52 | Michael Stratton, Author, The Little Green Book: A Guide to Breaking Up With Marijuana

“You talk about both sides of the ambivalence. You know, what you like about it and what you don't like about it. It's nonjudgmental, it's respectful. It's, it's believing that people know in their hearts, you know, what's best.”

— Michael Stratton

Michael Stratton is not a cannabis prohibitionist. He believes the plant should be legalized. But he also cites studies that say 9 percent of cannabis users will have a problem controlling their use. He speaks from experience, as a former user himself, he has empathy with those who struggle to control their use.

How is your relationship with cannabis? Join us as we discuss The Little Green Book: A Guide to Breaking Up with Marijuana.    

The Little Green Book: A Guide to Breaking Up With Marijuana, on Amazon

Kannaboom (00:00): Hello, and welcome to episode 51 of the podcast. This week, we have therapist and author Michael Stratton. He's written The Little Green Book: A Guide to Breaking Up with Marijuana. Mike is neither a prohibitionist, while he's somewhat of an advocate for cannabis. He has a lot of experience with it. And we know that about 9% of people who smoke cannabis or ingest in other ways are eventually going to develop a problem. The answer may be abstinence. It might be just stepping it back, but the answer is definitely looking at it with some intention. And Mike lays out a framework for doing that in his book. And we talk about that. We also touch on his weekly radio show, the Vinyl Side of Midnight, which comes out of Lansing Community College. They're on hiatus right now, but I look forward to hearing it when they come back on the air. In addition to this podcast, my website is at Kannaboom, with a k.com and my newsletter is Five Boom Friday. You can sign up for that for news about CBD and cannabis, as they relate to your health, and you'll always know who our next guest is and there's discounts and all kinds of news about cannabis on there. Enjoy the episode.

Kannaboom (01:05): Cannabis is booming and Kannaboom on it. Welcome to the Kannaboom podcast, where we interview experts on the changing story of humans, health and hemp. From San Diego, here's your host, Tom Stacey.

Kannaboom (01:17): It's Tom. Welcome back to the Kannaboom podcast. Today we have Michael Stratton. Hey Mike, how are you?

Michael Stratton (01:22): I'm doing okay in the midst of this pandemic. How are you?

Kannaboom (01:27): Yeah, we're all soldiering on. The first wave is not over, but the uptick is upon us. So heading into the 4th of July weekend as we record this. So hopefully things are looking brighter in a couple of weeks. Yeah. Glad to have you on you're the author of The Little Green Book: A Guide to Breaking Up With Marijuana that came out earlier this year, I think.

Michael Stratton (01:46): Yeah, it's a perfect time to release a book.

Kannaboom (01:51): Well, people are at home and they're kind of burned out on Netflix and maybe they'll reach for a book. I know I did, and I read it and I liked it a lot.

Michael Stratton (01:59): Oh, good. Thank you. That's great to hear.

Kannaboom (02:02): I've got lots of stickies and highlighted pages and there's, there's lots to chew on in there.

Michael Stratton (02:07): Oh, fantastic. I'm glad you liked it. And yeah, and it's why I wrote, it was obviously for an audience of people who might be interested in learning more about marijuana from different angles and be able to, you know, who are basically interested in inspecting their relationship with the substance.

Kannaboom (02:32): Right. Being a little more mindful of it, maybe.

Michael Stratton (02:34): Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's interesting. Cause I'm a therapist and my perspective on the book is that I think I'm, I'm pro legalization. I think marijuana is very helpful in a lot of situations. I think it's the, it's the substance of choice, really for a lot of medical conditions and about 9% of the people who use it will develop an issue with it, some kind of a problem with it. And the book has really focused on that population. So that's, that's where it goes.

Kannaboom (03:12): I would characterize it as kind of part memoir part instruction manual. Is that accurate?

Michael Stratton (03:17): That's, that's pretty fair. I would what, what I really tried to do was accomplish three different things. One was getting out some information about marijuana that was basically factual and based on some studies I have been a big fan of memoir and it was telling a lot of my own story and my own relationship with marijuana over the years. And then part of it was a series of trainings that I had been doing under the auspices of SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They had granted a big grant to an agency in our community. And I got some training through them and access to some of the studies and actually was a participant in a number of those studies over the course of some years to learn. Um basically they were looking at two main questions and what is one was who's likely to develop an issue with marijuana. And the second question was what tends to work with them in terms of people who are, who expressed even any interest in changing that and what works better than other things as far as therapy goes. And so in doing that training at the end of it, I realized that not much had been written. I mean, there'd been studies written up and some stuff that was done for therapists specifically, but nothing that really was directed to a lay audience. And I thought, well, maybe I can kill, you know, three birds with one stone here by putting it all together in a book.

Kannaboom (05:01): So when you talk about that 9%, that has a problem, is that characterized as an addiction problem?

Michael Stratton (05:08): Well, this is, this is what I found in my practice. So I've been a therapist in doing private practice since the late eighties. And when people who have a really strong relationship with marijuana present themselves, one of the things that usually they will say to kind of defend the relationship is that it's not an addiction. So Sam says, says it is, the medical definition says that it's a possibility that it is. A lot of people are resistant. So my attempt to sidestep that disagreement or that argument is to say it's a relationship. And I think most people recognize that you have a relationship with that. You have a relationship with anything in your life. You know, we have a relationship with our computers or with our phones, you know, we can have relationships with people or places or things. And it's the same thing with cannabis. So when I talk about, in terms of a relationship and I say, would you like to learn a way to measure your relationship? That usually doesn't evoke any resistance, so you can be an acquaintance of it. You could be a stranger. I mean, there were many years when I didn't know anything about marijuana whatsoever. I'd never even heard the word. It was such a distant stranger. I didn't even know about it. Um then you can have heard about it, but you've never encountered it. And that was going out for a number of years. And then you can become an acquaintance of it. You know, you can meet it, you know, people who have done it and then you can become a friend. You use it and you usually have one or two reactions. Basically. I like it, or I don't like it. If you like, it's just like hanging out with a friend. If you hang out with somebody and you like that person, you try to seek them out again. And then how often do you seek them out? You know, do they become an inner circle friend? Are they one of your best friends? Are they absolutely your best friend? Is it the person you want to, you know, is it your lover, it's who you want to go to bed with and who you want to wake up to? So that's the range. That's kind of the continuum that I cover in terms of looking at how powerful that relationship is. And like I said before, that that rarely evokes any resistance or anything. People are just kind of interested in getting a picture of where they're at with it.

Kannaboom (07:37): Sure. And that kind of framing. I mean, we all have a relationship with our smartphone and, you know, if you took mine away, I might have a physiological reaction. And I'm not even proud of that, but I think you explained it pretty well. We have relationships with lots of things. It doesn't have to be a classic addiction where you do have physiological reactions, it could be purely psychological.

Michael Stratton (08:02): Right, right. Yeah. And there's, there's the that is an argument that some people who are really strong proponents of marijuana say that the only well, one of, I mean, if you want to get into the clinical definitions of it some of the things that define whether something's an addiction or not is whether the person has any kind of withdrawal symptoms when they are not in the presence of the substance and withdrawal from marijuana does have some withdrawal symptoms but they're subtle. And they often relate more to mood and to craving and to sleep disturbances. So they're not, they're not dramatic, you know, like withdrawal from heroin, withdrawal from alcohol. Those are some pretty dramatic withdrawal withdrawal from caffeine. People will often experience headaches. A withdrawal from marijuana is, is like I said, a lot more subtle. So people even wonder as well, is it, is there any physical addiction to it? And some people experience that and some people won't. So, you know what we've learned through the amount of research we've done is that there are a lot of variables involved and more research is called for. And it's more complex than we had first thought

Kannaboom (09:27): The idea of having a problem. We all know how that can show up with this substance. Some, any of us who have had experience with it during our college years, and maybe after no, that it can sap your will a little bit. Right?

Michael Stratton (09:42): Well, there's the, the, some people experienced that, the motivational syndrome. It's interesting. Cause I know I have a family member, in fact, who, who when, when he uses, he gets, he gets a lot of energy and I'll always know when he's using, cause he'll tell me I was just cleaning the house and then, and then other people will use it and they'll just lay on the couch and you know, want to play video games or watch a movie or something like that. So that's one of the complicated and paradoxical effects that it has, you know, it has a different effect on different people, different people metabolize it differently. But for people who experienced the motivational issue that is just hard to get any traction in their life. And it's one of the things that I see a lot in my office.

Michael Stratton (10:37): So with teenagers, for instance, when I used to treat a lot of teenagers, their parents would contact me and say, you know, my, my child's depressed. They were doing really great. They were involved in sports. They were getting A's and B's, and now they're on the verge of dropping out of high school and they dropped out of all of their extracurricular activities. Their friends have changed. We think they're depressed. And then when I talked to the kids, they'll, you know, and I'll ask about marijuana that they will identify. Yeah. I started using marijuana at this point and then kind of lay out a track record of that's when things really started to change. So again, not everyone has it, it doesn't affect everyone that way, but definitely some people, it does.

Kannaboom (11:27): I know people who are very high functioning and don't have a problem, supposedly the guy who ran Men's Warehouse and, you know, you remember the commercials, "I guarantee it," he was known for smoking joints every day.

Michael Stratton (11:40): Yeah, absolutely. There are many very successful people who use it regularly and who it doesn't interfere with. And that's, and that's one of the questions, that's an individual question. So it's not like this affects all people this way, are all people that way specifically, I'm saying, how does this affect you? So what I noticed in terms of my own story was that there was the motivational issue that I just, you know, I had a plan to after college, I was going to take a year off and work in the field for a year and then go back to graduate school. And interestingly enough, right about then I started to smoke marijuana on a daily basis. And one year turned to two years, three years, four years, five years, five years later, I finally got myself to apply for graduate school. And the other, the other effect that it had on me was short-term memory which was the way that it manifested itself, mostly was in reading. I would read a page of a novel. I was a big reader. I loved reading, but I'd read a page and a novel and I get to the bottom of the page and I, I, it would hit me like, wait, what did I just read? I'd have to go back and read it again. And it'd be like, 'Oh yeah, I recognize this.' Okay. Yeah, I've been here before, but the, but the ability to retain that was really impaired. And I recognize that graduate school was likely to involve a lot of reading. So I, so I stopped using it for a couple of years. And at that point, that's when that's when the wheels came off, because I turned to alcohol instead of marijuana, which was interestingly it didn't affect my memory, but I had the genetic lineup to become alcoholic. So that's another story though.

Kannaboom (13:35): I'm sure I'm not the first person to kind of speculate. Is there a sort of, almost a biological need to change your state? We see cat's play with catnip. I don't know how many mammals try to get high, but especially in times like these, when there is a wall of stress almost every day. And how do people cope with that on the spectrum? There's an argument for harm reduction. Sometimes cannabis might be less destructive than alcohol. I'll let you take the first part of that. You know, what about the sort of the need to change your state as a coping mechanism?

Michael Stratton (14:09): Well, I think that's a great question and there, there are two parts of it and I want to address both parts. I do think that this is in human nature and it might be in the nature of maybe all creation, you know, the attempt to evolve the, the, the desire to change the desire to be different in some way. In fact, I think what we are facing right now, you mentioned here we are. It's just prior to the 4th of July weekend in 2020, which I think is a year that we'll all remember for a long time. I think that's part of what's going on. I think, I think, our country is going through the growing pains of developing a new consciousness and whether that consciousness is about how we treat each other, are we really truly united? How are we treating people who quote unquote others? I think, I think all of that ties into the idea of consciousness and how do we change that? And we've certainly used substances over the, over the over many years. And it's really interesting to see what's being done now in the field of psychedelics: LSD, mushrooms, ketamine different people using it to do things that basically kind of expand their consciousness. I was really interested in that myself back when I was using a lot. And, the idea of harm reduction that you bring up Tom is important as well. And I'm a, I'm a believer in that. So I think in days past when someone worked in the substance use field, if someone came to them and they said you know, for instance 'I'm using marijuana or I'm using whatever substance and I don't want to give it up.' Uh they would often be either told, well, you're, you're in denial and we're going to just break down your denial or they would be refused treatment and say, you're not ready to change, come back when you're ready to change. And I always thought that was really destructive and not helpful. I'm more along the lines of both harm reduction and also let's, let's investigate your relationship with the substance. And, and usually when we do that, or when I do that, I start with, 'What do you like best about it?' You know, 'What does this do for you?' And when a person feels that they're okay with talking about that, they're also okay with talking about, okay, is there a downside? Is there something you don't like about it? And then they'll usually express. 'Yeah. In fact, I don't like it, I don't like this, you know?' And then, then you have some, you know, you have a whole big range of areas to work in.

Kannaboom (17:10): Kind of right down the strike zone with a fastball, I guess. No, those are big thoughts. I mean, you know, you talk about evolution and where we are right now in society tries to kind of find its footing. There is a change going on and it is both kind of personal and collective. We're going through some massive changes and do substances help or hurt that. I mean, alcohol is a social lubricant until you're drowning in it. And then, then it's not positive anymore.

Michael Stratton (17:40): Right? Yeah. The answer is both, both. It helps in, it hurts. I mean, there's a, there's a limit to the solution that a lot of medications have to offer. You know, they, they thought the antidepressants were kind of a miracle drug when they first came out different some of the benzos, you know, like Valium or Xanax, you know, they, they were thought of as like, 'Oh my gosh, this is really helpful. It will really take the edge off any anxiety you have.' And then they found later like, 'Oh my God, these are really addictive. It's really hard to get off of.' And so, you know, I, it's just interesting how much really, and for, for all the things that I don't like about big pharma, one thing that big pharma has done is it has introduced an awful lot of research. Um just like you know, the space program that a lot of things came out of the space program that were kind of side effects of what they were really working on. I think the same thing is true for big pharma. We understand the brain a lot better than we used to. And how that relates to cannabis is really interesting. And, and once again, you know, cannabis will interact with different people's brains in different ways and different strains react in different ways, too. I think all this is really interesting stuff that we're going through, right.

Kannaboom (19:09): I mean, I've talked to a lot of chemists and doctors, and Raphael Meshulum in Israel in the early sixties was the first to kind of put his finger on the chemistry of it. And then we discovered we have an endocannabinoid system and we have receptors throughout our bodies for all these different cannabinoids. And there are benefits where people take CBD and that's derived from cannabis, but it's not going to get you high. There's lots to think about there, but back to the need or the craving for substances. I think a lot of us think we're in control of it, but then one day you wake up and say, 'Hey, maybe I'm not in control.'

Michael Stratton (19:48): Well, and that's that's. Yeah, it's interesting because it's very subtle and it tends to be incremental. I, yeah, I mean, marijuana was something that I really loved in my life. I, what it, what it did for me when I first started to use it, it enhanced everything. Colors were brighter. Music sounded better. Food tasted better, textures felt better. You know, just, just everything just seemed to be better with it. And I was able to understand abstract jazz, you know, it really enhanced my ability to listen to jazz, so I wrote a paper at the end of college on existential psychology that I don't think I would have been able to understand if I hadn't been smoking some pot at that time. I was reading the beat poets. I mean, just enhanced so many over the course of some years, very subtly, very incrementally. Uh I came to rely on it more and more, and it became more of a, a problem um in the sense of why I was using it to reduce my stress. I was working at the time on a psych hospital inpatient unit, and it was a pretty stressful job. And again, incrementally, I got to the point where without realizing that I'd become dependent on it, I, I, if I was on the verge of running out, I panicked about it and made sure that I was going to get some more. And then as I described before, you know, it got to the point where it was really starting to affect my motivation, affecting my functioning in terms of being able to read. And I, you know, I was really dependent on it. The, the, the control, excuse me, the, the loss of control is one of the key things that we look at in terms of what is my relationship with a substance? Like, so is it predictable? So one of the things that I would do, I realized like, 'Oh man, I'm just smoking way too much. I'm going to buy some really good stuff.' I bought like the best ounce of weed I ever bought in my life. This was back in the days when people bought it by the ounce, you could have to mortgage anything expensive now. But I think I paid at that time $50, which was a lot for a bag of weed. And back then, and, and and I broke it up into little, little baggies and put them in the freezer and thinking, you know, okay, now here's the date that I'll open this one, here's the date I'll open this one. Here's the date, I'll open this one, thinking, you know, if I do that, then I can control how much I'm using. It's just gonna be for special events, special times, just here and there. On the weekend, I had a friend who would, he said he went through an ounce of weed a year, and I always thought that sounds great. That sounds like the way to do it. Within two weeks it was all gone. It was all gone. I broke right through one, one deadline after another, you know, just breaking through and just opening up the next bag and opening up the next bag. No. So that showed that my using was becoming compulsive. It was not predictable. I was experiencing that loss of control. I was smoking more often than I thought I wanted to, and more than I wanted that I thought I wanted to those are all kind of red flags, you know, when you find yourself like feeling that compulsive pull to do it, and that kind of panicky feeling when you don't have it available to you.

Kannaboom (23:35): Right. We all strive for moderation maybe. But when it's not there, then that, like you said, is a red flag.

Michael Stratton (23:43): Possibly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and, and some people are totally. And again, again, some people are totally okay with that. You know, I know some people who say, 'Yeah, absolutely I'll freak out if I don't have it.' And I'm good with that. And, and, you know, if their life is working for them, who's to argue with that. This is for people who might be experiencing that and recognizing that in some way their use might be getting in their way. Right?

Kannaboom (24:12): Like you recounted from your own history. If you have a plan to do something in five years, you're going, 'Why did I do that?' That's kind of an indicator that maybe you have an issue.

Michael Stratton (24:22): Potentially. Absolutely. Yeah. And people's, I mean, it does people's goals in life change. There's a saying in recovery world, the saying is that most people have a goal and they'll change their behavior to meet their goal. When you develop an issue with a substance, you change your goals to match your behavior. So it's kind of like flips around. And that, to a large extent, that seems to be true.

Kannaboom (24:52): Back to the times that we're in. Do you see an uptick in people kind of raising their hand and saying, 'I might have an issue here.'

Michael Stratton (25:02): I do. I think that the use of marijuana, and again, I'm pro legalization. It is legal in Michigan. Now a lot more people are using it. It's, it's rare for me to go out and not smell it someplace, you know, out in public. There are stores that are selling it. There's beers that are infused with it now. I mean, it's, it's kind of all over the place. It's people are using edibles, all kinds of ways that it's being used now. The percentage of people that use it is probably going to go up. And generally, I think that's kind of a good thing as opposed to alcohol. I think it's a safer substance than alcohol is. But conversely, I think if it's that 9% and the overall number is larger the number of people who are likely to develop an issue with it is also going to be larger.

Kannaboom (26:00): But again, you're, you are in favor of legalization. You're not a prohibitionist, so you see it as useful for people, but if they have a problem and they may have a problem.

Michael Stratton (26:13): Yeah. You know, it's funny, this is such a, a binary time, you know, that you're either for this or you're against this. And taking the middle path with this has been really interesting to me. One of the ways that I started doing this after I was, after I was doing the training, I did a teleseminar with a group of people and developed an email list and did all of that kind of stuff. And what I found was that there were a percentage of the people that would get really upset with me. When I said I was, even though I was a substance use therapist, that was about a third of what I work with in my profession. Even when I said that they would be outraged that I would be, you know, how, how could you be for this? You know, marijuana was the gateway drug for my son and they developed heroin and it ruined their life. And how could you be for the legalization of something that's going to lead to that? And then on the opposite side was how dare you suggest anything is wrong with this. This is a miracle drug that does everything for everybody. There's no problems with it whatsoever. Everyone should be using it. And I, you know, the idea of like, yeah, there's something to be said on both sides of this, and there's a middle path. That's kind of a Buddhist perspective. That idea that there's a middle path, that there's some truth on both sides. And let's try to find something in the middle that really works for people. And that, you know, you just see that all over the place, you see that politically you know, we're so, so divided right now. And I don't know. I just think it's a, it's an interesting thing. That's happened to our culture and I, and again, I think that there'll be a big what the French call the rapprochement, you know, at some point we will come together again in the middle to a great extent. I just, I just think that that's true.

Kannaboom (28:13): Yeah. You're on a tightrope there, for sure. And then possibly a complicating factor to this is the a hundred year prohibition where gee, if you go back to the 19 hundreds, there were tinctures available. And it was used as a folk remedy for migraines or whatever people had. We had a relationship with cannabis, and then there was the whole lie that started in 1937, that it's the evil weed in the devil's lettuce. There's so much misinformation, maybe that accounts for some of this binary sort of nature of how you see it.

Michael Stratton (28:45): And the other piece of that time is that, I mean, it had a racial component. The outline of it definitely had a racial component. When you see the war on drugs, that was a way to really do harm to the black culture and to a Hispanic culture. I was a, it was a quick way to arrest a lot of people. And very few people in the white culture were using it. And then when you, when you saw white kids beginning to use marijuana that's when the war on drugs really cranked up, you know, and, and all of that, you know, on the dare program and all those kinds of things that were very ineffective and destructive, you know, so that's, that's another reason why I'm really for the legalization of it, because it was, it was just a subterfuge to corral people of color and put them in jail.

Kannaboom (29:42): You're one of the few people taking a clear-eyed look at it, I mean, the pendulum swings to the other side where people present cannabis as a panacea for whatever ails you. And it's, it's not that either in terms of harm reduction and stress relief, it has applications and it's not the devil's weed.

Michael Stratton (30:00): And, and part of it, I mean, in terms of the other side of it, you know, that it is harmless and that it doesn't cause anyone any problems and you can't become addicted to it. That's the other side of the mythology that you can use it too much. You can use it too often. You can develop a tolerance to the point that you can, you can actually develop some physical ailments. So, one of, one of the things that people have seen in the last few years is this syndrome, you know, people doctors in particular, noticing this in emergency rooms with people showing up and having these horrible stomach cramps and vomiting. And quite often that is linked to really heavy chronic marijuana use. I'm talking to someone right now, who's been having that going on, and they do a lot of it, they use dabs on a regular basis. Um so they have a very high THC content. And when I say, you know, "Does a hot shower seem to help it?" And they're like, "Yeah, yeah, it does." Absolutely. So, I mean, this is a syndrome that we're starting to see that has been around for a few years. And unfortunately at this point, I mean, it looks like the best cure for that is abstinence that when people start to use it again, they develop that it's, what is it called? The cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. I always mispronounced that.

Kannaboom (31:29): I have no experience with dabbing, but it seems to me it's that mindset of, okay, if, if a couple of bong hits are good, this is going to be even better. You're building a tolerance up and you begin to overwhelm your system, all your, your whole endocannabinoid system and in your brain, maybe with wow, just huge amounts. I mean, you're basically freebasing, right? There's a torch involved in a, I don't know that the body was meant to withstand that.

Michael Stratton (31:56): Yeah, the butane infused hashish oil all that kind of stuff. I was working with someone else that was doing that exclusively and he was having those symptoms and he also was somebody who got to the point where it was really interfering with his functioning. He'd lost a relationship over it. And he stopped dabbing and he started to just smoke it, you know, just smoke the occasional joint in the evening. And you got, he got back on track. He started picking up the business that he was doing before and ended up, you know, saying that he was a lot happier using it that way. So there's an example of harm reduction. Another example of harm reduction to get back to it is there's one guy who was treating, who was really really lost with alcohol. He had a really bad chronic relationship with alcohol and he was consistently getting arrested for it and driving under the influence and just, you know, all kinds of bad things were happening. And he smokes regularly and he smokes on a daily basis, but he doesn't drink when he smokes. And I think that's another one of those harm reduction things, you know? So I, you know, that looks like progress to me. Yeah.

Kannaboom (33:18): That's part of your approach when you're counseling patients, is it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing you can throttle back maybe and have a better life. Is that okay?

Michael Stratton (33:28): Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and some of it is even, even the willingness to experiment with it, you know, to experiment. What if, what if you tried doing this, as opposed to that, would you be open to trying that as an experiment? Because some people, even the resistance of trying that experiment says something about the strength of the relationship. And I don't know to what extent we want to get into this, but I said before, you know, there was, I was involved in that study and that, and two of the main things that we found out in that study back 2004 to 2007, is when this study took place. One thing that we found out is that people who were likely to develop a problem with it started when they were 15 years old or younger, that had such a strong effect on their brain development that it kind of circumvented the brain development that tied long-term consequences to current behavior. So when that got interfered with, they were more likely to develop a dependence on substances. And that, that didn't just mean marijuana. They were also more likely to go on to other substances as well. That was one thing we learned. The other thing that we learned was that what tends to work better in terms of approaches is something called motivational interviewing. And that's where you do talk about both sides of the ambivalence. You know, what you like about it and what you don't like about it. It's nonjudgmental, it's respectful. It's, it's believing that people know in their hearts, you know, what's best, and what's in their best interests that they're going to come to those decisions. How do I know what's in your best interest, but let's have a conversation about it. And my experience in working in those methodologies is that when you have open honest conversations about it, people tend to make consistently better choices over time. So those are the, those are the things that we learned about it.

Kannaboom (35:39): Yeah. It seems to me, sometimes your job is holding a mirror up to somebody who maybe doesn't want to look in that mirror. When you talked earlier about everything, it sounded better, tasted better. You know, there's the old line about the palace of excess leads to wisdom or something. I mean, you can't know what's enough until you've had too much you know, in when you're in that mindset, you're kind of questing, you're looking for answers, but then if you bump up to the answer is 'you're fucked up, man,' I guess that's wisdom. Right?

Michael Stratton (36:16): Well, it's one of the, I think it was the bass player for the Grateful Dead who used to say 'Too much is just enough.' That was our phrase that we used back in back when I was using, 'too much is just enough.' yeah. Yeah, if you, if you, if you feel like the relationship has gotten stale again, you know and, and, and one of the pathways out of that is to understand what does this do for me? So the idea of expanding your consciousness has always been interesting to me, the idea of living the life of an aesthetic, you know, of appreciating beauty of appreciating tastes and sights and sounds. Those are areas that I've really let myself go as deep as I possibly can. And they have become well, you know, when you started out talking about my radio show, I, I really doubt that I would be doing a radio show if I was still using marijuana, I would dream about doing it. I would think it would be a great idea. I'm not sure that I would have actually gotten it together to make the pitch to the studio and to have been accepted and all that kind of stuff. And as a result, I mean, I, I swim in an ocean of music. I, I, I have so much music at my fingertips now, actually everybody does, but you, you need to find a way to replace what the substance did for you. And if you don't find that you'll return to the substance, you know, if, if, if that's the direction you want to go in, if that makes sense,

Kannaboom (38:07): You've managed to do a radio show for 23 years in the age of Spotify, people are still listening to you. So obviously you got a lot of value out of that, and you're delivering value to it rather than holding yourself back.

Michael Stratton (38:22): The idea of surprise, I think, is big for a lot of people. I'm just like, Oh, I didn't know. So it's a jazz radio show, but I love to, I love to throw curve balls at people. So I'll play, I'll play some soul music. I'll play the blues, play a, I played Patsy Cline. I play en garde stuff. Jimmy Hendrix, I just think, I think people want their minds expanded. I know when they tune into my show, they're going to hear something that will make their ears perk up. And it'll like, 'Oh, wow.'

Kannaboom (38:56): That sounds like my kind of radio station. I love the eclectic mix, you want variety, you want a surprise. You're not broadcasting right now, but let's get your call numbers or whatever. Is it available on the internet?

Michael Stratton (39:11): It is, it is available on the internet and the station right now, what they're doing is they're broadcasting. So they're still playing a stream. It's not my show. It's not anybody's show. Cause it's, it's mainly people who do the shows. There are volunteers and it's a very eclectic station to begin with. So they have out, they have a folk show, they have a heavy metal show. They have some blues shows. They've got a show that is preceding mine is a reggae show. They got a Latino show. So my show is on Sunday nights from nine to midnight, every Sunday night, that's Eastern daylight, time, nine to midnight. And then it gets replayed on Friday nights from seven to 9:00 PM. I'm really hoping within the next couple of months that we'll be back on the air, but with the pandemic, we just don't know. And with the college being shut down, I mean the whole, the whole thing is just locked down and we can't, we can't access it, you know? So hopefully someday we'll be back in there and I'll be able to do that again. But I miss that. I do miss that at first it was kind of a relief cause I've done it for 23 years and it's like, Oh, I got my Sunday nights free. This is great. Now I miss it.

Kannaboom (40:23): So I can get it in the show notes. How can people find that if they want to listen to it?

Michael Stratton (40:27): LCC radio they can go to LCCradio.org and they will be able to stream it. And currently we are not, I mean, one of the demands that I've, that I've heard from people is that currently they are, we are not we're not podcasting. The shows are not they're not being re re you know, kept for, you know, some stations you can go back and listen to individual shows. I know that something that the station manager wants to do for us, but they haven't pulled it together yet to do that.

Kannaboom (41:03): Okay. We'll get that in the show notes. So you're in my old stomping grounds. I went to Michigan State. I was there. So yeah, I haven't been back. I wish I could get back. I was there 1978 to 82.

Michael Stratton (41:16): 78, 82. Okay. Those years I was just done with my undergrad and I came back to Lansing. I was working on the psych unit those years and and hearing a lot of good music at MSU, a lot of good there was a lot of great jazz that was at the Erickson Kiva and some, some good country stuff, too, Doc Watson and Norman Blake and different different folks like that.

Kannaboom (41:41): What's your advice for somebody who's listened to this and is thinking, you know, maybe I do need to take a look at my marijuana consumption. What are some first steps they could take?

Michael Stratton (41:49): Oh, God, you just set me up. This is like playing volleyball with someone, or here comes the slam dunk. I would suggest purchasing my book Little Green Book by Michael Stratton. You can, you can purchase that either. You know, you can get an ebook version of that, or you can get the hard cover. It is a little green book too. It's less than 200 pages all together and gets a hundred and just kind of 165 pages. So you can read it actually like in an afternoon or just a couple of days or so. And there it's packed full of information people who, you know and I, and I put the information upfront in terms of taking that test, that self test of trying to identify, you know, what's the strength of my relationship with cannabis. Um so they can, they can look at that. They can also look at my website, which is www.mikestratton.com. I've got actually an unedited first chapter of this book that I published for free on that website. They can take a look at it and see if that's something that's interesting to them or not. And then there's basically the book gives you a step by step guide that if you decide to stop, you know, different ways to do that different things that are helpful ways to work with your own resistance. Cause if you want to change something, you know, if I I'll tell you what if I decided like, okay, tomorrow I'm going to start a diet. You know, what I'm likely to eat tonight is a pizza. You know you know, if I, I mean, it's, it's human nature that when you try to make a change, you automatically begin to resist it.

Michael Stratton (43:40): Alan Watts said when you float in the water, when you try to float you sink, when you try to sink you float it it's, it's one of those weird things about change is that it's, it evokes change evokes resistance. And that just seems to be part of what happens. So the book outlines how to work with your own resistance and different pathways to take, you know, to do the kinds of things we were talking about about how to substitute what the substance did for you? What does cannabis do for you and how to start to address that? It helps you go to sleep. How do I learn how to relax? It helps you see brilliant colors. How do I develop that visual sense for myself without it, you know, it doesn't matter what it was that it does for you. You need to find a new pathway. If that's the direction you want to go to.

Kannaboom (44:34): Well, that seems a key concept when we talk about a binary sort of perspective, doesn't have to be all or nothing. Doesn't have to be black or white, and you can bring some compassion to yourself and understand that you're going to have some resistance, but step towards it and understand that there's something in you that's going to fight it, for sure.

Michael Stratton (44:54): That's very true. And there's usually different parts that people have. I have a lot of I guess the word is humility to stand in the presence of someone who is in the process of change. Cause I do get how hard that is. And having been through that process myself, I understand the, I guess, sacrifices that are involved in that of giving up letting go and initially doing so out of a faith that something better as is, is around the corner. I, you know, I'm, I'm a believer in that I'm a believer in that, but I also understand how hard it is and not everyone can do it. Not everyone needs to do it. But it's worth the conversation with yourself to consider it.

Kannaboom (45:49): Absolutely. Mike, is there anything we haven't covered that we should?

Michael Stratton (45:56): We could talk music for hours. No, Tom, this has been great. I really appreciate you giving the book some time and talking to me about it and I hope it does find an audience and yeah, I'm just grateful. Thanks.

Kannaboom (46:15): You mentioned your website. Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Should we look for you?

Michael Stratton (46:20): Yeah. Look for me on Facebook. I, you know, Mike Stratton on Facebook and in East Lansing, Michigan I'm also my, my tea or my TV show. My radio show has its own Facebook page, the Vinyl Side of Midnight. I've got a professional page for the Little Green Book. I've got a professional page for my practice, which is Mike Stratton, ACS, but the Little Green Book, by Michael Stratton if you look that up on Amazon, you'll be able to find copies of it available.

Kannaboom (46:51): Alright, Vinyl Side of Midnight. I love that you're putting the needle down on real vinyl.

Michael Stratton (46:57): Sometimes I'm, I'm doing real vinyl. The irony is when I first started doing the radio show, they had a turntable in the studio, and then they moved the studio to a new modern studio, which doesn't have a turntable. Here's the irony. I've had to burn a lot of my LPs to CD to be able to play them. So I bought the CD side of midnight.

Kannaboom (47:24): It doesn't have that same ring. Yeah, well, that's great. You know, I know like Neil Young was going to the wall for vinyl for a while. I've got a big turntable upstairs, a big old set of speakers that my wife got from a friend in a McIntosh receiver, and we love to light that thing up. It can rock the house, right.

Michael Stratton (47:45): That's that's, that's how we did it back in the day.

Kannaboom (47:49): Thank you for taking the time to talk about your book. I know our readers will be interested and they know where to find you. Fantastic.

Michael Stratton (47:56): You're doing a great job, Tom. This is a wonderful podcast you've put together, I listened to a few episodes and it's really cool.

Kannaboom (48:03): Well, thanks, Mike.

Kannaboom (48:05): You've been listening to the Kannaboom podcast with host Tom Stacey, if you like the show and want to know more, please check us Kannaboom -- with a K -- .com and please leave us a review at Apple podcasts or wherever you listen, see you next week.

 

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