Laganja Estranja is a triple threat, just not in the traditional sense—then again, there’s not very much that’s traditional about her—working as a choreographer/cannabis activist/drag queen. She’s currently breaking boundaries as the first professional drag queen on So You Think You Can Dance and, in doing so, is barreling into the mainstream with a hefty load of taboo on her shoulders. Yet she’s still able to handle it with grace, intelligence, and strength. living by the credo that “drag chose me, I did not choose drag.” We chatted about weed, drag, dance, and being your true self.
First off, Happy Pride.
What’s your origin story? How did Laganja Estranja come to be?
I definitely knew that I wanted my name to rhyme, and I knew I wanted to involve marijuana ‘cause marijuana was such a huge part of my college upbringing when I created the character first. I grew up in Texas where it was very illegal and very hush-hush, so it wasn’t until I moved to California—and, unfortunately, hurt my back—that I got fully exposed to marijuana and it changed my life. So I wanted it to be what I would have behind me as a drag queen because I believe every good drag queen should have a platform in which they represent and stand upon.
It’s not just about representing the LGBT community, it’s about bringing an important issue to the forefront and I think specifically here in California with the Compassionate [Use] Act, people often forget about the LGBT people that fought for Prop 215. So it’s been really cool to come full circle with that and bring some recognition to what I believe is the original community of at least why California has marijuana.
We met you on RuPaul’s Drag Race a couple years ago, and you’re currently back in the spotlight with So You Think You Can Dance, which is amazing, congratulations, you’re a vision on the show.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
You’re the first drag queen on the show, right?
As far as I know. I think there have been some other queer figures on the show, but I definitely am the first professional drag queen that’s been on the show.
I saw you mentioned in 2015 on Hey Qween that you weren’t going to do reality TV again. What do you think changed?
Well, I live in Los Angeles and bills are very expensive. I think what I meant by that statement on Hey Qween was that I probably most likely would never do RuPaul’s Drag Race again, meaning All-Stars. In that moment, that’s probably what I meant because So You Think You Can Dance has always been a dream of mine; I grew up watching Season 1, you know? This was more about me making a statement than me being on a reality competition show.
When I did Drag Race, that was a very specific goal of mine: to win. Whereas with this show, it’s always been about representing the community, and as a queer person who’s watched So You Think You Can Dance for many seasons and seen the queer people get negative comments and Nigel has been very public about when—he doesn’t like it when men dance effeminate. So this was more about making a statement and showing people that you can be your true self and you can still shine.
I couldn’t help but notice you’re going by Miss Estranja on the show.
Yes, so everyone has been up in arms about that, #SayMyName, which is so funny…but you know, at the end of the day, I’ll be very transparent: I chose that, as an artist. I didn’t want to give them any reason to not show me.
Yeah, I get that.
To me, it’s not that big a deal. It’s so funny to me that so many people feel that they censored me, but at the end of the day, I censored myself. And not because I don’t love the cannabis community or because I don’t want to support it, but because for the last five years, I’ve been known as a drug addict, a pothead, and I’m trying to change that image. And so that’s part of my rebranding: dropping that initial part of myself that makes people sometimes turn away from me.
Because I believe the more mainstream I make myself, allow myself to become, then I can really educate people on marijuana and it won’t be this shock value that I went for before. So that’s my hope at least because cannabis is never going to leave me, that’s always going to be my platform and what I believe in and fight for, but we have to give it a different image. It’s part of my whole stance on recreational versus medical.
Like I really wish we went medical first across the board federally before we started doing all this recreational. Because I believe that until we change the stigma, it’s never going to get better, we’re never going to get the proper research that we need on this plant to see what it can really cure and do, because now, unfortunately, dumb people are going out and getting too stoned and doing stupid things.
I’m all about education. So that’s why I didn’t want to go on a family-friendly show and hurt my chances. I don’t know if they would have censored me, I could have gone in there and said my name and who knows, but I just didn’t want to give them any little thing for them to be like “Oh, we can’t show her.”
What’s the hardest part of walking that line of being a cannabis activist – which obviously is still taboo in some places – while still remaining accessible?
I’d say what’s been most difficult for me is that I teach children, I teach children dance. So a lot of times I try to keep my personal life as separate as I can from my business life. Well, my business life involves cannabis. Even yesterday, I was filming my show on World of Wonder called Puff Puff Sessions where we basically have a special guest on, we medicate, and we play games.
It’s really silly, it’s fun, it’s great, but I posted yesterday for the first time since So You Think You Can Dance about cannabis, and I was nervous. And I did, of course, see a lot of negative reactions from new followers—“What is this? I don’t understand,” and that’s where the education is going to come in. Hopefully, because they will have fallen in love with me, I can educate them.
I think it’s gonna bring up a conversation, and even though like I said I chose to modify my name for the show, I’m still very much an activist, I’m just doing it in a new way.
You’ve been super candid about saying that cannabis is medicinal for you – have you found that people are responding to you differently with the rise of dispensary culture and legalization?
Of course. Everyone’s hoppin’ on the green train. Now everyone’s looking for someone who’s “gay weed.” Because now money’s involved, and people know that gay people have money.
I’ve always known this day would come, I’m super grateful this day has come, obviously it’s something I’ve waited for quite some time and worked for quite some time, so I’m hopeful that I’m going to be able to really get these awesome, cool jobs that I’ve always believed I should have in the first place, but because I was LGBT, and because I was in drag, and because I was cannabis, it made it very difficult.
I think we’re finally getting to that point of “Age of Aquarius” where we’re gonna accept everyone for who they are, and hopefully a lot more people will start medicating, and everyone will be a lot nicer and happier. At least that’s the world I dream of.
You tour a lot. Have you ever found yourself in places where you suddenly can’t smoke?
Unfortunately, I was caught by TSA for carrying cannabis back with me from Mexico, and since then, I have been placed on a list where I am searched every time I fly internationally. This has made it quite hard to travel because obviously I am not allowed to bring any medication.
I am fortunate enough that my name has created a support base of people who generally smoke, so usually, I am able to find adequate medication while I travel. That being said, you never really know and it’s always a gamble.
I have gotten so used to the freedom that California offers for cannabis smokers, so it makes it hard when I have to find dealers or do anything that isn’t 100% legal to get my medication. #WhiteGirlStonerProblems.
What’s your favorite strain?
Tangie. I’m a sativa girl.
Are you a CBD girl?
I do love CBD. I super believe in it. My facialist who goes by Nina Face, who I’ve been seeing for over a year now because obviously all the intense makeup that I wear, she has developed her own line of CBD facial cream and it is incredible. I swear by it. I think it’s gonna be the new La Mer.
And I also use a lot of CBD rubs, particularly the ones by Papa & Barkley. My favorite product of theirs has CBD and THC – it’s a bath salt. I think it’s incredible, and I’m a big believer in the entourage effect, so I like to have CBD and THC, because as someone with my tolerance, when you isolate CBD by itself, it’s not as effective to me as it is when it’s the whole plant experience.
What’s your favorite way to get high?
My favorite way to medicate would probably be dabbing. I’m a big dab girl, I’m always on the go, so I love that it’s so cost effective, time efficient, it’s clean. I definitely prefer a rosin over a BHO, although I think a BHO is much more tasty, but I love a rosin.
I used to live with someone who had a press. So we would press our own flower and that was probably my favorite way of smoking ever.
Do you have any crazy weed stories?
I mean, sure, don’t we all? I’ve gotten so high I thought my arm was gonna fall off. That was ages ago, that was back in high school. Crazy weed stories…no. I don’t think weed is crazy, that’s what I’m saying. To me, it is medicinal and it calms me down. I’m so hyperactive, I really need something to calm me down, to focus, to tune into my creativity, so any time I’ve used cannabis, it’s been great.
It’s only when I’ve crossfaded and mixed it with alcohol—I’m two years sober from everything but weed—those were crazy times. But now, pretty much it’s always a good time. Everyone I meet in the industry is great, the shows I’m involved with—I just went on Doug Benson’s show Getting Doug With High, that was super fun – but I would never describe it as crazy. The craziest thing is when I’m in drag at these clubs at midnight, that’s crazy, but marijuana isn’t crazy.
It’s an awesome plant. It’s hard to answer that one. People always want that, they’re like “what’s a funny weed story?” and I’m like “I don’t know, I’m not a douchebag. I don’t have a funny weed story, go ask the straight bros that, like, staple their butt when they’re high.” I don’t know. I don’t do stupid shit when I’m stoned; I’m a normal person…weed stories, I wish I had em, but I don’t!
Ha, incredible. How are you celebrating Pride?
Well, I’m celebrating pride by doing what I do best, and that is working. I’m headed to El Paso this weekend, I was just in Tulsa for their Pride, I’m doing Los Angeles tomorrow, headed to Hawaii the following week, Denver Pride, I’m doing San Francisco Pride, so I’m hitting them all up—that is how I celebrate Pride, by going, performing, thanking my community and letting them know that you can be yourself.
It’s definitely a special thing. I’ve been involved in Prides since I came out – I was about 16 years old – so to go from being an onlooker to being in the parades now, running events, and being the star that they bring in – it’s incredible.
I’m so thankful and I would not be where I am today without the LGBT community, so that’s why it’s such an honor to represent them not only in the cannabis community but now in the dance community with So You Think. It’s pretty spectacular.
The post Talking “Gay Weed” with Drag Queen Activist Laganja Estranja appeared first on High Times.
1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.
CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.
2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?
Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.
3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?
Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. Typically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!
99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.
In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?
The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.
Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.
5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?
We feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.
6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?
Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.
7. What is the best method of use?
For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.
8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?
There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.
9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?
Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative side effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.
10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?
As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.
When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.
The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.
For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.
THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?
In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.
12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?
Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.
13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?
No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.
We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor there, Cannawell.
14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?
Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†
Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.
15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?
We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. We also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.
16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?
We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.
17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?
CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.
Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.
18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia
There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).
For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.