The Cannabis Plant and Our Relationship with Nature
by Sue Letwin
Throughout human history, cannabis has been an incredibly useful plant, and its cultivation continued despite becoming illegal. It was used for its nutrition, its fibre for textiles, its medicinal properties, its place in sacred ceremonies. However, people who wanted to put their financial interests ahead of using all of the earth’s useful plants, decided to make it appear to be an immoral substance, and in the process, these people also equated cannabis use with immigrants from Mexico and India, prisoners, and lower economic classes of people. This is United States cannabis history; this is part of the history of the cotton and synthetic textile industry.1, 2, 3, 4
In Canada, the history is a little different. We don’t know why cannabis was proscribed; there is mystery surrounding this event. We have grown mostly cash crops in North America instead of diversifying species and being stewards of balancing nature and building up our ecosystems to sustain life and microorganisms, especially in our own gut. We also abandoned growing cannabis because of puritanism, concerns for health, and equating it with the same violent behaviour as alcohol consumption.3 As scientists dive into research on psychedelics, because the brain chemical supplementation drugs have had mixed efficacy,5 maybe we will begin to do better? It may take a shift in consciousness from cannabis use to lift our world to what is necessary for our long-term survival.
Using several cannabis methods at the same time is layering the medicine, and can help people with greater symptom relief. Taking terpene free (without scent chemicals normally present in flower), THC oil helped my body to some extent, but I’ve discovered that isolates don’t agree with me as much as full spectrum flower; isolates should start with high quality flower, which can be difficult to find in Canada now, unless you are knowledgeable about the industry or are a reviewer of cannabis. I added vaping flower to my routine. Wow! What a relief from my symptoms. Vaping is good for acute symptoms, and edibles may help people experience longer duration symptom relief, although some people don’t seem to metabolize edibles, or may metabolize them so quickly that they need a low number of milligrams. Lyme patients (like me) and others may find edibles to be detoxifiers and cause more unpleasant symptoms. The key is dosage and methods of administration for every patient, and dosage can change over time. I learned that taking an edible before bed helped me stay asleep, and vaping before tucking in helped me fall asleep and was a quick way to relieve symptoms without inundating me with detox from bacterial death and endotoxins. I’ve made THC body butter and can massage that into skin to help mitigate nerve pain, but again, topicals don’t work for everyone. A 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD for some people, or high THC cream for me, seems to work better than just CBD. Adding a cannabis suppository for pelvic pain, or gut issues, can give relief without any high. For most people, topicals do not cause a high, but I have had one client that does experience a high with topical use. Building tolerance to cannabis can be a challenge and there are ways to mitigate this. Always go low and slow with cannabis, and find an experienced cannabis consultant or knowledgeable nurse practitioner, doctor, or naturopath. Some doctors, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists are just learning about cannabis, and are beginning to design education about the human endocannabinoid system within their professional organizations.
There are thousands of chemicals in flower and we continue to research these, discovering how the properties of these chemicals might help us. Cannabis has flavonoids and anthocyanins, which are amazing plant-protecting chemicals tied to colour and flavour, that may hold healing properties for humans.
Here are some educational cannabis website references to help you continue your cannabis learning journey: (1) https://strainprint.ca, (2) https://strainprint.ca/community, (3) www.hempster.co, (4) www.projectcbd.org, (5) www.healer.com
Sue Letwin runs her own cannabis consulting and cooking business in Saskatoon. To access cannabis education by Sue, send her an email or check
the calendar on her website. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, website is indicapable.ca. Also see the display ad on page 15 of the 26.1 September/October issue of the WHOLifE Journal.