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Healing Rheumatoid Arthritis With Cannabis

Healing Rheumatoid Arthritis With Cannabis

I really shouldn’t read articles about Rheumatoid Arthritis anymore and I absolutely should NOT read any comments that might be posted. Even when my RA was severe, I could only handle so much time on forums because it was too depressing. Rheumatoid Arthritis sucks. When it took over and became severe, which it remained for thirteen years, my entire life changed. The fatigue alone was like nothing I had ever experienced, more along the lines of mononucleosis than feeling over-worked or having gone without sleep for too long. It was like all the energy I had to even breathe was compromised or missing. I immediately had begun retaining fluid at an alarming rate and my normally frail appearance was replaced by someone I didn’t recognize and since I wasn’t on steroids, this was the disease itself doing this. I felt as if I was sloshing about in boiling hot water. It was horrible. And none of my doctors did a damn thing to deal with that.

I’ve had six rheumatologists over the years with most eventually moving to other areas leaving me wondering what fresh hell I would go through upon meeting a new doctor. My current rheumy never saw me when I was so ill, having come on board after I achieved clinical remission. I’m sure it’s frustrating when there’s not much she can do for me now, but it is what it is.

When I read articles discussing the different issues we experience and then the solutions they offer, I want to scream. But when I read the comments RA sufferers leave, I want to scream and cry. I understand extreme pain because I experienced it 24/7 for all those years. It’s a pain so all-consuming that you enter a new normal that few can relate to. Until joint damage becomes visible, we don’t necessarily look sick. We might walk more slowly and we might forget what we’re saying in the middle of a sentence or where our car is parked or be unable to dress ourselves or walk without help, but it’s all good because most people have all sorts of suggestions for us that if we’d only just try what they suggest our lives would be oh so much better. Right. And then here I come telling people that cannabis can change everything.

After thirteen years with severe rheumatoid arthritis, I became a cannabis patient in 2010 and by the middle of March 2011, I was in clinical remission, something the drugs I was prescribed could never achieve. I never told my rheumy at the time why I was well because he wasn’t interested in signing off on my cannabis card application. If he had ever confronted me about why I suddenly got well, I would have told him. But he never did that and moved away before we legalized recreationally here in Oregon. After that happened, I felt comfortable telling my current rheumy about how I healed. It made no difference, however, because we don’t discuss it, only when am I going to go back on biologics. I’m not. Or how much pain and stiffness do I have upon rising and for how long. None and none unless I overdid it in the garden the day before. I turn sixty in October. I walk four miles per day, sometimes more. I got well. By myself. I fail to see why that’s a problem or why folks just can’t be happy for me.

I want so badly to tell everyone who responds to these articles that they can step off the chronic illness train and take command of their healing. But I know that not everyone has access to the amount of cannabis necessary with which to saturate their bodies in order that they heal. It’s the approach I took, but then I grow my own. I was unable to grow for myself initially so my husband took care of everything until I could finally help with the garden. I processed the cannabis into medicine, but even with that, he would pitch in when my hands gave out or the fatigue was too much. In addition to the plants I have for processed medicine, I keep a few smaller plants to pull leaves from to include in fruit smoothies. Raw cannabis leaf or bud still contains healing plant acids that dissipate when the plant is dried or processed. It also has the advantage of medicating without the psychoactive effect that smoking or ingestion of processed cannabis creates. So it’s a great way to medicate with cannabis during the daytime and I still use it in my daily smoothies.

I also know what it’s like to worry about everything when we’re ill with this awful disease. Could I do all of my grocery shopping or would my husband have to park me in the produce department while he ran around the store getting everything we needed? Or could I even get out of the car and walk into the store at all? Doctors tell us that they understand this disease only so far. I’m not suggesting that these folks aren’t caring or compassionate or good at their jobs, but that there’s an option that many aren’t in a legal position to embrace given the federal issues they and their DEA license could possibly face, particularly with the current Attorney General. And potential cannabis patients face the same concerns when the state in which they live keeps cannabis in all forms illegal. So as much as I would like to flood the comments section for articles on rheumatoid arthritis with how I healed or a link to my first book, Confessions of a Back Porch Herbalist, I don’t. Instead, I head over to the blog and work out my frustrations here.

Before I became a cannabis patient, I had been reading Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief. One day I decided I was fed up with this bullshit disease and I told my body that this had to stop. I began speaking to my cells and telling them that playtime was over and it was time to get on with it. I was done with chronic illness, and I meant it. It was then that I ordered my medical records and sent them to the cannabis clinic in Portland. I received an appointment after they reviewed my records and we drove to Portland on the day of my appointment. I met with a nurse and then the doctor and we chatted about my RA and how cannabis could help me heal. With my signed paperwork in hand, I mailed everything to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program office and waited a little over a month for my card to arrive. It took a little over a month and then it arrived. And in the time it takes to have a baby, I was in clinical remission. We grew over the summer and after harvest, I had enough to begin making medicine and at the end of December 2010, I was ready to create a medicating program for myself. By the middle of March 2011, I was in clinical remission. I had begun gradually discontinuing my prescribed medications remaining on the biologic until September 2015 when I injected my last dose on September 13.  I’ve had no return of symptoms in almost two years and I continue to support my recovery with cannabis medicines along with herbal tinctures and teas I formulate to keep my immune system functioning normally.

It’s hard to deal with RA even when we have support from the medical community. Because as nice as they all are, all that seems to happen is that we stay in one place. We might fluctuate back and forth and have better days now and then, but we seem to stabilize somewhere and it’s never in the direction of remission. I’ve read about some folks for whom RA is either acute and then over or never seems to dominate their lives, but for many of us, it’s a forever thing. I just decided to reject that premise and try something different. And it worked. And even though not everyone can take that same approach, in time laws and beliefs may change so I’m going to say it anyway:

Cannabis can heal chronic illness. Life can be lived either without or with fewer limitations. After thirteen years of pure hell, I can barely remember what I went through now, probably because I don’t want to, but still, it speaks to a recovery that I didn’t plan on. I thought I would be ill for the rest of my life and I couldn’t have imagined I would feel as I do now. And cannabis did that. A plant that never should have been made illegal has brought healing and a sense of peace that I thought was gone forever.

So, let go of what you think you know about this plant. It just might save your life.

 

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Insurance Coverage For Medical Cannabis

Insurance Coverage For Medical CannabisI read an article in the National Memo describing how judges are beginning to issue orders regarding insurance coverage for prescription medical cannabis. It’s interesting that the rest of the world moves on while the Federal Government digs its head further into the sand on this issue. The rollout of cannabis legalization in states like Oregon has had mixed results. Colorado seems to have figured out the process even with the banking issues but I don’t live there so I don’t really know first hand what patients experience in their state. Washington State apparently has its own set of problems.

The Oregon legislature, on the other hand, decided to rewrite the law that we voted into place so that what we have now doesn’t exactly resemble that original measure. People invested in land to grow cannabis only to discover that the legislature voted to allow areas to ban such grows if they so desired instead of allowing the original law to stand as written. The original law allowed for that possibility but by a citizen vote every two years and not by city governments. It wasn’t the best situation to invest your money in given a potential ban written into the law as far as I was concerned, but at least cannabis growers would have some time to get started. But with the legislative changes how many growers were dead in the water after investing everything they had?

Retail outlets are only now opening with dispensaries fulfilling their role in the interim creating potential headaches for patients. A report was issued to the committee governing cannabis in our state regarding the black market aspect that still exists and of course, the blame was placed on medical growers going rogue. Never mind the position the Oregon Legislature has put everyone in, growers, patients, business owners alike, by changes we didn’t vote for and the over-regulation of everything. It’s the medical growers. Right.

Many cannabis users become excited at the thought of legalization without realizing the problems it creates. We’re essentially asking for a plant to be legalized that should have never been criminalized in the first place. By legalizing, we validate what the government did all those years ago instead of standing firm on the truth that cannabis is safe to use in whatever manner an individual chooses.

Hemp was made illegal at the same time as cannabis which was ridiculous at best but made the cotton and paper products industries happy. Paper should be made from trees and clothing should be made from cotton. Hemp could be processed into fuel or into manufacturing supplies of all kinds, but the federal government decided that it was better to protect some business owners over hemp farmers. Instead of using corn which strips the soil of its nutrients in the production of gasoline, hemp could be used, a better option given it actually nourishes the soil where it grows. But, no.

Although medical cannabis is expensive to buy in dispensaries, and insurance companies covering medicinal cannabis would go far to defray that cost, in truth, cannabis should be readily available in all forms in the produce department as well as the organic food and supplement section of your local grocery store. We shouldn’t need a prescription that needs to be reimbursed by an insurance company in the first place.

Cannabis should be freely grown, purchased or used by anyone who wants it with no restrictions whatsoever. Again, doing anything else validates and gives cover to the government’s initial decision to criminalize a plant that was safe and part of our country’s pharmacopeia. They lied. It’s as simple as that. And people have gone to prison for that lie and suffered from ill health when they could have used a herb that was safe.

The current Attorney General is as backward on the issue as he could possibly be and it’s difficult to believe any sane policies will emerge from his office. But as insurance companies may find, until a judge determines that the cannabis laws are unconstitutional, they along with the rest of us will have to put up with federal and state controls that get us nowhere.

 

References:

  1. Short, April M. Should Your Insurance Company Pay For Medical Marijuana? Judges Are Starting To Rule That Way. The National Memo. March 20, 2017.

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Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

It felt as if my body wasn’t my own. I had retained so much fluid that it felt as if I was sloshing about in boiling hot water. My thirteen-year nightmare with rheumatoid arthritis was surreal. It exploded into my life preventing any further training in Kenpo. Although my husband and I had closed our school, as a Black Belt I still trained daily, but that was over when the debilitating fatigue and pain began. I still had no idea what was happening to me but it was clear that something was terribly wrong.

I began to walk slowly, experiencing excruciating pain in my feet. I had always been a high energy person so this was concerning. By the time I saw my primary care doctor, my hands were also painfully swollen but his response was less than supportive. I would discover much later that I was experiencing all of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but on that day, my doctor diagnosed nothing. By his estimation I was fine.

Eventually, I would be diagnosed with RA and prescribed drugs that only made my body even more toxic. Disease modifiers, anti-inflammatory drugs along with two different injectable biologics were my primary medications until I became insulin resistant and needed another prescription for that. I was on blood pressure medicine but it wasn’t enough to keep my blood pressure in check given how much fluid I was retaining. It wasn’t until my blood pressure skyrocketed after seven or so years after beginning treatment that a second medication was added, this one containing a diuretic. Along with my blood pressure normalizing, the diuretic caused so much fluid loss in the first two weeks that I woke up one morning engulfed in a flare that would go on to last slightly longer than one year. My C-Reactive Protein test was 46.5; normal, I was told, is 5 or less. The medications weren’t helping me. I was a mess and only getting worse.

My husband had been encouraging me to become a cannabis patient throughout my treatment. He had been researching the success others had using cannabis to treat all sorts of conditions and begged me to apply for my OMMP card. I resisted for some time but when the year-long flare began, I was so ill at that point that I really didn’t believe I would survive, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply for my card, receiving it in June 2010.

While my cannabis grew I used raw leaf in my daily smoothies. From my research, I learned that raw cannabis contains plant acids that transform into other compounds through the drying process. Plant acids are healing and patients were reporting success including raw leaf and bud in their self-treatment so I did that as well. When my harvest was done I began making concentrated medicine. I infused dried bud into coconut oil for capsules and made glycerin tincture to use in tea. At the end of December 2010 I began my own treatment plan using raw cannabis, tincture, capsules, as well as smoking for pain relief and by the middle of March of 2011, I had achieved clinical remission. Just like that.

I never told my rheumatologist at the time what I was doing. He wasn’t interested in signing off on the application so I decided it was none of his business. I began slowly discontinuing the medications I had been prescribed, waiting for symptoms to return. They didn’t. The last prescribed medication I discontinued was the biologic I was injecting twice monthly. I had reduced that to once a month with no return of symptoms. Since I’m also a herbalist, I was supporting my remission with herbal tinctures I formulated, so I felt comfortable discontinuing the biologic in September 2015. To date, I’ve had no return of symptoms and the only change I’ve made with my cannabis medicine along the way was adding actual cannabis oil to the mix. That’s the thick, sludgy oil that’s so helpful with cancer, Crohn’s and other issues. I use a small amount now to keep things in check.

I was expected to buy into their program and not think for myself. But if I had continued along that path, I believe I wouldn’t be writing this now. And now we have a president and an attorney general who seem to want to put my life and the lives of other patients at risk again by suggesting that cannabis is dangerous. The new attorney general apparently believes that it’s almost as bad as heroin addiction which is ludicrous.

The entire west coast has legalized recreational cannabis and over half the states have legalized medical. The tax revenue alone has opened the floodgates to legalization across the country. Seniors opting to medicate with cannabis are discovering that they can reduce the number of prescriptions they’re taking, a concern of Big Pharma I’m sure. But that’s too bad considering what this new regime plans to do to everyone’s healthcare. We must have options when they seek to give us none.

I know first hand how well cannabis replaces any number of prescribed medications. If the destructive health insurance changes the Republicans are insisting upon are voted into law, seniors will have even greater difficulty purchasing their medications. If cannabis can replace those medications then they need safe access to that without fear of arrest.

Veterans, my husband included, need safe access as well to help relieve the crippling effects of PTSD from which so many suffer. Because if the Republicans have their way and privatize veteran’s health care, safe access to cannabis will become more important than ever. These men and women served us honorably and with dignity. Their return home should reflect the same commitment and respect they gave our country. The last thing any of them needs is to face uncertainty over their healthcare concerns.

To say the government lied about the safety of cannabis is an understatement. Lives have been ruined through incarceration and for what exactly? To preserve a lie told long ago? How many people would be alive and well today if they had cannabis as a treatment option? Ideally, raw cannabis should be considered as a dietary staple, available for purchase in any produce department. I’m convinced that had my mother had access to cannabis oil, she might still be alive instead of dying at sixty-five from COPD and congestive heart failure. Children who have survived cancer using cannabis oil go on to live healthy lives. A boy in Colorado with Crohn’s has become a vocal advocate for healing with cannabis and is living a happy and healthy life. Families move across the country to live in states with medical cannabis when it’s the only thing that will save their child.

Cannabis is safe to use medicinally or for recreation. Research from around the world supports this truth. CNN did a three-part investigative series where Sanjay Gupta discovered the truth about the efficacy of cannabis in treating so many conditions. But Congress, the DEA, and the new attorney general have other ideas. Truth matters not to these people, but the stakes are too high to give up now. Too many of us have had our lives saved by this blessed plant and we’re not going away anytime soon. We’ll stand up to the nonsense because as we all know, healing with cannabis is definitely worth the risk.

So give it your best shot, Mr. Sessions. A veritable cannabis army awaits, many of us silver-haired and not done living yet.

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As Garden Season Ends…

 

The dome we put in was a complete success. The hugel beds which we also put in exceeded our expectations as everything we planted both inside and around the outside of the dome went crazy. I’ve frozen more beans than I did last year and even though it’s October and we’ve had some frost, they’re still growing. The gourds are finishing out and I’m letting them hang, curing a bit before I cut them down.mini bottle gourd

tomatoesThe year has been odd though for tomatoes. I have a section over by my cannabis plants that came up as volunteers, mostly of the Roma variety. They’re loaded with tomatoes but they’re taking their sweet time to ripen. The same with the Big Mama Roma plants in the dome. But we have some warm weather over the next week or so and if I need to, I’ll hang them inside to finish out. I have no blossom end rot this year. I added epsom salts to the planting holes before dropping in the transplants. It really does make all the difference. But I’ve been able to make a bunch of tomato soup so far and last night I canned 5 quarts of pasta sauce.pasta sauce

apiary greenhouseThe apiary greenhouse had a hard time getting started, but then it took off. My clematis died out, however, but it was fairly root-bound when I bought it, so I didn’t have much emotional investment in it. The two over at the dome made it though as did the honeysuckle I planted. It’s all about the bees you know. I listened to someone in our local bee community and pulled my honey too soon on my new split and I lost the whole thing. I’m sure they went back to the original hive, but I’m done listening to anyone other than Michael Bush and a few others who are more into the natural side of beekeeping. He’s amazing and his videos are full of great information and Jerry and I have learned so much from them as well as his books.

celeryThe Thai pepper and celery continue to grow in the dome while temperatures remain above freezing. This is the first year I’ve grown celery. I had no idea it would grow here on the High Desert and it was so adorable coming up. Each one came up with tiny celery leaves and while the stalks didn’t get as big as those in grocery stores, at least mine don’t have a bunch of pesticides on them, and they taste great!

The new herb garden was prolific even though my arnica, elecampane, and wood betony didn’t come up. They might come up next Spring though. So I’ll get more seeds, but wait to see what actually comes up before replanting. My white sage and skullcap came up at the end of the season, so you never know. I’m just thrilled it worked out because creating the space with eight foot game fence isn’t exactly easy. But everything I planted is perennial and I’ve already harvested all kinds of herbs to dry for tinctures, salves, and teas, and after one last weeding and mulching, the garden will ready itself for the coming year.

herb garden

We have spuds galore! I grew six different varieties in the dome and some of them are huge. A few had obvious water spots and we chucked those, but that was probably due to running irrigation water through the dome. We have another bed outside of the dome as well as two structures that typically yield tons of spuds, but as of yesterday, we’ve harvested over one hundred pounds. We’ll probably harvest the rest this weekend.

spuds

 

snakeI would be remiss if I didn’t include my helpers in the garden. A snake has been my constant companion in the dome and his watchful eye was always present, crawling all over the dome, hiding among the beans, melons, and gourds.

bee-on-borageOf course butterflies, bees, and lady bugs were ever present. It’s odd to harvest herbs next to a borage plant vibrating with hundreds of honeybees and bumblebees. But we all shared space and it wasn’t until I was watering over by some comfrey that I got stung. Multiple times. That never happens over at the hives. If I’m stung, it’s on the finger while moving frames or something.lady-bug-copy

 

butterfly 2Butterflies were all over the garden, seeming to follow me everywhere. But the best one was the praying mantis. I love those guys! They all stood ready to pollinate and protect. And our gardens simply cannot do without them.

praying-mantis

Fall is here with winter soon after. My garden gets better and better, with full credit going to the bees. Observe them and watch as they show us the way forward. They operate as one organism. It’s their reality, just as it is ours.

~Blessed Be

Oh..one last picture..of Agent Orange. Wonderful medicine!

agent orange

 

References:

  1. Michael Bush ~ The Practical Beekeeper.

 

 

 

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What’s In A Name?

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is assigned the task of rolling out legal recreational cannabis in our state. Retail outlets were finally approved as of yesterday along with some rules regarding the naming of various cannabis strains. Girl Scout Cookies, Charlotte’s Web, Dr. Who, Candyland, Jedi Kush as well as others are apparently too enticing to children to keep their names. Flavored tobacco is fine as are wine coolers, hard lemonade, and other flavored hard liquor. But naming a cannabis strain after a child named Charlotte is unacceptable. Even when that strain saved her life.

Yes, growers give their strains some interesting names. When we buy a seed packet, we never know which of the five or ten seeds we get will be female, so it’s a waiting game until the sex shows on the seedlings. If we get a male, we can cut it down for use raw in smoothies, or we can grow it in a separate location from the girls and collect its pollen for later use on a branch of a female we want to breed it with. It’s a nice way to create your own new strains with the seeds that are produced. Some of the strains we’ve bred have included Space Widow, Ripperwise, and Orange Vision. Ripperwise was a strain I created breeding Pennywise (m) to Jack the Ripper (f). The names we come up with are personal. I combined the two names into one. Sometimes growers will come up with a name that reflects the qualities of a particular plant such as taste or smell. Or it could be something fun like some of the strains on the list. The strains in question can still be sold, and can even be renamed using just their initials, but they have to be renamed.

But renaming the questionable strains suggests that adults aren’t intelligent enough to keep cannabis out of the hands of children at home. And it would seem that if we’re worried about such things, then we need to worry about e-cigs, cigarettes, beer, wine, hard liquor, wine coolers, etc. as well. Because after all, those things are far more dangerous than cannabis. It’s sort of the same idea as cigar bars being okay and the World Famous Cannabis Cafe not so much. This rule reflects a double standard that will ultimately prove embarrassing and unsustainable.

In other words, cannabis users, both medical and recreational, are all laughing at the OLCC right about now. We voted to legalize and the state began immediately finding ways to undo that vote. Growers purchased land fully believing they would be able to plant this year only to discover that the city where they lived decided to temporarily ban commercial grows. Retail outlets couldn’t go in until yesterday, so dispensaries were used for that purpose, putting patient supplies at risk. Testing facilities are only now being approved. And I just read that Oregon City is trying to ban all outdoor growing.

Evidently our vote no longer matters here in Oregon. After legalizing, our legislature decided to give areas that voted against the bill by a certain percentage a second bite at the apple, allowing them to get tax revenue that the original bill prevented as well as putting temporary bans in place. So instead of cannabis being legal across the state, it was legal only in the areas that voted yes by a certain margin.

I’ve been a voter for most of my adult life and I thought I could count on the outcome of an election, but apparently where cannabis is concerned, that’s no longer true. It’s appalling to say the least. I understand if something ends up being unconstitutional, but honestly you’d think a measure would have to pass that test before ever getting on the ballot. But cannabis has been legal here medicinally since 1998, and recreational cannabis is becoming legal in more states all the time. So I don’t understand any of this.

If adults are capable of having alcohol, prescription medication, and cigarettes in their home with children present, then cannabis shouldn’t be a problem. If the names of cannabis strains must be changed, then so should all other products out there reserved for adults that include names that might be attractive or enticing to children.

Because we’re all that stupid I guess.

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Veterans Need Safe Access To Medical Cannabis

Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

After all the work Rep. Blumenauer and Senator Merkley did to give veterans safe access to medical cannabis in the latest funding bill for the Veteran’s Administration, that section was stripped from the bill and when it finally passed Congress, it was still not in there. Instead of VA doctors being allowed to sign off on medicinal cannabis paperwork, veterans will continue to do what the rest of us do when our doctors won’t sign the damn paperwork. We go to a clinic that specializes in cannabis applications. I pay nearly $200 to see a doctor at a local clinic because my doctor won’t sign mine either. Then, it’s another $2oo to the state for the card itself which took almost three months to get this time around. My disabled veteran husband could get a card for a reduced rate as could other disabled veterans in the state, but no. Congress had to be assholes again and continued to prevent VA doctors from prescribing cannabis to veterans.

I wonder. Do any of them experience PTSD? Do any of them experience pain? Have any of them had cancer? Have any of them had autoimmune conditions? Have any of them had diabetes? What about Crohns? Or Parkinson’s? Anything?

Within three months of consuming cannabis infused coconut oil, cannabis infused glycerin (tincture), raw cannabis in smoothies, and smoking/vaping, my severe rheumatoid arthritis was in clinical remission. After thirteen years of excruciating pain, inflammation and endless swelling, I was finally regaining control over my life. I was so ill that I believed I wouldn’t survive. And after my doctor gave up on me telling me that he had done all he could and that all we could hope for is to try to make me as comfortable as possible (without considering cannabis of course), I began making medicine. He never told me I was in clinical remission. I had to discover that by getting my records for the cannabis clinic.

Cannabis can help anyone who uses it. It’s not addictive irrespective of what anyone else says. It’s safe and effective and our bodies are set up with an endocannabinoid system with receptors ready and waiting to interact with the cannabinoids in cannabis. It’s just part of our design as humans. For the government to lie about this plant is shameful. And given all that we now know about it, to continue this sham is beyond the pale.

The VA negotiated lower drug prices. Kudos for that. But as my husband knows first hand, as acceptable levels for blood testing were lowered, more drugs are prescribed, so where again is the savings? Cannabis can reduce prescription use by veterans, particularly where pain and depression are concerned. Why on earth wouldn’t the federal government leap on such a find? But no. Instead, they’re either living in the past, believing the propaganda and hype, or they’re getting ready to hand it off to Big Pharma.

Either way, veterans were, once again, left hanging by their government. And thank you to everyone who worked on this, particularly Jeff and Earl. You guys have really been there and I know veterans like my husband appreciate everything you do. And I know you won’t give up until everything is made right for those we depend on and who defended us with all that they had.

One day I hope to write a post shouting to the rafters that our cannabis nightmare is over. That our government finally pulled its head out of its ass and told everyone the truth. Cannabis is safe and effective to use as medicine for a myriad of conditions. It’s also safe for recreational use, far more than alcohol has ever been. And it’s safe to give children, and it doesn’t have to be in CBD form only for that to be true, when in fact, it’s the whole plant that we need.

And I hope that when I write that post, I’m also able to say that we favored decriminalization over legalization. As we’ve discovered in Oregon, voting to legalize doesn’t necessarily make it so everywhere in the state, even though that’s what we all voted for. Here in Oregon, we’ve learned that our vote matters not, particularly where cannabis is concerned.

Had we simply decriminalized and said grow whatever you want but if you sell it then you’ve entered another area that we’ll regulate in the same manner as we regulate food, I think we’d be much better off. Dispensaries would be for patients and recreational outlets would be for everyone else. As it stands now, recreational outlets aren’t ready and dispensaries for patients are being used for that purpose. And for patients, that blows.

And to think all of this nonsense began with a lie to make other people rich.

Blessed Be

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Another Batch of Cannabis Oil

It’s time again to make some cannabis oil. It’s that thick, sludgy resinous oil made from cannabis that saves lives. I know because it saved mine. I originally used a method described by Rick Simpson, but then I found an oil distiller that sits on my kitchen counter and I like that even better. With the oil distiller, I can capture my expensive grain alcohol rather than letting it evaporate into the air.

Although I’ve done some posts about making cannabis oil in the past and I included the method in Confessions of a Back Porch Herbalist, I thought I would go through the methodology again in case anyone needed a refresher. It takes a pound of dried cannabis bud and two gallons of grain alcohol to strip the cannabis bud of its lifesaving properties.

first rinsestirring the cannabisI like using the work bag from my hash payload bag set to run the alcohol through the cannabis. It’s strong and has the largest screen on it to allow the resin to pass through into the alcohol. The other payload bags have smaller screens and they’re used to make hash. So we added some cannabis bud to the work bag and then poured half of our grain alcohol over it after which we mixed it around.

squeezing out the alcohol

squeezing-out-the-alcohol-2After squeezing out the first rinse, we discovered my husband grabbed the wrong bag so we carefully transferred the cannabis along with the resin that accumulated into the work bag we should have used originally. The smaller micron is necessary for capturing the resin, but since we want that resin to stay in the alcohol, the larger micron bag needs to be used.

So after my husband put on his glasses, we rinsed the cannabis a second time with the other half of the grain alcohol. Most of what we need is stripped during the first rinse, but it’s best to rinse it again to get what is still left on the bud. And it’s particularly important when you’re old and can’t remember to wear your glasses.

squeezing-second-rinse

Now after squeezing out the second rinse from the proper bag, we poured the alcohol mixture into the oil distiller, plugged it in, watched as it eventually began dripping the extracted alcohol into the catch container. Grain alcohol is expensive, so it’s really nice to be able to reuse it. When the alcohol reached a little above half way, we turned off the unit, waited the suggested 20 minutes for it to cool, and then openedoil distiller it to add more alcohol mixture. We did this one more time before we were finished. Each time we added more alcohol mixture, we poured what had collected in the container into another bottle for future oil-distiller-readyuse.

 

When the distilling process is complete, I put the remaining oil in a cup and placed that on a coffee warmer to finish the extraction process. There’s always a little bit of alcohol at the end in the oil and letting it sit uncovered on a coffee warmer allows the remaining alcohol to evaporate. It appears as bubbles on the surface and when the bubble stop, it’s finished. The oil can then be put in a jar or drawn up into a syringe for easy dosing. I use a jar as well as a silicone container for mine. If the oil alcohol mix in distilleris going to be used slowly then I would keep it in the refrigerator.

 

A pound of bud only creates a quarter cup of oil, so it would be impossible for me to use aoil in the distillerny of it if I didn’t grow my own cannabis. I have no clue what a pound of medicinal quality bud costs these days but I know it’s out of my price range. Dosage reportedly begins at an amount the size of half a grain of rice and then with conditions as serious as cancer you work up to a dime’s size amount.

Cannabis oil can be used topically as well and many folks use it to treat skin cancer. I used it on an area on my back that didn’t look right and within two weeks it was gone. It seemed to draw out the mass and then it came off. I don’t know what it was but that’s what happened. I also use it in cannabis based salves to give them additional strength. Cannabis is versatile, whether ingested raw, smoked or vaped, or ingested as a prepared medicine and irrespective of the method used to medicate, healing is the result.oil in silicone

I always get about a half cup of oil initially when I put it on the coffee warmer and today was no different. That will reduce by half and I’ll end up with a quarter cup of oil which I’ll use to keep my RA in check. This oil was made from Cuveé, a strain from TGA Genetics. Cuveé grows prolifically and outside the buds get really big. The branches tend to get heavy and droop so it’s best to keep the lower branches pruned. When they drag on the ground it only invites bugs and other problems. I love Cuveé. It’s beautiful and it’s a wonderful, relaxing medicine.

So that’s it. We began the process around three in the afternoon, which is too late by the way, and finished around 1:30 am, but the oil distiller makes it far safer than letting the alcohol evaporate outside with a fan blowing on it. Plus I was able to capture almost all of the two gallons of grain alcohol we used.

There are lots of videos online to look at and it’s great to see the different equipment people use to make this incredible medicine. To think we can both grow and then make the medicine that saves our lives is amazing. And we can do it in our kitchens! Patients network with other patients or go online to find out what works and what doesn’t. And what seems to work the best and most consistently is the whole plant and not simply one of its components.

The Goddess must of been with me because yesterday I made tomato soup from garden tomatoes as well as another batch of potato soup, began infusing some cannabis into corn syrup for candy, and made oil. But then there’s nothing like a witch who multi-tasks.

Happy healing!

 

Note – this is the distiller I use: Megahome oil distiller

 

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Healing Versus My Constitutional Rights

Evidently my Second Amendment right to purchase a gun has been sacrificed for my healing. In the eyes of the federal government, a cannabis user, patient or otherwise, is prohibited from purchasing a gun. Oh I can have a gun, I just can’t go and buy one.

All I wanted to do was survive my illness. It was clear that all the prescriptions I was taking did nothing so after exhausting all other choices I became a cannabis patient in 2010. Within three months of making and using concentrates, I was in clinical remission. But apparently I’m also given to violent crime. Potheads. We’re a dangerous bunch. Someone  on a terrorist watchlist can buy a gun, but a nice, friendly cannabis user, not so much.

It was awful being as sick as I was. There were no answers or solutions, only more Doctor visits, blood work, and more useless drugs. And all I did was get sicker. When I became a cannabis patient, it was because I thought I was going to die. My C-reactive protein test was 46.5. It’s supposed to be less than 5 so I was a mess and my doctor at the time responded by prescribing Cellcept, a drug for lupus and for preventing the rejection of newly transplanted organs. When I couldn’t take that anymore, he informed me that we were out of options.

So I got my card, grew some cannabis, and upon harvest made my medicine. And six years later I’m off all prescription drugs and I use only cannabis along with some herbal tinctures that I formulate. And the funny thing is, I don’t ever feel compelled to rob a bank or engage in petty crimes. I just healed.

Now, it’s not that I want to run down to my local gun store to buy a weapon. I have plenty. But to take away my constitutional right to do so reflects a level of stupidity that can only be asserted on a governmental level, dumbasses all. All because I’m healing with a plant that my state says I’m legally allowed to use.

As citizens of the greatest country on earth we should be able to choose our own method of healing or recreation without losing our constitutional rights. The laws against cannabis use are based not on truth but on a profit motive. Losing our rights because of a lie has gone on for far too long. 

It’s time that common sense matters more that lies based on fear and profit. Remove cannabis from the federal drug register. It does not belong there. Decriminalize instead of legalize and then maybe truth will become more important than the lie.

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A Little Honesty Would Have Been Nice

Apparently the federal government is not yet ready to remove cannabis from the Federal Drug Register. NORML is reporting that the Feds aren’t going to reschedule cannabis after all. Never mind that a profit motive put it there, because it was never about truth. I guess they’re going to allow universities to “study” it now. As if that’s never happened in kitchens across this country, or in Israel and other countries around the world. Evidently Americans aren’t capable of using cannabis responsibly, whatever that means. At least not without years and years of “acceptable” research.

You’d think cannabis would be illegal because it’s dangerous and addictive. But all the hysteria surrounding cannabis’s so-called addictive nature was founded on a lie. Cannabis isn’t addictive, nor is it dangerous. It is, however, the source of healing for all sorts of people, myself included.

Cannabis is an effective treatment for autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis in my case), epilepsy, diabetes, pain, PTSD, cancer, and any number of other conditions that arise when our endocannabinoid systems have nothing to interact with. Our receptors need the cannabinoids found in cannabis so that our bodies can handle the stresses of daily life that all too often result in chronic illness. When the cannabinoid receptors are firing properly our bodies are healthy, when they’re not, illness results. So it would seem the issue is a simple one:

The government has lost its mind and still cannot find it.

It’s embarrassing, really, to think that we have some of the most intelligent people in the world working for our government yet the truth is still not important in the final analysis. Instead people are still arrested for a plant that heals. But then there’s no money in health, only chronic illness, because truth is irrelevant when profits are at stake. I mean, if we actually stopped locking people up for cannabis, we’d certainly see a reduction in the prison population, a job-killer for sure, so we can’t have that. What on earth would all those private prisons do without potheads taking up space?

CNN did an excellent three-part documentary series called Weed with Sanjay Gupta, but I guess a brain surgeon’s investigation isn’t enough to sway the DEA. Various states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis, my state included, and others have legalized medical cannabis use. I think half the country or better has done one or both. Every poll I hear about says that the majority of Americans believe cannabis should be legal, so how is it that the DEA can override respected scientists and the majority of citizens who want legal cannabis? They look like fools.

If alcohol and cigarettes are legal in this country, then cannabis should be as well. This notion of legalization with extensive restrictions isn’t legalization. It’s still control. Alcohol isn’t restricted, nor are cigarettes, and cannabis should be no different. If it’s legal, it’s legal. And in the case of cannabis, it’s safe to use unlike alcohol and cigarettes.

Aren’t we tired of crap that makes no sense? I sure am. And I’m pretty certain that everyone sitting in a jail cell for cannabis is as well. All the lives ruined by unnecessary prosecution and prison sentences, and for what exactly? Increased profits for Big Pharma? Asset-forfeiture? All over a little weed?

Cannabis makes us feel better. It heals not just our bodies but our emotions and our minds. There’s nothing like it and to think our government would rather lie about this plant than treat the American people with respect and dignity by telling us the truth is shameful and appalling.

Enough is enough. Come clean. Do the right thing by all of us. The American people will begin to heal and we’ll do that on our terms, not defined by and built upon a lie. Chronic illness will give way to actual health. I know because I healed with cannabis and I’m healthier now at 58 than I’ve ever been in my life. And that can happen for others.

All we need is a little honesty, a little truth, and then for our government to step out of our way.

 

Links:

  1. DEA Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position With Regard To Marijuana Scheduling

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The Life and Times of an OMMP Patient

I spoke with a very nice lady at the OMMP office today about the whereabouts of my renewal card. I’ve been a cannabis patient in Oregon since 2010. Cannabis saved my life when it put my rheumatoid arthritis in clinical remission. This happened within three months of medicating with more concentrated forms of cannabis which I formulated in my kitchen.

Last year, my cannabis card was late, but the OMMP extended my year by an additional month so I was fine with that. This year, I sent my renewal application along with the $200 fee in May, receiving a letter back dated June 6th saying that everything was fine and I would be receiving my renewal card, with the letter serving as a temporary card for 30 days from the date of the letter. The problem is, as of today, it’s two weeks past the 30 day window. So I called them.

Apparently they’re processing applications received the week of May 16th. I think mine was received the week after that, so apparently it will be another three to four weeks before I get my card. Well, cards because I’m also my own grower, so I receive two cards, a patient and a grower card. Even though the letter indicates 30 days, I’m actually covered longer because my application is in their queue. Not that the letter says anything about that, but the woman at the OMMP assured me that this is so. And I have her name. So it is what it is.

I was also told that I could submit my renewal application up to 90 days in advance of my renewal date which I will do in the future so that I beat the apparent rush. But why this is taking so long is beyond me.

Patients have certainly had to deal with some uncertainty since legalization happened. Dispensaries, which I tend to stay away from because I grow my own, are being used as recreational outlets until they actually open. Cities and counties have been given the opportunity to ban cannabis outlets and farms without a vote of the people as was originally stated in the law that I voted for.

So instead of legalization unfolding smoothly, all sorts of nonsense happened along with something called a listening tour and now patients are in the middle of all of this mess trying to figure out if there’s any cannabis for them at dispensaries or if there will be any for dispensaries to even sell if the larger farms don’t get the go-ahead. And at this juncture, unless they’re going to grow in a greenhouse, it’s probably too late for any new cannabis crops to begin.

All they had to do was implement the will of the voters. I thought that legislators understood this concept, but not so much I guess. And in little blue Oregon. Never thought I would ever see that here.

I thought my vote mattered, and I thought paying $200 for a couple of pieces of paper would actually result in my cards showing up on time. I mean, they could send me a letter. That took time, an envelop, a stamp, printing time, computing time to find my name and then hit print. If they’re taking the time to do that, why not print out the cards, slip them in the envelop and forgo the letter?

They might even save some taxpayer dollars in the process and make a patient compliant and happy in the process.