Sharon blogs, reports, quotes & nags about cannabis
Challenging the Cold/Flu Season
Entry #5, January, 19, 2018
Smokeless remedies from Albany's Canna Kitchen in Oregon. Smoking is a great top-off, but ingesting is key in prevention and building a strong immune system.
Moderately Severe Epidemic: Building a Stronger Immune System
Plants = Prevention
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), nearly six percent of all Americans currently seeking medical care are presenting with flu symptoms. Tracked by the CDC’s Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network; approximately 2,000 doctor’s offices and clinics around the country are reporting fevers of at least 100 degrees, with a cough or sore throat.
Up until 2012, the percentage of Americans presenting with flu symptoms topped at around two percent. This year, flu symptoms are quickly turning into pneumonia, with every state but Hawaii reporting widespread illness; with 34 deaths reported by the end of 2017, and the toll still climbing.
Fortune Magazine reports, the 2018 flu season may turn out twice as bad as the last; with the H3N2 flu strain especially dangerous for the elderly, who’s immune systems are already challenged.
With the CDC reporting this year’s flu vaccine may be just 30 to 40 percent effective, building your immune system to combat the bug is essential. Getting a flu vaccine is still encouraged, though the savvy cannabis patient understands that boosting the immune system means bulking up on whole foods, infection-fighting herbs and other beneficial plants from the garden.
This writer found out just how important plant-based concentrates are, after using cannabis oil to treat breast cancer more than five years ago. Aside from doing away with numerous prescription meds, I’ve had nary a cold, flu or headache since. But, this 2017/18 flu season has been different. For some reason I’ve fought off a bad cold, three times in just a few months.
Luckily, due to my ingesting habits, the symptoms do not last longer than a day or two. This is prompting me to share what I’ve been through, what my symptoms have been, and how I’ve upped my ingesting to beat it down in a short amount of time.
Firstly, my symptoms never include headaches, body ache, fever, or chest pressure; only upper bronchial – or runny nose. Symptoms can include a scratchy throat, but never a sore throat. I liken this to lack of inflammation and infection – two key remedies from cannabis and other beneficial plants. Cannabis is also an analgesic, hence no body aches, etc.
I do feel fatigue, and the need for rest. If I were the average American, I might take an over-the-counter cold-relief medicine, and work through my illness. Would this help heal my body? I think not. It would artificially dry up the congestion, masking the symptoms; while eliminating fatigue with a synthetic stimulant.
Rather, I choose to up my ingesting of cannabis concentrates, along with a chamomile concentrate for added measure and general overall well-being. Chamomile has the same benefits that fight against inflammation and infection, it’s an anti-oxidant, and it wards off depression – giving me an overall sense of well-being.
Cannabis concentrate put into capsules makes an easy delivery. Using the caps as a suppository gives no head-high, as it bypasses digestive system and the liver.
I follow the entourage effect protocol – ingesting a variety of concentrates via tinctures, capsules, and micro-infused dishes using cooking oils, vinegar, and sauces made with infused base ingredients. I also drink beneficial teas, juices; and eat soups made with lots of vegetables and fresh herbs.
The entourage effect also includes smoking cannabis, as that delivery increasing the efficacy of other treatments and deliveries.
I use a cannabis-infused coconut oil to rub on the bottom of my feet, getting the medicine of the plant to my systems via the pathways shown here, as an additional delivery of the benefits.
Using a topical body lotion infused with equally beneficial plants is part of the whole-body system. I also rub the bottom of my feel with a cannabis-infused coconut oil, as feet are a pathway, feeding vital organs and systems throughout the body, rounding out the entourage effect.
My prevention protocol includes nightly ingesting of the stronger cannabis oil concentrate, cooked down in an alcohol reduction; but while I’m symptomatic, I ingest it during the day and rest or sleep – as shutting down allows the body to heal.
Five years ago, I didn’t have this plant-based protocol. I used to get the cold or flu several times a year, and would be laid up for weeks at a time. I used to joke, “if you take medicine a cold/flu can last up to two weeks; if you don’t take meds, it can last 14 days.”
I was often overweight, with a challenged digestive system; while on many prescription medications and supplements for several disorders; including chronic pain, and Thyroid Disease with menopause, which combined, causes double-duty hormonal issues with myriad symptoms, too numerous to name here.
My immune system was weakened due to my poor diet and lack of exercise, which I blamed solely on my hormonal disorders, with one pill after another added regularly, to no avail.
I had no idea about our Endocannabinoid System (eCS), and how plants feed all our systems through it, keeping us healthy. We’ve gone too far from the garden for too long now. If you aren’t feeding your eCS, your body won’t be able to fight off infection or worse, as we have become endocannabinoid deficient.
I’m grateful for my time in Humboldt County, for the knowledge shared by farmers and medicine makers allowed me to see that merely smoking the plant – while enjoyable, is only getting a fraction of the benefits into my systems. Ingesting plant concentrates is keeping my immune system strong enough to ward of illness, as demonstrated fully during this cold and flu season.
If you are a cannabis patient, up your game by ingesting, and feel the difference on a daily basis. All those nagging ailments may slowly fall away as your endocannabinoid system, and your health thrives.
Cannabis and the Common Cold
Entry #4: February 20, 2017
It's officially cold and flu season and I'm seeing a lot of people in the cannabis community and beyond posting they are sick. Because I'm an extreme Cannabis Nag and Educated Stoner, I've decided to reiterate my success in staving off cold, flu, or even a headache in the past five years I've been ingesting cannabis and other plants on a daily basis.
And this isn’t bragging, as much as it’s a shout-out for help to my comrades. For there’s nothing quite as sad to me as those in the cannabis space who are not educated on everything this plant can do.
Our bodies are sponges and are greatly affected by dirty air, water, and soil – subsequently leading to dirty food. Add empty processed foods and a lack of real foods to our diets on a daily basis, and our physical well-being is continually challenged.
Following is a breakdown of cold and flu symptoms. Think about what symptoms are from infection and that present inflammation. Symptoms such as fevers, chills, pain, and bronchial congestion - these are the red flags of infection in the body. Fever, mucus – even chills are the body’s way of fighting infection.
Keep just some of the following infection-fighting plants in your system on a regular basis, and you’ll have less infection and inflammation in your body – and subsequently, your body won’t have to raise a fever to fight on its own. Add cannabis to your diet and it's the quintessential pain, anti-inflammatory and anti-infection remedy, with more than 480 beneficial compounds all told.
If I feel a cold or flu coming on, I simply up my ingesting of strong cannabis oil or tincture, adding additional deliveries, such as infused apple cider; drink strong beneficial tea - such as chamomile; and take to bed – for rest is key in fighting any ailment.
Rest is actually an incredibly healing act, though we’ve been told to take a pill and not miss a day of work or school. The kids with the perfect attendance records weren’t healthier than other kids, they were just going to school sick, after taking a pill to mask symptoms.
As suggested by the American Cannabis Nurses Assoc., three deliveries of cannabis as medicine are key (methods to get the medicine of the plant into your systems): topical, ingesting, and smoking (vaporizing clears bronchial). Shown here: Cannabis oil, juiced leaf (frozen in cubes), topical salves, suppositories (no head-high), kief caps.
My own daily doses of plant-based concentrates include taking the strong RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) at night for sleep and prevention (replacing prescription meds, preventing breast cancer); infusing drinking water with herbs and spices; alcohol infused with cannabis and other beneficial herbs and spices as a tonic (see Apothecary Page for recipes); infusing cooking oil and vinegar with cannabis and herbs; adding fresh herbs to all my cooked dishes – and eating lots of chopped vegetable salads, with more chopped herbs, fruits and spices in the mix.
Eating from the garden (or produce isle) is not only healthier, it’s actually less expensive than buying processed foods or eating out – and you’ll feel better in the long run, that’s a given.
To surmise, if you are a cannabis advocate, activist, or enlightened patient, thank you for your support in quelling the negative stigma surrounding cannabis use. If you haven’t yet added the plant and other beneficial herbs to your daily regime in as many ways as possible, you may want to take another look at the fight for wellness that accompanies the fight for the freedom to medicate. You’ll be surprised at how good it will make you feel.
Yours in Wellness,
CBD fighting inflammation in the body: Project CBD
More than 480 Beneficial Compounds in Cannabis
Environmental Toxins and Alzheimer’s, Scientific American
Cardio Inflammation, Stanford
National Institute of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine:
Infection-fighting plants: Plants an Antimicrobial Agents, Clinical Microbiology Reviews
Cannabis as Anti-Inflammatory
With Cannabis, the Dentist is my friend.
Entry #3: January 25, 2017
My family spent vacations in Ensenada in Baja California getting our dental work done and riding horses on the beach (see American Stoner in Mexico essay). So, the dentists here were no stranger to me. Five years ago I had a filling done in Ensenada (cost $50 US), but used the Valium typically needed prior for anxiety associated with the mental anguish I go through for these visits. This time, with the knowledge gained from past knee surgery (see Essay, Cannabis & Pain) and using only cannabis, I went into the visits armed with my favorite plant-based medicines, cannabis and chamomile (see Apothecary page with information on chamomile in this site).
The dentist was curious, as I showed him the RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) caps I had made, taking two prior to the procedure. Doctors aren't trained in plant-based medicine, unless they look into it themselves, and cannabis patients typically teach them via demonstration. I strongly encourage cannabis patients to share their anecdotal stories of healing, as it helps educate them while dispelling the myths surrounding the plant.
Part of my anxiety in the dentist's chair comes from severe bouts of claustrophobia. In past visits to the dentist I hyperventilated to tears, feeling like I was suffocating with hands in my face and tools in my mouth. This phobia began when I was held underwater in a swimming pool by a bully when I was nine years old. With cannabis, I'm able to fully relax in a "no worries" state-of-mind.
What started out as a teeth cleaning, ended up a major surgery as my fear of dentist (combined with lack of cash for pricey U.S. work) had kept me away from check-ups for too long. Stitches in two areas were necessary as a deep cleaning and scraping was inevitable.
The dentist offered me prescriptions of an antibiotic along with 800 mg. of prescription Ibuprofen, which I declined. In the five years since putting my breast cancer into remission using RSO I have not had the need for any over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers - as I've had nary a headache since. For if you regularly ingest plant-based concentrates such as cannabis or chamomile, the natural anti-inflammatory and infection-fighting compounds keep minor ailments, such as headaches, at bay.
According to Drugs.com, Ibuprofen is commonly prescribed for peri-operative pain. The synthetic medicine is a NSAID, as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agent, though its mode of action is "not completely understood," according to the site. Side effects include "cardiovascular thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal." They also have an "increased risk of serious gastrointestinal adverse events, including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal."
After the procedure I mixed one tablespoon of chamomile infused apple cider vinegar (ACV) with a half a glass of water and drank it down. ACV is a great preventive on its own, infused with chamomile it's a double dose of goodness. According to a paper published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, ACV has been used for thousands of years as medicine in wound care, preventing inflammation and infection, as touted by Hippocrates, said to be the father of medicine. He also coined my favorite quote: Make medicine thy food, and food thy medicine. It also aided in any digestive issues I may have had as a side effect of the anesthesia, as past bouts included extreme nausea and constipation.
I also did a rinse with the mineral oil infused with chamomile several times throughout the first day after the procedure. Chamomile has many beneficial properties that nearly mimic CBD (cannabinoid), a medicinal compound in cannabis, including staving off inflammation and infection that cause pain. It also takes the edge off of too much THC - which is why I added chamomile infused caps to my aftercare. (Visit the Apothecary page on this site for more information on chamomile.)
RSO measures in at around 80% activated THC - which helped immensely in taking me to anther place under the knife. But too much can also cause anxiety, affecting the central nervous system, causing jitters and sometimes a lack of sleep, which is necessary to heal.
Directly after the procedure I had a surge of creative energy and began setting up the shots you see here. A favorite joke I remember from the 70s is, "cannabis forces us to be more creative than we really are," and it's partly correct. For someone like me who suffers bouts of hormonal depression (thyroid w/menopause), it can lift my endorphins to a better level and get me off my butt. However, after a surgical procedure, the body needs rest to heal - hence the calming chamomile caps taken with the strong THC activated caps.
I slept the afternoon away and when I woke up in the evening I had no swelling, with the pain only a dull reminder of surgery. Before going to bed I took another RSO cap and two more chamomile caps. By the next morning I needed only to rinse again with the chamomile mineral oil, completely doing away with any pain. As I write this it's the next afternoon and I've had no pain since.
Interesting to note, I did not want to smoke with all the ingesting. It just wasn't necessary. Actually, in treating my depression (hormonal from thyroid/menopause) I've found that if I ingest enough chamomile and cannabis on a regular basis, I don't need to smoke as much.
Needless to say, the dentist was astounded by the results. The next morning while checking my mouth, he was in disbelief in the way it had already started to heal - with no swelling or infection at all, and absolutely no pain on day two.
I'm grateful for this knowledge of plants and how they heal and protect us. But I'm more grateful for open-minded doctors and dentists, such as Dr. Herrera, who have the intellect to accept that not all traditional therapies are the end-all to healing.
Yours in Wellness,
Note: Recipes for all above can be found in the Apothecary page. To make many of my remedies I use the Magical Butter machine, The Source, by Extract Craft, and cold steeping - as with the chamomile infused mineral oil.
Notes from the Road
Entry #2: January, 2017
I’ve also taken a few photos - more than 10,000 of them in 2016 alone. Sharing a slideshow here of highlights from the road, along with photos of inspiration for kitchen apothecary, as I continue to use plant concentrates in as many ways as I can.
In the process I’ve met hundreds of people in the cannabis space, patients and entrepreneurs alike, all moving forward in one of the fastest growing industries in the world – with great healing taking place in the wake.
As detailed in my Educated Stoner essay, Cannabis Evangelist, I’ve continued to share my own story of healing with cannabis and other beneficial plants – often to wide-eyed listeners, unaware of anything positive to do with the cannabis due to decades of propaganda - equally unaware of the power of plants for remedies for real ailments.
For the propaganda doesn’t end with cannabis, as many highly beneficial plants that are readily found around the world have also been downplayed for their healing properties. I call it plant propaganda.
Everywhere I go people have been open to hear my story, helping them to be open to real change with their own health and well-being. And I don't say this lightly. Being on multiple prescription meds was not beneficial for me. The pills did not improve my life, I was merely sustained while having to add a cocktail of pills and supplements to remedy the side effects of the medications.
Aside from sharing with our doctors to help educate them, one on one is a great way to share our stories of healing. That said, we desperately need the good news on this good medicine to fully cross over into mainstream, as people are sick and suffering needlessly for lack of real information. Those of us in the cannabis space are in a green bubble of knowledge that must be popped at some point.
Ironically, legalization helps. And though medicine is seemingly being pushed to the wayside in light of the freedom to recreate, the healing is definitely taking place.
Actually, it’s the children and senior citizens who are really being healed in droves, changing the face of the plant forever.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for following my travels. And thank you for Evengelizing the plant. For until the words come out of our mouths, the truth will not be heard.
Yours in wellness,
Thoughts on the Season
Entry #1: December, 2016
Joni Mitchell penned her liner notes for her first album, Ladies of the Canyon, sharing her love of words came from a favorite English teacher who inspired.
For the past five years I’ve used my words within the cannabis space to inspire, to educated and hopefully, enlighten, as I’ve attempted to dispel myths and offer up truth on my favorite healing herb, cannabis.
If someone would have told me in high school I’d be traveling the world writing about weed, I would have accused them of taking the entire tab. This life of a weed writer was not a chosen one, and it’s certainly not an easy path to go down. In fact, it’s a rabbit hole.
The life I chose at the tender age of 24 was that of a flower gardener in Southern California. 17 years of gardening led to hosting, writing and producing a visiting gardens show for television – that’s what parlayed my career into cannabis, ironically, not the plant itself.
For when your own government does not recognize or even support the healing this plant provides, a career path into cannabis is not highly regarded or sought out. And unless you are farming or manufacturing products with the plant, there is little monetary compensation in just writing about it.
Divine intervention propels people to defend the plant. Happenstance in word-of-mouth situations, when healing doesn’t come from traditional methods, is how the good news on good medicine is typically discovered.
Knowing the truth isn’t always pretty. The truth is often a hard pill to swallow, and watching people die and suffer under traditional treatments while knowing the truth is the toughest part about being a cannabis advocate.
This past year America seemingly embraced cannabis, legalizing for recreation in many states, and offering up medicine to more.
I’ve been asked repeatedly how I feel about legalization and my answer is always the same - legalization means more rules, not more freedoms. My new hashtag is #legalizetolitigate, as each new ordinance creates yet another loophole to convict, while non-violent prisoners sit in waiting for meeting supply and demand of the world’s favorite herb.
In my mind cannabis should not be considered a recreational drug at all. I’ll say this until the cows come home, that even the most ardent stoner not believing in its healing benefits is reaping them just the same. You can take the recreational freedoms away, but you can never take the medicine out of the plant.
That said, along with the people’s win on cannabis during this last election, there was also a set-back of epic proportions with the win of a conservative president and his cabinet appointments filled with uneducated opponents of the plant.
The future looks insecure where good medicine is concerned, with our words of truth all we have to combat an uncertain future of healing in the U.S.
Keep talking about the healing. Come out of the smoky closet and support the plant and the people working for change. Evangelize cannabis – for until the words come out of our mouths, the truth will not be heard.
Happy Holidays! Be well, be true, be honest.