Medicating with Cannabis — an Update

I thought I would do an update on how I’m medicating with cannabis. I’ve been a patient now for almost six years and over that time, I’ve modified how I use cannabis for my rheumatoid arthritis. I’m in remission now and I don’t need to use as much as I once did.

As a herbalist, I prefer natural methods of healing. I even make my own toothpaste, face scrub, face cream, and deodorant. Almost daily, I can be found wildcrafting dandelion or some other herb that’s normally thought of as a weed. My husband knows not to kill weeds without discussing it with me or spells will be cast. Immediately. I mean who doesn’t love a good binding spell anyway?

Initially, I adopted the saturation approach to healing. I used cannabis concentrates daily as well as smoking and vaping. I used raw leaf and bud in smoothies and juice. I made cannabutter and used it in my cooking. And a year into the process I began making cannabis oil. From my research, when folks are seriously ill or have ongoing chronic conditions, saturation works best to give our body’s endocannabinoid system the best support to begin functioning properly again. A few hits off a pipe every day certainly helps but isn’t enough to deal with this level of illness. Otherwise, all we’re really doing is alleviating symptoms, not curing the problem.

I prefer to grow and medicate with indica-dominant strains, although it’s nice to have a sativa-dominant plant in the mix. Then I can do a blend when making tincture. I like making cannabis tincture with glycerin over alcohol, although I do make it with alcohol. The process is different, however. Alcohol tinctures are made using the shake the jar method and glycerin tinctures are made using a crockpot on the keep warm setting. At one point, the cost of glycerin had risen to around $50.00 per gallon, but thankfully prices on Amazon have come down substantially, back to at least half that price. I prefer a glycerin-based tincture in my tea. The alcohol version is too bitter.

I continue to make and use oil, but I no longer use it in a vape pen. It works and all, but after a point, I felt uncomfortable using it that way. It’s one thing to have the body break it down and assimilate it via the digestive tract by ingesting it in capsule form the way I do, or as a rectal suppository as many folks with cancer do, but to inhale it felt too much, so I now only use it at night in a capsule. I leave one side off the capsule so that the oil is absorbed more quickly. Besides, any alcohol that might still be in the oil can be digested in the stomach far better than with inhalation. I don’t want to take the chance of breathing in any solvent in the event I didn’t get all of it out when making it.

Vaping dry cannabis is another thing though and I still do that from time to time. But it’s a hassle to get out the vaporizer, etc, so typically I use a pipe or a bong and medicate that way. I’m not a fan of medibles so I don’t make much cannabutter anymore, although I may make some canna ghee soon. Medicated ghees are great and I think infusing cannabis into ghee would be really healing. Ghee is great for Pitta type doshas. I’m a Pitta/Vata person so with Pitta dominant, ghee is wonderful for me to use.

I also love to make cannabis-infused honey. I have a lovely large mesh tea infuser I purchased through Mountain Rose Herbs that I can put cannabis in for infusing. You never want to simply put the cannabis in the honey the way you can in other menstruums. It’s too difficult to strain out, so using an infuser of some kind, even if you put the cannabis in some cheese cloth, is recommended.

Cannabis infused coconut oil is still a staple in my medicine cabinet, or actually my refrigerator. I use it in smoothies and as a base for medicated salves. It can be used in the boudoir as well. Just sayin’. Seriously.

I must say, however, my primary focus now is on remaining in remission. Cannabis is part of that process, but it’s not the only herb I use. I formulated a tincture that includes herbs such as cat’s claw, sassafras, and Oregon grape root that I use daily. I also use lemon balm tincture because it’s said to be effective for EBV, which I believe to be the underlying cause of my RA.

I use liver, adrenal, and diuretic support tinctures I formulate as well. I prefer to approach health from the standpoint of nourishment and support of body systems that focus on assimilation and elimination. Somewhere that process became imbalanced and with the presence of EBV, eventually I became ill. So I focus on that now. Also in menopause, I’ve formulated a tincture for that along with using herbs such as motherwort and nettle in teas.

Medicinal mushrooms have also become a part of my daily regimen. I made some double extract reishi tincture and some chaga is currently in process. I grow turkey tail, reishi, and shiitake mushrooms as well as oyster in my cannabis room to give the ladies some much needed CO2 and then dry and either use them in cooking or for tincturing. I recently added powdered maca root to my smoothies for Crone support. It’s reduced my hot flashes immensely.

I use salves and oils I formulate for use on my joints when they become sore. Comfrey root, St. John’s Wort, and Arnica are favorites of mine to use and they work well. I infuse them into olive or almond oil or into cannabis-infused coconut oil for additional pain relief. And I still use raw cannabis in smoothies. Raw really is the best form of cannabis to use. I get all the healing plant acids that dissipate when dried. And there’s no high when ingesting cannabis in raw form, only healing.

It’s been an interesting experience, my return to health. I couldn’t have done any of it had I not grown my own cannabis. I would have never had enough to make any of the concentrates I used. It takes a pound of bud to make a quarter cup of oil, so having to obtain cannabis from a dispensary wouldn’t have worked and buying oil in one of those places is extremely expensive.

I’m no longer taking any prescribed medications, ending my last one six months ago and I continue to do well. If anything, it proves that a more foundational approach to health deserves a second look. Allopathic medicine treats symptoms which can be an appropriate choice at times, but it can also send the patient down the proverbial rabbit hole of endless symptom treatment. After nearly thirteen years I healed using cannabis when nothing else worked. And now I keep myself well with diet, exercise and all things herbal.

Our bodies and our health belong to each one of us. Taking control of both is not only responsible but necessary.

~Greenest blessings to all!

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The thing about teas..

Some herbs are infused, some are decocted. Roots are decocted. There are several ways to do this, but I put them in a quart of cold water and then bring to boil on low heat. Yes, it takes a while, but you should watch it anyway so it doesn’t get carried away on its way to boiling. When it starts to boil, drop the temp down so that it simmers for typically 20 minutes or so, but don’t worry if it goes longer. Longer is stronger, so there’s that.

Infusions are for more fragile herbs and some roots with high volatile oil content such as valerian and goldenseal. I pour boiling water over the herbs in a mason jar and then put the lid on tight, letting it steep for 15 minutes or so. Again, if it’s longer that’s fine.

Now, some of my teas are a combination of herbs as with the first tea listed. I decoct first, then remove the mixture from heat to infuse the remainder.

Teas can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but mine never last that long.

~Blessings to all!

Menopause Support Tea

Might as well put this one first..I made it into a tincture as well.

  • 2 T black cohosh root emmenagogue, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, alterative, nervine
  • 2 T licorice root expectorant, demulcent, emollient
  • 2 T dong quai root uterine tonic, antispasmodic, alterative
  • 2 T St. John’s Wort aromatic, nervine, astringent, resolvent, sedative, diuretic, vulnerary

Roots are decocted, not infused (except for valerian and goldenseal). So, add the root herbs to a quart of cold water in a covered pan on low. Bring to a boil slowly, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and infuse the St. John’s Wort by adding it to the hot decocted mixture. Re-cover the pan, leaving it off the element, and let infuse for 15 minutes or more. Strain and drink.

This helped my hot flashes somewhat. And it tastes wonderful!

Lemon Balm Tea

  • 2 T lemon balm diaphoretic, calmative, antispasmodic, carminative, emmenaogue, stomachic
  • 1 T chamomile tonic, stomachic. anodyne, antispasmodic, stimulant, bitter, aromatic
  • 1 T spearmint stimulant, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, aromatic, carminative, nervine, anti-emetic
  • stevia sweetener

Infuse into 1 quart of boiling water, steeping for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink

Crone Tonic Tea

  • 1 T oatstraw
  • 1 T horsetail
  • 1 T nettle leaf
  • 1 T red clover
  • 1.5 T motherwort

I made this on my 58th birthday..

Infuse into a quart of boiling water, steeping for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink.

Feminine Divine

  • 1 T spearmint healing
  • 1 T lemon balm healing, Feminine Divine
  • 1 T holy basil Spirit, Fire, purification, Feminine Divine
  • 1 T chamomile purification, healing, Water, Feminine Divine
  • 1/2 T dandelion leaf divination
  • 1/2 T mugwort strength, protection, psychic powers, astral travel, hedgeriding

I love this tea. I make it in bulk, so feel free to adjust the amounts any way you want.

Infuse herbs together into a quart of boiling water, letting steep for 10 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink. If making it ahead, add about a tablespoon of herb to a cup of boiling water. It’s wonderful!

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I wanted to create a page for some herbal teas and salves I’ve created. Then I decided to nest some pages beneath this one. That way, it will be easier to organize everything. I’ll have a pages for teas, oils, salves, tinctures, and some cannabis preparations. I’ll add recipes and formulas from time to time. I tend to free-wheel things a bit when I’m creating a tea or an oil. I keep track of what I use, and then if I like it, I write it down for posterity. I’ll include magickal properties if I know or can find them, as well as medicinal properties of the herbs.

I think the best teas are created by walking around my property, gathering various herbs that I see, and bringing them back to brew a cup to sip and enjoy. I might gather a little spearmint, followed by some chamomile, a little holy basil added in, along with a pinch of lemon balm. I might add a stevia leaf for natural sweetness, gathering everything to take back to my kitchen where my favorite cup awaits. I steep the herbs, and when done, I sit back and enjoy a lovely cup of tea. It’s the interaction with the herbs that brings the magick. It’s gathering with love and respect these wonderful life-affirming herbs and drinking in their essence that heals and nourishes our body and our spirit.

So check back from time to time. I’m going to figure out a way to list the pages on the widget side of the blog. I’ll be adding more recipes and formulas as I create them. If I find something I like from another herbalist, I’ll include that too, with a link back to their blog or website, or wherever I find it.

~Herbal Blessings!

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Originally published at www.imsteppingaside.com on March 12, 2016.