Cannabis encourages us to express our vulnerabilities. For those of us, who, through trauma and pain, have hidden from ourselves and the world, the plant has encouraged us to dive deep into ourselves and heal the pain that we’ve run from most of our lives. When Lisette Barajas, better known as Mehndi420 on Instagram, first started smoking in 2009, she didn’t know that the plant would help her heal from childhood sexual assault and allow her space to discover her passion for art therapy through henna.
“Unfortunately, I was sexually molested by my neighbor when I was 5-years-old,” Barajas shared with High Times. “That experience created a lot of shame and confusion.”
When she was younger, Barajas attended therapy but it was to address the domestic violence issues she was experiencing at home. “I never addressed the molestation because my brain created a defense mechanism known as childhood amnesia,” she said.
In 2009 while working on obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles, Baraja’s began to use cannabis recreationally. Around this time she was also taking a sociology course, which forced her to accept that her molestation was real.
“Although I started using cannabis recreationally, it transcended into something more than that. Through cannabis, I have been able to cope with and process childhood trauma.” she said. “Smoking helped me deal with some of the emotions and triggers that come with working through abuse. I decided to become a social worker and now [I’m] transitioning into [art] therapy because of my lived experience.”
It wasn’t until 2018 when cannabis became legal in California that Barajas began to