It all started with pasta sauce. Emily Bitze didn’t have any, so she created a Facebook group, added her friends, and asked if anyone had any she could trade for. And so bartering hub Bunz Trading Zone was born.
The premise was simple: offer something you have to swap or name something you’re in search of (ISO). No cash allowed!
Now, Bunz has grown from a local Toronto trading group into a booming Canada-wide community. There are zones for plant and pet advice, for housing and job ads, for friend meet-ups and dating. There are dozens of Bunz zones with hundreds of thousands of members, plus an app with more than two million items posted for trade, and its own currency, BTZ.
But no matter how big Bunz gets, some things remain the same. People—or “buns,” as they’re referred to in the community—are forever ISO transit tokens, tall-cans… and 420.
Cannabis has always been a big part of Bunz.
Buns will share flower and edibles; meet up to smoke together (and, hopefully, make a new pal); and offer suggestions and testimonials for different types of cannabis and strains for various ailments.
In honour of the legalization of cannabis across Canada, we wanted to celebrate all the ways CBD and THC have improved the lives of the Cannabunz community.
Today, we hear from individuals who found relief on Bunz.
BUN 1 — I’ve been a chronic migraine sufferer since I was 12 (I’m 29 now). I simply didn’t know what to do and doctors were just bleak as hell. ‘So you have chronic migraines,’ my neurologist told me. ‘You’ve tried a lot of stuff, I can see. I’m not sure how much help I’m going to be.’ So I turned to Bunz.
[That cry] for help and was met with messages flooding my inbox about how and what they think would help. Perfect strangers!
Without even asking, I’d get a little message saying ‘meet me here, I’ve got stuff for you’ without asking anything in return.
That was about a year-and-a-half ago. I’m now fully on cannabis to manage my migraines, […] and I’ve maintained friendships with these people.
For me to be well and able to manage my pain? I honestly don’t know what I would do without the community. […] It’s so much more than a give-me-this-for-that situation: it’s a fucking lifeline. And that doesn’t even include all the friends my socially anxious ass has been able to make!
BUN 2 — It’s a mom’s worst nightmare. “My son is currently in SickKids and I’ve been staying with him so I’m unable to order anything,” a mother posted in Bunz Trading Zone recently. “I’m a medicinal user. Really don’t fancy the idea of running out right now. ISO 420.” The Bunz community rallied: within two hours, she had a kind bun ready to deliver to her at the hospital, so she wouldn’t have to leave her son’s side.
BUN 3 — I’d always used weed recreationally, and thought it was purely a social, just-for-fun thing. Even though I work in the industry and had heard all the news about how CBD has such a positive medical effect on people, I didn’t truly understand it until I was experiencing full-on, day-long panic attacks and a kind soul offered me some CBD buds.
My anxiety was gone in an instant, and I instantly felt calm. I take it now very sporadically when I feel like it’s going to be a rough day. […] It makes a world of difference knowing there’s something out there that can actually help me in the moment that doesn’t exist in a pill form.
I’ve brought my knowledge to posts in Bunz Helping Zone. […] I feel compelled to respond when I feel my opinion would be useful, and when the lack of knowledge can be dangerous or misleading. I also respond when I relate to the [original poster], especially if it’s related to anxiety and pain relief, or finding a clinic prescribing medical marijuana.
As a city, Toronto can feel quite isolating, so I love the sense of community Bunz makes me feel. I’ve asked many questions of Bunz before, and have always been helped, so I definitely feel I should lend support and knowledge when I can.
Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.