Posts Tagged ‘medical cannabis’

The Cannabis Patient Experience In Legal Stores Of Washington

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It has been nearly 8 months since the legislators of Washington State pulled the access plug on medical cannabis patients and pushed them into the recreational market to purchase their medicine.

I’ve been shopping in that market for the past 8 months as a registered patient and I will share here that it has been a pain in my life to navigate. I have found some good things to report but my overall experience has left me feeling underserved and in complete disdain for the system as it currently sits.

When I walk into a legal cannabis store I am shopping to find medicine that is hopefully going to relieve pain, muscle spasms, depression, and anxiety. Unless I immediately disclose my need for a medically endorsed bud tender to help me, I am treated as if I am there to get high. It’s offensive but I ignore it. The first question most budtenders ask is if I am looking for a sativa or an indica. They have rarely have the service skills and product knowledge to really help me out.

I’m still learning how to shop in an informed way while being able to take care of my health and not break the bank. The first question I ask is if the store has anything that is known to be pesticide free. My experience has been that in many stores there might be ONE brand that they know of that claims to be pesticide free. I’ve been told multiple times by bud tenders that it is not possible to grow cannabis without pesticides. I’ve walked out of more than one store empty handed because they could not find a single brand of concentrate or flower that claimed to be pesticide free.

When I get home and open my packages to experience what I just bought 98% of the  time I am disappointed on some level. Most flower seems to have long lost its sticky icky even if it looks super good it often will smell underwhelming. I’ve smelled and seen concentrates I would never use and that would never have been purchased if I could have seen an open container of the stuff.

Then there is the packaging. So much plastic and the idea that most people are purchasing small increments like 1 and 2 grams at a time boggles my mind and hurts the tree hugging side of my brain.

The most cost effective thing I have been able to create from a retail pot shop is my own edibles. I will purchase a concentrate and put it into coconut oil and BAM, edibles at a fraction of the cost of store bought and custom dosed for my needs per serving, which by the way is more than just 10mg of THC.

Now, this is the point that I will break in with a couple of exceptions worth mentioning here. Have a Heart has started offering a 25% discount to registered cannabis patients and when I mentioned this on my social media recently I was also informed of other stores like Green Theory in Bellevue and Clutch in South Seattle is offering a 20% discount to patients. I think that is awesome because it really does make a difference on my weed budget.

Again, I’m not shopping to get high, dear Washington legislators, I’m proactively taking care of my health so I may continue to be a productive, tax-paying member of society despite chronic debilitating health issues as recommended by my doctor.

If you are or know a store that is doing exceptional things for patients give me a shout so I can share it out and help as many patients as possible through this odd time in legalization.

Should I Get On The New MMJ State Registry?

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My life with cannabis changed last week. Actually the laws surrounding medical cannabis is what changed and I am just trying to keep up.

Another loophole has been added for Washington cannabis patients, they must now register with the state through a state licensed retail marijuana store unless they are ok with only growing four plants, paying full tax should they ever buy from stores, and not having arrest protection should they ever be dealing with law enforcement.

When I first got my recommendation five years ago I remember how grateful I was to be able to get and use cannabis legally even though the process felt very strange in how it pushed me out of the traditional western medical system to get it. It all felt like a positive thing even though there were a number of steps and loopholes to jump through to legally be able to use it.

While I still feel very grateful to legally be able to use medical cannabis I have been surrounded and influenced by many personalities with very different opinions about the new state registry.

The majority of patients have told me they are not going to participate in the optional state registry and boldly/quietly do what they were doing before the new laws were made limiting possession, home grow, and access to current available medicines. They believe that the way the registry is set up goes against our rights as patients. Not to mention they are all steaming and freshly wounded from the changes to the law without adequate places to go when the law changed. I get it, believe me. The whole thing makes me want to puke.

I also have a whole other court of people in my cannabis life who say the registry is worth the arrest protection and legal defense not to mention the “freedoms” it allows for if you grow your own.

Do I think they are going to watch me extra close and raid me because I am now on a registry so I can grow and eat my own cannabis plants? Anything is possible with prohibition. (If they are not already watching, hi, I’m TwiceBaked in Washington- law abiding cannabis patient, hemp foodie, positivity spitfire. Nice to meet you.)

Upon renewing my medical cannabis recommendation last month, I asked my doctor to indicate on my card that I need to grow more than 4 plants in order to access regular fresh cannabis juice. That was the first step of the new invasive steps I have to follow.

Next, I have to register. I’m not sure where to go that isn’t at least an hour long drive from my house and as of yesterday I heard retail stores were having issues accessing the registry and were not actually able to hand out cards. But, sometime after the long weekend I will spend time, gas, and precious energy to keep up with the law.

I’m not happy about the changes in the “Patient Protection Act” but I am trying to keep a forward thinking attitude. Despite the loopholes, the poorly executed meld of recreational and medical, the limitations, the expense, and the effort it takes to remain a law abiding cannabis patient in Washington State it is still (arguably) better than no access which is the case for much of the world.

The legal cannabis scene is a rollercoaster to be involved with. I’ve come to realize that I am better in this world using cannabis for my health and that I can personally do much more to spread the good that this plant does if I follow the rules- however full of bullshit they may be.

That being said, I also stand with and support my fellow patients who choose to stay off of the registry for their own reasons and am very curious to hear of the insanity that will likely ensue from patients who may not able to follow the rules initially because the medicine they currently use is not available in stores or they can’t afford it now because it costs way more than they have been paying.

Whatever your stance is on being on the state registry, stay safe and stay well.

-TwiceBakedinWA

 

 

Saying Goodbye To Medical Cannabis In Washington State

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MMJ Universe Cannabis Farmer’s Market in Black Diamond Washington

There are less than two weeks left before new medical cannabis regulations go into effect in Washington State. For those of us who get our cannabis medicine from the current system that patients have been using since the 90’s, this is a big change nobody is looking forward to.

As I was driving out to MMJ Universe in Black Diamond this past Saturday I found tears streaming down my face thinking about this being one of the last times I would be making that sweet drive in the country to spend time shopping for cannabis in an open market environment.

I’ve been feeling a touch reminiscent about my times out at that specific market where I have met hundreds of patients and growers. Through regular market visits and attending events held there I have been able to plug in with the cannabis community.

I started going there before the adult use of cannabis was legalized in Washington State and I have been able to observe an evolution that the market has taken not only with how beautiful the grounds have become but also to how the market itself has changed over the years.

When I first started attending the market almost every table had a bong or pipe set up so you could sample their products right there. When you walked in the doors it was often a little cloudy and everybody was relaxed with their with cannabis. This was a unique shopping experience, very new to me, and very refreshing to be around. Eventually the smoking was moved outside and while that mildly changed the experience, the freedom felt and education given to patients at the market continued.

When I talked to Diedre, the owner of MMJ Universe, she said she is planning a big celebration on the 30th of June with music and vending to shed some happiness despite how sad so many of us are to be losing our beloved market.

I have much to celebrate from the gains that I have received from that market and even as the tears again roll down my face thinking that it is closing all I can do is thank Diedre and everybody involved in keeping the market going for so long and for focusing on positives and solutions at the end of this medical cannabis era.

-TwiceBakedinWA

Why Does Medical Cannabis Feel So Second Class?

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One of the most fascinating and annoying parts of using medical cannabis is how I repeatedly feel treated as a second class patient or citizen for my health choices. Not only by the occasional friend but also medical professionals and even society in general.

Ask anybody who is seeking out how to legally use medical cannabis, it is a journey filled with prejudices.

First, you have to self educate and get over the stigma of being told it is a dangerous drug, used by losers and addicts with no brain cells who sit around all day playing video games and eating munchies on the couch.

Then, you have to have the talk with your doctor. In some cases you will have to seek out a new doctor if yours is uneducated about cannabis or unwilling to have the conversation with you. If all else fails your last option is to go to one of those medical cannabis clinics that staffs a doctor (often a naturopath) who will give you an evaluation and recommend cannabis if you match the state’s prequalifying medical conditions that allows them to suggest you use cannabis. You will just need to provide your current medical records that show you have been seen by other doctors, confirm your diagnosis, and show you have tried other pharmaceutical drugs before ever considering cannabis.

Now that you have your state required recommendation, which was not free or paid for by insurance, you have to start the search for your cannabis medicine. Currently there is no pharmacy that your doctor can connect you with so it is literally up to you to find a legal cannabis shop and figure out what products work best for you.

Now, you are officially out of the modern medical system and in a whole other class that is not recognized by insurance, doctors, or even the federal government as a valid and effective medical treatment.

It is not uncommon when conversing about health for people to ask me if I am being seen by a ‘real doctor.’ I can’t even begin to tell you how offensive that is on so many levels but it highlights what I’m talking about perfectly. Although I regularly see my doctor once a month, if I am not being seen by a western medicine doctor I have been given the vibe they don’t think that I am truly looking after my health very well.

I have met many cannabis patients who have been dwelling outside of the western medical system to help manage or cure their issues for years and now find themselves in a perpetual B-Class system of sorts where they are responsible for finding, preparing, dosing, even growing their own cannabis medicine. They have found that cannabis works better for them than the pharmaceutical alternatives and are willing to jump through the hoops to use a natural medicine even if it puts them on the fringe of society.

No matter how good your health insurance benefits might be, your medical cannabis is not covered by insurance and is therefore paid for out of pocket by you.

To review, it is not that hard to get medical marijuana. All you have to do find the right doctor, prove you have qualifying medical conditions, seek out where to buy it, figure out how to take it, and be able to pay for it out of pocket.

I know that to simply remain a legal cannabis patient this weird journey is not over because I currently have all of those things figured out for myself. Never mind the constantly changing laws, if I move or need to find a new doctor I will have to deal with all of these same issues again.

Cannabis may be an A-class medicine but it totally still comes with B-class prejudices.

-TwiceBakedinWA

 

 

Managing Your Mental Health: 4 Remedies For Depression

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As I rolled a joint this morning to find an appetite and be motivated to juice some raw cannabis, I felt the need to also Periscope about it being Mental Health Awareness Week and how I manage my own mental health.

I needed to reminisce about my entire last week spent in the dark because of a fairly debilitating migraine. Not only was there a migraine, but my mind was inundated with creativity, and my empathic senses were set to intense. That migraine was followed by a very severe depression. Talk about being in a funk.

Of all the health issues I deal with, depression alarms me the most. It’s a pretty serious thing and I believe it requires immediate attention although it can take some time to lift out of. My depressed brain doesn’t eat the same, can’t think the same, doesn’t love the same, and isn’t able to feel the same. I just sort of go into a numb mode.

Fortunately I have not been depressed every day of my life and have learned ways to manage it when it does rolls in.

4 Things I Recommend To Manage Depression:

Sleep: Make getting a full night of sleep a lifestyle priority because this is the time that your brain literally cleans itself. Don’t feel bad for taking a nap during the day as needed.

Exercise: Physically move yourself for at least 30 minutes every single day. Outside in nature is ideal. Gardening, walking, dancing, lifting weights, whatever- just move. Moderate exercise releases dopamine in the brain which makes you experience happy. It is very important to feel moments of happiness and light during a depression.

Eat good food and stay hydrated: You can’t get enough nutrients at this point so think vegetables and healthy protein, like hemp, that is also high in fiber and omega3 fatty acids. The healthier your gut is fed the better your brain will feel. Avoid processed sugar in all its forms as it is a major depressant.

Use Cannabis: I find it beneficial to use cannabis to help regulate receptors in my brain when I’m given depressed moods. Nothing is quite as quick and effective to set your brain right and give you the ability to feel positive things again as smoking or vaping a little cannabis.

Remember You Are Not Alone: Try not to spend too much time alone and isolated, if you are depressed. Do reach out to other people no matter how hard and if you know somebody who deals with depression do reach out to them because even just a thought from somebody else provides a valuable lift.

Love to all who read this. Stay lifted. 

-TwiceBakedinWA

P.S.  Now you can Follow @Twicebakedinwa on Periscope for live cannabis juicing and health talks.

Access To Medical Cannabis In Washington Is Changing

Access To Medicinal Cannabis Is Changing in Washington.

Access To Medicinal Cannabis Is Changing in Washington.

I started this blog because I wanted to share the challenges and triumphs of using medicinal cannabis. Back then I didn’t know many other cannabis users never mind ones who knew how to use it medicinally. Through books and the internet I taught myself how to cook with it and started eating it for my health issues.

Once I got my medical cannabis recommendation my first access to it was at a chosen dispensary 30 minutes from my house. I would really only buy cannabis flower there because the only other thing they had were edibles ‘poisoned’ with gluten, dairy, and sugar not to mention a little expensive for somebody taking multiple doses each day. From there I would take my flowers and make my own cooking oils and edibles.

These days my access looks much different. I was eventually able to join a collective garden where I not only have access to quality, organic flower but fresh leaves for juicing, and solventless concentrates. While there, I am able to learn how to grow my own garden and ways to process my own plants. This type of insight has been invaluable as a patient who, in the perfect world, would like to eventually grow all my own strain specific garden.

Through networking and visiting every medical cannabis farmer’s market I could, I found a few favorite MMJ growers and processors who I can go to for strain specific cooking oils, superfood edibles, topicals, oral care products, and suppositories at a reasonable cost. I so appreciate having these people in my life. They teach me something each time we talk and I don’t have to work nearly as hard to get the specific medicine that I need. I can give them a list of terpenes that I need and they not only know what I’m talking about, they are able to hand me back products, not just flower, that do exactly what I need them to do.

With the changes to the medical cannabis laws in Washington, my access is also potentially changing back to the similar dispensary experience it was when I started taking it. My collective is being significantly shrunk. They are having to go from 15 plants per patient to 15 plants for the entire collective property to supposedly service everybody involved. While I work with some very impressive growers, time will tell if they are able to produce enough medicine with the new limits.

My access to infused edible makers that only existed in the medical marijuana market are also going to disappear unless they get into the regulated cannabis market. The products will not likely be as cost effective or strain specific if they even exist at all. Who is going to come out with a regulated cannabis suppository? 

One more big change that affects me is the reduction of how much cannabis I am allowed to keep at one time. This could even affect the way I am juicing raw cannabis. The very way that I thrive on cannabis requires plenty of plant matter and while I don’t get high from using it like this, when available I make it an effort to consume several ounces of cannabis in one day if I am taking in in raw juice form. If I couldn’t juice anymore, it would feel like a step backwards in my health management.

The future of medical cannabis in Washington seems to be changing daily and keeping up with these changes to protect myself and my family has been weighing heavily on me. Where I may have felt carefree about using cannabis in the past, for the moment, I feel somewhat oppressed as I am learning and adapting to the changing cannabis laws.

While I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude about the fact that I still have safe access to legal cannabis, I can’t help but feel concerned that my herbal medicine has been severely restricted, not because my doctor has prescribed me less but because uneducated law makers decided it made sense.

-TwiceBakedinWA

Cannabis Prevents My Suicide

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Suicide and cannabis often only shows up in the media as reefer madness propaganda about people consuming marijuana edibles and either killing themselves or somebody else when the reality is that cannabis is daily helping the suicidal who are able to choose this as a treatment.

I first heard of cannabis and suicide while watching a video by Coral Reefer, where she was talking about cannabis preventing suicide by providing a valuable tool for the severely depressed. I really appreciated her openness with the subject and it opened me up to talking more freely about my own cannabis use for depression.

Then I met Patrick from Rainier Xpress, a medical cannabis collective in Olympia, who is creating a supportive medical cannabis community for  veterans. From him I learned that 22 veterans per day are committing suicide from PTSD. His hope is that all veterans will have the option to put a cannabis vape pen in their mouth instead of a gun when they get the urge to ever end their life. I admire his strengths in putting himself so out there with a very intense topic.

I am fully aware that you can use cannabis to manage depression because I do it myself. I understand that when I am feeling dark and anxious it is a physiological issue and that I will need to physically look after my brain in order to pull through that depressed state. Cannabis helps immensely to lift dark moods and the anxiety feeders that they travel with.

The idea of suicide is nothing new to me and while I have wanted to exit this body more than once, successfully dealing with it to keep living has taught me to treat myself with more compassion and stay vigilant about following a lifestyle that supports positive mental health. Going through a bout of severe depression and anxiety is scary and confusing and not at all a reflection of your perceived reality of life but more a literal lack of nourishment to the brain.

Cannabis, good sleep, regular exercise, meditation, and proper nutrition are the main daily tools I use to keep me lifted from depression, anxiety… and as dark as it is to say, even suicide. Taking care of my mental health is one of the main reasons I use cannabis because when my depression and anxiety are managed I also experience less pain and inflammation. How about that?

Stay lifted, my friends.

-TwiceBakedinWA