My Summer Working On A Cannabis Farm

Over the summer I took a part-time job at Sticky Mantis, a Tier 3 cannabis farm in eastern Washington as a trimmer and harvester. This family owned and operated farm near Cheney has been going since the beginning of recreational cannabis in 2013 and in their fifth year are still growing strong despite having to deal with the ridiculously low prices of cannabis in eastern Washington.

My job started out one day a week trimming with my friend’s mom which was absolutely wonderful for me. Trimming itself for hours and hours is tedious and I would come home covered in cannabis crumbs and smelling of flowers but still satisfied with a full day of work.

Once they started harvesting I was pulled outside and started working 7 days a week, as needed, cutting down plants. Being outside in the plants was very different work. Much more physical, much stickier, much dirtier, and much smellier.  Rather than go home smelling like cannabis flowers I would go home smelling like a skunk on defense.

If anybody ever tells you that working on a cannabis farm is glamorous, you can bet they have never worked on a farm.

Despite the odor, the impossible to get out stickiness, the minimum wage, the long commute into the country, and occasional nasty weather, I found a lot of reasons to really like this job.

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Here are 5 Benefits I gained from working on a cannabis farm:

1- The Terpenes. It is wonderful to be surrounded by cannabis terpenes when they agree with you. Most cannabis terpenes appear to agree with me but working with so many different strains I was able to observe that different cultivars gave me different feelings. The Bubba Kush gave me the yawns, Futureman made me feel positive and motivated, and Monsterberry was one I personally didn’t enjoy smelling or working with. Everybody on the crew had different reactions to each plant, it was interesting.

2- The Fresh Air- This benefit is only exclusive to outdoor farms, but working outside was a treat for me. Since Sticky Mantis is a pesticide free farm with healthy plants, I was able to enjoy my own healthy experience on the farm. Watching huge cannabis plants dance in the wind around me was somewhat magical.

3- The People- The group at Sticky Mantis was mostly family and their dynamic made being on the farm a little more fun. Take a healthy mix of personality quirks, ambition, love, and jokes, with more hard work and you get a team that keeps dialing in their craft with each season.

4- The Sunshine. After living in the Seattle area for 12 years, having a job in daily sunshine getting regular Vitamin D for months was a really nice change.

5- The Water. This is again exclusive to the farm I was working on, but they had a water spigot that pumped out fresh, untouched, mineral rich well water. I would take my own water bottles and hydrate as often as possible. What a treat!

In the end I have to say that getting on a good harvest crew is a rather exciting, challenging, grueling, and rewarding thing to do. Working with plants or dried flowers is not overly stressful and if you are the low lady on the totem pole the responsibility is also not yours. The challenging part of the work is making it through harvest when you are putting in long physical hours for weeks until it is done.

Now, with this small addition to my resume, I have a little better idea what it is like to grow weed on a commercial level and a much larger appreciation for how important the farmers are in the cannabis industry.

Seven Years of Weed Over Pills

Would you believe it has now been over 7 years that I have been using medical cannabis over pharmaceuticals?  It’s kind of a big deal and here are seven reasons why it has been so significant for me.

1. No Negative Side Effects

For the past 7 years I have missed out on the groggy, uncomfortable feelings of side effects that I was experiencing with prescribed medications for pain and inflammation.  I’ve heard enough first hand stories of people who have been using the very drugs that I was being prescribed seven years ago to know that I made the right choice to stop them and find something else. Each year that I am able to avoid pharmaceuticals and their compounding negative side effects on my body is another year that I am able to enjoy a better quality of life and focus on health.

2. Adventures in Cannabis

Over the past seven years my choice to create a long term pain management plan using pot over painkillers brought me an unusual education about the plant and entry into a thriving unregulated medical cannabis scene that led into this current regulated adult use industry. I am blessed to have also gained professional experience in the cannabis industry doing everything from content creation, blogging, social media, speaking, networking, events, sales, trimming, garden work, lobbying, and protesting.

3- Multiple Symptoms Helped With One Plant

7 years of using one single plant, cannabis, to regulate my body’s homeostasis.  I do use it multiple ways for multiple symptoms (pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, migraines) but whether I apply it topically or put fresh leaves in my smoothies it is all coming from various strains of the same non-toxic plant.

4- Cannabis Helps Me Focus On My Health As A Lifestyle

7 years of working on my health with a focus on prevention, nutrition, and happiness. I have always been a health centric person but having an alternative method to manage my chronic health conditions has opened me up to different options and allowed me to find helpful treatments like acupuncture, Bowen, and the Scoliosis Activity Suit. Cannabis has definitely helped me to positively manage my chronic condition and significantly slow progression.

5- Seven Years Of Paying For A Medical Cannabis Authorization

You didn’t think this list would all be flowers did you? I bring this up to shed light on the current system for patients in Washington State. For the past 7 years I have annually been going to a doctor and paying for them to write and process a medical cannabis authorization.  My initial regular doctor wouldn’t even talk to me about it. The state of Washington has been so backward that when they implemented adult legal use they failed to upgrade and include a functional system for supplying medical cannabis to patients. Having to maintain my authorization and also register with he state so that I can have some arrest protections, grow my own, or get a weak discount at some pot shops for non-medical grade products has not been helpful or adequate for filling my medicine needs. I look forward to sharing and supporting fixer bills to medical cannabis in Washington State with you as they come along.

6. Growing My Own

For the past 7 summers I have been utilizing the rights provided to me by my medical cannabis authorization and grown my own. I have to say that experiencing the plant from a gardener’s perspective has given me much insight into how I can use it. Growing my own cannabis has allowed to experience the health benefits of gardening, consume it raw in my diet, learn how to harvest/dry/cure, and experience how to turn this plant into therapeutic tinctures, topicals, and edibles, etc. Knowing how to do all of that has been incredibly helpful in dealing with the lack of products in stores and my MMJ budget. However, having such a small plant limit is inadequate for filling my needs. WA-wa.

7. Learning To Be NORML

It was brought to my attention at this week’s Norml Women of Washington meeting in Seattle that even after 5+ years into us having ‘legalization’ in this state, there are still 600,000 people per year being arrested for marijuana possession in this country. When I hear stats like that I am motivated to get more involved in educating lawmakers and others in my community to end the social injustice that is wrapped up with cannabis.

7 things I would say to myself 7 years ago…

1. Take it slow.  At first I thought I had to feel high for it to be therapeutic. The higher the better. LOL.

2. Unless directed by your doctor to use high doses, consume as little as you need rather than consuming a lot to see how much you can tolerate.

3. Get a good flower vaporizer and use it more than smoking it when possible. I say this because I have often found vaping over smoking flowers to be the most beneficial for immediate relief of ending or at least muting a migraine headache.

4. Try not to lick the spoon too much when you are making edibles. You might get too high and that might be uncomfortable for a few hours.

5. If you ever take too much cannabis and feel too high, you are still going to be ok. Sip on some lemon water while doing something that helps you feel calm.

6. Stay low key about your cannabis medicine use but share your knowledge as often as appropriate. Don’t be shy about sharing your story if it might help somebody else have a different option that may benefit their health too.

7. Grow your own and expand your gardening knowledge from those who can not only grow impressive cannabis but also their own organic fruit and vegetables.

Here is to seven more, as needed.

Tips For Growing Raw Cannabis In The Vegetable Garden

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As cannabis legalization slowly spreads around the world, more people are taking advantage of being able to grow small amounts of medicinal or personal recreational marijuana in their private gardens.

Growing cannabis in your backyard garden is a special thing. For the past several years I have been growing my own small amounts of medical cannabis outside in the vegetable garden during summer season. Learning as I grow this unique plant has been fascinating and challenging as something that I do to take charge of my health needs.

I grow cannabis with the intention of eating leaves off of them all season and then harvesting a portion of the buds during the end of the plant’s life. Yes, I eat my plants.

While you can find thousands of hot tips about growing cannabis, I have created for you a simplified a short list of things I do to successfully grow and eat off my plants until harvest time.

  1. Plant herbs and low growing root vegetables along borders and throughout the garden that will detract pests and feed nutrients to the soil.
  2. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings. This promotes stronger root growth as they reach out seeking water when the soil gets dry enough. Stick a moisture reader in the dirt to monitor how much water is needed. Watch the leaves, when they droop they may need a drink and when they are reaching up for the sky they are likely full enough.
  3. Feed your garden once or twice a month with probiotic organic teas to feed nutrients to the soil and roots. I make teas with powdered kelp, bokashi, cannabis leaves, flowers, molasses, etc…natural ingredients. Because I am eating my plants, they are never grown with the use of pesticides or chemicals.
  4. Defoliate around the new moon when the plant’s growth is concentrated on the roots. Take leaves near the bottom to increase airflow and the big water leaves creating shade. Taking off about 25% of the leaves off increases nutrient flow to forming flower buds without stunting the plants growth. Note that the biggest reason that you are defoliating is so that you can eat the leaves! Get them processed and stored in the fridge right away for fresh consumption.
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Organic compost tea.

5. Look at your plants everyday. I’ve been told this by more than one cannabis grower and while it seems overly simplistic, I would say that it is one of the most important tips for maintaining a healthy garden. Talking to your plants while you are spotting for pests, broken limbs, and problems as early as possible really allows for quick action to keep the growing season fruitful. On the other hand, part of the beauty of growing outdoors is that mother nature will look after your plants if you ever really have to leave them for a day or two.

Before you go out there and start planting Kush in with the broccoli, make sure that you are up on the local marijuana laws in your area. If you find out that you are not able to grow cannabis plants in your garden, the next step is to contact your legislators and ask them to support cannabis legalization and homegrown in your area. www.norml.org

Before we know it, with a little more work, gardening cannabis with vegetables will be normal.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

2018- The Year Cannabis Goes Raw

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You think you know about cannabis?

I thought I knew about cannabis because I had tried it in every form from smoking, vaping, dabbing, vape pens, edibles, topicals, suppositories, tinctures, patches, pills, bath bombs, lubes, and throat sprays. Plus, I had tried hundreds of different varieties and was successfully managing my chronic health conditions without any additional medications.

Then, I tried it raw. No longer did cannabis feel like a bandaid to be reapplied every few hours or even a pain medication alternative. Cannabis in its raw form felt like it was healing me on a deeper level and providing benefits I wasn’t receiving from all of those other forms of ingestion.

Very few people eat the cannabis plants, even if they grow, and many more still have no idea such a thing is even possible or why they would want to bother with such a thing.

For this reason, I’ve made it a personal passion project and mission to spread this message. Through my weekly blog, that I welcome you to follow, people who want to live healthy and learn more about the health benefits of raw cannabis and the vast ways it can be used for wellness.

Raw cannabis is only one part of living a healthy lifestyle which is why I started a Butterfly Sessions profile on Patreon. As a health coach, I know that people succeed 80 percent more of the time when they have support to reach their health goals. People usually have some idea of how to be healthy but what they really need is somebody to check in with, encourage them, remind them what they are working on, give them ideas to try, and help them acknowledge and celebrate their success. Having this subscription platform really allows me to give that back to people who follow and support me.

With the help of my patrons I will be self-publishing a book about eating raw cannabis in Feb 2018 and moving forward in spreading a health message about this beneficial and nutritious plant.  (Thank you to all my supporters!)

Follow for more health tips follow:

YouTube @Butterflysessions, Twitter @butterflysesh, Facebook @butterflysesh, Instagram @butterflysessions

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

How To Launch A Cannabis Health Dream

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It is time to launch my dream. Spreading health is my deepest passion and it is a dream of mine to provide a positive, supportive, and convenient place for my clients, followers, and tribe to go for a regular dose of motivation to live healthy.

I have been spreading health since I was a teenager and started going to the gym to strengthen my scoliotic spine only to soon find myself certified to lead others to do the same.

Over the past 20 years that I have been a group and personal fitness trainer I’ve had to make adjustments for my very scoliotic spine. I’ve known from the time I started physically training people as a teenager that it was my passion and I would likely be doing this until I’m 80 but also that I would have to incrementally modify and change what I do altogether so as to preserve the long term health of my spine.

More than once I have had to temporarily quit working because I was unable to walk, experiencing migraines after teaching certain classes, unable to roll over in bed, unable to put my socks on, or unable to get up and down off the floor. Its hard to motivate others to move when you can barely move yourself. I adjusted and pushed through though time and time again.

When I certified to become a holistic health coach I found a way to move forward and still make a living without continuing to over extend the limits of my back. My new training also enabled me to be able to help the people I work with on a deeper level.

Putting it all together, we come to Now where I am moving forward with my life’s work no matter what my physical limitations bring me from day to day. I’ve created a  profile on Patreon  to allow me to fuel my passion for health, help others live healthy, and still be a productive member of society.

What does cannabis have to do with this dream? Cannabis has been a major reason why I am able to stay as active as I do. It inspired 4 years of writing about it in a former blog which in turn has fired my current writing project, a book about eating raw cannabis like a vegetable. I’m planning to have this available in February 2018 and a reward to my supporting patrons.

I invite you to check it out and consider becoming a patron of mine. Please send me your feedback of what you would like to see from me! I have much to give including recipes, Motivational Monday videos, an upcoming book about eating raw cannabis like a vegetable, one on one coaching, and more.

I really appreciate you for reading this blog and following my work. Thank you for being here and fueling my passion fire to spread health and positive change in this world.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

Using Cannabis For Depression

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Talking about depression is tough. Even just writing about it right now is making my skin uncomfortable but I still feel compelled to get out that this is one of the most beneficial things that cannabis has helped me with on top of the chronic pain that I deal with because of ongoing health issues.

If you were to ask the people in my life to describe me they would use words like “bubbly, optimistic, happy, or funny.” Most people don’t know about my very dark side, the depressed one that dwells in a secret closet under a very heavy black cloud. I prefer not to share this part of me to the world. But the reality is that I do deal with depression and anxiety which is very connected to experiencing chronic physical pain and discomfort.

I have never taken prescription drugs for depression or anxiety but I have been using cannabis specifically for my scoliotic spine and experienced the added bonus of relieving my depression. When I look back I can see that I totally have been using cannabis during the blue times in my life, I just would never have admitted to being depressed at the time.

To be really honest occasionally I feel kind of guilty about whether I am using cannabis solely for pain management but also recreationally. I had always associated the getting happy part of marijuana use as recreational largely because that was its purpose as a recreational user until I got my medical cannabis recommendation. I mean, is it ok for me to use cannabis just to brighten my mood when I am feeling blue? The answer is yes. 

The compassionate (and logical) side of me has realized that it is totally ok and beneficial for using cannabis for the depression and anxiety. It kind of all goes together. Pain gets worse when you are depressed and stressed. I know that first hand. For me, depression has nothing to do with the fact that I have a good life and I am grateful for every single person, thing, and experience in it.

Cannabis is simply one tool that I use to keep the dark clouds parted so that I can see sunshine too. I also use regular exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, a practice of gratitude, journaling, and positive peers to keep my spirits lifted. Add cannabis to the mix and I become much more equipped to handle what this little body of mine is throwing at me on a daily basis.

There is no shame in saying you deal with depression or anxiety but it can feel that way when the person you are talking to either does not relate or is not open to listening to you talk about it. There is also no shame in saying that you use a non-toxic, natural plant with no risky side effects that not only relieves your pain but also keeps your spirit lifted so you can experience life on a happier level.

In fact, the more that we talk about depression the less power it will have over us and the more compassionate we can be to ourselves during times of darkness, we just might make it through.

Stay lifted my friends.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com