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.

What Kind Of CBD Oil Should I Buy?

Have you been shopping for CBD lately? There is definitely a growing supply of CBD products popping up on store shelves and the internet daily, proving to be confusing and overwhelming for many when figuring out what to purchase. There is lot of misinformation out there and with the cannabis and hemp industries literally developing as the laws are being written, it can also be challenging to keep up with current regulations.

The conversation around CBD concerns me because of all this misinformation and the fact that people shopping for CBD are generally only doing so because they are trying to improve their health. I have been prompted to write this post because of the regular conversations I see online about CBD oil and because I keep having people reach out to me asking what kind of products they should look for.

Earlier this week I read in the news that 52 people in Utah had become sick from a particular CBD oil, brand name ‘YOLO,’ that was not actually CBD but rather toxic synthetic cannabinoids. I find this extremely alarming that so many people were sickened from unscrupulous, greedy assholes trying to cash in on the CBD cash train. It was one thing to learn that all of those people had gotten sick from taking this product and it was another thing to learn that those same people purchased and took a product that apparently did not even have an ingredient list on it. While I know that a large portion of people never look at the ingredients of the things that they take into their bodies, I still find it mildly shocking.

Also this week, a scoliosis facebook group (Scoliosis Warriors) that I follow had somebody in it asking if it matters what kind of CBD oil they buy for their pain. Somebody else in the group literally answered that it did not matter, they were all the same. That is what we call a stupid fucking answer. Pardon my cuss.

Here is a short list of things to consider when shopping for CBD products.

  1. Read the ingredient list on the label. You should be able to identify everything on the ingredient list and if there is no such list, put that shit back on the shelf.
  2. Where did the CBD come from? CBD is an extracted compound from the cannabis sativa plant, from both marijuana and hemp cultivars. Currently a large portion of the CBD being sold in the US is extracted from industrial hemp, medical marijuana, or is imported CBD from the unregulated hemp markets of Asia and Europe. One concern about imported CBD is the potential for heavy metals and pesticides. You will hopefully be able to find this information from the product company’s website if they have product education and testing information available. Every good CBD product has been tested for potency, pesticides, solvents, and heavy metals, and microbial mycotoxins.
  3. How was the CBD extracted and why does it matter? Is it a full plant extract (often called ‘full spectrum’) Co2 extract, ethanol extract, or hydrocarbon extract?  The most ideal for consumption are CO2 and ethanol because they are generally regarded as safe and leave minimal residue behind. If it has been taken all the way to an isolate, it is possible that it was also extracted with chemicals that you may prefer to avoid on a daily basis. Look for full plant extract over an isolate to get a greater benefit from the whole plant. By the way, you may have to really dig to find this info. Check out the website of the brands you are shopping for to see what kind of education they can provide you about their products. Also note that CBD companies will sometimes call it ‘hemp oil’ to avoid throwing up red flags from authorities.
  4. What forms is it available? Oral tincture? Topical? Bath Bomb? Vape? How you take it depends on what you need it to do. I personally prefer an oral tincture taken in the day time because it is longer lasting when digested, more ideal for my symptoms, and I find it to be a little energizing and uplifting. I like to use an infused topical for after shower time, massage, and before bed. Then there is the CBD bath, when taken before bed provides the ultimate relaxation and sleepy time remedy. Vaping- Although the vape pens are great for immediate effects and easy dosing, I don’t vape so much because I’m not a fan of the majority of vape pens. A lot of them are cheaply made or use cartridges filled with a blend of CBD mixed with propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, MCT, etc . My gripe with all of these is that they are not proven to be guaranteed safe but have studies showing the protential for lipid pneumonia (popcorn lung). Plus I don’t feel much benefit from vaping CBD- but everybody is different so try what will work for you.
  5. Is it really legal in all 50 states? No, but this is where it gets confusing. As of the writing of this blog post, the USA federal government still declares CBD to be a Schedule 1 substance. That being said, it is up to the individual state that you live in to make local rules if CBD can be grown, processed, and sold to medical patients and/or the public. It is not legal for every state to ship or receive it interstate, although it is common to see ads from companies saying it’s legal to ship in all 50 states. Be wary of these claims! The laws are ever evolving so I suggest talking to a lawyer versed in cannabis legislation and really doing your local homework so you understand the laws around the products you buy and consume. Also, let your politicians know that you will support them if they support progressive cannabis legislation. This was released the very next day after I posted this. See? Hard to keep up with!
  6. What if the CBD products have a small amount of THC? Bonus. Some states will allow for products that have less than 0.3% THC in them to be sold in mainstream stores or with a medical cannabis authorization, such as the CHABA law in Washington State. These products, even though they have a very low level of THC and are non-intoxicating, are more desirable for pain and inflammation, and utilize more of the cannabis plant. Whole is better than one part. Look for terms like ‘whole plant extract’ or ‘full spectrum’ used on the label, this indicates the potential for a small amount of THC or other beneficial cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, CBC, +30 others. Personally, I would seek this type of product out over one that is more highly processed to only have CBD.
  7. What is an appropriate serving size and how many mg of CBD are you getting?How much you take totally depends on your body, your health issues, and why you are taking it in the first place. I’ve seen super small servings per mL and I’ve seen 4000mg servings designed for horses. While there is no such thing as a reported case of somebody overdosing on CBD, it is worthy to note that when taking  medicines or supplements of any kind you want to take only as little as necessary but also have access to as much as needed. It is your job to figure out what is the best serving size for you. You will need to experiment because some people do well with a small amount while others may need a lot more. Start slow and keep a journal to guide you along this journey.

Please share in the comments your CBD shopping experiences, good or bad! What have you found that works and what have you found that is total garbage and hasn’t worked at all? Thanks for sharing!

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who helps people with scoliosis and chronic illness how to utilize healthy food and lifestyle to reduce pain while improving their sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function.  To request a consult please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

Reefer Madness Was Wrong, Cannabis Can Help Prevent Suicide

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“People don’t commit suicide, they complete it.” – Patrick Kennedy

For the many people who have ever been told and still believe that cannabis is bad, unhealthy, addictive, and might make you crazy until you commit some kind of murder or rape, this failed propoganda could not be further from the truth.

(If you need help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline- 1-800-273-8255 or click the suicide hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/)

As a medical cannabis patient who has been using it daily for the past 7 years I can tell you that it hasn’t had a negative effect on my life. I haven’t actually found anything but wellness and healing from taking it.

One of the serious reasons that I take cannabis is for depression. I’ve especially found that during my darkest mental moments, I only experience peace and more life when I use cannabis.

Cannabis is one singular, but very substantial, thing that I use in multiple ways as part of the healthy lifestyle that I strive to live. In the big picture, all of the things I actively do to keep my whole self healthy appears to be paying off.

For example, a few weeks ago something significant happened, suicide was taken off the table as a life option. Since then my mental health and wellbeing made a positive turn.

Repeat. Suicide was mentally taken off the table as a life option.

From the age of 12 I have privately found some kind of deep dark comfort in the fact that if things got too bad, I could just off myself and all problems will be solved and my pain will disappear. This, my friends, is mental illness and depression at its most honest place. 

For some reason, I woke up one morning and said I no longer accept suicide as a life option. It was a new, strange voice inside of me saying that killing myself is not something I truly want or ever need to resort to. Ever since then, when I catch myself having dark thoughts this new voice emerges reminding me I don’t think that way anymore, it’s off the table.

I have to admit that more than once since then I have actually found it annoying to have my comfort of a suicide option taken away. Quickly, I remind myself what that means and how far I have come in my mental wellness work. After decades of mental anguish, I no longer want to kill myself. It makes me smile inside and out to feel free of such heaviness.

While all of this is super positive, I’ll be honest and tell you that it has also involved some  sleepless nights, necessary outside walks, and moments of sobbing out my soul. The dark racing thoughts and deep seated anxiety are some of the things that I have found soothing relief from with cannabis.

I’m not so presumptuous as to think I’ll never struggle with suicidal thoughts again but I definitely have to take this moment and celebrate it for all it’s worth.

It is not easy to write and share this stuff but I know that there are many people out there who deal with depression too and I think it is important to talk about it as easy as we talk about going to lunch. A mental health and wellness lifestyle is something to be embraced not just to keep from killing oneself, but to create true, positive change.

I write about cannabis and depression as often as my sensitive heart can because personally knowing how the two work together changed my perspective on mental health and my long term health treatment plan for managing depression and chronic pain. 

I also write to give hope to the many people out there who deserve better than to dwell under heavy clouds of despair that hold them down.

If you need help right now, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline- 1-800-273-8255 or click the suicide hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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  

 

Cannabis Infused Peanut Butter Fudge (Vegan)

Chocolate peanut butter fudge made without processed sugar that will help me sleep and relax my body? Yes please.

During an especially strong chocolate craving I came up with this simple, and healthy fudge version that is effective as medication and packed with nutrients.

I used a CO2 extracted cannabis oil, purchased from a local pot shop, that I know had been tested for quality and impurities. I like cooking with CO2 oils because they can easily be added to oils and because they are tested for potency making it easy to dose THC or CBD by the milligram.

MMJ Peanut Butter Fudge

1/2C cacao powder

1/2C hemp hearts

1C coconut milk

1t vanilla

6 medjool dates

1/4C maca powder

1g CO2 cannabis concentrate (option for MMJ version)

1C peanut butter

1/3C chopped walnuts

1) Blend cacao, hemp hearts, coconut milk, vanilla, maca powder, and dates until smooth.

2) Gently heat the peanut butter and coconut oil in a double boiler. Remove from heat and add the cannabis concentrate to the warm oils. Mix well.

3) Combine both mixtures then add walnuts.

4) Place in a 6″x9″ pan and chill in fridge for 15 minutes. Cut into pieces and place into freezer until firmly set. Keep refrigerated or in the freezer until ready to eat.

These turned out to be a pleasant way to medicate. Not sugary but with a rich and fudgy texture and effective daytime mmj potency.

Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea.

21 Days Of Health Blogging- Day 1

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21 days of blogging…

My life’s passion of pursuing health, wellness, and happiness while motivating and helping others do the same runs thick in my veins.

The first time somebody asked me why I work out (I was 18 and being picked up on in the middle of my workout) triggered an immediate answer, “I workout for life.” While the answer came out as a forceful deflection (#metoo) that served its purpose it also cultivated a voice of dedication to my body and health as not only my present self but for my future self in the same body with the same chronic ailments.

‘I workout for life’ is still a motto of mine. The major physical pains, migraines, and muscle spasms along the journey have shaped my workouts and health habits. This body has kept me humble in so many ways.

My spine has been a rollercoaster of chronic pain and physical challenges that has been so tough the very act of just living with it has made me stronger. I have held firm to the mindful part of doing activities that are nourishing my body not just for now but so I can walk as long as I live and have a higher quality of life because I’m super mindful of my health habits.

It has been 18 years since the first doctor told me to accept the fact that I would be on pain medication my whole life. My response was to go to library and get smarter then to the gym to get stronger. I’m proud to say that I have found multiple ways to manage my scoliosis, migraines, and other ailments without spinal fusion surgery or pharmaceuticals.

Healthy mindfulness takes work and dedication…and its really tough to do all by yourself. This brings me to the 21 days of blogging…

I want to do more here.

I started this blog in order to support and give back to my health conscious tribe with a regular dose of motivation and that is what I intend to do more of. I also started it as a way to progress my own healthy living as an art.

In an effort to reset my content creation habits I have challenged myself to blog daily for the next 21 days. Watch for Motivational Mondays, healthy holiday recipes, and the launch of two projects I am super excited to roll out.

For the 299 people who subscribe to this blog, thank you all so much for supporting my words, passion, and free speech by tuning in. You are the reason I have big goals for this blog in 2018!

See you tomorrow.

 

 

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