Posts Tagged ‘medical marijuana’

Should I Get On The New MMJ State Registry?

Register

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

 

 

Why Does Medical Cannabis Feel So Second Class?

BCLeass

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

 

 

July Is Coming: What Will Cannabis Patients Do?

July4plant

Coming on July 1, 2016 are major changes to the medical cannabis laws in Washington State. As a cannabis patient, I’m feeling a level of heaviness and uncertainty because the changes affect the way I currently access cannabis.

The changes are across the board from how much I am allowed to have on me, how much I can grow, how much I will pay, whether I want to be on a state registry or not, and where I can purchase my cannabis.

What I can grow will be reduced from 15 plants to 4. The amount of flower that I am able to carry on me will go from 24oz to 3oz. No more patient to patient sharing…and the list goes on.

I currently get a large portion of my supply from the medical cannabis farmers markets and occasionally from one collective storefront near my house that I have frequented for years now. That store is likely getting turned into a retail store with a medical endorsement to service patients who are part of the state registry.

Currently, my least favorite choice is getting cannabis from a store but soon that will be my only option. If I choose to not be on the state’s registry I’m not going to be getting any tax breaks and I would not be able to purchase as much. Regardless of whether or not I get a tax break, I’m pretty sure I’ll still have to pay way more than I’m paying now.

I plan to grow my own this summer but I’m not sure how I feel about being on a registry to be able to grow more than 4 plants.  4 plants won’t allow for much raw juicing so I would certainly want to get permission from my doctor to grow more than 4 plants if I do get on the registry.

Another word about the registry, a medical cannabis authorization does not provide protection from arrest unless you are entered in the medical marijuana authorization database and hold a recognition card. That certainly is an incentive to be on the registry but it once again of feels like patients are being treated as second class citizens.

I’ve been asking other current patients what they are planning to do and they have given me a large variety of answers. Most patients who shop at the farmers markets don’t know where they will go for medicine in July or if they want to be on a registry either. Some say they will grow their own, a few have said they will join the registry, and others have said they are making their connections now to have a guy who can take care of their cannabis needs.

In asking providers what they are planning to do I get a gamet of answers too. Some are not sure,  some are transitioning into the regulated marketplace, and some will hand you a card and offer to become your cannabis ‘guy.’

I was once mildly excited about the regulation of medical cannabis but after watching the retail system deal with pesticide grown weed I can’t help but be concerned about the quality controls for my medicine despite this required testing. If they haven’t been able to achieve quality control in the current system that has been running for over two years, how is the newly regulated medical marijuana system going to be an improvement over the unregulated, organic, frequently tested, tax free cannabis that I have access to right now?

I continue the quest to become a master cannabis grower so I can ideally manage my own supply. I know the changes will be a tough pill to swallow for many and am curious to see if people who are sick, low income, and frequently on disability will be able to afford regulated medical cannabis not covered by insurance and what new brands will step up to provide help for those in need, if possible.

The positives at the end of the day, I still have legal access to medical cannabis to manage my own chronic health conditions and I can still grow my own.

If you need to learn more about the upcoming changes, here is a link for the Department of Health website about medical cannabis laws:

http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Marijuana/MedicalMarijuana/Laws

Stay safe my friends.

-TwiceBakedinWA

 

 

5 Ways To Use Cannabis For Period Pain

File Jan 06, 2 20 41 PM

This post is for the ladies out there who have ever had cramps, bloating, anxiety, muscle tightness, nausea, poor sleep, tender breasts, or any other physical experience around their menstruation experience. I feel you.

I have had all sorts of crazy things happen to my body around menstruation and I for sure use cannabis as a gentle and natural way to make my body more comfortable as I attempt to celebrate being a woman every month. Here are 5 ways I use cannabis for period pain.

  1. Cannabis Infused Bath: Soaking in a 30 minute infused bath helps to relieve muscle cramps, anxiety, and promotes restful sleep if done before bed. Personally, I like to take a mid-day bath and find it rejuvenates my body and lifts my feeling of wellbeing.
  2. Cannabis Infused Lotions and Salves: I don’t go anywhere without a cannabis topical on me. Sometimes, I only apply it to the areas that hurt (low back, pelvic area), but my most preferred way is to apply it allover the torso and pelvic area for maximum effects.
  3. Cannabis Suppositories: The pelvic area is rich with blood vessels and using a suppository will make your lower body relax like nothing else and provide a healthy dose of cannabinoids as this method of taking it allows for maximum absorption. Using a suppository might seem strange at first but after you experience relief, its not strange anymore.
  4. Infused Edibles: I use cannabis infused edibles in two different ways right now. In the daytime I take a CBD tincture that allows for an alert mind and less-inflamed body and in the night time I will take an edible with THC when I need help sleeping and long-lasting pain relief.
  5. Vaping: This solves most problems in the moment. Anxiety, pain, and nausea are all made better with a few inhales of vaped flower or concentrate.

I’m not done yet…there are a lot of natural remedies but my old standbys for relief are also primrose oil, cuddling up with a hot water bottle, using relaxing essential oils, and extending myself plenty of self compassion.

-TwiceBakedinWA

 

Washington’s Medical Cannabis Farmer’s Markets Remain Open, For Now

With recent changes to the medical cannabis laws in Washington the future of medical cannabis farmer’s markets are looking bleak and uncertain.

One market, MMJ Universe in Black Diamond, announced this week that after years of providing a safe access point for thousands of medical cannabis patients they would be shutting down by August 8th. This announcement came shortly after a press conference by the King County Sheriff that said all medical cannabis dispensaries will need to shut their doors if they are not part of the regulated system that Washington has created for recreational use.

When I arrived at the MMJ Universe market on Saturday, I was pleasantly greeted with a sign that said, “We are staying open.” Apparently, they have been advised that they will be able to remain operating until at least October and possibly beyond.

Most of the cannabis vendors that I talked to there were relieved to hear this news but still very apprehensive to feel optimistic because of how the new laws are requiring a major cutback in what they are able to provide for themselves and other patients.

As a patient who frequents these cannabis markets, I would love to see these special places continue to operate in the state. They provide an important and safe place where people can access affordable medicine, learn about many different strains, how to use them, and regularly come together as part of a larger cannabis community.

To check out my video at MMJ Universe on Marijuana Channel One, click here:

Dr. Ethan Russo On Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency

This week I made the trek to Vashon Island to see a talk on Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency by Dr. Ethan Russo at the monthly VIMEA meetup.

Speaking to a full room of cannabis patients, growers, processors, and enthusiasts, Dr. Russo zoned in on chronic medical conditions that demonstrate endocannabinoid deficiency.

One of the biggest things that I took away was his point that the fact that the brain and the gut are very connected. You can’t have a healthy brain without a healthy gut and vice versa. I also appreciated that he mentioned other natural ways to boost your endocannabinoid system: proper sleep, cardiovascular exercise, and consuming an anti-inflammatory diet.

I totally get that dealing with an endocannabinoid deficiency is about bringing your body into homeostasis. It seems simple enough to just use cannabis to boost your system but it really takes effort to put the other lifestyle pieces together.

As Dr. Russo stood there talking in depth about migraines I was ironically sitting in the audience with my hat low because my eyes were feeling sensitive to the lights and I had my own migraine coming on. I left feeling more determined than ever to keep on my own health regimen with the passion it requires even despite the migraine that put me in bed the next day.

I am very grateful to have been able to see Dr. Russo speak and to learn more about not only cannabis but ways to help the very conditions I am dealing with. What a treasure.

-TwiceBakedinWA

5 Years On Weed

I just mentioned two powerful methods of using cannabis for wellness that don't get me high. Do I still use other methods that are psychoactive? Absolutely, and as often as is compassionately necessary.

I am going into my fifth year as a cannabis patient. What a ride it has been. When I was first going through the process of getting a legal doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis I was dealing with scoliosis, severe pain, muscle spasms, migraines, depression, anxiety, low immunity, and digestive sensitivities.

Actually, I still deal with many of those issues but I have learned how to manage them better using cannabis. My journey with medical marijuana has allowed me to explore in depth the many ways to use cannabis for absolute relief of my symptoms.

Not only that, but I have seen another side of my health restored where I am not just using marijuana to only relieve my symptoms, I am able to use it to experience what it feels like to mentally and physically thrive when everything is running right.

My approach to medical cannabis has been a holistic one. I know that it is a superfood like no other and consuming it in its raw form gives me energy and makes me feel alive. Raw cannabis has also, more than once, provided a lift from depression, which to me feels more significant than even the pain relief.

Let me just say that this medical cannabis stuff is work. At least the growing and the juicing part of it is. I juice raw cannabis and that requires that I collect leaves, more than I can currently grow myself. I am part of a medical cannabis collective where one of my jobs is to prune plants which gives me plenty of fresh plant matter during growing season. I am so grateful to have this arrangement available to me because it took me a lot of networking to find it. I can’t imagine not juicing it now as part of my long-term health management program. 

While at one time I dismissed that a topical could be effective for my conditions, I now find myself also using cannabis topically for relief of more things than just pain. I use them to relieve migraines, menstral cramps, muscle spasms, muscle soreness, and even anxiety. I’m so thankful to have a simple potion in my bag that I can apply no matter where I happen to be and where I don’t even have to think about whether I am taking an indica or sativa. I no longer travel anywhere without a topical on me and I try to keep a healthy stash on hand in my medicine cabinet.

All this being said, I want more than relief in this life, I want to experience what it is like to thrive. I’m not looking to get high and zone out, I’m looking for the ability to climb mountains and check in.

For those of you who have followed me along the way, thank you so much for your support.

-TwiceBakedinWA