In July, I sat down (virtually) with my friend Tom, who is more commonly known by his Instagram pseudonym Herbhack. We sat down for a chat about cannabis, focusing specifically on how Tom uses it and integrates it responsibly, into his life. You can either listen to our conversation below on Spotify, or read it.
I first connected with Tom a couple of years ago on Instagram. Like many of his followers, I tune in to watch and listen to his inspiring jamming sessions. Here is one of my favourites.
As you will read below, mine and Tom’s common interests revolve around cannabis, entrepreneurship, social media and software. In fact, Tom is a Product Designer for a leading social media software. Beyond this Tom is an incredibly inspiring individual and he shared some great stories and tips on responsible cannabis use in our conversation below.
Here’s what we discussed:
- What are the top 3-5 things you spend most of you time doing?
- Where, and how does cannabis slot into your average week?
- So are there any disadvantages with cannabis for you?
- Recommendations for mitigating any disadvantages of cannabis.
- Do you micro-dose cannabis while you are working?
- You catch your teenage son or daughter smoking cannabis. How do you react?
- You can build any cannabis related invention, what would you build?
- Cannabis friendly destinations.
- Your favorite cannabis memory?
Tristan: Take your average week Tom, what are the top three to five things that you spend most of your time doing?
Tom: Okay, it can be quite a varied week, even though I’m working remotely from home most of the time, and confined to my apartment in lockdown. So I guess in order my main focus would be on my main job, and that’s designing software in the social media industry, and that’s been a big passion of mine for almost 10 years now in that kind of business, service market in social media. By that I just mean rather than building tools for people that … like consumers like you and I who would just go on Facebook or Twitter for social reasons, I’m focused on businesses that use social media to sell their products. Especially smaller businesses, and I’ve always been passionate about helping a small business, or an artist, or anybody that’s creating anything and bringing value to the world, social media is the best that humanity has ever been given to have that platform and reach, and ability to reach people all around the world. I build tools that make that easier for brands, on Instagram especially at the moment.
Tristan: Because I followed you for a while on Instagram but I never knew that’s what you done, that’s not really the focus of your Instagram at all, is it?
Tom: No, and it’s a completely different life in many ways, but at the same time there is a huge overlap between creating content and then building tools that make that easier. If anything I’ve used Herbhack as a way to learn about what it’s like for somebody starting out online from scratch, and then trying to build some sort of a brand, or a business, around that just using social media.
Tristan: Yeah, definitely. I mean you probably don’t use it as a trial and error, but it’s good to trial what then you’re building software wise, like you’ve got some first hand experience.
Tom: Exactly. I think it’s almost impossible to build a really good product without doing a lot of customer research, and understanding what those pain points are that people come across in their lives when they’re trying to achieve certain things. By actually putting myself in their shoes, and doing what they’re doing, I’m learning first hand what those challenges are as well.
Tristan: Even easier if you’re your own customer.
Tristan: So that’s number one, what about a couple more, what your next few things you spend a lot of time doing?
Tom: So, something I spend a lot of time doing is creating content for Herbhack, and just for some context the main reason I even started this Instagram page and online community was I felt like underrepresented as somebody that wanted to consume cannabis content that wasn’t just around Cheech and Chong memes. They’re really fun, but also quite limited sub-culture that there is in the cannabis world. So, I was interested learning about successful entrepreneurs or people in a similar industry to me with social media and tech.
Tom: To give you an example, I met somebody that I ended up working for when I was at university, and they were a start up founder, it was a social startup. I remember going to just a drink with him one time and then he pulled a joint out. This was before I started smoking, and I thought, oh my goodness, this is somebody I hugely admire, that’s somebody incredibly successful and hardworking, and somebody that’s a really role model for me and they smoke weed. I was like, damn, that debunks the whole stereotype and the myths.
Tristan: 100%. Did you smoke then already yourself?
Tom: I didn’t. No, not at all. It was very new to me, the concept, at that point. So very foreign to me. So that really changed my perception of what it was to be part of that culture, and that then led to me to wanting to create content that represented that type of use case, and that kind of success and optimization, and responsible usage.
Tristan: Definitely, that resonates so much with me, and Pot Head Coffee, and that’s kind of the point of this podcast as well is to speak to people like yourself who obviously have professional careers and enjoy cannabis as well, responsibly.
Tom: Exactly. It’s a growing market now as well. I’m really happy to see that has changed in the last five years, and a lot of fantastic content. It’s a real privilege to be part of this.
Tristan: Yes, especially in the US there’s loads of brands that are sharing the same message as well, and tapping into that market.
Tom: Oh it’s so exciting, I just hope that this can come to the UK at some point.
Tom: Yeah, I definitely think there’s been a lot of progress. Not so much in the high street, I mean CBD is still significant progress, especially when you consider it’s in high street retailers now. In the earlier days of CBD, as you will know more than me, is it was definitely more of a gorilla underground thing still, a gray area.
Tristan: Definitely. I actually saw I think Superdrug have released a CBD product the other day.
Tom: Exactly, you can see it as a normal thing in the store, so I guess it’s another step or two until we see the same for legal cannabis.
Tristan: Definitely, and I think number three you spend your time doing, looks like music to me?
Tom: Yeah, I would say so. I spend a lot of time playing music, which I’m greatly for and it’s a huge privilege to have some time and the freedom to work from home to be able to do that. If I was in a more traditional role where I might have only an hour or two free in the evenings. I probably wouldn’t prioritize music over other things, so I’m very lucky to be able to spend a lot of time playing music, playing guitar, piano, practicing, but mostly just playing to the community on Instagram. I love doing live videos, it’s a wonderful way to just release some energy.
Tristan: Definitely yeah, and you actually wrote your own song the other day didn’t you, or recently?
Tom: Yeah, I’ve written a few classical pieces and stuff over the years.
Tristan: That so cool man, that’s so talented. To write your own song is the complete next level of playing music.
Tom: I used to think the same but now I’m starting to think that’s the first level.
Tristan: Oh really?
Tom: That’s what we all put our focus on, everybody can create music, it’s like anybody could create a business, or a piece of art. I think everyone’s got their own idea as well of what’s good music, and what really hits those chords inside of you. I wish I’d known that when I was little kid and I would have started writing a lot, lot earlier, I think.
Tristan: Yeah, definitely. I used to play guitar and I guess it’s kind of true what you just said, you just start playing your own riffs and stuff, before you start learning actual songs don’t you?
Tom: Yeah, I think there’s a fine line between creating something new, but also emulating someone else, or copying them, because that’s always a great way to level up in any skill really quickly is just to see how are other successful people doing things. What are the mistakes that they made? How can I learn from that so I don’t have to go through that myself? How I can shortcut my way? So playing a piece of music that someone else has written first, that’s still a great way of learning. I just wish that there was more emphasis in music education to create your own stuff, over just copying somebody else.
Tristan: Yeah, I see what you mean. Doorbells just going to go, I just saw it.
Tom: Yeah, no worries. Go grab it.
Tristan: I think someone else is getting it.
Tom: I’ve been getting so many deliveries in lockdown.
Tristan: Same, yeah. I’ve always preferred online shopping but now it’s just a complete no brainer.
Tom: Absolutely, we all have a complete and utter dependency now on that whole network. People like Jeff Bezos must just be rubbing their hands with glee with this pandemic.
Tristan: This has been perfect for Amazon hasn’t it?
Tom: Absolutely, and for any business that’s in that supply chain and industry, overnight couriers, anyone that’s in that logistics, freight, and packaging, and shipping industries, business is booming and I think it’s going to continue in that direction permanently right?
Tristan: Definitely yeah, it’s got to. All the share prices of them types of companies have soared.
Tristan: Where and how does cannabis slot into your average week?
Tom: So, that’s a great question. Every activity and passion of mine that I’ve just described to you above can be infused with cannabis in so many different ways, in a way that kind of optimizes all of those things. So, I mean to just go through the list, my first passion, or thing that I spend the majority of my time in work with software, cannabis helps that a lot. It helps me think outside the box, I think the role of designing a product as well is so much time is just thinking, and just figuring out problems, before you even start mocking things up on the screen, and making things look fancy and shiny, you really got to dig deep into the problem. Sometimes with cannabis if I do have a session where I allowed myself to smoke, and just think, it gives me another perspective I find. It was almost like I’m in a conference room with a bunch of other people, and I’m hearing things from different angles that previously would have been difficult to unlock, if that makes sense.
Tom: So it helps me with thinking, it helps me also with concentration, and just really getting into the zone.
Tristan: Yes, I’ve noticed that too.
Tom: That’s so validating to hear it from other people in similar worlds, like yourself, that’s the really exciting part of it, that focus and the ability to … what’s the word? Just really immerse yourself in something.
Tristan: Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
Tom: So that helps a lot.
Tristan: So you’re a product … is product designer your title?
Tristan: So, you don’t just make it look pretty, so to speak, do you? Is it more how things work as well, and the experience, the journey, the flow?
Tom: It’s all of that, yeah. Whereas previously … I think the roles evolved a lot in the last few years. Previously I would have seen, in a lot much larger companies as well, like Facebook and Twitter, you might have somebody who’s sole job is just designing buttons or something. But in a smaller software company than that then I think the product designer role really encompasses the research. I used to be a researcher before I was a designer which really helps.
Tristan: Okay, yes.
Tom: So I used to do a lot of customer interviews, and understanding what the problems were, and trying to surface those challenges that users come across in a product. Then find a way to improve that. So I think that’s the biggest part of it really, is understanding the problem to be solved and the solutions come quite easily I think if you’ve got a really firm understanding of the problem that someones facing using a product, or in a situation in life. Then the solutions almost draw themselves. One example is when you see somebody do a really hack-y approach to completing a task online, they might use a couple of different tools online, or an Excel spreadsheet to do something, and you think, “Huh, I could build an app that would do that in a quarter of the time.”
Tom: So that’s a really fun part of the role, and then it gets easier as you go along. You can mock it up in a rough … just with a pen and paper even in the early days, just to figure out what might look good on an app, or a page, in a really low fidelity. As you get more confidence and validation, and get customers involved in that process as well, really showing them these early mock-ups at times, or running them through online prototypes, rather than building anything, or investing time and resources, you can feel really confident by the time you get to this stage where you are just designing the little high fidelity buttons, and the overall polish. So yeah, it’s a really rewarding role, I really enjoy it.
Tristan: Is that the most satisfying bit for you – the final design bit?
Tom: I think the most satisfying bit is releasing it into the wild, and watching people use your app.
Tristan: Yeah, it must be.
Tom: Seeing them get that value, that’s the most awesome thing. Thinking I’ve saved that person a ton of time, or I’ve helped bring value, or I’ve helped them grow their business. That’s really cool.
Tristan: Yeah, I mean, I think of cannabis sometimes if I’m working, it sounds a bit cliché but it helps me … if I’ve got a particular problem it helps me reset to zero, so to speak, and just think about it a bit differently. Or simplify it.
Tom: I know exactly what you mean, you compare it to teeth with plaque, it almost reduces that, right? It’s a bit of a reset, yeah.
Tristan: Helps you simplify it almost. Kind of hard to explain.
Tom: It really is, and I find that something like alcohol does not do that at all, it’s the opposite. It’s terrible.
Tristan: Ha! I can’t think clearly about anything after a few drinks. Definitely not. I wonder if anyone uses alcohol to work. I mean, you hear about writers and stuff who like to.
Tom: Yeah, but that might also be linked to depression and their general sense of being.
Tristan: Yeah, I think so. I think just because it’s more commonly accepted you hear about it more. There must be lots more writers who use cannabis than alcohol, there must be. You’d think so anyway.
Tom: It’s hard to tell, right? When you’re in a world like this, where everything is so taboo and underground. Even now in the UK it’s still very difficult to get people to open up about it, as you’ll know.
Tristan: It is, yeah. It is. So how about music and cannabis then? Is it the same theory?
Tom: Oh yeah, I mean just growing up, even though that I believed was very bad when I was younger because I had a religious upbringing. I was Catholic, and had a very dated set of views on almost thing in life, until I got to about 12, 13, and I started thinking for myself as a real human being. I think up until that point you’re just like a product of your surroundings. I don’t know if you have a true sense of independence. But yeah, I got to that point and I started seeing musicians that I really liked, and weed was referenced in almost all of them in some way. Especially –
Tristan: Yeah, that’s so true.
Tom: …something like the ’70s and ’80s and that hippy revolution, and human … what’s the word? It’s almost like a renaissance into substances, and the idea of that hedonism. So, long story short, I realized very early on that there was a strong connection between cannabis and psychedelics, and music. And although I’ve been into psychedelics, I’ve never tried them myself, there seems to be a close relationship there as well.
Tom: But anyway, going back to the original question with music. It’s incredible, it’s like I said with the work, it gives you another lens but with music it’s even more. I feel you can totally immerse yourself in a song in a way that is just incredible. It’s almost like your going into an experience, you’ve just paid a ticket at a desk and you walk through this door, and then suddenly it’s just all around you. You feel the music in just new ways and feel like you’re almost part of a band, even if you’re just playing by yourself, it’s incredible, amazing.
Tristan: I don’t play music myself, but I know when I find a good new song that I really like I just think… I can’t wait to smoke a joint and put headphones on, and really listen to it. Have it really loud on some noise canceling headphones, and just really listen to it. It’s cool.
Tom: That is the best, isn’t it?
Tristan: Very immersive, yeah.
Tom: It’s almost like a vulnerability to that though, right? Because you’ve got to close your eyes, and just lie there, and you can’t hear anything. So as a human being on a really primitive biological level, that’s actually a strange concept because it’s like a wildebeest, or a lion, could just eat you whilst you’re in this vulnerable state.
Tristan: I never thought of it like that, but it’s so true, why it’s so good, yeah.
Tom: Yeah, gosh. Long story short, it’s great with music.
Tristan: I guess we’ve just covered the advantages of cannabis. But what are the disadvantages of cannabis for you?
Tom: Yeah, I think there’s quite a lot. Not just for me personally, but I think just that can happen, and that might have happened to me in the past. Not so much disadvantages but risks, I would say. So one, I think, it’s just that it’s not very everybody. Some people it just won’t do something for them, or it won’t go down well. I’ve seen people who have tried it multiple times buts it’s always made them feel paranoid, or anxious in some way. I think that’s one thing to realize, that it’s not going to be for everyone. Not to feel that pressure as well, and do it until you’re feeling absolutely comfortable.
Tom: So that can be another thing as well, I think pressure and stigma for young people. I think a lot of people have bad experiences in the early days because some idiot just gives them a super strong joint knowing it’s going to knock them out, or make them freak out. So that can be a challenge, I think, especially in an illegal market. You don’t know what you’re getting, you don’t have that…
You have no idea, no.
Tom: … expertise and knowledge, to give a really comforting experience for somebody that’s new to that, or doing it for the first time. So that’s a big disadvantage.
Tristan: Yeah, someone to almost guide you through it, or help you dip your toe.
Tom: Exactly. Absolutely, that helps a lot. And it’s such a social thing as well that you can have such a wonderful laugh with someone, and a great time as you would anyway if that wasn’t involved. But it’s really special when you’re with someone else and you can just laugh about stupid shit, or talk about really deep, crazy, introspective topics.
Tristan: Yeah, there’s such a huge contrast isn’t there? You can go from a hugely deep conversation to just laughing at something that doesn’t even really exist.
Tom: And in the world we live in I think that’s especially important because things are fucking hectic, right?
Tristan: Definitely, very true. Nice to switch off.
Tristan: Do you have any tactics or recommendations for mitigating any disadvantages of cannabis?
Tom: Absolutely, I think just knowing your limits as well, so one tactic is go slowly. Just have one puff, or toke, whatever it is you want to call it.
Tom: And just see how you feel. Don’t feel a compulsion just to try and copy one of these Instagrammer, YouTubers that just wants to get a huge rip for the contents sake, and it looks great if somebody does a five gram dab, but that would kill a normal person.
Tristan: Oh God, yeah.
Tom: It’s not about quantity. Even one tiny, little toke you can have a wonderful time. So yeah, take it steady. Another thing I would suggest is just staying hydrated. Drink lots of sweet drinks as well.
Tom:I’m no expert, by all means, but from what I’ve read it seems to help if you drink orange juice, and sweet drinks, and stay hydrated. Maybe eat something as well, if you have an empty stomach, like alcohol, I think you might have a stronger effect. So I would definitely recommend that as well. If you’re in a situation when you felt absolutely terrible, and you’ve eaten an edible that was too much or something, you can just go for a nap, or go for a shower. I would also recommend that, that can really, really help, if you’re freaking out.
Tristan: Definitely, if I’m going to an edible I always like to have it later on in the day so that if things do get a little bit intense I can just go to sleep and wake up fine.
Tristan: Literally sleep it off. I’m not 100%, and I shouldn’t make the recommendation I guess, but I think the theory is isn’t it? If you do feel like your greening out, so to speak, or you feel terrible, part of that is low blood pressure and I think sugar, sugary drinks help with that.
Tom: Yeah, because that can contribute to some of the feelings of dizziness, and nausea, and just not feeling quite right.
Tristan: I think I actually learnt that in a coffee shop in Amsterdam. I mean, you don’t have to sit in there too long before you see someone white out, or green out, whatever you want to call it. And the waitress normally brings them a can of cold coke pretty quickly, I’ve noticed.
Tom: Ah okay.
Tristan: So it most ring true over there as well.
Tom: Yeah, I mean anecdotally in my own experience it always helps to have a sweet drink.
Tristan: Same, yeah. I have a sugary coffee sometimes as well.
Tom: Oh that’s a treat, a sugary coffee. I love coffee but putting sugar in there is just…
Tristan: Condensed milk, like a Vietnamese coffee is really good. I think caffeine helps as well, especially if you’re whiting out or just feeling a bit sluggish anyway.
Tom: I can imagine.
Tristan: Yeah, do you ever … do you call it micro dosing, or anything like that, when you smoke and work?
Tom:Yes, that’s a really good point. I would say it was micro dosing, because I would absolutely not go near a full joint or anything like that if I had anything productive to do. That’s really intended for when I want to chill out in an evening after a long week or something. Yeah, I would say just have a tiny puff and you feel the most positive sides of it but without feeling intoxicated, which is really important. Nobody wants to feel like they can’t get anything done, unless you really do just want to lie on the couch, just eat everything you can possibly find.
Tristan: That’s interesting. I’ve always wanted to ask you that, but I didn’t realise. Cool.
Tristan: Right, so the next question is different. It’s a scenario, you catch your teenage son or daughter smoking cannabis, they are 18 years old, how do you react and what do you tell them?
Tom: That’s a great question, I’ve thought about this a lot with regards to parenting one day.
Tristan: It’s interesting isn’t it?
Tom: It really is, because part of me, I guess I cannot firstly emphasize with that person truly, that future version of myself because I don’t know what it’s like to have kids yet. So I don’t know what it will feel like to have a little baby, and watch just that little bundle of innocence and joy end up as an adult in the world of vices, and things like that. So I can’t relate but I would like to think in that scenario you just described I would embrace that, and have already up until that point brought them up with the knowledge and the mentality not to just go to extremes of everything. To understand the dangers of any kind of substance abuse, or understanding how society and cultures use things like alcohol, or weed, or other things. Just really empowering them with that knowledge, so by the time they’re 18, which is an adult, they really are just solid, sound people, who can make their own decisions and not need my judgment or intervention in their lives.
Tom: I think if I can get to that point and that self sufficient where they can make those decisions, I’d just be like, cool, this is awesome, do you want to go smoke and get some pizza or something? That would be amazing, so that would be the dream scenario, just to run with it, and it would be the same when I have my first beer or two with them, that would be awesome, I’d absolutely love to go get tipsy with them when they’re adults on day and have a good old time. That would be a dream.
Tom: The opposite of what I had growing up because my parents don’t really drink, and my goodness they would never smoke weed. So I just don’t what it’s like. It’s very taboo.
Tristan: I think that’s generally has been a shift with our generation.
Tristan: That was it, I think you were similar to me, in the sense that you didn’t really start smoking yourself until early 20’s was it?
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. I had tried it a couple of times before, I tried it once just after a gig when I was 17, but I was already drunk so I couldn’t really tell the effects. Then when I was 18 I went to Amsterdam with my girlfriend, or my wife now, and yeah we had a wonderful time. We got super blazed all weekend, but then we never went back to it because it just … I don’t know, I was still young, it just didn’t call out to me as something I wanted to do more. It wasn’t until I was 21 at university that I just felt a compulsion to explore it. And that specifically, I had no interest in anything else, but I felt ready and more mature. So I don’t really have those teenage experiences that I think most people in our community do with weed. I was very much a late bloomer.
Tristan: Yeah, same. I was exactly the same as that. Funny really.
Tom: Good though as well, I feel like I wasn’t ready and I had a wonderful childhood, and adolescence, I just didn’t think that would have contributed to it, I already had an amazing time. We drank a lot as well, being from the West Country.
Tristan: Yeah, same as that.
Tom: A lot of cider, and I played a lot of rugby, and booze was just a huge part of rugby culture and still is. So that was my teens really.
Tristan: Yeah, and is it the male – I remember reading about this when I was researching my questions and stuff – the male brain isn’t fully developed until 25 and that’s generally considered the best time, 25 onwards, to start smoking cannabis. The longer you wait, then generally the healthier it is for your brain.
Tom: I mean, from what I’ve read it seems to be the case. A lot of studies seem to suggest that in terms of development. But at the same time, we’re still so early with our understanding of that, I think. There’s a lot more to learn, but I would agree with that, I wouldn’t want somebody young to … and by young I mean everything under 21, to really get too heavily into anything.
Tom: Yeah, because it’s so important to experience life and everything it has to offer, and try as much as you can until you maybe start getting more set in your ways as you get older.
Tristan: Definitely. Right, this is a bit more of a fun question. So, you can build any cannabis related invention, what would you build?
Tom: Oh my goodness.
Tristan: This is the only one I thought about giving you the heads up on, because I thought you might like to think about it a bit longer.
Tom: Any invention? That can be related to the plant itself, or could it just be a mechanical invention?
Tristan: It could be whatever you want.
Tristan: I might add more rules to this question over time, but for now it’s kind of a free for all.
Tom: For me it would be the plant itself. I would try to find a strain that was the perfect experience, and that didn’t have any, or the absolute minimal, risk of any kind of anxiety or paranoia. That just guaranteed product would be an amazing invention.
Tom: And nobody would ever have a bad time with it.
Tristan: That’s a brilliant idea, yeah. I didn’t think of that.
Tom: It’s almost like asking for a million wishes, because I think that’s just like an obvious thing. But there’s so many other things in terms of a product that could be used for industry. Oh my goodness, maybe like a pipe or something that would guarantee no coughing, that kind of absolute smoothness. There’s been a few innovations in that world where they try to cool the smoke with different kind of designs of funnels, and spirals, and things..
Tristan: Oh really, that’s interesting.
Tom: …to make that hit a lot smoother, and less likely to make you cough. But something that could really guarantee that and almost make it taste lovely as well, like flavors and things. That could be interesting.
Tristan: Yeah, maybe that could be genetically engineered into the plant as well. That’s interesting. That would actually be a really interesting topic to read about. I mean, I guess they’re working on that all the time when they’re breeding strains and stuff.
Tom: Oh yes, and I’m sure we’ll get there at some point. The level of innovation we’ve seen in the last even 5, 10 years has been incredible as we’ve seen more investment, and money, and resources go into that world. So yeah, I think the next decade or two is going to be very interesting to see.
Tristan: Isn’t it? So exciting.
Tristan: I just wish the UK was a bit more … it would be cool if we were a bit closer to the forefront of it all, shall we say?
Tom: Yes, but at the same time I think it’s even more exciting to be involved in a world that’s a bit more underground before it’s legalization and payday, because then you’re there at the perfect time. I think by the time it’s legal it’s almost too late already with regards to certain opportunities.
Tristan: That’s very true. Okay, lastly then, your favorite cannabis friendly destination? Because I know you’ve been to a few.
Tom: My goodness yeah.
Tristan: What we’ve talked about before, but anyway.
Tom:Yeah, oh my goodness, I think as an over arching place because ultimately nobody’s going to be able to … not everybody’s going to be able to travel and get to see some of these places. So I think the best recommendation is just always sat next to a river, or some water, or a beach. Anywhere in nature really where you can just get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy city, or a town, or community, and just have a bit of time to think, and see something just truly beautiful and natural. I think that’s always the best place that somebody can go to, regardless of what country you are in, in the world. Everybody has got their own version of different … of natural landscapes that just bring them absolute peace and joy.
Tom: That’s my number one thing, but then in terms of physical locations round the world that I’ve been to, that are friendly towards cannabis … and of course the legal states, like L.A. in California, and San Diego, I had a great time there last year. Amsterdam’s fun but it’s also got a little bit seedy feeling still, you can’t help but feel that you’re part of a tourism industry in the main part of the city. It doesn’t feel like it’s a strong part of the culture, it feels like it’s really something that’s there for the tourists, at least with those types of coffee shops in Amsterdam itself. Other parts of Holland do have their own coffee shops and communities that are a bit more, I think, authentic and chilled.
Tristan: Definitely, yeah.
Tom: Amsterdam is a little bit seedy I feel.
Tristan: It is, yeah.
Tom: Just trying to think of some other cool places that are actually friendly, because most of the places are still illegal, and a lot of them are wonderful and have great communities but they’re not, on paper, friendly.
Tristan: Yeah, I know … Barcelona is quite a nice place.
Tom: I’ve been there, but I haven’t been there with regards to the cannabis, I went there when I was a bit fairly younger, I was I think 18 or 19.
Tristan: Yeah, I still think it’s in the gray area.
Tom: Yeah, you have those clubs don’t you, where you can buy some sort of a license.
Tristan: You get a membership, yeah.
Tom: Yeah exactly, as a private establishment as a loophole around the law.
Tristan: Yeah, I think there’s quite a few places in Europe. Have you been to Christiania, in Copenhagen?
Tom: Oh yes, I have, that was cool. I had a wonderful time, and they have really good hash.
Tristan: Yeah, that’s an interesting place. Oh, I realized I missed out a question if you’ve got time?
Tom: Oh yes, absolutely.
Tristan: Your favorite cannabis memory?
Tom: Oh my goodness.
Tom: Honestly too many to count. I have just countless wonderful cannabis memories-
Tristan: Or worst, if that sticks out, if that’s more prominent?
Tom: I mean there’s just so many wonderful highlights rushing though my head right now at a million miles an hour. I’ll just pause one and just pick it out. Let me think. I mean anything with regards to the travels, incredible with cannabis. I’ve just had so many interesting conversations with people around the world that I’ve met through cannabis as well.
Tom: One example is about six years ago, I was in Sydney in Australia, and I walked through this park, called Hyde Park actually, just like London. In central Sydney, and I was walking through it and just smelt some weed. I thought, okay I’ll come back to this park later on tonight and see what the vibe is. I just clocked it out, as you know you can smell it anywhere, right? We’re just like greyhounds. I went back later that night, by myself, and low and behold, a guy sat on a bench who looked really friendly just smoking a joint. So I just went up to him, and I was like, “Hey man, how’s it going? Where can I find some weed?” That blunt. We ended up just sat down, chatting. He ended up getting me some, we then went to a burger and milkshake joint. So random, middle of the night, it was 11 PM or something. Say middle of the night, you know what I mean. He left me with this little bag that I kept for the remainder of my trip. That was a lovely experience, just meeting a complete stranger and having a smoke together.
Tom: You couldn’t do that now in this world of Coronavirus.
Tristan: Yeah, unfortunately so. But that’s cool though isn’t it? There is a kind of camaraderie…
Tom: Absolutely. It’s like a community.
Tristan: Yeah, definitely. Help each other out, and you kind of understand each others predicament.
Tom: Yeah, exactly. I think that’s one of the key factors when it comes to forming a bond with someone, it’s like a shared hardship or something. So the fact that it has to be illegal and you’re both taking that risk, that in itself can give you a feeling of bonding, or also just like the many nuanced experiences that stoners go through. Trying to light up a joint in a windy park, or trying to roll up on the go on a bench, looking over your shoulder. Or dropping a grinder on the floor and just losing it all.
Tristan: Yeah. I guess you just pay it forward, so to speak, don’t you? Someone who helps someone out, and then you’ll be helped out when you’re in need.
Tom:Exactly. I’ve just got countless stories like that where I’ve met people in the community, from Herbhack as well, but also just authentically, organically, in the world in different parts.
To learn more about or follow Tom, head to @herbhack on Instagram, or his website, www.herbhack.com. He stocks some mission based merchandise and some beautiful cannabis accessories which are definitely worth checking out.
Anyway thanks for reading / listening and let me know what you think or what you want to hear us talk about next. All the best,