Jen Newts Gets High & Spills the T: A Q&A with HighTea.Life

I first discovered @HighTea.Life on Instagram. As an irregular Instagram user, I didn't read captions and skipped the bios. I just saw incredibly feminine cannabis content, the first time I had seen anything along these lines. Cannabis products & branding I always felt was either tacky as fuck or directed at the male consumer. I didn't think there was anything out there for me...until I found @hightea.life and her fabulous podcast.

I always knew I wanted to work in the cannabis industry. It was my passion but I just didn't know where I would fit into it. I thought I needed to find a job working for someone in the industry...somehow?! But how and who?! I didn't have any legal evidence of working in the Cannaspace.

Hightea Life as their opening credits tell you is:

"a high vibe cannabis entertainment company for women who also love weed. this is thoughtful and blunt exploration of pot & its magic, the role it has in the lives and processes of cool & creative people everywhere and an evolving cannabis culture we are seeing happen before our very eyes. we're elevating perceptions with every episode..." 

That is exactly what it was for me. It opened this door of possibilities in my mind. I have listened to the episodes a few times over, I have debates with myself while listening to the podcasts, I read the books mentioned. I became a little obsessed.

I feel I could have arrived at this point organically but not for years. Jen Newts & her podcast got those wheels turning faster and the ideas flowing freely, not to mentioned fanned the flames of the idea of a female powered global Cannabis revolution! The Future is Female. The Future is Cannabis. Women & Weed will save the world!!

I could ramble on for so much longer, but that's boring. Lets cut to the good shit...

How did you discover cannabis/ how were you introduced to it?
I tried cannabis for the first time with guy friends in high-school - didn’t know what I was doing in the slightest so I smoked the joint like a cigarette, and then practically had a panic attack. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties I came back round to the plant (again through a male influence, this time someone I was dating). It woke something up inside of me: a creative, playful curiosity I hadn’t felt in a long time. It made things feel exciting - cooking, dancing, anything - became activities that now felt full of fun. Emotions would roll out of me in bursts of prose and poetry. I suddenly wanted to tackle my work, new solutions to the problems I was working through would take on new forms while high - going from good to great. Suddenly: a desire to journal. A need to hear my thoughts. I began to write! And started a blog (before there were bloggers) that I poured heart & soul into called BRAS & RANTIES that ended up being quite popular. Overall, I think the plant really helped reintroduce me to my self.
In 2015 I had a really bad bike crash - my right (writing) hand smashed & my jaw fractured and wired shut for 6wks. It was a transformative time having so much of your creative freedom suddenly stripped from you - having to focus everything you’ve got back on your healing. It was around that time I truly started realizing the medicinal role the plant held in my life; the ways it was supporting my digestive system, sleep, central nervous system, the PTSD i was experiencing. the pain i was in. I’m very very thankful for our favourite plant. It helped me find wellness again.
-What is your favourite method of administration / favourite strain? I know you were biiig on Guava before. Is that still your strain? 
I'm a flower girl through & through - I prefer to roll my own joints, i find it’s the only way they smoke well. i prefer King (Queen) sized papers, rolled elegantly and usually quite slim. as a child i was hyper-influenced by cigarette holders, and my joints tend to have a similar kinda vibe. 
Personally I find that vapes, edibles, drinks nothing can quite replicate the experience of being elevated off of flower. it’s transitional - a relief that kind of waves over you, for me (because i experience anxiety) it feels like a sort of peace. A friend of mine once described vaporizing as listening to music without the bass and for me that nails it: it’s still enjoyable and nice, but there’s a sort of depth missing.
- What is your everyday main job? 
I’m a creative - an ideas person - trapped in a business person’s body. Professionally, I’m an Creative & Integrated Brand Marketing Strategist & Storyteller - which kind of just means I do it all. I build brands, name them, creative direct them, think of advertising platforms, marketing programs, taglines, etc. The truth is I’m sort of just obsessed with human behaviour - and how ideas and trends tend to move around. 
Because of HIGHTEA.life, and my openness with my love for the plant, many of my branding & marketing clients over the past few years are naturally migrated to the cannabis space. So I’ve been able to create new brands entering the legal space, and help refine existing ones to express their creative & stories more potently. You can check out more at brandNEWTS.com
-How did Hightea.Life start? And how long has it been now? I know personally have been listening for about 2yrs. 
I’m so grateful you’ve been listening for so long, thankyou! HIGHTEA.life just had our 3rd birthday - we officially kicked off the month before legalization in Canada. The year or two prior had been a bit of a wild west of weed in Toronto - completely unregulated so there were grey market stores & offerings & experiments EVERYWHERE - and most of the culture around it was still very old school & male-oriented. but I kept meeting women like me. they were using it for wellness, or creative, or art, or health reasons. we’d chat and connect and then that would be it. I realized: there was very little for us. and it needed to be built.
HIGHTEA kicked off as a podcast, quickly became an event series (well-known for teaching people how to roll joints) at elegant, elevated café soirees. we’re now a store with a smoke shop about to drop - a new community about to be revealed. and i am also currently working on designing my own smoking accessories line. so there’s SO MUCH MORE HIGHTEA brewing I know you’re going to love.
-I've picked up some great book recommendations on your podcast and then found more book from that. Do you have a little list of recommended reading? Your favourite cannabooks? Self help, non fiction, fiction, cook books. Anything that women can learn more about themselves & their relationship to Cannabis?
Wow this is a great question, and probably one I’m not asked enough about! The book I think you’re referring to specifically is Cannabis + Spirituality: An Explorer’s Guide to an Ancient Plant Spirit Ally (edited by Stephen Gray). This is a collection of essays from different thought leaders on our sacred & spiritual connection to the plant. I found this book during a time when cannabis had become an issue in my relationship - my partner at the time had decided he was completely against all stimulants and wanted me to commit to giving up pot completely. (and coffee - HA!) This book reminded me (and continues to remind me) of my (personal) deeply spiritual connection with the plant - in fact I’m quite sure it’s a medicine I’ve worked with in a past life. Sometimes the best thing to do is to put a smarter voice in your head than the guy talking to you lol.
The other book that I’d say fundamentally altered my relationship to my self & my love for how cannabis supports me in that is Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It’s got nothing to do with cannabis, but everything to do with the return to our natural, most wild selves, and the powerful instinctual forces that run deeply through every woman. She addresses these perspectives by deconstructing old folk tales of her culture. It’s a lesson in women’s true power, written in the most moving of ways. Any woman who’s read this book knows it’s changed her life.
Your guest on your Sensual-THC talked about finding her Life's purpose. Depressed not knowing the purpose but felt led along the path to where she was now (can't recall the name but she started edibles company on IG. It wasn't mom jeans it was another I think). Has there been a point you felt the same? Lead along the canna path without knowing what's going on? This felt very personal to my own journey  
omgoddess of course!! I think every single one of us can relate to the experience of feeling lost but still pulled, within cannabis or not. it’s such a wildly confusing time in the world right now, I’d worry about anyone who didn’t feel a little lost from all of the upheaval. but when it comes to cannabis - and building passion projects or careers in the space - it can be even more unnerving sometimes, to feel so sure about doing something that so many people in society still seem to against. 
but I believe the pull of your gut IS your higher self - that’s the only voice we should be listening to. that’s the one that helps us level-up. it’s not easy being first, or early to understand something. but it’s important to trust yourself and whatever deep knowing we’ve got.
- Everytime I feel I need to Relight My Passion/fire, & get back to why I started BM, I like to go back and listen to one of your podcasts. Is there something that does the same thing for you? When you feel a little lost in what you're doing? 
I am honoured! I love that we can provide each other bursts of inspiration - iIthink that’s what this whole thing is about. we’re not responding to an industry, or trying to fit in, we’re co-creating it. we can make our visions reality. and when we do it, all ships rise with the tide.
I’d say that my ideas (and the huge to-do-list i put up on my wall lol) have a lot to do with inspiring me to kick my ass into gear when my energy has lulled. but I also honour and respect the cycles of things, including my own cycles of creativity and the need for rest. the social media space can make it seem imperative to constantly keep going. instead I think it’s more important to find comfort in the idea that you can unplug from it - but when you plug back in nothings ever really changed :)
-One of your episodes talked about women being the majority of cannabis users and using it more regularly. We adopt it into our wellness routine. Are these stats still proving to be true? And other than smoking, how have you adopted it into your everyday routine?
There was a study out of California (an early-adopter market) saying that the majority of new users to the cannabis space were women - and that those who consumed were consuming cannabis with more regularity (frequency) than men. as you mentioned the expansion of the market’s offering into all of these new product formats really open up possibilities for consumption- and so many of those products are in fact targeted at females so it makes sense.
from sublingual strips, to bath & skincare products, to sexual health & wellness, to more opportunities to use cannabis with food that don’t involve high-sugar candies - cannabis to support our wellness routines can now last from morning until night.
and mine does tbh!! I’m currently using an AM/PM skincare regime called that’s made with the cannabis root - I supplement with CBD/CBG tincture, I’ll often use a CBD/THC salve on my hand (I have arthritis on the one I broke now :), i’ll smoke flower, and lately I may pop a microdose CBD edible I’m enjoying that also includes Apple Cider Vinegar. and if I’m on my moons? oh lordy. all of the above, plus extra help from mamajuana in the form of salves & RSO (Rick Simpson Oil). I’m also looking forward to suppositories becoming more mainstream for this reason as well.
On the same podcast you were talking about the fact that men were leading the branding and the businesses in canna industry (in Canada with legal cannabis and legal states in us) Since that episode, about that do you feel like things have changed & woman have taken the reigns a bit more or do you think men are still in control compared to the women? 
Cannabis was supposed to be the first category where women were keeping track with men in CEO positions. of course that hasn’t really happened. while there are a significant number of women in the cannabis c-suite versus other categories, women tend to skew toward holding other positions (i.e. legal, HR) instead of the CEO / Chief Visionary positions. I’d still like for us to change that. because the companies are being run by people who aren’t reflective of the people who consume the plant.
Head, heart hands: branding. That was a Huge help for me at the beginning of my Buddy Mary Journey. What other advice would you give women wanting to step in to the canna industry? 
oh good! HEAD: easy to understand // HEART: easy to love // HANDS: easy to buy
I think this is high time for anyone interested to jump in- there are just SO many aspects to the industry with so much growth & change there becomes a lot of opportunity. I like to remember the Japanese model for a fulfilling life: Ikigai - the basic notion being if you can fuse together what you’re good at, with what you love to do, with what the world needs? you’re off to a great start. so marrying up your current work or skills within the industry is where I’d suggest anyone starts. and from there just trust the process. and try your best to ride with the waves, because the world of early legalization is WILD. I don’t think anyone’s journey in working in weed actually ends up like they’d expected it to. and that’s maybe the best part.
the other advice I’d give is to people like you and I - who saw something was missing and decided to build it ourselves. My advice is to GO FOR IT! explore, try things out, follow your nose, have FUN! while paying mind to how you can monetize or build revenue from your efforts. there are SO many tools now that systemize publishing for a podcast (like Anchor!) or that let you build brand assets that look professional (like Canva!) that you can appear much more polished than you may feel. trust me :)
One episode on cannabis and spirituality, you talked about Meditation with cannabis: visions. Was this using a Particular type of flower/mod of admin or method, ritual to do that? Does it still happen?
ooh great question! I don’t recall the type of flowerIi used, but yes! there was a time where I would consume with the intent of meditating & channelling - I don’t do that much these days. I think it’s important to remember we’re thought to receive spiritual messages through the one or two senses we tend to prioritize in the real world - for me that’s visions, hearing words, and knowing (clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairsentience) but it may be different for you! so when I meditate even without Mary jane I’m receiving a ton of visuals. But yes those experiences of consciously coupling meditation and cannabis I found would always heighten the intensity of the visions I’d have. it also probably made me promptly forget them :)
What advice would you give to non smokers wanting to explore cannabis?
Explore whatever format feels right (safe) for you at first! The benefits of the plant are there for people to experience in whatever way makes you feel most comfortable. I’d always say start super low and slow - when it comes to weed we always need WAY less than we think to experience benefits and effects! Try just a few drops of tincture, or just a nibble of a corner of a gummy, and go from there. It’s way better than going in too deep. But if you do have too much THC and start freaking out - the best antidote is some CBD - it will temper the effects! Or try nibbling on some black peppercorns, the caryophyllene will help.
I’d also always suggest - if you’re open to it! - to one day try a bit of flower the classic way in a moment & environment that feels comfortable for you. Two toots (two puffs) on a joint can be one of the happiest, giggliest experiences of your life. Most highly recommend.
Anything else you'd like to add to finish?
I’d just like to say THANKYOU! for including me in this feature, and for all of your love and support. the cannabis community is a very special one, especially amongst the women, and I believe that the majority of us are here to support and help each other! That’s the nature of the plant itself. It’s also worth remembering this is a female plant helping heal the world. Growers refer to it as ‘elevating the female’ : changing the conditions of the growing environment so that she can thrive. Let us never forget women were the healers, the bakers, the medicine women long working with this plant - so our return to its magic should come as no surprise. May we continue to do the good work in making this medicine accessible, available and easy for all who need it. May the ones in positions of privilege use their voices for those who can’t. And may the return to nature help heal us all!
Much love and thankyou
Xx N E W T S 
This is such an incredible read, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and answer these for me. As I have already said, you have been such a MASSIVE inspiration and guide to me before and during my Buddy Mary Journey. I find myself 'YES QUEEN'-ing and 'GET OUT OF MY HEAD'ing every time mins. The advice HEAD, HEART and HANDS was the key points I took onboard along with the idea of pairing my other passion with my canna-passion and creating my own job role. You have been such an important part of my Cannabis Journey. Publishing this blog really is...a huge milestone and a dream come true, I am actually getting emotional as I type this. 
I am so glad the universe (and the insta algorithm) for bringing your profile and your work to me at the right time. Thank you for making this 1st Birthday one I can be even more proud of.
If you havent already, please do check out Jen Newts podcast @hightea.life available on SoundCloud, Spotify, Anchor and Apple Podcasts, just search High Tea Life. 
You can also find out more on https://www.hightea.life/

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