At just 24 years old, Bella Thorne is hoping to dominate the marijuana industry.
The Disney star turned entrepreneur is unapologetic about her love of weed and its health benefits in her latest interview with Cannabis Now magazine, where she goes into detail about how smoking pot from an early age changed her life for the better, and why she decided to start her own marijuana company.
“My body was kind of rejecting me at this time in my life,” Thorne said of dealing with anxiety in her teenage years. “And with anxiety not being really talked about … you know, that wasn’t something we ever talked about in my family. So, having none of these answers and feeling completely hopeless, weed helped me so much with that. It completely changed my life. I was coming to this point where doctors were putting me on pills, and I was so young.”
The actress explained that she was prescribed Adderall to offset her anxiety, which “obviously didn’t help,” she said.
That’s when her older brother suggested she try dabbing cannabis concentrates — which refers to the process of inhaling vapors from a concentrated form of marijuana made by an extraction method that uses butane gas.
“‘Oh, this is going to help her really sleep,’” Thorne said, recounting what her brother said at the time. “It was hardcore! At the time I was like, ‘I’m never smoking weed again after this.’”
These days, the actress says pot benefits her life tremendously, and that while she at first had some minor pushback from her parents when she began to smoke regularly in her late teens, they’ve since come around since. (Pushback could be warranted, based on the age of the smoker, as studies have found that smoking marijuana in adolescence can dramatically alter brain maturation, possibly raise the risk of developing a psychiatric disorder and sometimes actually increase feelings of anxiety.)
“She has really seen how much weed helps my anxiety,” Thorne said of her mom. “[She] has seen me where the symptoms really start to come on, I get upset and my breath gets really tight. She sees me smoking weed, sees what a capable human I am, and she gets it.”
Thorne went a step further in 2019, starting her own weed company, Forbidden Flowers, through which she works with other California-based growers in an attempt to rebrand marijuana from an illicit drug to a source of self-empowerment.
“I was smoking weed when that was taboo,” she said. “I started a weed company when that was taboo; so, you know, people in the public are like, ‘Oh my god, this girl must be out here being crazy. She must be partying every night and…’ I don’t even know what they think! There are just a lot of crazy assumptions about me out there.”
Now, she explained, “People are like, ‘Oh, [Forbidden Flowers] is an actual business.’”
“Whatever they think a stoner is like, it’s not the best person in their opinion,” she added. “They don’t think highly of it. But now they do. Now people say, ‘OK, she’s really a businesswoman. And this thing that I used to think was a dirty thing has built her a piece of her going-to-be empire.’ So, I think that really resonates. Cannabis becomes more acceptable. Some people may still frown on it, but if they realize it’s just a job, then it becomes OK.”
Thorne has been quite open about her struggle with anxiety, and has held her own in the face of critics such as Bill Maher, who in March tried to question her lived experience.
On Maher’s new podcast series Club Random, the duo discussed Forbidden Flowers, during which she shared that her inspiration behind creating the line came from how cannabis use helped her with her severe stomach issues and “crippling anxiety.”
“I find this to be a disingenuous argument because your generation doesn’t know what’s going on in the world,” he said. “So how can you be that f***ing concerned about what’s going on in the world? I know what’s going on in the world, I should have the anxiety. I follow it. You kids don’t follow it. You don’t know what the f*** is going on in the world. What are you upset about?”
Thorne eloquently pushed back, explaining to Maher that individual trauma is unique to each person.
“Everyone really has their trauma. What’s happening in Ukraine is unspeakable — that is something else,” the former Disney Channel star said. “But as far as trauma for every human being, I lost my dad when I was 8. I was molested growing up.”