The world is waking up to the benefits of cannabis, partly thanks to the innovative and creative personalities that seem inextricably linked to the plant. Morgan English is a photographer and cannabis expert who has helped spark a shift in aesthetic representation of cannabis, creating beautiful photo content for brands and consumers. Sharing her personal experience with cannabis day-to-day in an authentic way has catapulted her Instagram account @ThisCannabisLife into the feeds of over 50,000 followers. Like so many advocates, Morgan came to cannabis out of necessity.
This Cannabis Life
Cannabis Photographer and Stylist
It’s not overstating to say that cannabis transformed my life. I have struggled with anxiety and depression since I was seven years old. I was put on Prozac for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). By the time I started college my mental health was in decline. I was trapped in an endless cycle of trying to find medication that worked, and feeling really low.
A longtime friend of mine suggested I try cannabis —before then I had only smoked it a couple of times in high school. He said, “You know, you’re taking all these medications, I’ve seen you go through so many different ones. You’ve lost parts of your memory from them, you’ve given so much of your life to these pills and they haven’t helped you. Try cannabis and see if you have a different experience.” So I did. And it changed so much for me. I am present, I’m not in a cloud. I’m happy. I don’t obsess over everything. I definitely still work through OCD and I am on a low dose of medication for it, but I don’t feel lost anymore. I’m not foggy, and I’m not sad. In every sense, it gave me my life back.
This plant is not researched enough. My hope is that as we can do more research, we can get more doctors to learn and talk about cannabis. I hope to see doctors open their minds to cannabis, especially in the mental health world. We should look to understand how to combine western medicine with plant medicine. When it comes to my health, it’s not about just cannabis and it’s not about just pharmaceuticals. I’ve had to find a balance of both.
I hope to see doctors open their minds to cannabis, especially in the mental health world. We should look to understand how to combine western medicine with plant medicine. ”
I had the idea to start This Cannabis Life in early 2016 after realizing that there was nothing mainstream that represented my experience with cannabis. I was a full-time nanny and the assistant manager at a fitness studio in Washington. Neither of my employers knew that I smoked cannabis. Keeping this secret about something that really transformed my life was making me feel ashamed for something that I wasn’t in actuality ashamed of. A few years ago if you searched online for “weed” or “cannabis,” you’d basically find a lot of pornographic stuff, or super stereotypical images, and I realized there was this huge lack of quality lifestyle imagery related to this entire community and culture. I was already actively building my business as a photographer, so I started shooting people in my life and things in my house to start representing cannabis in a way that was relatable to me. I wanted to show that someone can be productive and ambitious and a good member of society and a cannabis user. I wanted people like me to see images they could relate to.
Click here to visit @thiscannabislife on Instagram.
Not everyone is ready to shout out about their relationship with cannabis from the rooftops, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Morgan shares, “When I first started this business my Mom and Dad were definitely not supportive. I’m close with my grandma and she still doesn’t know what I do for a living or about my cannabis use. There were others in my family, too, that took a while to come around to the idea.”
Are you considering telling people in your life about your cannabis use? Morgan has some advice:
It’s your choice what you put into your body or what you do to feel well, and there’s nothing wrong with being private about those choices. Tell people on your own terms, when you feel comfortable. Start by telling someone that you know is going to respond well, a person you know to be open-minded who will be an ally. If you feel like you’re going to receive criticism from others, ask yourself, “Do I need to tell this person? My mom or dad? My boss or co-workers?” If the answer is “yes!” and you are ready to share, that’s when it’s the right time. Remember that sometimes you may be met with judgement, but that ultimately you’re in charge of your body and your health.