Budtender Bios: Stelleaux Peach
Meet Stelleaux Peach, AKA the Sage of Farma. If you want a healthy dose of botanical, astral, or metaphysical wisdom with your weed (or just some high-key healing energy), talk to them. Stelleaux is also a highly cool person outside of their day job; when they’re not at Farma, they’re working on illustrations, playing in a band and running a printmaking business. A long-time autodidact in areas like deep ecology, psychology, mind-body medicine, and plant-based healing modalities, Stelleaux is exceptionally knowledgeable and perhaps one of the most compassionate souls like, ever.
You can find Stelleaux’s work here, in the small press section at Powell’s or via IG @bearded_iris_printshop.
How long have you been using cannabis? What got you into it?
I’ve been using cannabis since I was a teenager. I fell in love with it from the very first experience, how it allowed me to be silly and free with my friends, how it made the sun shine a little brighter, how it made music sound and feel, how it made me and my friends write poetry, make films, make art, and share ideas. As I got older, I realized that I preferred cannabis to alcohol recreationally, and when I eventually identified my ongoing chronic pain and mental health issues, I realized I was already tapped into the best medicine for me. These days, I approach cannabis much differently than when I was younger, but I do still think of myself as both a medical and recreational user!
How long have you been a budtender? What do you like about it? What are some difficulties?
I’ve been working as a budtender for about two and a half years. My favorite part of budtending at a science-minded, medically-focused shop is helping people with chronic pain, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and other health issues navigate their options when it comes to cannabis. A lot of times people who are dealing with difficult health issues really need someone to listen to them, hold space for them, and empower them to experiment with cannabis to see if it’s a good fit. The hardest part of that kind of work is convincing people that they know their own bodies and minds well enough to direct their own experiments. It’s crucial to develop trust between you and the customer/patient during these kinds of interactions, because a lot of times people are understandably very nervous. Developing trust and validating those nervous feelings is key. My favorite part of the job is when people come back–whether they’ve found something that works yet or not–because it means they trust you to help them.
What do you do at Farma? Any special role?
Official role is Just Budtender, but unofficial roles include House Illustrator, and Shift Dad–I’ll always make sure people get home safe.
What did you do before getting into the cannabis industry?
I grew up in Montana before moving to Portland in 2005. I have a degree in Violin Performance, and before working in the cannabis industry I helped run music schools and was a music teacher. I still play music–I’m in a band and I have a solo project, and I do session work around town for some of Portland’s most delightful bands. I’m also an illustrator and printmaker! In 2015, Quiet Lightning Press published The Sacred Text of Rosa Who is Great, which I illustrated (and which you can buy at Powell’s!).
What made you want to get into the cannabis industry?
I have some health issues which have made full-time playing and teaching less feasible for me these days, I love plant medicine–obviously that includes cannabis–but honestly it was a little bit of an accident! I applied for a PT budtending position at a point when I just needed a side-job and found that I really loved the work and the people.
What’s so special about Farma?
Of my two and a half years in the industry, I’ve spent a little over 6 months here at Farma and I’ve learned 100x more than in the 2 years previous. There’s a culture of excited learning here that I just love–it’s a little like getting paid to go to school. Having a dedicated Education Director is an incredible resource, and having co-workers (and customers!) that are all smart and engaged helps too. Cannabis is so dynamic, and it feels like everyone here at Farma has their special area of interest/expertise so if I don’t know much about some facet of the plant, I always know someone who will!
How do you spend your free time?
Drawing, linocut printing, tinkering in my garden, cuddling with my pug, reading about revolution.
What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis?
I love to smoke out of a bong! Joints are satisfying too, but something with water is ideal for me because it soothes my throat. Plus the weed witch in me likes the idea that I’m engaging with all four elements as part of my smoking ritual (earth, water, fire, air). When it comes to medicating my chronic pain issues, though, I use the Synergy 1:1 transdermal patch. The patch is my favorite industry invention since legalization, it’s ideal for constant, measured relief.
What are some of your favorite things to do while high?
I love working on art while I’m high, it helps me focus and also manage pain while I meet illustration deadlines. I’m also a big fan of being outside and having music playing–working in my garden with tunes while my dog lounges in the sun is the best.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m an evangelist for beta-Caryophyllene! This terpene interacts with our ECS much like CBD does, and has really powerful anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory qualities. Having access to our terpene results here means I can seek out chemovars that are still on the stimulating side of things that can effectively target my pain and anxiety without sedating me. I also love a good Pinene/Limonene spike just to open me up and make me smile.
Favorite non-flower product (and why)?
I have so many, but I’m gonna go with the 4play sensual oil from Empower Bodycare. I’m all for weed lube, but I actually love this product because it was developed to relieve pain for folks who have endometriosis. I spray it on a tampon and insert it vaginally, and within 30-45 minutes my cramps have dissipated significantly. A word to the wise, however–it will get you high (which can be a welcome side effect when you’re dealing with period pain)!
Describe a favorite memory of using cannabis.
In my early 20s I took a trip to Amsterdam by myself and went to as many coffeeshops as I could, followed by as many museums as I could. It was incredible to experience the Dutch Masters that way. I also used the coffeeshops as a way to meet people, which was one of my first experiences with how loving and uplifting the cannabis community can be. Definitely a life-changing trip.
What is popular misconception about budtending that you can mythbust?
That it’s a one-size-fits-all gig. There is a wide range of quality in the cannabis industry, from product to knowledge. Your dispensary experience will be heavily dictated by who you choose to work with.
What do you think is the most important skill a budtender can have?
Once you’re properly educated? Empathy, hands down. Whether people are using Cannabis medicinally or not, they’re dealing with something in their life that has brought them into the dispensary. Being able to meet them where they’re at is crucial.