After a three-year stint in the U.S. Navy, Kaylena Pinuelas was medically discharged after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. But her journey to cope with the health problem wasn’t easy despite the narcotics she was prescribed.
Then, in 2007, about three years after leaving the service, Pinuelas was introduced to cannabis and finally found relief from the disorder.
“I felt more alert,” Pinuelas said. “I felt that I could connect to society again. My mood wasn’t down anymore.”
Now more than a decade later and with California recently welcoming the legal use of recreational marijuana, Pinuelas is on a mission to educate the public about the plant. She is the founder of MJ Tours, a company that provides educational tours about how marijuana is grown and processed before it hits the shelves of dispensaries.
Pinuelas said the tour is crucial as it informs the public about what they are putting in their bodies. Her tours take guests to a licensed cannabis grow facility, extraction room, testing lab and San Diego’s largest marijuana dispensary.
The tour isn’t a pot bus, Pinuelas said, it’s an educational experience.
“I want people to understand the process of seed to consumer,” Pinuelas said. “People are putting this in their bodies and in large quantities so they need to know where their product is coming from, what’s in it and the process it takes to create what you see.”
But, attendees won’t just hear this information from Pinuelas —rather, they’ll talk to scientists who work directly with the plant, she said.
“People are just blown away by the experience,” Pinuelas said. “It’s not too often that people get to go to a live, legal cultivation laboratory and learn about the scientific compounds that go into the entire process.”
Since launching the company in January, Pinuelas has grown her company to offer tours that include stops at San Diego County’s finest breweries and wineries as well. She also plans to host a health and wellness-focused tour that teaches attendees how to include cannabis in their cooking.
But, more importantly, Pinuelas said she wants to help other veterans who are also suffering from PTSD or other health issues following their time in the service. She said her newly created nonprofit, MJ Meds4Veterans, will help veterans learn about marijuana and how to incorporate it into their lives.
“I want to focus on offering a safe and educational space for veterans,” Pinuelas said. “I want people to be able to make an informed and educational decision on what they put in their bodies.”
For more information about MJ Tours, go to mjtourscalifornia.com. If you sign up for a tour, use promo code PATCH to receive $30 off a tour.
By: Hoa Quach, San Diego Patch