This topic is controversial.
I understand this. I have been using cannabis for over ten years and have been openly using cannabis on a regular basis for the past five. I am very aware that many individuals have very opposing views on both marijuana and the cannabis plant. I have participated in many interesting and thought provoking conversations on this subject and have resonated with statements made by supporters of each end of the spectrum. I am aware that the recreational use of cannabis is not yet legal in most states within the US. I also know that it is not yet legal in many other parts of the world as well. I do not recommend anyone use cannabis medically (or recreationally) without doing their own research before hand.
Some people react differently to cannabis than others. I know that marijuana can temporarily impair your memory or alter your mood. I know that just like all other things, what works for one person, very well may not work for another.
I do realize that a large percentage of my online following is made up of young woman (and often times, their mothers.) If you are a skeptic to recreational or medical use of marijuana (or are a parent who is unsure of where they stand,) please know that I honor your decision to feel the way you do. I am so thrilled you have your own opinion on this subject, and I truly wouldn't want it any other way. I trust whole heartedly that if you do choose to continue reading this blog, you will keep an open mind (and heart) to my beliefs, as I would to yours if we were standing in the same room discussing this in person. Although I share many aspects of my life over a screen, I am still human. Still living my own life. In the flesh. Learning and expanding in new ways, each day. As are you.
I am perfectly imperfect.
I know this to be true.
I am no greater than anyone else.
No one else is greater than me.
What other people perceive of me or my life is none of my business.
My life is a direct reflection of my own thoughts and beliefs.
I am a living manifestation of the energetic ideas and vibrations that I experience.
I choose to think nothing but positive thoughts about myself.
I choose to honor myself and my spirit's intuition.
I choose to love myself.
I know I have everything I need within me to live a create a life that is abundant in all ways.
I have everything I need to be healthy, happy and loved.
I have everything I need within me.
I already have it. I always have.
What brings me happiness and fulfillment in my life is going to be beautifully unique to what brings you happiness and fulfillment in yours.
I know that I can never make a judgement of you or your choices, as you are the only person who can identify with your own source energy and the factors that contribute to deepening your sense of greater self awareness.
I am not here to tell you what I think you should do.
I am not here to tell you what I think anyone else should do.
I am here to share a story with you.
With hopes that this story will inspire you, the reader, to dive deeper within the levels of your internal being. To recognize your self worth and your self ability. To recognize your power. To recognize your infinite source of energy and light. To get to know yourself better, really.
I am here, sharing this blog post to inspire you to focus more on your relationship you are involved in with yourself.
Marijuana does not complete me or my life.
Marijuana simply compliments it.
Although this may sound repetitive, I just want to make it very clear that if you are seeking an article discussing the scientifically researched pro's and con's of marijuana usage as backed by western science, this article is not what you are seeking. THIS IS JUST A STORY.
I am not here to make claims about the potential benefits or the potential hazards of marijuana or share studies done on the cannabis plant.
I am not here to remind you that some of the most influential and thought provoking leaders of our world, such as William Shakespeare (researchers found marijuana resin on many of his clay pipes,) Queen Victoria (who's private physician, Sir Russell Reynolds, prescribed marijuana for her menstrual cramps,) President John F. Kennedy (who has several written accounts of using marijuana to relieve severe back pain,) Carl Sagan, an incredible scientist, astronomer and astrophysicist who wrote essays describing the insights he identified with after smoking marijuana, or Bob Marley (who just smoked pot. A lot of it. Often publicly. Many times while on stage in front of thousands.) I am not here to tell you about the scythians or the ancient greeks (who are well known for using cannabis to get rid of tapeworms, parasites, nosebleeds and reduce ear inflammation.) I am not here to discuss the Egyptian pharaohs (who used cannabis in a multitude of medical uses, including treatment for hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers and sore eyes.) I am most certainly not here to tell you about the Egyptian pharaohs.
If you are looking for me to convince you that marijuana can actually enhance your health and self awareness, rather than destruct it, this is not the post you've been looking for. I am not here to tell you that weed has been shown to lower your risk of diabetes, regulate high blood sugar, lower your cholesterol, help alleviate symptoms and pain from PMS, alleviate chronic headaches and migraines, increase your metabolism, concentrate, sleep better, help you lose weight or enhance your creativity.
However, if I was here to tell you that, I'd probably list some of these links here...
- A study published in The American Journal of Medicine found that people who smoke marijuana had lower insulin levels and insulin resistance levels by 16 and 17 %. Which means that cannabis can play a role in regulating blood sugar, which can significantly decrease your risk of developing diabetes.
- A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that pot smokers are less prone to obesity and have less chance of becoming obese in their lifetime.
- Another study in the American Journal of Medicine revealed similar results, finding those who supplement with marijuana on a regular basis weigh less than those who don't smoke marijuana. Researchers also discovered that marijuana may boost your metabolism, increase fat loss and lower cholesterol.
- Studies have found that THC is an analgesic and anti nociceptive agent that can alleviate the pain of killer menstrual cramps as well as lower back pain, irritability and PMS related headaches. Marijuana has also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with the bloating that occurs during your moon cycle, which means you can supplement with a plant rather than a midol.
- Research has supported a link between the brain's CB-1 and CB-2 cannabinoid receptors and dopamine. Essentially, small doses of marijuana can enhance your concentration without hurting your efficiency level. An increase in dopamine levels often leaves us feeling focused and motivated, which means you may even consider supplementing with a plant, rather than your second Red Bull or third coffee of the day.
- Other studies show that cannabis causes psychotomimetic symptoms, which could lead users to make connections between ideas that aren't usually related to one another in a typical sense.This type of thinking is often crucial to our creativity and imagination, as well as our cognitive brain development.
- Scientists are also finding that chemical compounds found in cannabis, THC and CBD, actually help protect our brains. This article explains how cannabis can actually help individuals diagnosed with mental health disorders.
An article published in a 2010 Harvard Mental Health Letter also suggests that marijuana alleviated symptoms of anxiety.The article mentions that small doses of THC act as a gentle sedative, decreasing symptoms of anxiety.
But I am not here to talk about that. RemeMber? I'm just sharing a story.
MY MARIJUANA STORY
In a perfect world, I'd be sharing this story from a warm living room while my audience of blog readers and online subscribers sat on the floor around my rocking chair and listened very closely with wide eyes.
I experimented with pot for the first time my freshman year of high school. I had a boyfriend who was older than me and who hung out with all of the surfers, skaters, and stoners. One night while spending time with a girlfriend, my boyfriend called and asked us if we wanted to be picked up and go cruise with him and his friends for the evening. We said yes and soon enough we were in the trunk of our class mate's clunky old car parked facing the ocean with the headlights on so we could see the waves crashing on the shore in the night. We hung out and listened to music, messed with the radio and admired the stars from the beach parking lot. Soon enough, someone pulled out a glass bong from their bag and someone else began to pack a bowl with weed. Sprawled out throughout the open car and spacious trunk, we took turns passing around the pipe and taking hits. I watched my girlfriend take a hit of the bong and when she handed it to my boyfriend sitting next to her, he politely offered it to me and asked if I wanted to smoke it first. "I've never smoked before" I announced to my friends quietly. All good, my boyfriend assured me, there was no pressure to do anything.
I didn't think about it much to be honest. I knew I felt curious and interested. "Can you teach me how?" I asked. "Sure" he said. And that was it. I learned how to smoke the bong, took a small hit and then passed it to the next friend who did the same. No one paid much attention to it and nor did I. It felt very comfortable and casual for me. I'm surprised I even remember the specific occasion, actually. After that, we decided to share one more bowl pack, rolled all of the windows down and turned the car lights off to admire the stars. We laid there for hours. Cracking jokes, playing music, sharing stories and just .... hanging out in a parking lot, you get it.
Now that I look back on it, many of my most cherished memories from my teenage years sound similar to this. I had the closest group of girlfriends (and still do). We would gather a small group, start a beach bonfire, hang by someone's pool or post up in a backyard on a warm summer night and sing, talk, share ideas and pass around a joint or two. Sometimes five. I have nothing to hide here. I loved that my friends were interested in playing instruments, writing songs, spitting rhymes, planning trips, sharing stories from the ocean and studying the upcoming surf swell. I loved that we could enjoy time with one another that didn't involve crowded basement parties or red solo cups filled with four loko and cheap beer. I loved that weed was usually hard to come by, because when one of us did have it, we invited others to come and join in the ceremony of enjoying it together. I loved that marijuana inspired me to ask meaningful questions, think unique thoughts and slow down to deliciously drink in all of the small moments.
I love that marijuana makes me think of being home, surrounded by the people I love who are interested in having inspiring conversations and making more personal connections. I love that.
CANNABIS OVER THE YEARS
Unfortunately, the more time I spent in high school, the more time I spent partying. My group of friends expanded quickly as I joined clubs, sports teams and worked at a popular clothing store nearby. The more friends I had, the more invitations I received on a weekend night. I smoked weed occasionally and ate a pot brownie here and there, but never used marijuana consistently (or for any reasons other than recreational) for many years. Unfortunately, I did not make as smart or intuitive choices with alcohol and ended up abusing it many times in the four years I attended high school. I have gotten in fights with friends and family while drinking. I have been in the car with friends who should not have been driving me home while I was drunk. I have been hospitalized with alcohol poisoning. I have even been kicked off of a sports team for underage drinking. Although my relationship with alcohol became hazardous at a young age, I was fortunate enough to make the decision to travel for 6 months my senior year of high school, which basically put an abrupt halt to my partying and over-consumption. I needed to save money, get in shape and feel my best before leaving to live entirely off grid in Africa. And I needed to get it done quickly. I began to realize that alcohol was not serving my highest level of self and took a drinking hiatus while I prepared to travel. Then I left on my six month adventure and rarely had the opportunity to drink like I had before. As soon as my trip was done, I attended my first semester of college in Miami, Florida and began drinking again right away. I was attending concerts, going to music festivals, clubs, private events and parties every single weekend (and many week days). My only goal in college was to socialize and cultivate a new group of friends, so partying seemed to be the most appropriate answer for that. Low and behold, that answer was wrong. Being drunk quickly affected my grades, my health and my mental well-being. I would get the worst hangovers of my life after drinking cheap tequila in Miami nightclubs and found myself craving junky, processed foods when I was too tired to bother to cook between classes. I had a frightening experience walking (stumbling) home drunk from a bar one night and knew I wanted to take a break again.
It wasn't until I moved to Hawaii that I began to explore marijuana for medical purposes on a more regular basis. I was attending a new college now and feeling healthier and stronger than ever before. I was barely drinking alcohol and was exploring a plant based diet for the first time in my life. I was exercising, diving, biking, learning how to surf and excited to be back at college once again. I was so in love with my new life and change of scenery. Soon enough, I had a new Hawaii boyfriend, and quickly after that I didn't.
I experienced my first true heartache in Hawaii and found myself struggling with anxiety for the first time in my life. I had never really been "dumped" before and wasn't used to sleeping alone each night. I was 5,000 miles from home and left feeling hurt and confused. My anxiousness and negative energy would stay with me throughout the day and into the evening when I began to have trouble sleeping. I would lay in bed with my head and heart racing. I didn't want to be going out and socializing at bars or parties, but I felt so lonely and so unsettled for the first time. I went almost 3 months running on no more than 4 short hours of sleep a night. I had frequent nightmares, sleep terrors and was waking up constantly throughout the night barely able to fall back asleep. "Fuck, I don't want to go on medication for this" I remembering thinking to myself. I eventually turned to the school library (and then the internet) to consider all of my options for natural sleep remedies. The more I read, the more I learned about marijuana.
For hundreds of years, cultures from around the world have been using marijuana and cannabis for 100% natural relief for sleep, illness, pain management and more. I came across a plethora of information on different strains of sativa and indica weed and finally decided that I wanted to give it a go. I hadn't smoked in a few weeks, and had never really smoked on a regular basis before, so this felt like an exciting science experiment I was about to embark on. I texted a friend who grew marijuana locally and asked if I could buy an indica strain to smoke that night. I don't know if it was from the state of absolute exhaustion from in-proper sleep for 12+ weeks, or from the indica weed, but I took 2 or 3 hits of a small joint that night and was asleep in bed with an open book on my chest within the hour. I woke up 9 hours later feeling like Michelle Obama, basically. That day I decided I would journal my recent sleep patterns for the next two weeks or so and see if I noticed any lasting changes. Every night for two weeks, I would head to my bedroom after dinner with my housemates, close my door, light a candle or an incense stick, meditate on my carpeted floor for 10 minutes and then smoke some indica before climbing into bed with a book or my journal. I slept every single night. Beautifully. And eventually ran out of weed. I took a break from using marijuana before bed for a few nights while I waited to restock and noticed that even then I slept better than I had before my indica experiment began.
With all of the epic journaling, reading, and online research I was doing, I knew I needed to find a physical hobby that I could dedicate some of my time and new found energy (from all of the sleep) to. I started downloading audiobooks on my phone and running from my house to a nearby park and wildlife trail. I would run 2 miles to the head of the trail while listening to a new book or podcast and then run home. The more I ran, the longer my runs became. I loved the idea of long distance running and eventually began training for my first ever marathon. Although I had very little idea where to start. I had a great guy friend who lived in the apartment next to mine who loved the idea of training for a marathon just as much as I did. "26 miles? Thats fucking nuts" he said. "I'm in. Let's do it." So, we did. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I would run a few miles on my own, and every Saturday and Sunday I'd wake up extra early to knock on Austin's door and wake him up for "training". We would wait to run our "long" runs together each weekend and would often bang out 11 or 12 miles before many of our friends had even stumbled out of bed. We'd run to the beach, check the surf, run to the park, check the gardens, run back to the beach and then run home. Sometimes we'd pack a few dollars and hit up a farmer's market for a cold juice or smoothie while we were out training in the heat. I loved our runs together. Austin quickly became one of my closest friends and I felt physically stronger than ever before. My back, however, did not. The more we trained, the more time I spent at the gym stretching and foam rolling my legs and calves. I knew the concrete running was impacting my body in harsh ways. My legs felt (and looked, might I add) amazing. But my lower back ached. I knocked on Austin's door on a Friday night and told him I didn't think I'd be able to run in the morning because my lower back was acting up again. He told me he'd check in with me in the morning, and when he did, he knocked on my door in running attire with a large joint rolled in his hand. "Let's smoke this. Then see how you feel." We smoked the joint and decided to head outside and jog slowly, so even if I didn't last long, at least I'd still get some training in. We ran 14 miles that day. A half marathon. It was the longest I had ever run in my life and I remember feeling so excited and truly comfortable in my body while running. We finally got back home and Austin invited me to stretch in his room and make celebratory breakfast smoothies. We did exactly that while I raved to him about how wonderful my back felt throughout my run. He quickly reminded me that although marijuana might have temporarily relieved the pain, it most likely wasn't a long term fix and I should be incorporating yoga into my daily fitness routine. Then we smoked another joint.
I knew he was right. The pain relief was only temporary. So I followed his advice. Every other morning I would wake up and jog 1 mile to the local 24 hour fitness center near me and attend a 60 minute beginner's yoga class before heading off to college for the day. If my back ached from yesterday's long run or a week of sitting in crappy college lecture hall chairs when I woke up in the morning, I would smoke a bit of sativa before yoga to reduce the pain and then be on my way. I loved that I didn't need to take advils or tylenols like so many others. Eventually I decided smoking weed didn't feel like the healthiest option, so I hopped on YouTube university and taught myself how to make infused cannabis oil. And then use that oil when baking cookies, brownies, bliss balls or crackers. Infused cannabis oil was (and still is) my preferred method of marijuana supplementation. I would take 1/2 a teaspoon with my morning smoothie or tea and even put a small serving of the oil in an empty vegan pill capsule and swallow it like a vitamin. Sometimes I ate too much. It was all trial and error for me and my body. When that happened, I quickly learned that going to yoga class stoned was hilarious. Especially when you are by yourself and the majority of your fellow yoga-classmates (including the teacher) are 65 years and older. I was so new to yoga and often found myself feeling embarrassed or out of shape during class. Marijuana made me feel more comfortable. I would roll out my mat and take time to breathe. "Don't take yourself too seriously" I would repeat in my head like a mantra. I would let the movements come to me organically and often fell out of poses. Most importantly, I learned to laugh at myself. I would leave yoga feeling like I was floating. I began to love my morning yoga flows and eventually enrolled in a yoga course at college before traveling to Bali to become a certified teacher myself.
I also continued to run. And ran my first ever full marathon in Hawaii, and then ran three more. I have supplemented with cannabis oil throughout all four marathons and can say with complete confidence that the canna-oil saved me big time on a few of them. During my third marathon, I pulled a muscle in my foot on mile 15 and could barely walk, let alone run. I had been training for months and was running in the Honolulu Marathon with over 22,000 other runners. I would not let myself leave the race. I hobbled to a friend who was waiting for me in the crowd and took an extra spoonful of homemade oil to help reduce the swelling and pain in my foot. Within 20 minutes, the oil began to work its magic and I slowly began to run again. I jogged slowly, but surely and was able to finish the race (before spending the next 4 days in bed with a large medical boot on my foot.) Not only did the oil help me during the race, it helped me tremendously while recovering from my inquiry. Once again, I gave thanks that I had no need for toxic pain killers or prescription drugs. I could go on for hours sharing stories of how cannabis has complimented my running, yoga and weight training practices. I could tell you dozens of stories where cannabis has increased my endurance as well as my concentration. I could tell you a dozen stories about myself, and then a dozen stories about friends who have had their own positive testimonies with cannabis as well. But I won't. For now, I will just say that in my own experience, Cannabis has ...
- Strengthened my creative potential and inspired me to begin painting and creating art again
- Inspired me to quiet my mind and carry out a consistent meditation practice
- Reignited my love for cooking and creating delicious foods while learning how to make new edible oils and cannabis tinctures, as well as share love and energy with my food
- Led me to spend more time in nature (there is nothing more peaceful than a teaspoon of cannabis oil before a long Hawaii hike)
and most importantly,
Cannabis contributes to deepening my relationship with myself.
When I use cannabis, I am often alone or at home. I take pride in my "peace time" and love to read books on spirituality, personal development, business, travel, music, and nutrition. I love to paint, draw, redecorate and reorganize. I love to go for long runs, slow bike rides and lazy beach walks.
Cannabis is not something that I need in this life.
But it is something I enjoy.
For me, taking time to indulge in the things that I enjoy is the greatest representation of self-love that I can share with myself at this time.
I've created a beautiful and extraordinary life for myself. I have found an abundance of natural ways to strengthen and support my body and mind. I have created and founded my own business and successful online website. I have brought together a group of thousands of like-minded individuals from around the world to embody a lifestyle of health and consciousness. I have inspired thousands to go vegan and live compassionately. I have spread the message of self love. Of self healing. I have spread the message of holistic health and sustainability in new and exciting ways. And I have done all of this with marijuana as a contributing factor.
Marijuana has played it's role in my story. And in my success.
And it may or may not make an appearance in your story as well.
That's the most beautiful part.
It's for you to create.
HOW I MAKE MY CANNABIS OIL
Cannabis oil is only as good as the buds used to make it. Each individual person and each emotional being best responds to different types of cannabis. You can google "sativa" and "indica" to learn more about the different strains before making your own oil, if necessary.
I always recommend that you opt for organic bud. Similarly to many crops, non organic cannabis often contains residual pesticide, fertilizer, or insecticide matter that may still be present in your herb in small amounts.
Organic cannabis also tends to be higher in terpenes.Terpenes are the flavor and aroma molecules found in the cannabis plants. Like cannabinoids, terpenes also have a variety of health benefits. Ideally, starting with high-quality cannabis material increases the amount of possible cannabinoids and terpenes in your oil.
The goal is to make a product that is extremely rich and abundant with healing compounds. Including a wide diversity of phytochemicals from the cannabis plant.
To get started, you’re going to need ...
- One ounce of organic/high-quality cannabis or medical cannabis (or 2 to 3 ounces of cannabis trim.) Feel free to throw in small stems or leaves for good measure if you have them on hand
- Stove top, slow cooker or rice cooker
- 1 medium glass mixing bowl
- Cheesecloth or Nut Mylk Bag
- Large wooden spoon
- Silicone spatula
- Extra containers (to collect/catch the oil)
- Parchment paper
- Optional fan or ventilation (if you're cooking indoors - the cannabis odor can be quite strong)
To Make About 1 Cup CANNABIS Oil:
- 1 1/4 cups oil - You can use coconut, olive, vegetable, etc.
- 1/2 ounce average quality decarboxylated dried bud
- About 4 cups filtered water
How to dECARBOXYLATE YOUR BUDS
Decarboxylating your marijuana before using it to make tinctures or edibles ensures the highest possible THC content.
You’re going to need your finely ground herb, a baking tray, parchment paper and some tin foil. You can also use kief for this, too! I love to grind my dry buds in a herb grinder, or even throw them in the Vitamix blender on low for 5-10 seconds until they're loose like powder.
- First, preheat your oven to 225 F. At too low of a temperature, it will take too long and it may not convert all of the THCA into THC. However, at too high of a temperature it could burn and you risk losing flavor and terpenes.
- Line your baking tray with parchment paper (or use a silicone baking mat) and lay out your buds. Make sure you lay them out evenly on the tray so that the heat can be dispersed evenly.
- 'Cook' your buds in the oven at 225 F for 50-60 minutes. Set a timer so you dont forget!
- Once the time is up, carefully remove the tray and allow the buds to cool. You may notice that the color has changed slightly to a darker green, more brown color. Your buds may look like they have been lightly toasted. (They are now full of THC!)
Why Add Water When Making Oil?
When you include water in your cannabis oil, especially when infusing cannabis oil on the stovetop, you ensure that the cannabis will never reach a higher temperature than the boiling point (212 degrees F.) More importantly, the chlorophyll and terpenes – which give the plant its flavor and color — are water soluble and will bind to water during the cooking process instead of infusing themselves into the fats along with the THC. This means less green color in the finished oil. Nonetheless, even when using water in the mix, the marijuana oil might still appear quite green. The shade of green will vary from strain to strain with some coming out pale green or almost yellow, while other marijuana oils will take on a deep forest green color. Keep in mind, however, that color has nothing to do with potency.
Marijuana oil in the slow / RICE cooker METHOD
(My personal favorite method): Add oil, marijuana plant material, and water to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours. I know some friends who cook their oil for 2 - 3 days in the slow cooker. 8 hours works for me, but feel free to cook longer if you wish.
Stovetop Method: Place oil, cannabis plant material, and water in a large lidded Dutch oven on the stove top. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2 to 4 hours. Take care and monitor the liquid level often, adding water as necessary to always keep at least 3 cups in the pot. Simmering marijuana on the stovetop is very aromatic. The slow cooker usually eliminates the strong smelling odor.
Draining and Straining Cannaoil
The draining process is identical for both stovetop and slow cooker methods. Place a cheesecloth lined strainer over a large pot or bowl and strain the liquid through this. Before discarding plant material, pour a large kettle full of boiling water over the full strainer in order to wash through any extra oil clinging to the plant material. Allow to cool then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Discard the plant material. If you are using a solid at room temperature fat like coconut oil or shortening, chill water and oil. The infused oil will harden into a solid when chilled making it easy for you to simply lift the piece off of the water below and discard the water.
Give the marijuana oil an extra rinse with boiling water to extract as much as possible.
In most instances, oil will rise to the top of the water but won’t solidify. No worries, man. You can use a spoon to skim the oil off the water. Now it’s time to strain one more time to remove as much cannabis sediment as possible. Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a strainer and pour the oil mixture through.
Refrigerate infused oil until ready to use or freeze for even longer storage.
Fats can still go rancid in the freezer so try to use within 3 months.
Once you have made your infused cannabis oil, you can supplement with it orally, or even choose one of your favorite baked recipes and subsitute regular oil or vegan butter for cannabis oil. Remember, you can keep it in your fridge or freezer and swallow a small spoonful (or even spread it on toast!) when needed, but there are more "tasty" options worth exploring. I love making sweet cacao cannabis bliss balls, vegan brownies and even oatmeal raisin cookies with infused oil baked inside. Remember, the strain of weed as well as the amount of weed used during the oil process will determine how strong/potent the oil is. I cannot tell you how much you should or should not take. Start small and adjust from there :)
If you're not comfortable ingesting the oil, you can use it topically as a powerful aid for inflamed, irritated or itchy skin. You can also use the cannabis oil to massage onto your belly or pelvic area if you're dealing with any menstrual cramps, indigestion or stomach upset.