go through trauma or periods of sadness and they continue to eat because it brings comfort. I, for instance had a relationship end and I ate and gained so much weight that I was not able to fit any of my regular clothes. The only thing that I could wear was my workout tights. I had a little apartment and I fixed it up, there was a gym nearby and I, tell you that the first time that I stepped on the scale and saw how much I weighed, I was like…oh no! I was at 360+ lbs. So, I started working out. We were talking earlier about how it takes time to lose weight, there will be some good days and bad days. You cannot be hard on yourself because it will be hard. I had to change everything that I was doing because I wanted to wear my clothes again. Even with all of my efforts my weight has been up and down (She has since lost a lot of the weight and has 36 lbs. to go).
Vee: It is ok, those things happen. Weight is always a up and down journey.
Latanya: It definitely is but I am going to stay focused and continue on my journey. I know that I will be able to lose the weight. So, we talked about a few different things regarding your choices and your weight loss journey. Can you tell us about the products that you use and how people can get them?
Vee: I am working on launching my brand it’s Mothernoid_CBG. I want to offer a variety of CBG products, I think that a lot of people are into CBD and THC, which are amazing and CBG is making its way on the scene and what it is, is the mother of all the cannabinoids; without CBG, THC would not exist and CBG is amazing and is for chronic pain conditions that our community deals with; specifically arthritis and inflammation. I want to be careful in saying this, but I believe, in my opinion that CBG is a miracle because literally people take a few drops of the RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) that I make and they begin to feel the pain start to ease up in a matter of minutes. It removes the need for people who feel like they need to smoke so it is a good go to.
My whole mission is to offer a few different products; it will be a simple brand because I am focused on specific products because I want to get medicine to people and at an affordable price. I am working on that and we should be launched by the end of the year. My website will be up as well in the very near future. So, there will be products available for purchase on the site. I would love to get your information so that I can send you a little care package and you can let me know how it works for you.
Latanya: I would love that! A lot of people, especially African American people suffer from autoimmune diseases and deficiencies, there are people in my family who have Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as some other conditions. They have tried different things and I am currently looking for something in order to help my mother, she has MS and she will be trying out some CBD products since it does assist in pain relief. MS is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic pain and issues with mobility. We would definitely be interested in trying your products out and if they work, then you will have customers for life!
Vee: I would love to send her a CBG syringe of the RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) because what I notice is that people who have MS do not have good experiences overall with THC. I believe that the best cannabis medicine has low levels of THC with CBD; I like to pair the two but if it is too high in THC…a lot of us are walking around with undiagnosed anxiety and so we have those bad experiences with THC edibles and flowers because it is too highly concentrated and we are not aware that we have anxiety. So, because THC is that mental high you are going to feel it in your head and the THC and anxiety is just not a good mix. But with MS, CBD it works and if she were willing to smoke (it is mentioned that smoking would not be an option), oh ok, then we can get her some RSO because she will find some relief from that for sure.
Latanya: My mission is to get her to a point where she doesn’t feel pain. The only time that she does not feel any pain is when she is sleeping, which is hardly ever.
Vee: We will get her some relief for sure. This is exactly why I do what I do. I do not want people going to get pills which makes things worse.
Latanya: Perfect! For those who do not know much about cannabis, can you tell us more about it. For instance, how does it work? When should you try it? Or even the best way to try it.
Vee: You can put in a grinder where it can be stuffed into a cone or you can roll it in some type of hemp paper. A lot of people still use blunts and you just lay back and you consume it. I love smoking, for me I wake up smoking, I go to sleep smoking…it literally carries me through my day. I do understand that smoking is not for everybody and no matter the greatness of the medicine, smoking still does impact your lungs. I think that you should try it now, do not believe the government, it is natural and if we can support tea, orchids, and lilies, then we can support cannabis because it is a plant as well. It has the ultimate medicinal value for your body because, its biology matches human biology. So, when people hear “stoners” say, oh God put this plant on earth for me, that is real and when you start getting into the research, you will see that it is a plant that grows wild.
Latanya: Why do you think that people in the industry…the medical industry are trying to deter people from using this natural product?
Vee: Big Pharma. Because it will help to heal everything. As we are seeing in states where it is legal, during Covid, it is an essential business, it is medicine and dispensaries are needed. I think that if everyone started treating with cannabis, there would be no more prescriptions and all that other crap that is affecting us, but it needs to be that way. But Big Pharma, they have their hands all over the White House and it is a federal struggle because they are Big Pharma (laughs), so they try to push that agenda that you are going to be so high. Yes, you will be high but if you look for the strains, you will not have to be. That is the thing with black markets some people do not know what they are picking up, you are picking up THC that is probably way too much and with lower levels, your high will not be that intense. I have a high tolerance, I need highly concentrated THC, but it does not have to be like for everyone, especially if the government allowed us to be adults and make our own decisions.
Latanya: Oh girl…you hit a nail (laughter). So I love my herbal stores, I love everything natural. I have been aware that there are certain things that you can either smoke or make a tea out of that will give you that feeling of relaxation. There is catnip and if you all did not know, you can smoke but it is a stronger “hit” in your throat. For those who are not interested in doing the oils or who may not want to smoke it, is there anything that you can make a tea out of, using THC or CBD?
Vee: Yes, there is a lot. There is actually CBD tea which is something that is hitting the market full force. There are plenty of companies that make Hemp CBD tea bags with different herbs like lavender and things of that nature. You can do it with THC too, but you have to be careful with how hot it gets because it will turn into CBD. If someone is soaking a THC flower and it is in boiling hot water, you will still get medicine, but it will not activate the THC, it will be more of a CBD hit, which is still good because it is still medicine. Even when you are de-carving your flowers at home to make your tinctures at home, you have to put it in the oven, you have to put cannabis in the oven to heat it up in order to activate the THC or the CBD. With THC, it has to be done at lower temperatures because if it is too high it is going to turn into CBD.
Latanya: Does it cook off the THC?
Vee: This part is such a science and I may not explain it very well, THC…which is why the best method is to smoke it, because it is heated, cannot go over a certain temperature because basically it will kill the THC and it will turn into CBD. CBD can be hot; you cook it longer to de-carve it in order to activate the CBD, it can go into tea, it can live in that type of heat whereas, THC is more sensitive.
Latanya: I am definitely learning a lot. We are not promoting smoking so if you do not smoke, then don’t.
Latanya: Just listen to the science. If you would like to know more then you will have to go to her IG page. She will teach you some great things. I have to say that I love your logo!
Vee: The First Lady of the West Coast saw my initial logo and was like oh no, let me get you something that speaks your language and she created it, and everyone is in love with it. I am so thankful. So, shoutout to her for getting me together.
Latanya: Please guys, let us get Vee’s following up, she has multiple pages. If you are interested in learning the science of it all; CBD and THC, not only that follow her, she travels, she did not come to me in Birmingham during all of her travels but its ok…next time (they both laugh). Sixty-day vegan weight loss plan, you can get that if you would like to try. It will literally take you 60 days to experience a full transformation. Cannabis and the Black and Brown community, can you talk a little bit about that because it seems that it is always frowned upon when it comes to Black people, can you tell us why you think that is?
Vee: Again, that is just the government putting fear into society and it is a way that they were still able to have legal slavery. I have this thing where every week, I post, and I am on LinkedIn a lot because I need to give it to these corporate people. I love talking on Facebook and IG, but I am talking to my tribe and that is great but those outside of my tribe need to hear the message. We are making millions of dollars out here in this industry…let my people go! There should be no people in jail for anything related to cannabis. Every day, someone is opening up their dispensary doors and are making a killing and someone is in jail right now for $5000 in cannabis.
Latanya: I am upset with that. I am also upset because we need to get your following up, if it was anyone else who is into cannabis, they would have 23 thousand followers. We need to get your following up because seriously, you could educate a lot of people and I want everybody to know your views on cannabis in the Black community.
Vee: It was important for me to write that piece. I needed to show people that the government is full of crap and then I needed to highlight Black people in the industry that are really fighting for our people, it is beautiful and so my mission is to highlight my people in this industry because…there will be some that will say, that you are selling drugs and its like, yeah but so is this white man. But my people are also trying to bring their people up with them and it is important for us to attack this from a community perspective and that is why I felt that it was so important to write it.
Latanya: If you do want to indulge in cannabis, THC in any form or fashion; make sure that you are of age, do it responsibly and go and support Vee because you can learn a lot from her. So, let us know some of the things that you are working on and tell us how we (the community) support you.
Vee: I am launching my website and it will be a combination of everything that I love so: travel, veganism, and cannabis. I have a team of amazing writers who are contributing to the blog and it will be so loaded with information from people who do not know anything about cannabis to businesses that are launching in cannabis, the brand, the market. I am trying to invite more people into the tribe and I want us to support each other because there is enough money in this industry for all of us to make it and if we come together and support each other as much as we can then we can really make a huge change. That is what my website and my mission is all about. When Covid…I don’t know what to say, goes away, my plan is to pick back up and travel and then I plan to go into Canada and I would like to go to a country where cannabis is all the way legal and provide a sneak peek at what it looks like to be in a country where it is completely legal and cannabis is embraced and they do not have the state vs. the federal stuff to deal with. You guys can support me just follow me and if any of my work or any of my pieces taught you at least one thing then please share it with someone that you know.
Latanya: Seriously guys, if you see this logo, that is her. Go ahead and follow her. This was a great interview Vee, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day. I am Latanya Scott from Purposely Awakened and you can also follow me on social media as well @lscott3257 on IG. Follow Vee and learn all about cannabis CBD, veganism…everything, just follow her!
Vee: Thank you so much, I truly enjoyed this, thank you for having me.
Latanya: You are welcome! Do you want to give anybody a final shoutout?
Vee: My tribe and they know who they are, there is not enough time to name them all. But my core tribe (my family) and my friends who literally open their doors to me when I am out here traveling, the farms that allow me to come onsite and learn, the community of people that support me. First Lady of the West Coast for creating a logo for me. I am really supported, and I just appreciate everyone.
Latanya: Now, if you come to Birmingham, you have another place to stay. Make sure to follow this phenomenal woman. It was so nice talking to you.