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HERBAGE MAGAZINE MARCH ‘23

Digital edition of the MARCH 2023 print issue #51 of Herbage Magazine.

Herb•age strives to bring you fresh content regularly. We cover a wide range of cannabis culture and medical marijuana-related issues from around the state of Oklahoma and beyond. In other words, It is our mission to be the voice of the growing cannabis industry in the state. Through fair and open discourse we hope to continue the trend of bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the mainstream where it belongs. So, please join us and help us grow with Oklahoma!

 

Dict For V-Day

by James Bridges

I broke up with that disgusting and dreadful monster 4-years-ago and I think about her every day.

I couldn’t help the temptation. The blissful period when the thoughts stopped swirling in my head was my muse. She was, without a doubt, the one that would always be there to comfort me when I needed her. I told myself at a young age that one day we would part. In actuality, I counted on the fact that I would forget that promise to myself one day and my relationship would last forever.

I thought I loved her, but I realized, not as quickly as I would have liked, that I was under a spell. That spell that she cast had a hold of me and would not allow my thoughts to wander too far away.

Many other people have had “relations” with this overbearing and smothering polygamist. Though she is very committed to seeing that your side of the relationship is followed through, she could care less about the expectations that any of us have had of her.

She is the epitome of everything I know, love, and hate with a passion. “But it’s been 4 years!” you say, and I hear it. I just can’t wash it away. Sadly, I believe it may have been true love…

My thoughts have shifted over time. I’ve invested in the “new” me. I noticed early that I judged myself constantly. I started to think that this must have been the way I’ve acted toward myself for the majority of my entire life. Who was I to judge?… Then I started to wonder why I would do this to myself. With that, of course, came more self-judgment.

I’ve entered into a new space, now that it’s been 4 years. This space does nothing to take me away from the love that I still feel in my heart for her. I can’t seem to shake that. However, I am doing my best to play an active role in creating more changes for the betterment of my life. This new level of clarity is definitely becoming the most psychologically challenging aspect of my growth. It’s just so hard to get away from that cold hearted beast.

I struggle with calibrating my thoughts to align with my actions. I see it with my mindseye, yet I cannot fix it. It feels electric. The vibrations and emotions that are flowing as you watch yourself behave as if you are no longer in control. It’s a very unusual and strange experience. I’m sure many of you can relate.

I’m told it’s just a phase. Another stepping stone to get away from attachments, which may lead me back to her. Even though, a lot of the time, I struggle to have any desire to lift my foot, in hopes she may call again.

For now I will replace my old Valentine, called addiction, with something a little more pleasant. The thought of what is to come. This keeps me going. I know that someday my relationship with her won’t be so rocky. Maybe then everything will be aligned.

HERBAGE MAGAZINE FEBRUARY ‘23

Digital edition of the February 2023 print issue #50 of Herbage Magazine.

Herb•age strives to bring you fresh content regularly.

We cover a wide range of cannabis culture and medical marijuana-related issues. In other words, It is our mission to be the voice of the growing cannabis industry in the state. Through fair and open discourse we hope to continue the trend of bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the mainstream where it belongs. So, please join us and help us grow with Oklahoma!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HERBAGE MAGAZINE PLEASE CONTACT STUFF@HERBAGEMAG.COM

Steve Miller – Essential Tremors Breakthrough Using Cannabis

 

This is an update and a breakthrough discovery regarding Steve Miller and his battle with essential tremors. Miller has suffered from severe tremors his entire life. A group of cannabis researchers have come up with a formula they believe could lead to a solution for many who suffer the same.

Steve Miller
By Michael Kinney

Steve Miller has tried to live a peaceful life. Despite numerous medical battles, he does his best to stay stress-free.

However, in early July, Miller was at his breaking point. It was a place he had been just a few times in his 69 years of life. But this time it was worse.

Miller suffers from a disease called Essential Tremors. It causes his body to violently shake, especially when his anxiety rises. As Miller cared for his sister, who was going through her own issues, he had what he called a psychotic break that affected him mentally, emotionally and physically.

“When she was trying to get off alcohol and stuff we both kind of started feeding off each other’s anxiety she ended up in the hospital and going to the emergency room because she didn’t know how to handle it,” Miller said of his sister. “I didn’t know how to help her. She actually had seizures that morning. So, I called an ambulance and got her. And then she got back home. And I, I can’t tell you how many days it was, but about 3, 4, 5 days later, I had to call 911 for me and take me to the emergency room, full chest pains.”

Miller said the pains felt like he was having a heart attack and he couldn’t breathe

“I had been shaking so much for so long and so hard that my intestines were just tied in a knot,” Miller said. “. Once you get anxious, you kind of get a little bit psychotic when it gets real bad.”
READ ON 

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Herbage Golf – Spring 2023

THE BLUNT & BOGEY TOUR –
Spring 2023
BEST BALL SCRAMBLE
WIN PRIZES & ENJOY AN AFTERNOON WITH FRIENDS!

WHEN: Saturday, April 8, 2023, 10:00 AM

SIGN UP HERE

Plan to arrive by 10:00 AM for registration. Shotgun start at 11:00 AM.
Look forward to having fun and enjoying friends while your team participates in playing the “Best Ball” hit down the fairways.

We will have guest dab bars and plenty of giveaways available from our amazing sponsors.

Plenty of fun contests will be on the course, including a $50,000 prize for Hole-In-One!
Win prizes – Network with cannabis industry colleagues – Have fun!

AWARDS & SESH: 4:20 PM
WHERE: Choctaw Creek Golf Course and The Country Club Restaurant, 2200 North Hiwassee Road, Choctaw, OK 73020

SIGN UP HERE

Herbage Magazine January 2023

Digital edition of the January 2023 print issue #49 of Herbage Magazine. Herb•age strives to bring you fresh content regularly. We cover a wide range of cannabis culture and medical marijuana-related issues from around the state of Oklahoma and beyond. In other words, It is our mission to be the voice of the growing cannabis industry in the state. Through fair and open discourse we hope to continue the trend of bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the mainstream where it belongs. So, please join us and help us grow with Oklahoma!

Survive To Educate

By James Bridges

I pulled around the corner of the large empty parking lot. It was mid-afternoon. I could barely stand the sweltering heat radiating from that giant gas globe in the sky. I needed something cold. Something with some sort of quench at the end of it. There was a coffee lounge and an interview waiting just over the next curb.

I had landed. The place was called Aces of 8’s. I knew I was about to get lucky.
Alan Matthew Taylor, AKA the Dab Father, seemed to be setting up shop in the corner of this dark and surprisingly inviting coffee house, which I found even more inviting after grabbing the coldest bottle of liquid I could find.

“Yes. I’d love a dab from the Dab Father,” I announced after the invite was given by Alan. He immediately began serenading me with his open arms and inviting tone of voice.
“The funny part about that name is that it didn’t even kick in until about three years ago,” Alan chuckled. I was, of course, intrigued. I bit.

“Yep. I was not known as the dab father until 3 or 4 years ago. Way back when weed was still illegal in Oklahoma,” Alan grinned. “ Of course, I was still dabbing.”

“So my next door neighbor decided he wanted to come over and start learning how to dab. The first couple of times, he nearly killed himself trying to hit it. He never really damaged anything. He just coughed until he would pee.” We both giggled. Of course. That’s what grown men do when they hear the word “pee”.

“Okay. So, all right now,” Alan continued, “I came to find out that he didn’t really smoke dabs before. So we came to the conclusion that it’s time to teach him. At that time there were about four, five of us friends starting to catch onto this whole dab thing. I myself have been partaking in the art of dabbing for about 10 years.” So, the name Dab Father was just a joke at first. You know, like the godfather of dabs. So, slowly but surely, I started teaching people.”

I was curious how one goes about teaching another to “dab” properly. First of all, let’s talk about what dabbing is for people new to the game. Dabbing is consuming very potent and concentrated forms of cannabis. You use something called a dab rig in order to consume said magical products. This can and does, at times, resemble something straight out of a chemist closet. Yet, let me tell you from experience, it works and it works very well. But still. How does one teach this?

“What I try to do is look at extremes then dial things down in order to create the best results.” Alan dove right in, “So we don’t let you pass out, but we get you right to that edge where you wanna pass out, but you’re still able to function. Eventually, we’re getting you used to your moderation types. It’s at that point when you’re able to understand there is a medicinal value and you simply need to find that value number and dial it in. This is one of the biggest challenges when teaching people how to medicate themselves. It’s not about trying to over do it.”

When I enter situations such as this interview, I tend to reflect. I remember what the thought process was like just a few short years ago. To have to hide in the dark to gain access to such medication and pleasure feels like an eternity at times. Others, not so much. Other times it feels as if we have immediately stepped into a time warp. Here we are. Sitting in a coffee house in the middle of a summer afternoon while ripping dabs from a dab rig that looks as if it were made by nasa. Damn, I love this moment.

“Now it’s a process of teaching them about terpenes and which ones are going to benefit them the best.” Alan was getting to the next part too quickly for my taste.

I wanted to have more depth. Why is this person that is sitting in front of me qualified to educate me on cannabis? The “little red dude on the shoulder” advocate was put to rest.

“I was running gorilla grows in California for, I don’t know, let’s call it three and a half years.”

I leaned forward.

“On the outskirts of vineyards in Stockton, California. We were right on the edges, just on the edges of where the police couldn’t get us and the sheriff wouldn’t mess with us.” I could tell Alan was traveling back in time.

“The biggest problem we had to worry about were produce farmers. They would just go through and mow it all down. They didn’t care.” We both laughed at the thought. “They just chopped it all down, cause they knew the cops would never show up. They had the mowing on a schedule. Eventually, we actually had to get in ‘good’ with the field workers. They would let us know when we needed to move out.” Alan grinned, again. “I ended up going up the trees and I started planting up in the trees.”

Instantly, I pictured cannabis plants all over tiny tree houses. I wondered how many times people have actually walked under a barrel full of this beautiful plant and never knew it.

“Never, not even once, did we get caught. Right. Sheriffs would come looking. They would fly the helicopters over. You could see it from over top. Right? But, you could be standing directly under it. The police would come and look and it would never be there. We built these little platforms across the tops. We had irrigation hoses running up and everything.”

Something happened in the room that is rare when two people like us are present. A very long pause. I had to calculate some things in my head.

“Yeah. Haha.” Alan was laughing. “I eventually discovered that the trees wouldn’t be sufficient. We were right next to a river. So we ran the water right out of the river and straight up. I mean it. Talk about a gorilla growing. Honestly it was just trying to be sneaky. I knew cops usually never looked up. Right? I have run from the police in the past. I hid under cars. They always found me. Right? If I hid up on top of things, they never looked up. So this became a cat and mouse game. The mouse is up there and the cat is down there looking around. They’re looking down at the ground. Does it make sense?” I nodded and confirmed. “Mm-hmm.” Alan smiled. “Put the weed in the trees, put the weed in the trees. Yeah. Put the weed in the trees…”

Long before I ever talked with the Dab Father I worked with the Dab Mother on a few projects. It seems that communication is not only an issue in the medicinal cannabis side of the coin, but with actual communication companies as well. Herbage, until inspired to be remedied, was one of them. So I thought I would ask a little about the better half of Alan. You know, just to make sure. I was pleasantly surprised with new information about already known acquaintances.

“20-years-ago I had a cervical issue that came back Atypical.” Jennifer unexpectedly began telling her journey. It was apparent that there were no regrets. “I went through some procedures and they did a cryosurgery. Everything’s been fine since, but my daughter’s pregnancy was a hardcore weird. It just ran the mill with me. At that time, I just hadn’t felt the same since. I finally got in touch with a really good OBGYN and they found atypical endo cells. So they scheduled an ultrasound. It came back fine. There was still that question of why.”

“So we went ahead and did a cervical and an endometrial biopsy yesterday.”

Wait, did she just say yesterday? As in, the day before we had this interview? She started this out with “20-years-ago.” Anyone else catch that?

“So hopefully, um, it’ll be, it will be good news. Um, but, uh, yeah.” She smiled and carried on as if this was normal. For her, it was.

I wanted to know more about how she became an actual cannabis educator.

“I’ve always been intrigued by how the body works. As a kid in science class I felt at home. I loved it when it came to biology and we had to dissect everything.
I just wanted to know what’s in there. How does it work? You know, what’s going on? Um, then I kind of lost track. My career changed. I ended up in the military, did some stuff there, but then after I picked up and went to school to be a medical assistant and continued on and got my associates in sports medicine.”

Jennifer let me know she discovered that Western medicine “ticks her off.”
She was very adamant that the practitioners and decision makers are constantly pushing medications that seem to be the most profit driven rather than what is best for the patient.

Surprisingly, I was able to get somewhat of an insight to the amount of judgment that goes on behind the scenes in a doctor’s office. According to Jennifer there were many personal and moral judgment calls being made by those that have the power to possibly change the quality of life of others. “It was too much.” Jennifer spoke as if she found a lump of clay in her pudding.

Now that she is “free from that world”, Jennifer educated others in regards to cannabis use and benefits. Jennifer herself has gone through quite the personal transformation.

“I got sick with pneumonia back in 2019. That’s when I got really serious with cannabis. I started to notice changes. I started realizing that different strains were affecting my appetite and other health benefits that were specific to something. I just needed to figure it out. So, I started digging into terpenes and the cannabinoids that are in those certain strains. Everything started relating. I knew then and there that I could figure out a terpene that could help with certain ailments. So I did a lot of research. Sometimes it would help, sometimes I just needed to mix that plus something else and it would be near perfect. That would then unlock something else.”

With exercise, diet, and cannabis, Jennifer drove her weight down over time and in a healthy way. No pills. When she began she weighed 250 lbs heavier than she did that day.

“I got on a scale this morning and I weighed 135 lbs.” We both laughed.

“I fought and fought and fought my weight for years before cannabis. I was in the gym every day, making sure my diet was on point, but I couldn’t lose weight. I was constantly gaining and I didn’t understand that stress is a huge factor. So digging into, you know, the spiritual side of things and learning how to try not let things affect me that used to drive me out of my mind. Things just started falling into place and, and I’ve just kind of noticed lots of different changes.” Jennifer seemed to sigh a little out of relief.

I could sense a bit of comfort in the air. Jennifer was comfortable with exactly where she was on her path. Awareness is abundant in society yet genuine awareness of oneself is still rare to find. I believe that Jennifer has found it and she wants to share.

“I love my church, but I’ve been judged a lot for what I stand behind. I am judged pretty hardcore at my job, and it’s really, it’s been tough. It’s amazing to me because I want to shout at them and say I’m still the same Jennifer that you guys knew beforehand! I’m just in a better place.”

“My husband was the big driver.” Jennifer sounded thankful. “He introduced me to the whole thing. He hot boxed me the first time. It was great!”

Laughter, as you could imagine, ensued. If you know then you know.

“I’m just a patient that didn’t understand at first.” She sounded as if she were admitting guilt. I was holding onto the thought that she had to understand that her simplicity to this education is probably the most beneficial style of training to any patient wanting to make the cannabis choice. “I didn’t know what was going on. I just started digging in and researching and finding scholarly articles. I recommend this. However, I am here to translate and simplify if people ask.”

“Open communication between the patient, the patient’s doctor, and cannabis experts is key.” Jennifer reminds us. “Unfortunately, those conversations aren’t open. Doctors are making radical assumptions before seeing patients as well. I witnessed a conversation between the doctor and the patient. The doctor hardly had time to look over his clipboard before demanding that the patient not ask for pain medicine, ‘because you’re not gonna get it.’ The patient was very upset at the accusation. Medical professionals need to understand that there are alternative ways and there are healthy alternative ways, and it’s not just a drug.

Jennifer has a 23-year-old son, Devin. Okay. He was diagnosed at the age of four with severe ADHD and possible borderline personality disorder. He uses cannabis. Jennifer gave a simple opinion.

“I don’t think he medicates the way he needs to. It’s tough. I’m educating and training others. I want him to pick it up and really use cannabis for his advantage. I believe that if he would concentrate on the correct strains and terpenes then it would really help him.”

Her other child is a young girl named Sophia. Jennifer describes Sophia as her “mini me” as she has mocked the process when it comes to diet and a healthy lifestyle.

“That girl will reach for a bowl of salad before candy or whatnot. Now don’t get me wrong. She’s a little sneaker. I’ve caught her, but yeah, for the most part, she’s really good.

“I was 39 when I met Alan. I’m 45 now, but my forties have been my best years.” A calm sense was lingering. Jennifer was in a good spot. “Yeah. Um, I finally just figured out how to say, screw it, I don’t care. You know? If you don’t like me, whatever, it’s not my place to care what you think, you know? I’m more concerned about my family and loved ones. I’m healthy, they’re healthy. I can walk out of this life with a smile on my face, you know?

Alan commented about Jennifer as if he were talking about himself. I could see the love he had for another human being. I noticed a slight twitch on his lips from a “near tear” situation. “She dove nose first into this and it was. Just full on. It is amazing. Six years ago. She did not smoke weed at all. She was a heavy drinker. Jennifer and her family didn’t smoke cannabis at all.

“So THCV also helps the Thyroid. Not to mention a little bit of psilocybin.” Alan supports the use of all plant medicine in order to help the body, mind, and spirit. “Those combined together help unlock your brain and reset the chemical makeup, but it has to be done in very gradual motions. You can’t just jump in and expect to be healed. Right? It does not happen.”
Both Jennifer and Alan’s story is straight out of a script made to root for the underdog. This time the underdog is still paddling upstream. However, the destination is clearly in mind for the both of them. The most important part to them is being able to educate others. They want to help others to stay off off the bench of an underdog team, and possibly win once in a while.

“Yeah. I didn’t realize I’d be more of an underdog story actually.” Alan was completely serious.

Alan was recently named the Cultivation Director for Platinum Farms in Oklahoma. “I’m spending thousands and thousands of dollars to help get a very large farm. I’m looking back, wow. I mean, this, this is coming from a kid that grew up on the streets.”

“I’m 4-years-old. We moved from Oklahoma to California.” He was reminiscing. “We lived in a small apartment for a long time and it was just me, my mother and my little brother until my stepdad came along. My stepdad was great for the first few years. Like he was always great. And then my mom got sick and it was like, as soon as my mom got sick, he got violent and just belligerent and his number one punching bag was me.” I noticed a spark in his eye.

“When I was 7 until about 14-years-old, I was abused regularly. As soon as he came home from work, I either made myself completely scarce and disappeared, or I was guaranteed to get my ass whooped for something. It didn’t really matter what. So he put me to work at his rental yard, which helped give me the skills that I have today. I was driving tractors and hooking up trailers and filling propane. By the time I was 14 or so I was already working my way to being a full-time drug dealer. My step dad actually turned me into a drug dealer. We were picking up methamphetamine on an every two week basis.”
This got my head spinning. This person in front of me seemed nothing like the DARE posters that float around to warn children of dangerous people with evil drugs in hand. This was a very intelligent, well groomed, hyper focused individual. I asked him about the drug use.

“I was. Um, so about 12 years old was my first experience with methamphetamine. I didn’t really key in on it right then. So a couple months later my buddy brought it up again and then it was on from there. So at the age of 13, I was hooked on meth and I was running 24 hours a day for up to 21 days in a row. At this point I was mentally unstable. I was pulling guns on bushes. There was a video of me chasing ‘nothing’ down the street and shooting at it. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t believe it. Told everybody they were lying. That’s not me. That video looks like me, but it can’t be me.”

“So, I just completely played denial for a long time. I went back to doing exactly what I did best, and that was selling methamphetamine and marijuana. I mean, I was sitting there with long hair and a don’t care attitude for the longest time.

From the ages of 14 to the ages of 24 Alan was homeless. “I had my home base. It was a water tank on the corner. This thing is now a train station. I used to dig a hole under the side of the building and tunnel under it, so that I had a place that was warm during the winter. My mom was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She couldn’t get outta bed. They couldn’t figure out how to get her pain under control. She had a bag about the size of this backpack full of pill bottles. It was not good. If she had a sniffle, it was right to the pain pills. I watched my mom go from this beautiful creature to this person that I didn’t know anymore. She would never come out of the room. She would just be hibernating 24 hours a day.”
“When she did come out,” he recalled. She was on meth and she let my stepdad do whatever he wanted to do because he supplied everything. It was a situation where me and my little brother were just kind of left out to defend ourselves.”

“My little brother was taken care of a little bit better than me. I was the older one and I still remembered my real dad. My step dad even told me that because I know my real dad, he shouldn’t have to care. I was 16. That moment was the first real fist fight that we got into. He kicked my ass. Hardcore.” I believed Alan as he was speaking. The sincerity in his voice was non negotiable.

“I came back one day. I beat him down. I made it a point to do it in front of everybody.
It took me almost three years to do that. I actually learned how to fight in prison. I’m not proud of that. It was something I could have avoided.”

“I wouldn’t call it a success story,” Alan pointed out. “I survived. I conquered a ton of challenges that you think would knock someone out when they are at the bottom. All of this has been a learning experience. It wouldn’t be anything without my wife by my side.

I revealed before that Alan is now the director of cultivation for Platinum Farms. I asked him about his qualifications once more. This is a rather large task and I was curious as to who would be accomplishing it.

“My dad was a cultivator before I was born. So, I guess I’m a second generation cultivator. On August 22nd, 1986, a 400 watt high pressure sodium light that was ordered out of high times magazine. He had it delivered the same day that I was born. It was installed the same day. I was put in that room. I have been in a cultivation situation since the day I was born. I took over cultivation operations at the age of 16. I was running around when I was telling you we were doing those gorilla grows and stuff in Stockton, California. They slowly got bigger. We needed more products. It was cheaper to produce it ourselves and then take it to the street. At that time, cultivation was a life sentence. So manufacturing was a life sentence. We were doing all of this.”

“We were open blasting in California. BHO open blasting in the middle of vineyards, so that we could see if cops were headed our direction. I mean, we would all jump on dirt bikes and take off, no joke. I finally started perfecting my open blast BHO. I wanted to be one of the first people that had the dragon balls, the 3000 gram hash balls. I never made it to that point, but I was one of the first people to have the sheets.”

“I was one of the first people in 2012 to enter canna-butter into a cannabis competition. I received 17th place out of about 1,700.”

“I’ve dabbled.”

I can see clearly that both Jennifer and Alan are in a much better place in life. They are now positioned as caregivers as well as patients themselves. Both are in a very unique position to help more people than they will ever know personally. The derivative effects from the knowledge and passing down of such knowledge will last for eternity. Or as long as those out there willing to make a choice for themselves will open their hearts and minds and listen to what is now simply put in front of them. Many call this knowledge and education the answer. I tend to agree.

Cover Artist – Sean Vali

By Sean Vali

I get so hypnotized when I’m drawing or painting. everything around me can disappear in a deep State of Trance that can really place you inside of the moment. Creating for me is trying to capture a vision that’s popped into my head and attempting to translate it into a physical form. like a still photograph from a dream that blooms and unfolds in so many ways.

Some images are formed in the smallest of moments While others grow over a longer time. Of time before they make it to the physical world. That’s where it all starts for me. all the while designing and redesigning and illustrating them in my head before finally taking it to the SketchBook to get the idea pushed further.

Some pieces have deep meaning and symbolism While others are more fun and free-flowing. like taking a hike through the forest or looking at the deciphering clouds. Then there are the pieces that are just for fun. What would a deer with weed plants as antlers look like?

Cannabis has been very close to my artwork for a long time. It has a way of quieting down the hustle and bustle of the world and allows me to focus and encourage the Deep Thoughts of creativity.

Can I create art without cannabis? Absolutely! It just doesn’t sound like very much fun to me.

Follow Sean on Instagram: @seanvali

 

HERBAGE MAGAZINE AUGUST 2022 ISSUE 45

Digital edition of the AUGUST 2022 print issue of Herbage Magazine. Herb•age strives to bring you fresh content regularly. We cover a wide range of cannabis culture and medical marijuana-related issues from around the state of Oklahoma and beyond. In other words, It is our mission to be the voice of the growing cannabis industry in the state. Through fair and open discourse we hope to continue the trend of bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the mainstream where it belongs. So, please join us and help us grow with Oklahoma!

Feminine Divine – Ebony Jones

Keeping the Faith; a Woman’s Story of Generational Resilience and Healing through Curated Experiences and Sweet Potato Pie

by Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate

Ebony Jones, of 8Twenty8, is a cannabis Pastry Chef paving the way for other people of color following her path. “Being one of the few known Black women in the Oklahoma cannabis industry has been very challenging, but [it is] a fight I’m willing to stay in. I’m more than ready to occupy spaces with more powerful women looking to open doors in this industry with hopes and dreams like myself,” she says. Ebony is a Survivor, a Caregiver, and entrepreneur. An empath and spiritual Virgo, she is both lion and lamb – strong and bold yet gentle and calm in her approach and is agile and flexible in her pursuits. She is a fine example of the Divine Feminine.

Ebony is an Oklahoma cannabis industry transplant who comes to us by way of Georgia. The youngest child in birth order, she was born in Hampton, VA to a big military family. Her Mother, Toni, was a member of the US Air Force. “She taught us who God was,” Ebony relays. Her maternal Grandmother, Annie, was the only Black teacher in her school. She taught Art and Home Economics and was a Godly woman. Growing up, “she had us at revivals from eight to four in the afternoon.” It was not until high school through the age of twenty that Ebony found her personal relationship with God.

Toni had fallen ill with papilledema, a condition that, according to the National Cancer Institute, causes swelling around the optic disk. This is the area where the optic nerve enters the eyeball. Toni was also diagnosed with Arnold Chiari Malformation – a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal – subsequently forcing her into early retirement from the United States Postal Service at the age of thirty-five. This was the beginning of a life-long battle. A caregiver for her mother from about the age of ten, Ebony dropped out of high school to care for her more closely.

Toni’s multiple surgeries and required aftercare unfortunately resulted in readily available narcotics in the home. Without Toni’s knowledge, Ebony became a young person with access to unmonitored prescription medication and heavy burdens to carry. She was also living with the ghost of personal trauma. Ebony is now an advocate for therapy. “If I hadn’t gotten in therapy, I wouldn’t be here,” she declares. After a choice decision left a sibling stranded when she numbingly put him out of the car during an argument, she quit the pills. She tells us, “We are survivors of the pill pandemic.”

As a young person Ebony aspired to open a medicinal cannabis café for kids. “Since tenth grade my business plan has always included weed.” She returned to high school and upon completion went on to obtain her Associates of Occupational in Patisserie and Baking from Le Cordon Bleu while she established herself as a Baker and Pastry Supervisor in the highly competitive and innovative Atlanta food service industry. The delicate measure and alchemy of baking is in her bones so naturally our meticulous, calculated Virgo excelled in her craft – including a position as the Baking Supervisor with Carlo’s Bakeshop as featured on the reality tv show Cake Boss. She recalls, “[The] first day we had a line out the door starting at 3am, and we didn’t open until 6!” She reflects on her position with Primrose Schools – an institution that provides high-quality early education and care – in the highest regard, “I loved those kids.” Ebony’s interest in holistic wellness was unwavering and she would also obtain her Certificate of Completion in Cannabis Education through the Cannabis Training University of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

She saw what was happening in Oklahoma and wanted a piece of that sweet potato pie she would later bake for herself. Ebony began submitting resumes everywhere and received a bite when RD Hendrickson – the owner of Arizona-based Sublime – reached out to let her know if she were ever in Oklahoma, he would like to interview her. “You don’t know these people,” her family said, “turn your [phone] locations on,” she recounts through a giggle. She was not going to miss this opportunity, regardless of the risk. Ebony’s personality is as golden as her resume and Hendrickson wanted her to join the team, so with the support of her grandpa, she left everyone and everything she knew to pursue her dreams. “To others it may appear as if it came easy but take some time to converse with me [and] you’ll learn it has taken trials, tribulations, tears, and plenty of therapy sessions.” It was the first time she had ever left home, and within a week of her big move Ebony’s sweet Grandpa suffered a stroke. Then suddenly her employer lost their location, forcing them to temporarily close during the relocation period. Instead of retreating home Ebony stuck it out through her tribulations and found a cannabis industry position with Euphora dispensary until Sublime’s new building was secured.

“Oklahoma is a sacred land,” she tells us, “So much has happened here. You can feel the blood in this land.” Ebony’s euphemism is not lost on us. “This industry is messy,” she goes on to say, “the divide out here is crazy.” She is speaking to the boundary that is being “one of the few in the room,” she tells us. “In all honesty it has been worth it, though in the beginning it was a huge culture shock, and I didn’t think I would survive Oklahoma.” She asks herself how she is going to change the conversation. “I love being in a place in my career where I can professionally correct others for being culturally inappropriate or placing me in an uncomfortable position and we can still operate in a healthy environment after the teaching moment.” Ebony speaks openly and earnestly on her social media platforms. “I’m down for teaching. I’m still learning myself,” she says. She believes herself to be a “Virgo that has no filter at all.” However, she tells us she “understands the effects of speaking before thinking and evaluating the power of your words and how they may affect another person.” Within her healing process Ebony has also learned that to achieve growth she must “take accountability for my wrongs, correct those wrongs, and put in the work to actively become a better person for this world.”

The life of an entrepreneur is not for the weak, and keeping your faith is ten times the work, she’s found. “Choosing to uproot what I knew as comfortable to relocate to Oklahoma has shown me the power and resilience that has been instilled in me by my mother.” Ebony now represents and manufactures products for Country Cannabis, who acquired Sublime. “They are a diverse company,” she says and asks, “what does country look like to you?” She tells us she is incredibly grateful but “technically I’m still out here by myself.” While she feels immensely supported by her employer Ebony’s real hustle is her passion project, 8Twenty8, LLC. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Taking leaps of faith and believing in the purpose of the company is what keeps 8Twenty8 going, Ebony believes. 8Twenty8’s craft-baked goods and custom orders have satisfied the palettes of Oklahomans with every dietary restriction and preference known – try those gluten free oatmeal cream pies – but she is not just in the business of baking dessert, her true business is loving people. Ebony doesn’t want you to stereotype her- she’s not just about pies. She is interested in curating experiences, and tells us, “Whether that’s with me, you tasting my pies, or hosting an event.”

Things have been taking off for 8Twenty8. Ebony has received lots of exposure recently as 8Twenty8 has been featured in recent Studio 30 events and Sherweed Forrest’s Throwdown Bazaar. She is called upon for private catering and custom orders by the biggest names in the Oklahoma cannabis industry and while ever grateful, Ebony is always looking to the future. With an entrepreneur’s heart she declares, “I’m not accepting this middle class shit anymore,” she goes on to say, “America has taught us to work to live.” She wonders, how can I not think about making money while I make money? “I think it’s disgusting how much I want to give back to people,” relays our brave empath. Ebony dreams of an 8Twenty8 small-batch kitchen to order, that would accept custom orders for a patient’s individualized needs or commercial grow orders for retail sales. She also wants to create opportunities through events designed to be a retreat – a vacation.

8Twenty8 in association with Universe with Jaz Present Puff and Plant in the Park Sunday, June 12th, from 6-8pm. Located at Veterans/Centennial Park, attendees can expect an evening filled with release and manifesting. Paint’n’Plant intention kits provided with the purchase of admission. Event features Sound Bowl by The Reiki Mama, massages by Beyond Skin Deep and Oracle readings by Soar. Smokable organic herbal blend provided by Universe with Jaz. Light snacks served by 8Twenty8.

Perspectives

(Taking a look at Neurodivergence and Cannabis)

By Kathy Barker

Kathy Barker

Have you ever missed a stair in the dark? It’s like your heart stood up too fast, whilst being in the process of a dizzying white out blindness, before pulling on your lungs for support. SO. naturally, your chest tightens and you start sweating because OBVIOUSLY something is wrong. Welcome to anxiety. There are many ways to placate this beast. However, there are equally as many ways to Piss it off. Fun fact to start us off. Cannabis can do both!

Let’s take a look at both perspectives shall we?

In the right corner we have William Terrell weighing in at : Extremely Anxious.
I asked him how our beloved cannabis helped to quell the nonstop barrage of brain chatter?
“It’s as if I live my life with an old TV in the corner, with static blaring all the time. The static distracts my thoughts, slows them down, But THC turns that TV off for a couple of hours. It’s as if I’m a different person. I’m not fighting to exist in my own mind. I can think and feel and experience things so much more clearly.”
It was surreal the way he was describing it, because I too could relate with the static. For me however, It wasn’t my own static, but the static from other people’s minds. Hints my aversion to crowds. I continued my curiosity with the question of who was he when the TV was on as opposed to off?

“I’m nothing when it’s on, the motivation to exist isn’t really there. The complexity of Life hits me too hard. Life feels too stimulating, especially social interaction. When it’s off I can be me. I find myself mirroring others less when I’m smoking. I allow myself to be me rather than what others want me to be.”
I think we can all agree that’s pretty intense. 
William shared that it was a long road before he actually smoked regularly, but when he did make the decision, it was because he noticed the plant’s healing gift of “quieting the noise.” 
For him, his most noticeable setback was lethargy. But the benefits out-way the cost considerably. Furthermore, between Vaping, smoking, and eating THC, it was never concluded that any of the methods were “bad” per say. Simply, different.

Now in our left corner Sits Jaszi the Bunny Butler weighing in at : So anxious, she has the capability of transforming into a mute.

That’s no exaggeration either. With the wonderful privilege of being able to call her heart warmingly important for four years now, I can confirm she usually stumbles over sentences and giggles until she just stops trying to use words all together.
But honestly it’s not quite so cut and dry. I asked Jasmine for her perspective on anxiety and how it manifests for her, there was a simple reply.
On a common day to day? : “Sweaty hot feet, or rabbit paws if you prefer. I feel like I’m gonna pass out, I start seeing in tunnel vision. I can feel my heart’s just not having it at that moment. I get palpitations.”

Jasmine

She went on to mention that those symptoms become more severe when she’s in social situations or figures of authority are speaking to her. 
Now when she smokes weed it’s a completely different ball game. When I first met Jasmine, she was always down to puff, in fact she could nearly out-toke her best friend, my husband Johnny. (Being a dialysis patient, he medicates quite a bit)

“It put me in a mellow state of mind and I could do anything I wanted to, socially, without caring and now I can’t function in public. I can’t even leave my bed.”
I wondered when it had all started for her. How early? The answer was a resounding ‘VERY’. 
“Just before I turned eleven, three weeks before in fact,” she answered. By a lot of standards, that’s fairly young. But when life immediately gives you lemons…you make lemonade. 

Alas, Medicating with Mary Jane wasn’t fated to last. She took a two year break and it turned into a breakup.

“The last time I smoked weed I took a hit and I was fine. Then I took another hit and it instantly hit me. My head got hot, my body started to shake, I couldn’t form words, I was dizzy and couldn’t move. It lasted for about three hours. It felt like I was trippin’ on acid.
Everything was moving, colors were bright and everything was nauseating”
I couldn’t close my eyes without feeling like I was falling.”

That in itself is a pretty persuasive reason to stop, or at least take a few steps back. But what was the real kicker?

“There was a time in my life when I was going to the hospital almost every day. 
I told the doctors I had cyclic vomiting syndrome, (CVS) and they asked me if I smoked weed. I told them yes, and then they told me that I had Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) and that I needed to stop smoking. I went in two weeks later for my heart monitor and it turned out weed was slowing my heart rate down when I slept and spiking it during the day, giving me more palpitations. That was the last time I went to the hospital and I stopped smoking after that.

I haven’t had a CVS attack since then”Well what about CBD? Does that do any good for you?
“Cbd helps in gummy form, but only in gummy form.”

What do the other forms do for you?
“Nothing really, they just give me a hand to mouth smoke fixation”

Got any advice for all the readers out there?
“Go into it with a good mindset, be in a good place with friends.”
“Keep some water nearby and something too munch. If you can relate to any of my experiences, consult your physician, is all I gotta say.”

Thank you for reading everyone!

The Chronissuer – DOC FERGUSON

Time To Dab

Reviewed by Hopper
Written by Pamela Jayne

If you would have told me 30-years-ago, 20-years-ago, 10-years-ago…hell even 5-years-ago, that I’d be setting up a cannabis grow operation with intentions of it to be tracked by law enforcement, I would have bet money that would never happen…but here we are. Fresh out of METRC deadline hell with all plants tagged and everything in full compliance.

Like a homie of mine said, “Hell didn’t freeze over, but Hopper went legal, so that’s pretty much the same thing.” I know a lot of you were putting in long hours to make the deadline too, and we’re probably thinking pretty much the same thing.

I know I took a little trip down memory lane while I was tagging plants, thinking about how far we’ve come. I’ve got nothing but love and respect for the black market because it’s where I’m from. There would be no white market if it weren’t for the risks taken and innovations made by the black market. Sorry about the tangent, l just get super passionate about that subject.

Anyway, when James with Herbage Magazine handed me the goody bag of reviews and I saw that this month is all about concentrates. I was beyond stoked to fire up the Puffco and change gears for awhile. The fact that it’s technically considered “work” reminded me what a gift it is to be a part of this industry and community.

#1 Chem Dahlia Budder by Double Down Dabs

This buttered up beauty has a beautifully creamy, opaque sheen to it, and it has a really interesting nose. The first words that come to mind are “poopy funk” if you know what I mean. There’s definitely a hint of citrusy limonene in there, too. The texture is perfect. It’s like scooping up a dab of buttercream frosting. I can already tell this is going to be epic as I sit here not so patiently waiting for the Puffco to heat up. Wow! It was worth the wait, for sure. The flavor is super clean and crisp, full bodied and well balanced. It’s not sweet citrusy, it’s more acidic citrusy…but that’s a good thing. It’s a heavy hitter that expanded the lungs nicely but didn’t choke me out. The hit is just as clean as the flavor, and provides instant head to toe relief of physical and mental stress. It frees the mind of whatever has been occupying it, and lifts the spirits. Nothing will be able to weigh you down after a dab of this. Not even METRC, haha.

#2 Kush Mints Wax (Doc Ferguson and Rams Head collaboration)

This Kush Mints wax is a nice buttery blonde color and has a crumble like consistency that is very easy to work with, which is nice. Aromatically it’s like a mash up of Pinesol and a freshly picked mint leaf. It’s also kind of gassy and I get a little bit of a garlic smell, too. It hits super smooth and tastes out of this world. Its flavor profile is gassy lemon pine with undertones of garlic pepper. I love the Kush Mints flower, so of course I’m really digging this wax. Doc Ferguson and Rams Head really knocked it out of the park with this collab. Just one big hit of this really sat me back in my chair and had me thinking about life and what a beautiful trip it is. It’s a nice little cerebral vacation that won’t knock you out physically but does help with muscle tension and the aches and pains that come with a hard days work.

#3 Mimosa Diamonds by Double Down Dabs

Chunky and pale blonde with some golden highlights, the Mimosa diamonds is a beautiful champagne color. The bright white in it really highlights its golden hues. It’s a really good looking, top shelf concentrate. The nose on it is mostly on the limonene/pinene tip, and also has a slight eucalyptus aroma. It also kind of smells like Tiger Balm. You know that old school stuff for muscle aches? I haven’t thought about that stuff in years, but that’s what this sort of reminds me of. The hit is mouthwatering. I mean it literally made my mouth water and gave me a nice punch to the lungs with substantial expansion that got me coughing pretty hard and gave me an instant head change followed by shoulder dropping relaxation and cerebral euphoria. This one is a homerun for concentrate lovers.

#4 Sugar Diamonds (Double Down Dabs and Rams Head collaboration)

I’m already excited to try this one because the last Double Down Dabs and Rams Head collab was amazing! They’re both crushing it hard. Hats off to you guys for setting the industry standard. This platinum blonde colored Sugar Diamonds is a visual stunner, and the nose has a slight hint of a gas/fuel like terpene profile. I can’t wait to get this in my lungs and see how it feels. Here we go…It hits you right in the sinuses and gives you a little terp sneeze. You can feel it all through the nose, eyes, and forehead. It offers a focused, cerebral euphoria. It’s great if you want to get into a creative project or just zone out to some tunes. This one is all about the head. You’ll almost immediately feel your eyelids get heavy and your mind start to drift off…It really gave me the munchies too, and I don’t get the munchies very often. A Dr. Pepper freeze from Braums sounds amazing right now. Huge thanks to Doc Ferguson for bringing some bangers this month. I really enjoyed them and I actually really needed the time out from dealing with all the METRC bullshit.

Before we wrap it up I want to thank everyone for coming out to the King Klick and Blaze Ya Dead Homie show at the Brickhouse. I had such a great time celebrating the launch of RX3 and R3M3DY GARD3NS with all of you and look forward to many more awesome events in the future.

DOC FERGUSON WEBSITE

The Andrew Lopez Story

By Michael Kinney

By all accounts, Andrew Lopez seems to be living the ideal life. The retired Army Staff Sgt., who spent 22 years in the military, is married with five kids and three grandchildren.

Almost nothing brings a smile to his face more than when talking about his family, except maybe his passion for lowrider cars. Especially the 1963 Impala that he has been working on for the past few years.
However, it took Lopez years of pain before he could get to the point where he could appreciate what he has. From the murder of his younger brother to having a fellow soldier die in his hands, the 47-year-old Los Angeles native has been to hell and back.

Lopez credits the discovery of medical cannabis for him being able to make his way out of the dark path he was on and into the light.

“I have been happy. Wonderful. I consider life lovely now,” said Lopez, who lives in Lawton. “I owe everything to Mr. Green. This is a miracle drug. Without, I don’t think I would be here to tell you the truth.”

Many of the issues Lopez has had to overcome began back in 2004 during his first tour of duty in Iraq. While on patrol was hit downrange with an IED (Improvised explosive device).
“It basically hurt my entire right side,” Lopez said. “I got severe nerve damage on the right side of my body. But it also messed up my back.”

Lopez was medevaced out of Iraq and taken to Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany where he underwent surgery. According to Lopez, after just three months of physical therapy and recovery, the Army sent him back to Iraq.

“I was hurt, but regardless of my injuries they still felt that I was fit to go back downrange with my back and neck injury. I was doing the same mission,” Lopez said. “I was still busted up. I wasn’t ready to go back and do much. But in the Army, they really don’t care. It’s to get the mission done first, then we’ll worry about you.”

Despite how his body felt, Lopez was sent back to Iraq to complete the final six months of his 18 month tour.

For the next few years, Lopez said he kept complaining to his superiors and doctors about his constant back pains. Their solution was to give him more pain pills and muscle relaxers.

“That was my life,” Lopez said. Pain pills and muscle relaxers and physical therapy. It was horrible because it messed my body up so much. I felt like I was always bloated. It was messing with my digestive system.”
According to Lopez, the only remedy the doctors had for him was to lower his dosages. But the pain and physical ailments continued.

In 2010 one of Lopez’s physical therapists was looking at his X-ray and noticed a mass that didn’t look right. She told him he might want to get it checked out and suggested that he might have a tumor. This was the first time anyone had mentioned it to him.

“She said this has been here for a while,” Lopez said. “She was looking at my X-rays back from 2008. I was happy that she actually spotted it. Because how many of my doctors in the military have seen this and haven’t said anything and just let it go by? All these years I keep thinking they could have found it so long ago. When you are in the military, you really can’t do anything. You can’t do anything because you are their property. That’s what gets me so mad.”

Lopez went and had an MRI done. When the test was completed, Lopez’s doctor had one question for him.

“He asked ‘how are you walking,” Lopez said. “I said excuse me. I walked in here with my cane. The doctor said no, ‘how are you walking? There is a tumor blocking all your nerves to your lower extremities. You shouldn’t be able to walk.”

Lopez said they scheduled him for an operation the very next week. But that week turned into years due to a difference of opinions between several physicians.
According to Lopez, the cancer specialist said he thought it was just a fatty mass and wanted to just keep an eye on it.

The cancer center in Lawton suggested radiation as a treatment. However, the doctors at the cancer center in Oklahoma City told them not to do radiation because it’s too dangerous and too close to his nerves.

“There was too much running through my head,” Lopez said. “I got doctors from over there, over there, these guys, those guys. I’m like you guys are killing me. What do I do?”

Lopez did his research and decided against the radiation treatment. He felt compelled to follow the advice of his primary cancer doctor who said it was just a fatty mass and just wanted to keep an eye on it.

However, in 2016, the mass had gotten so huge it was blocking his nerves. So, a decision was made to have surgery and remove it.

“They didn’t know it was cancerous until it got too big,” Lopez said. “All they could do was scrape out the tumor. It was too late to cut it out. From them scraping it out, they damaged even more of my nerves. I couldn’t feel my legs when I woke up. I was just devastated. I thought I was paralyzed.”
Even though the cancer had been removed, that didn’t mean an end to the medication Lopez was on. He had to continue taking a variety of different pills such as Oxycodone and OxyContin.
“It was enough to knock out a horse and they wanted me to take it every four hours,” Lopez said. “You basically could call me a zombie. I couldn’t live like that.”

In January of 2021, Lopez was at his breaking point. The years of constant pain and the medication had pushed the veteran to the brink until he did the unthinkable.

“It just got too much for me. I was just (at home) laying in bed and I couldn’t do nothing,” Lopez said. “The pain got too much for me. It got way too much for me. I ended up trying to kill myself. I said I’m done with this.”

Lopez didn’t go into detail on exactly how he tried to take his life, but he didn’t succeed and ended up being sent to a hospital in Texas, which he said made him even worse.

Lopez soon came back home and was still in the same situation he was before the attempted suicide. With nothing else to lose he decided to take his health and well-being into his own hands.
“It ended up just being me having to see reality on my own,” Lopez said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just like I have seen the world through my other eyes. I think I had suffered just about everything. I’ve been through so much. My wife said I was like a cat, but with only two lives left.”

Lopez had heard medical cannabis was an option to help ease the pain. So he asked his pain management doctor if he would help him apply for his medical cannabis card. However, because the federal government still sees marijuana as an illegal drug, that goes the same for military installations. So, his doctor could only tell him no and that he doesn’t support cannabis.

Lopez didn’t let that stop him and found a more understanding physician who was not associated with the military, and he was able to get his card early in 2021. He said he didn’t care if the Army allowed it or not, he was tired of being helpless.

Lopez has been under the surgical knife 16 different times during his 22 years in the military. But he said medical cannabis is the only thing that has eased his pain.

“When I first tried, I felt the pain relief,” Lopez said. “‘I don’t need a wheelchair, I don’t need a cane. I walk fine. I am really glad I got rid of all the pills. Those man-made pills. They weren’t helping me at all. All they were ding to me is clogging up my stomach.”

Anthony Rodriguez, who runs the dispensary Nice Dreamz Collective in Lawton, has seen what a vast transformation Lopez has taken.

While Lopez is grateful he found cannabis when he did, he still feels anger that it has taken as long as it has for it to become available. When he looks back at his mother who had to deal with seizures her entire life, tears begin to stream down his face.

“This should have been legal a long time ago. My mom could have used this years ago,” Lopez said. “She is epileptic. My mom could have used this when she was young. You look at my mom now and her hands are all burned because she had a seizure when she was cooking and her hands fell in the oil. Now her hands are just all torn up. Her face is jacked up because she had a fall during another seizure. But this was illegal. She has suffered through so much when they could have just made something with this and” they could have given it to her. It is just so upsetting.”

Lopez now looks at his life and how he was living before cannabis and he can hardly believe how much he has changed. He says if he hadn’t found it in time, he knows he would have tried to take his life again and would have succeeded.

But that does not seem to be a worry anymore.

“It mellows me out. I see how it connects me more with my family. I really have a short fuse, but ever since I have been on cannabis, it has brought me a lot closer with my family,” Lopez said. “My kids see it a lot. I have been able to communicate a lot better with my kids than I used to. I am able to communicate better with my wife. Our relationship has gotten a lot stronger. It’s made me a better man. I wasn’t like this before. Ever since last year, when I tried to take my life, it has transformed me into a better man.”

The Budtender Diaries – Building Trust

 

by Anna Ervin 

I think that “I don’t know” might be some of the most unappealing words you could hear come out of a budtender’s mouth. Sure, we all have to use them at times, and hopefully we follow up with a quick “but let me find out for you,” before proceeding to dig for more details… but what happens when those details aren’t readily available to us? Or we’re fed misinformation about the products we’re being asked to sell? I’m convinced that there is no greater shame than being unable to answer a question a patient has asked about the medicine they choose.  

I’ve always been naturally self-competitive, so this kind of setback has been a difficult pill for me to swallow. There have been occasions that made me want to melt into a puddle of embarrassment on the dispensary floor after a patient left without making a purchase. This has little to do with monetary loss for me. Sure, I would want the dispensary I work for to succeed, but at the end of the day the thing that gets me is knowing that I failed to make the process of shopping for medicine easy and transparent for my patients. Looking back at a time when I was just a patient, I can remember feeling pretty discouraged when the people selling me medicine weren’t able to answer my questions about where it came from, or how it was cultivated or processed. I’m now positive that they felt the same.  

I think I speak for most budtenders when I say that we want our customers to leave happy, empowered, and informed. At the end of the day, we need our patients to trust us, and the source of that trust traces back to both our own responsibility to stay informed, and our relationships with the brands that stock our shelves.  

Now, I’m not here to whine about the issues I see without proposing at least a few ideas for solutions. I don’t have the type of brain that allows me to recognize a problem without coming up with a million ways to solve it. At the same time, these are just ideas. The goal is simply to offer a new perspective. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of the conversation. So where do we start? 

Last month the focus was how cultivators and processors could better provide the resources and tools budtenders need in order to create a solid bond with dispensaries. This month, I’m turning the tables, but that doesn’t mean that both sides of the industry won’t find a little insight here.  

I’ve said this before, and I will continue to reiterate for the rest of my career, but it is a budtender’s responsibility to continuously educate themselves about industry standards, as well as the science that goes into cultivation and extraction. I know this is a daunting task for some (like me). So instead of droning on about topics I don’t fully understand (yet), today I’m offering a list of tools budtenders and dispesaries can equip themselves with in order to build a foundation of trust and transparency, furthermore empower their patients to make educated choices when shopping for medicine.  

 

Easily Accessible Lab Results 

I know this seems obvious, but hear me out. I have worked in one dispensary, so I can’t speak on how many of the others operate. However, I will say this, it is gut-wrenching how grateful my patients were that I actually had test results on a shelf behind me for literally any of the products they asked for. This shouldn’t be something patients are surprised to see, it should be something they are used to. Having lab results that are easily accessible not only provides valuable information for patients that understand those results, but it gives budtenders a tool to help them sell products they may not know as much about. 

 

Understanding Cannabinoids and Terpenes 

Buy a poster for reference, make flash cards, do whatever you need to do, but learn your cannabinoids and terpenes. Though research is sparse, and we’re only just beginning to understand the effects these components contribute, this is hands down one of the most useful tools you could utilize to help you recommend products to patients. The most important thing to remember is that the research that’s currently available is just a starting point. Cannabis affects everyone differently, so while you might begin by explaining that terpinolene can provide energy and focus for some, you would also benefit from explaining that it can invoke anxiety or even sedation in others. This level of transparency with your patients not only empowers them with useful knowledge about cannabis, but it inspires them to pay closer attention to how different components of the plant benefit their experience or overall health.  

 

Knowing the Right Questions  

Rather than getting caught off guard on the sales floor, equip yourself with the knowledge your customers may seek before the products you sell even hit the shelves. What were the cultivation methods used? Processing methods? Are the extracts full-spectrum, distillate, or some form of isolate? Were solvents used in extraction? Are the products single-sourced or did they come from a collective of licensed cannabis businesses? The list could go on. These may be a bit on the extreme end, but there’s nothing worse than being surprised by a question that indicates your customer knows what they’re talking about. Talk to your cultivators and processors. Even if you’re not entirely sure what you’re asking yet, keep asking. I promise most of the people investing their time and livelihoods into cannabis are eager to share their expertise with you– and if they’re not, you should definitely ask more questions. 

 

Building trust with our patients begins by building a foundation of trust in our cultivators, processors, employers, and ourselves. Put yourself in a patient’s shoes (this shouldn’t be difficult for most of us). Wouldn’t you want to purchase products from someone who takes the time to educate themselves and research what they’re selling? What are your thoughts? Let me know! 

 

 

The Budtender Diaries 

A monthly column which aims to shed light on important topics within the cannabis industry, and invoke positive change by inspiring empathy, awareness, and independent thinking. If you are a member of this community, you have the potential to help create an industry that benefits both patients and the makers of their medicine. If you have questions, stories, or topics you’d like to add to the conversation, please submit them to anna@herbagemag.com 

Empower through Education, by Anna Ervin

Don’t Judge A Book

by Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan

When asked to list famous cannabis users you will typically hear names like Cheech & Chong, Jeff Spicoli, Eric Foreman, Tom Petty, Snoop and Dre. There are currently many, many more celebrities (and fictional characters) that can stand in the green spotlight more comfortably(numb) than any time in recent history. Not since the early days of jazz or the later days of the summer of love, have so many famous people been ok showing their love for the herb.

I sincerely hope that this time around we evolve and acknowledge those among us that consume cannabis and are not necessarily the stereotypical“stoner”. As an advocate, it would make my job a hell of a lot easier if cannabis didn’t have the “dazed and confused” stoner persona. Of course, that laid-back attitude also helped grow the many grassroots programs that have helped propel legal cannabis across the nation. It’s 4:20 somewhere, right?

The Captain, by James Bridges

There are many problems with letting stereotypes be accepted as fact. People who smoke cannabis are lazy and have brain damage. People with depression are always sad and should just get over it. People with anxiety just want attention. These are no more true than are the claims that cannabis is a gateway drug and leads to hard drug use. None of that is true. But people believe it. And a lot of times the same people I meet at one of my classes or out advocating. You can’t believe the misinformation that still exists out there. Stereotypes don’t help.

So how do we fight against misinformation? With facts. There is more data coming out every day to help you in informing the public on the benefits of cannabis. I would argue that informing people about the benefits and advocating for its open legalization are two separate battles. One to win the hearts and one to win the minds. It’s also extremely important that we do not provide rumors or sales hype as facts. This just feeds into the hands of those who still want cannabis to be controlled and/or illegal. Cannabis has enough beneficial properties that it shouldn’t need fake news.

Testimonials are also important. Not just in the fight for legal cannabis but also in the battle against stereotypes. We need to hear from the surgeons and scientists who use cannabis. We need to hear from the moms and dads who use cannabis and still keep the family running. The cannabis users who hold down a 40-hour-per-week, or more, job. Speak up. Grandma enjoys a joint before bed, you say? Awesome. Let’s tell people about it.

Like announcing you are gay (or a vegetarian), announcing you use cannabis might shock people in your family or circle of friends. But it’s time to take a deep breath and inhale some cannabis education classes, like the ones I give at theuccc.com or at your local dispensary. Combine that with your personal experience and get out there and tell the world that you use cannabis and it helps you live your best life. If everyone did that, we would legalize cannabis and smash generations of stereotypes at the same time. A Puff Puff Win if I ever heard one. Thank you again my friends for joining me in my conversations on cannabis. Let’s keep the conversation going. Cannabis legalization on a federal level is within our reach. But there are still many hurdles. Hurdles your testimony can help us jump. Until next month, remember, Educate and elevate.

www.unclechuck420.com

The Captain

by James Bridges

I have been told by several key individuals throughout my life that I am what some call an empath. So I guess that’s what I am. I tend to see myself through others emotions. I dive deep and it gets weird, but I’ve lived with it my whole life. It’s rather difficult to treat myself at times.  

A very special person once explained it to me in a way that I could understand. She said that the emotions and toxic energy that flows needs to flow and go somewhere in order to be released. Those that are like myself, mostly bullheaded and so hyper-focused on the end result, tend to capture that energy and have no place for it to be released. So it stays bottled up inside for the “right” moments. 

Navigating life with this very common issue leads me right into why I mentioned that it is rather difficult for me to treat myself at times. In order for me to feel like it’s a treat I almost have to slip into old habits. 

I decided to have a real day off, At least as much as one could expect when being the owner of an independent multimedia company that changes by the minute. So that morning I turned some tunes on to start off the day. I realized the music selection that I had made was quite interesting. It was the exact soundtrack to my previous life. The life I had before the explosion of legal medical marijuana. It was the soundtrack that I would play when I knew that I was going to be having a “chill-axing” day. I laughed it off. 

I felt good. I felt like just a person for a minute. No title. No obligations, other than what was for breakfast. I even had a brand new strain of the best medicine on the planet to try. I was ready.  

At this moment I realized that I really had nothing else I wanted to do other than the habit that I had accidentally formed over the past 4 years. So I went to a dispensary to talk with friends. Maybe even work a little. That’d be great. 

One of my favorite pastimes is eating. Laugh if you want. I like to eat. When I found out that my illness was going to affect that part of my life I was really disappointed. I accepted it, but have really missed exploring new cuisines. In the meantime I have resorted to candy… I know. Please stop thinking what you are thinking and just read. 

If there’s something with sugar inside I will most likely give it a whirl. I shouldn’t and I know that I shouldn’t, yet I still do. I prefer anything that gives me some sort of rush. If my head feels like crystals of lightly shattered and weightless sugar crystals, then I’ve done something right. Sour is always good, but it holds nothing to a crunchy coated shell with a chewy sweet center. As I’m typing this I am wondering what the hell is wrong with me… 

Let’s just agree that there is an actual issue at hand here. 

Luckily, and perhaps fate would have it, while on my “day off” I ran into an old college friend. One that I actually used to acquire top notch medicine from back in the dark ages of the late 90’s. I had seen him around the cannabis industry from time-to-time and just never added number 2 with that other number 2 over there.  

Captain Kirk Reid smiled with his very memorable and near crooked smile. He looked as if he knew something that no one else knew, but really should. The superhero color scheme and vibrance to his logo that surrounded him was form fitting of the hero standing before me. I was happy to see the guy. It brought back some smiles. 

After talking with him for a while, I told him of my addiction to candy. He smiled. His “toolbox” was stacked full of wonderful extractions. I told him of my love for skittles. I told him how I thought that they may be one of the best candies ever made.  

Writing this allows me to self reflect a smidge. I’m starting to become concerned over this obsession with candy… 

Now picture a giant kid with a cool superhero shirt on. Then picture him standing there. He is simply smiling and holding a glass jar with little colorful balls of what looks like candy. He says nothing. He just stands with arm extended and smiles. 

“Is this?” I looked at him with wonder. I plucked the jar from his hand and gave it a look. I looked inside and out. What was I looking at? The color of skittles, yet the shape of tiny golf balls? 

I quickly took a bite and the captain asked what my thoughts were.  

I looked at him and said that I believe I found my replacement. 

A new habit quickly formed and an old friendship rekindled. However “habit forming” the process may be, it’s important to remember that things are never locked into stone. It’s okay to dip back into old healthy habits. It’s also kick ass to know there are healthy and non-life threatening replacements that may be right for you. It’s up to you to find them. 

Captain Kirk’s Edibles 

You haven’t tasted a rainbow this good! Captain Kirk has brought you medicated Freeze Dried Skittles that are sure to take you out of this world! Cosmic Crunchers are crunchy, tasty and will have you wanting more! Micro dosed at 5.5mg each, you can indulge till you feel you’ve met your limit! Don’t miss out on this incredible candy! 

Cannabis and the Nervous System

By Dr. Pepper Hernandez ND, Ph.D., CTC, CNHP, NHC
Board Certified and Award-Winning Holistic Health Practitioner

When discussing the relief can have on the nervous system we need to first begin with how the
nervous system works and how cannabis can affect that. To begin with, electrical impulses and
neurotransmitters are used by neurons in the brain to interact. The nervous system is a complex
network of nerves and specialized cells known as neurons that send and receive messages
throughout the body. The nervous system, as you may know, is divided into two components.
The peripheral nervous system, which contains the nerves and ganglia on the outside of the
brain and spinal cord, is the initial component. The brain, cranial nerves, and spinal cord make
up the central nervous system. CBD has been shown through studies and extensive
studies to protect the neurological system in a variety of ways.

Trauma, extreme stress, infections, degeneration, congenital difficulties, structural defects,
tumors, blood flow disturbance, and/or autoimmune disorders can all be the cause or can
contribute to a central nervous system disorder. There are various nutrients, foods,
practices, and meditations that can assist to regulate the neurological system, in
addition to cannabis. I know this very well as I have spent the majority of the last decade
learning about how to heal myself.

Central nervous system disorders are a large spectrum of diseases that affect the brain or
spinal cord. Seizures (which I am quite familiar with), cancer, inflammatory illnesses, arthritis,
schizophrenia (and other mental disorders), depression, and neuropathy are just a few of the
numerous forms of central nervous system disorders. While central nervous system illnesses
differ widely, they all result in a loss of adequate, undamaged nerve cells. Headaches, tension,
weariness, tingling or loss of feeling, muscle weakness, loss of sight or double or blurred vision,
memory loss, reduced mental capacity, lack of coordination, tremors, and back pain are all
common symptoms associated with central nervous system problems.

A fatty acid called amide hydroxylase (FAAH) exists in the human body, and it is an enzyme that
breaks down the neurotransmitter anandamide, which is related to the neuronal creation of
motivation and pleasure in cannabis. CBD inhibits FAAH in the body, resulting in greater levels
of anandamide, which binds to Cannabinoid type 1 receptors naturally (known as CB1). These
are primarily found in our brains and neurological systems. There are at least 85 different forms
of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC. This has the effect of calming
the nervous system and assisting it in regaining its equilibrium. CBD effectively promotes
the production of 2-AG, an endocannabinoid that stimulates both CB1 and CB2 receptors
(known as CB2). These receptors are important for mood, memory, hunger, sleep, and inflammation reduction in the human body. As a result, CBD topical therapies have been known to help lower brain inflammation linked with autoimmune illnesses, which can lead to fatty coating damage in neurons.

Neuropathic pain is produced by injury to the somatosensory nerve system, and reducing
inflammation in the brain may be utilized to treat it. Cannabis has been demonstrated in studies
to have neuroprotective properties and to maintain brain and spinal cord health, which aids in
the treatment of a range of central nervous system illnesses. Cannabis cannabinoids (such as
cannabidiol CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol THC) have been demonstrated to protect neurons
and astrocytes from injury, control inflammatory responses, and aid in neuroregeneration.
CBD, like THC, is a primary cannabinoid present in cannabis, however, it lacks the euphoric
characteristics of THC. As a result, it’s ideal for individuals who, like myself, have a life that
requires complete concentration. The full whole plant, organic CBD attaches to the
cannabinoid type one receptor in the brain, thus it doesn’t produce any of the “altered”
effects that THC does. My anxiety and nervous system issues were successfully treated
beginning with a CBD dosage of 20-40 mg.

Please with your physician to learn what options are available to you. This article’s content is
solely for educational purposes. Before starting any new diet or lifestyle change, consult your
knowledgeable primary health care physician, raw food nutritionist, or other health care expert.
BONUS: To help the central nervous system, it is recommended that you consume magnesium-
rich meals on a daily basis. Magnesium-rich foods include the following:

*Cocoa: A 3.5-ounce serving of dark chocolate has nearly 500 mg of magnesium.
*Fruit: Banana, apricot, avocado, melon, plum *Nuts: Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts
*Legumes: Peas, lentils, tempeh
*Cereal: Brown rice, millet, oats
*Seeds: Pumplin, sesame
*Potatoes: Red, fingerlings, purple Peruvian
*Turkey Bone Broth (has the highest amount of tryptophan)
Other therapeutic herbs, like cannabis, have calming effects on the nervous system and can
aid. At night, try combining them with your CBD concentrate or tea mixture. Here are a few
examples:
*Lemon balm
*Ginkgo biloba
*Hypericum
*Basil
*Lavender
*Passionflower
*Lemon balm
*Ginkgo biloba
*Hypericum

Cognition, or mental functioning, such as concentration, decision-making, problem-solving
ability, reasoning, and learning, is obviously critical. Here are the top ten foods for brain and
nervous system health that have been shown to aid cognition:

*Dark green leafy vegetables
*Whole grains
*Cocoa (anadamide)
*Nuts *Garlic
*Olive oil
*Green Tea
*Omega 3 fatty acids

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. The information provided is
derived from research gathered from external sources. Please check with your Cannabis
Educated Primary Health Care Physician or Cannabis Therapy Consultant before beginning any
new diet or lifestyle change.

Dr. Pepper Hernandez ND, CTC, CNHP is a Naturopathic Nutritionist, Cannabis Therapy
Consultant, and the Founder and Education Director of the Cannabis Holistic Institute. To find
out more about her private practice, educational programs, videos, and other offerings you can
find her on the massive inter-webs, social platforms, or at drpepperhernandez.com.
Go forth, Go Cannabis…

Faithful Healing

 

 

 

 

By Carisa Rowe
On the east side of Lake Texoma, in a small Oklahoma town just a few miles north of the Texas border, Abraham and Me- linda Evans are shaking up the cannabis industry. This entre-preneurial duo has dedicated themselves to sharing what they genuinely believe is God’s medicine. Southeast Oklahoma has  been the Evans’ home for a decade; they moved back to the region to care for Abraham’s grandmother when her health was wavering. It was the decision to come home for the family that sowed the seeds for Elevated Native, the Evans’ booming dis- pensary located in Calera, OK.

The story begins in 1998 when Abraham moved to Colorado. The timing of the move put him in the perfect place to witness the birth of the state’s medical marijuana industry. Along this leg of his journey, Evans was still a recreational cannabis user – one who was always seeking a bigger or better high. His ap-preciation for the plant and its hallucinogenic effects eventually led him to a colleague who was making a powerful cannabis concoction known as “phoenix tears.” Phoenix tears did not look like weed but he took some of the dark, tar-like substance with him and shared it with friends. Evans emphasizes that they partied all weekend with concoction, experiencing intense highs from heavily the concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the thick, earthy goop.

Abraham returned to his friend searching for more and explained how they had partied all weekend and felt amazing.
Evans’ colleague called him an idiot. He explained that Phoenix Tears were medicine. Evans learned how highly concentrated cannabis oil was being used to treat cancer and other illnesses. Stories of natural healing and wellness without pharmaceutical side effects converted Evans’ mindset about cannabis. He stopped viewing it as a party drug and started respecting it for its infinite health applications. In fact, Evans set out to make the medicine accessible to everyone.

Has Natures Key cracked the code?

One night as he was picking through a bag of flower to recover shelf-worthy buds, Evans realized that he could do something with the unsellable trim and larf (airy and loose cannabis flowers) and he decided to go into the concentrates business intent to make more Phoenix Tears. The concentrates operation kicked off with KitchenAid appliances and before long, it dawned on Evans that he could help even more folks by reducing his cost to manufacture. Before long, Evans and a couple of friends were in the cultivation business. The operation began in a log cabin where Abraham willingly slept the couch and floor so that the bedrooms could house grow setups, but the
arrangement came to a halt when his grandmother’s health began to fail in 2012. Evans, now married to Melinda, returned to Oklahoma and hung up his hat on the cannabis industry. Within a few years of making the faithful journey home for family, the state began to buzz with talk of a medical cannabis market of its very own.

After Oklahoma legalized cannabis for medical applications in 2018, Evans prompted his grandmother to try a tiny dose of a compound known as RSO, or Rick Simpson Oil. The dose helped her sleep better than she had in ages and it helped her manage the pains that accompanied her every day. Now in her late eighties and a cannabis connoisseur in her own right, Grandma Marlene calls weed “a cure all.” In fact, it was Grandma Marlene who encouraged Abraham and Melinda to open a weed store in Calera. It was through her blessing and daily prayer that they created and opened Elevated Native. The shop was built on three founding principles: faith, experience, and  community.

Those principles are imbued in the very bones of their shop. During the renovations for Elevated Native, the Evans’ inscribed Bible verses on the studs and support beams. Patients comment often that the store feels safe and comforting and the Evans know that it is because they are shrouded in faith. Melinda and Abraham are proud to have a nurse practitioner, Emily Ault, on staff to guide patients in their treatment choices. They are also proud of Tara Dollar, their resident social media expert,
and a patient advocate of the highest caliber. The Elevated Native team offers their patients a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding cannabis and its therapeutic applications. Their approach to education and accessibility sets them apart from their peers.

Accessibility is a major concern for the Evans.’ It was early in his journey with Phoenix Tears, now most known as RSO, that Abraham resolved to bring the medicine to as many people as possible by making it affordable. With the official grand opening of Elevated Native taking place on April 1st, the cannabis couple has managed to amass a vast selection of flower for its patients and a wide variety of other medication options including concentrates, topicals, edibles, and tinctures. In the pursuit to enrich their community through cannabis access, the Evans’ have developed some incredible relationships with local cultivators. Those community ties have paved the way for Elevated Native to be Oklahoma’s “Home of the $100 Ounce”. The store currently boasts more than fifty varietals of flower, many
of which fall into the store’s $100 price category.

Having a large variety allows them to address a wide number of medical concerns. They actively seek new flower based on its therapeutic effects. One of their most in-demand flowers is “University of Washington,” a low-THC, high terpene varietal that is rumored to have been stolen from a research lab on the campus of UW. Melinda extols it for its migraine-busting power as well as its ability to stave off menstrual cramps. Other patients have exclaimed its efficacy against Fibromyalgia pain. The Evans are currently searching for veteran-friendly varietals
such as Harley Quinn, 3 Bears OG, and Spec Ops, all of which have been shown to be beneficial in treating PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

With a tiny seed of faith, unknowingly planted in 2012, The Evans’ have managed to sow a field of opportunities for their patients and colleagues. They continue to expand their inventory – aiming to always keep a rotation of two hundred varietals on shelf. They continue to expand their network, building relationships that provide penny RSO programs, food, and clothing drives, and so much more.

A Face of a Million Faces

By Michael Kinney  

Trying to pin Andrew Martin down on a simple answer can seem like trying to drink water out of a thimble. The co-founder of Sherweed Forest admits it is a problem, especially when trying to explain what his company is. 

Martin sees what Sherweed Forest is, but also what it can become.  “We are not a traditional mechanism. I would say Sherweed Forest is an idea,” Martin said. “I don’t mean that in a cheesy, branding way. We didn’t start as a formal organization. We began this process as two guys from the town of Mannford (Okla.) and essentially identified a problem in the market that we saw was unfolding. We saw it as a fateful problem. If it wasn’t solved, it could be the fate of access to cannabis.” 

Yet, it all started as a simple project. He and Branden Chaney were looking to find some cannabis.  

While that may seem easy these days with a dispensary being on almost every corner around Oklahoma, the two friends were actually looking for a special kind of cannabis.  

Chaney, who is a plumber by trade, suffers from severe pain in his back. His doctors had prescribed pain blockers as far back as 10 years ago in the middle of the opioid epidemic. Yet, they did not solve his problem.   

But then in 2019, the two friends started to look into medical marijuana.  

“We were trying to find the right, discreet dosing item for him that would actually be consistent and get him where he needs to be,” Martin said. “We weren’t able to find it at first. That kind of set us off on this particular angle.”  

If somebody was new to cannabis and its effects and how to use it and they wanted to use it for a specific reason, they would use something like weed maps. But according to Martin, those are based on a broken system.  

They would also use strain names, which Martin says are completely made up by the seller and can change the name when it’s not selling well. That makes finding the right product difficult.  Martin and Chaney saw a problem and decided to fix it themselves. They created Sherweed Forest with the idea of educating those who use medical marijuana on what is the right product for them and why.   

Sherweed Forest now also includes Brook Miller, Kayvon Taghizadeh, and Tarra Quin.  

Andrew added, “I realized instantly after I first introduced the Bazaar and partnered with Brook as the lead events coordinator that he was the second half that would make the entire thing possible.” 

Andrew then informed me that Kayvon keeps all of them on their toes. They do not want to become an inspiration for his stand up comedy. “He is a technology repair specialist by day. It is that level of attention to detail that he brings to to team that we couldn’t live without.” 

Tarra Quinn, Advertising Director for Herbage Magazine, is an amazing asset to the Sherweed team. “Personally, my son is a pediatric patient and this event allows me to medicate him monthly.” Tarra expressed her gratitude. “I also gain more knowledge by meeting the makers of his medicine.” 

“We created Sherweed Forest to try and meet people and create an environment of the community,” Martin said. “We are just a collection of like-minded people who have a common cause. We create goals and try to accomplish them. There are opportunities for patients to find a product that almost feels made specifically for them. “What we are trying to do is make it easy for patients and for vendors to do this process, to be able to come together into a room and exchange information and education, and be able to try those products.”  

From that concept, the Sherweed Forest’s Throw Down Bazaar sprung to life. 

With the bazaar, Sherweed Forest partners with a local dispensary and holds a massive sale for low-cost cannabis and other products.   

“We want to be able to give you a guide that can help you find that precision,” Martin said. “Whether you understand what that means or not.” 

The first Bazaar was held in November of 2021. Since then there’ve been three iterations of Sherweed Forest Throwdown Bazar. The most recent took place in January. The event raised more than $23,000, which is by far the most product the Throwdown has sold in their short run. However, while Martin said the Throwdown was a success, they also had to deal with a few hitches that kept it from being a total success to some involved. A big part of that was not anticipating the large swell in attendance.  

“So, I take the blame for it, but I also own it. I wanted it to work like that. It just grew too fast. This was only the fourth one,” Martin said. “And we’ve been doing them about every 30 days. And their only complaint is that it was just a pressure system at the dispensary level and a bottleneck. And that’s just due to the insane amount of response.”  

One of the reasons for the Bazaar’s quick growth was due to the generosity of Randy Luck, formerly  General Manager of Kind Love and now GM of Bodega Boyz. According to Martin, Luve attended the second Throwdown event and really liked the concept, but also saw the low number of sales being made.  

“So then he offered us a 0% markup, and that’s actually what made it blow up and get to the $23,000,” Martin said. “And made it what it is to this day. We just accepted that offer. But we only really had contact with him when it comes to Kind Love. So, it’s a lesson we learned in regards to, we don’t know how much the owner is necessarily on the same page or if they were or weren’t. And just a lesson we learned is to dig and be thorough in regards to getting our hands on the owner of collaboration, to make sure everybody’s on the same page.”  

One of the factors they will have to consider going forward is the size of the dispensary. When they first started, they could hold the Bazaar at smaller stores because they weren’t getting a ton of people coming through the door. But now, the Sherweed Forest group has grown so fast in a short amount of time, that a larger facility may be needed in the future.  

“So that event went great. It just felt like we had a hard time knowing what was going on on the dispensary side,” Martin said. “And so we chose the small one because they would let us get behind the counter, in a metaphorical way. They let us work with them up to the point of the delivery of the product. And I was hoping that with my admin team, that would be helpful enough that a small shop would then be able to do the event.”  

Sherweed Forest has learned from the mistakes they have made and hopes to make future events run more streamlined, or as Martin says, like Disney.  “The simplest answer is the process to be pristine from the moment that a vendor, and I’ll talk in dual terms here, the moment that a vendor or a patient enters the experience, whether that’s walking into the bazaar as a patient, whether that’s beginning their correspondence with us as a vendor, our dream is for that to be like a Disney process,” Martin said. “You know how Disney runs like an oiled machine. They’re all about that experience and everything is dialed in. My dream and goal for the next one, what I’m working hard on right now to ensure it happens, is that every patient who attends the event feels welcome and able to meet the makers of their medicine.”  

At the end of the day, it all goes back to the basic idea of educating people on the best cannabis and getting it at a lower cost. That has been the foundation of Sherweed Forest and Martin wants to make sure that is never forgotten.   

“I want to be able to reach people where they’re at and with what they’re going through and where they are in life at this moment, and be able to come to their level,” Martin said. “I want this event to be able to find people where they are. It’s a free event. It always will be as long as I’m running it.” 

Martin added, “We could not do this without the community. I myself am really just an artist who knows how to create expression and to generate awareness. I am here in cannabis because I am a lover of the plant.  

The Budtender Diaries- Empower Through Education

 

 

by Anna Ervin

“Hi there! I just read your article in the newest edition of Herbage and it really made a lot of sense! We were wondering if you might have some insight for us as a producer/cultivator on how to better reach and connect with budtenders. We have had some ideas like giving out swag, but does something like that really work? Or it is more of a personal connection that will seal the interest. Thanks a bunch, also congrats on the new column, really love your work!” 

 

Hello friends! Thank you for the feedback, I am so grateful to hear that my words were received well. I am also thankful you brought up such a great question. The relationship between cannabis brands and budtenders is a topic I’ve been eager to explore. I’ve seen many different sides of the industry, from production to sales, and finally, retail. I understand the dedication and time that it takes to cultivate medicinal cannabis, both the tenacity and psychology that go into sales and marketing, as well as the social awareness and constant industry research that fuel successful retail storefronts. 

Retail is where I’ve found myself most comfortable recently, so I don’t pretend to understand the exact sciences that go into the process of cultivating or processing cannabis products. At the same time, I wouldn’t expect the average cultivator to fully comprehend the processes of marketing or moving products off the shelf. Each field requires its own set of skills and confronts a unique combination of challenges. That’s why I wanted to start this series; to bridge the gap and invite empowering and educational conversations to take up space in the industry. 

From a budtender’s perspective, I see three essential tools that every vendor and cannabis broker can utilitze to help dispensaries move their products off the shelves… Because that’s the ultimate goal, right? The faster your products move, the sooner you’ll receive another order from inventory. I know that seems obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of brands I hear about that reportedly believe delivering their products is the final step in solidifying a spot on the sales floor. The problem is, this method isn’t sustainable. Sooner or later, orders stop flowing in because products that lack the necessary marketing tools and information sit stagnant on dispensary shelves. 

So what are those tools, and how can they benefit vendors?

 

Budtenders Are Patients Too

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that the majority of people that make up the cannabis industry are also patients. If they aren’t, they probably have someone close to them who relies on cannabis for some sort of relief. In my opinion, this basic understanding is the key to empathizing with anyone you work with regarding cannabis. 

Get to know the people selling your medicine. I carry a lot more confidence in the products I  have been able to try firsthand. Samples are a great way to get into the dispensary, but once you are on the shelves, challenge yourself to actually sell those products to the budtenders first. If you can convince us to buy, you’re also empowering us to understand how to recommend that medicine to patients. 

 

Empower through Education

Nobody wants to be bad at their job. A budtender’s responsibility is to understand the products they are selling, and for the most part, that entails a lot of industry and market research. When I am selling products that boast words like “organic” or “full-spectrum” but neglect to elaborate on what exactly those processes look like, I am forced to rely on a broader definition of those terms. Anyone reading this with an inkling of knowledge about cultivation or extraction likely knows that organic and full-spectrum can both look like a lot of different things. 

I’m not implying that budtenders shouldn’t also actively seek out this knowledge, and the appropriate questions that we should ask vendors about their products is a topic I would love to explore further later on. The point I’m trying to drive home is that information and education go a long way on the sales floor. Give your partners in retail a reason to talk about your brand. 

 

Visual Representation

So what is the best way to get all of this information across to the sales floor? You could walk into the store and simply vocalize it, but if you’ve ever played a game of telephone as a kid you probably understand how spoken words often get lost in translation. Budtenders are often tasked with the daunting (but not impossible) task of remembering valuable information about each item they retail. In some cases, this can mean dozens of different brands or hundreds of unique products. 

I often find myself looking for visual cues that help me relay information to the customer. So, when vendors bring in infographics, product flyers, and merchandise, I’m much more likely to spend a little more time talking about their brand. When I’m trying to move items that don’t boast as much information, I will typically look online for more resources, and I’ve been disappointed at times to find that some really great brands provide very little marketing material on their website or social media. 

Visual representation is everything. Sure, swag and merchandise fall into that category, customers are more likely to ask about a brand if I’m wearing their t-shirt to work once a week, but I feel like the priority should once again lean toward the spread of information and education. 

When you go the extra mile to understand your market (budtenders making up a good chunk of that), and provide valuable tools to educate and empower the sales floor, you are ensuring dispensary staff that this is a team effort, and that you understand your responsibility to help move the product beyond the point of delivery. I hope these thoughts have been helpful and have answered your question! As always, these are just my opinions, and I certainly don’t speak for budtenders, or the industry, as a whole. If you have any questions, stories, or comments about the Budtender Diries, please submit those to anna@herbagemag.com

 

Anandamide

 

THC’s endocannabinoid counterpart

by Kevin Ferdowsian, JD

Kevin is an attorney, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and homeopathic practitioner. Kevin graduated from Duke University and OCU law, and lives with his wife Anna and two children, Ivan and Arthur.

Because cannabis sativa contains more than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is classified as a schedule I – status drug by the US federal government and is subject to a host of restrictions as a controlled dangerous substance. These restrictions have severely limited broad-scale rigorous studies on THC and its therapeutic value. That’s not to say research hasn’t been done. In fact, nearly $2 billion per year is spent to determine all the harmful effects of cannabis. The conclusion of our tax dollars at work? For people over eighteen, cannabis is relatively harmless.

Easy Street Extracts, by Anna Ervin

So, we don’t have a lot of research on THC consumption in regards to therapeutic benefits. We do know some applications at this point; for PTSD, opiate addiction, and various neurological disorders to name a few. But there is growing evidence that THC and cannabinoids in general, possibly in concert (entourage effect), may have substantial therapeutic applications. These include alleviating symptoms from cancer, inflammation, blood pressure and heart rate disorders, metabolic disorders, fevers, locomotion disorders, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, colon disorders, reproductive disorders, bacterial endotoxicity, cirrhosis of the liver, sepsis, central nervous system disorders, and even aging. That is an extensive list of ailments for which THC may treat.

If federal research has not been funded, and even private research is so highly regulated, how do we know these potential applications? Basically, even though researchers are limited in their study of THC, there have been robust studies on its endocannabinoid counterpart: Anandamide. Anandamide (from the Sanskrit for “inner bliss”) is an endocannabinoid synthesized in all animals including primitive creatures, such as nematodes. It binds to the same receptor as THC (CB1R) and induces similar psychotropic effects. These compounds, though molecularly distinct, are pharmacologically similar. The list cited above is taken from recent studies on Anandamide; considering that THC mimics Anandamide and initiates the identical process, clearly future research should focus on THC as a therapeutic for many of these ailments.

As a co-owner of multiple cannabis businesses, I am interested in the advocacy of researching THC for its therapeutic value as well as its cultural acceptance. We all should be. THC, along with other cannabinoids, could open the door to accessing the endocannabinoid system, a fundamental governing system that appears to regulate the activity of every other physiological system.

 Has Nature’s Key Cracked the Code? 

 Has Nature’s Key Cracked the Code?

By Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate 

Jessi Lane & Son

As a Caregiver for my pediatric child on the Autism Spectrum, I reach for Nature’s Key gummies every morning because I have come to rely on the consistency of their ratioed products. I understand that as we progress through our cannabis as medicine journey, it may become necessary to adjust one’s cannabinoid formulations and delivery systems. Due to my patient data journaling, with the cooperation of our support system, I found my patient’s response levels plateaued after roughly 6 months of consistent complex cannabis as medicine treatment. Upon switching to another brand’s formulation and titrating our consumption level I was uneasy about the at-home manipulation of that edible required to achieve our desired dose. My patient was now sleepier than expected during the day. When manually cutting an edible down I understand there is no certainty of milligrams from piece to piece; especially when recalibrating new-to-us individual brand formulations. I found myself in a Caregiver conundrum.

I was introduced to the Nature’s Key brand by fellow Caregiver Autism Mom, Tarra Quinn, of High Hopes. She shares, “My son Henry has Autism, ADHD and developmental delays and he struggles to regulate his emotions. I started Henry on the 25:5 Vegan gummies to help calm him down and give him some peace. The taste and texture are perfect for kids with sensory issues.” Tarra is on to something. My Spectrum kiddo also struggles with food aversions and enjoys the flavor of the Nature’s Key gummy, not to mention the quick dissolving Vegan gummy is gone before we know it and he is not left to endlessly chew as the minutes pass by. The gummies are manufactured at a ratio that we previously had to manipulate the other brands’ edibles to achieve. The Nature’s Key 3% variance guarantee gives me dosing confidence. In association with his nightly full spectrum tincture, the Nature’s Key Therapeutic gummy sets my child up for success every morning. We are receiving more gold star days and although they still happen, we are seeing less meltdowns and can mitigate them quickly. 

Tarra Quinn & son Henry

I sat down with Nature’s Key CEO, Nathan Richter. He is kind, approachable, and matter of fact. He is a licensed Attorney in Oklahoma and Georgia and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma with a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law. He is a US Army Veteran who also dabble in Genetics. Mr. Richter is committed to enhancing the quality of life for Oklahoma patients with wellness in all they do. While this may be true, the real key to his cracking the Oklahoma Cannabis market code is his recognition that he cannot do it alone. Refreshing, isn’t it? 

Nature’s Key understands the value of forming healthy lasting vendor alliances by uplifting cannabis industry professionals – at all levels – through comradery and education. Nathan believes education equals trust. Their revolutionary Budtender University and patient outreach initiatives, including their Sleep Trials and Battle Buddy Trials, are second to none. Did you know Nature’s Key has generously given away over 20,000 Battle Buddy capsules during their trials? They are dedicated to fostering honest and transparent relationships with their consumers, many of whom are children and Seniors. Nature’s Key really does provide a product for every patient. 

Partnering with Medical Advisor Dr. June Chin, Nature’s Key provides valued reassurance to Oklahoma cannabis as medicine patients that most Oklahoma brands cannot provide. Dr. Chin received her medical degree from Touro University in San Francisco and her BS in Nutrition and Food Science, Biochemistry from Cornell. She sits on many prestigious boards including the Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine and is the Chief Medical Advisor for CannabisMD.com. Dr. Chin has dedicated her medical career to finding effective, integrative, and holistic approaches to patient care. 

Nature’s Key products are “backed by science and made with state-of-the-art precision” in their FDA certified, soon to be GMP certified, manufacturing facility. Their source material is provided in partnership with vetted isolate and distillate extraction partners who meet all of Nature’s Key strict requirements including COAs showing no less than 90% THC. 

Recently I caught a Virtual Budtender session with Nature’s Key VP of Corporate Relations and Brand Management Joe Hager. Joe tells us, “There’s a Why for everything here at Nature’s Key.” He follows, “We aren’t the high-pressure sales team running around Oklahoma and believe our patients know best. We would put our products against anyone else in Oklahoma.” During his session Joe charismatically emphasizes the importance of titration and complex cannabinoid profiles and introduces some of the renowned Nature’s Key products. He is naturally animated and incites a smile. It is clear why industry professionals and patients trust Joe. 

Since his return from Afghanistan, Mr. Richter has lost twenty soldiers to suicide. He tells us, “One life lost is way too many if it’s something we can help each other overcome.” Battle Buddy is a name recognized by Combat Veterans as one they can depend on at any turn of life. It is someone “who goes into the trenches with you and comes out of the trenches with you,” says Joe. Nature’s Key tells us the Battle Buddy THC-free capsules are a friend in your pocket- designed to temper your stress and “prevent spiraling out of control.”1 

Nature’s Key patient Tarra Quinn shares, “I started using Battle Buddy when I was going through a stressful time in my personal life. I quickly noticed that my stress was easier to manage by taking the edge off and giving me some clarity throughout the day.” Nature’s Key understands that trauma rewires the brain. According to DomesticShelters.org, “For individuals who continually experience traumatic events, or who relive traumatic memories from their childhood as adults, this means the brain can rewire itself in such a way that sometimes causes us to feel overly stressed, even when there’s nothing overt to stress about.”2 

The formula, of which Dr. Chin’s patients have seen impressive results for the last decade, is a blend of CBD, CBN, Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm, L-Theanine, and Ginseng, with the anticipated effects of reducing anxiety and mitigating symptoms of PTSD. The capsules are available in a two pack, a week’s supply, and a month’s supply. Nature’s Key wants us to know Battle Buddy and other products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

When it comes to Nature’s Key, wellness is decadent. Their team spent six months in R&D, working out the process and recipe for their delectable chocolate, including working with a food consultant offering 25 years’ experience with Hershey’s. Nature’s Key’s THC infused chocolate is available in 25mg two-piece and four-piece units. Their quality THC infused chocolate Brownies are available in 100mg and 500mg units. 

Parents choose Nature’s Key Gummies because they offer only one gram of sugar with no sugar coating, no FDNC food dye, and no artificial colors. Created using state of the art equipment like Nature’s Key’s Servoform Mini depositor, they can produce 4,000 consistent gummies in 15 minutes. The gummies are available in micro, mixed ratios, and mega doses. These include the Therapeutic mixed ratios with a base level of 25mgs of CBD – coming soon in singles – in 1:1, 5:1 and 5:2. The Classic line is available in doses of 5-50mg of THC and comes in various flavor options. The 25mg Premium strain-specific line are formulated need-based gummies that come in catchy names like the cherryful Jumpstart Sativa, Sweet Dreamzzz Indica blended with 2mg Melatonin, Chill-axin Delta-8 and Oklahoma Sunrise CBD.

By way of their Key to Nature’s Blessings website, Nature’s Key also offers an extensive natural and CBD oil infused national product line including pet treats, migraine care, tattoo aftercare, beard balm, bath soak, essential oil inhalers and other wellness products engineered to ease the symptoms of life. Nature’s Key CBD products undergo the same rigorous testing as their THC infused products. With these careful testing standards, they can guarantee Nature’s Key products are 100% safe to consume. 

The future is bright for team Nature’s Key and their patients with the exciting announcement of the Nature’s Key app, currently in development. The app provides patients with data-based assessment surveys “that can track, trace, and monitor their consumption and experience to find the dose that works for them,” says Richter. The Nature’s Key app is slated to drop Summer 2022. Could it be that Nathan Richter has found the key to cracking not only the code to our market but also – with the help of his valued network – our complex Endocannabinoid Systems? 

Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate is a writer and Oklahoma Cannabis industry professional since 2018. She is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant with a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background. 

Works Cited 

1 Nature’s Key Edibles. 2022. Battle Buddy — Nature’s Key Edibles. [online] Available at: <https://www.natureskey.us/battle-buddy> [Accessed 23 February 2022]. 

2 Kippert, A., 2022. How Trauma Rewires the Brain. [online] DomesticShelters.org. Available at: <https://www.domesticshelters.org/articles/health/how-trauma-rewires-the-brain> [Accessed 23 February 2022]. 

Tasty Farms Tulsa: Delicious, Ethical, Sustainably Life Changing

Tasty Farms Tulsa: Delicious, Ethical, Sustainably Life Changing

By Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate

The Tasty Farms family asks, “What happens when you need a natural medicinal option but can’t or don’t want to smoke CBD or medical marijuana?” Tasty Farms understands in a very personal way that for some, combustible consumption just isn’t an option, but neither is a lifetime of immeasurable pain. 

Amidst a crowded, bustling lounge enters a radiant, naturally beautiful girl with a young Laura Ingalls look about her striking face and a professional dancer’s form. Her movement is somehow both rigid and graceful, as she seems to glide through the room like the gentlest flutter of a butterfly’s wing. She is sweet and welcoming in her greeting. Her family calls her Kat. Not too far across the room sits Kat’s mother, Jeannean, “Neaner” Miller. She is charismatic and naturally commands the room. Neaner is the woman you want to sit next to at the dinner party. She is an Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Entrepreneur and the backbone of the Tasty Farms family. 

“Tasty Farms is a family of people that have experienced the pain management nightmare. Our layered approach to micro dosing with either CBD or medical marijuana products is a natural way to improve your daily quality of life.” Together with Mike, Jeannean’s husband of 35 years and father to Kat, and with the tireless efforts of Kat’s spouse Lucas, Tasty Farms is a true soil to sale, family-owned and operated Oklahoma Cannabis as Medicine Company. Their dedication to the cause stems from a hereditary Invisible Illness dear Kat survives with known as Arnold Chiari Malformation (ACM).

Experts tell us ACM is a condition where the brain tissue extends into the spinal canal and occurs when part of the skull is misshapen or smaller than is typical, pressing on the brain and forcing it downward. “It was misdiagnosed from birth,” recounts Jeannean. She goes on to say, “[Kat] was thought to have heart issues. When they couldn’t figure anything out they said she just had a temper and we wrote it off to her being the middle child- not dealing with extreme pain and not being able to communicate that.”

Young Kat was fighting an unknown battle her family was not equipped to forego, as it would be 21 years before Kat received her diagnosis via a CT scan showing a 13mm herniation of her brain. She found joy through music and in dancing, however the immeasurable pain Kat was surviving through would be insufferable to the average person. Receiving sensory transmissions -like turning on the light- easily over stimulates Kat’s brain. She experiences blinding pain when yawning; coughing is out of the question. Kat tells us, “If I sneezed I would drop to my knees.” In her lifetime Kat has seen over 250 medical professionals, however the healthcare she received was sub par, at best. Kat just wanted to dance, to move, to be without pain but also without the debilitating and dangerous effects of the traditional pain medications she had been prescribed throughout her life. These drugs impaired her so much so that she couldn’t care for herself, “she couldn’t even tell me what she wanted on her pizza,” recalled Neaner. Quietly, almost to herself Kat remarked, “[I thought] If I was not here anymore, how much easier it would be for everyone else.”

“I have been labeled a ‘Drug Seeker’ by medical professionals.” Kat tells us, all the while prescribing her Dilaudid and Fentanyl, among a list of other pharmaceuticals. Moving all over to seek the care of specialists and new drug treatments is very expensive. Kat even underwent incomprehensible tortures such as the cauterizing of her neck via pain management clinics. Kat was also now experiencing seizures induced by pain management. “We began to search for natural ways to end this cyclical nightmare.” 

Meanwhile Kat and Jeannean found community in the Walk Across America family. Neaner bonded with mentor, Carol, who encouraged her to look into the not then legal and still taboo subject of cannabis as medicine.  Jeannean was a diligent mama bear that buried herself in online research and together they got Kat the medicine she needed in the form of RSO, beginning her titration right away. “When we got this first oil, that’s what started Tasty Farms,” recalls Jeannean. This treatment eased Kat through the otherwise unbearable pharmaceutical detox. Upon doing so the ladies openly informed her pain management doctor. She was offered Methadone and when she rejected that life darling Kat was dropped from treatment and blacklisted. Luckily, Carol the Great connected them with the right Surgeon, Dr. Rosner, and they aligned with a physician they love and of whom Kat is still under her care, Dr. J Edwards.

Kat not only survives with ACM, for which she has undergone three separate surgeries, she is also plagued with other comorbidity issues including EDS and Pott’s disease. Nonetheless, she has applied for and been denied Disability five times. Sadly, this is common among the Invisible Illness population. Kat’s desire to help others can be found in the act of giving her last few dollars to a Dollar Store purchase of necessities for a displaced person in her hometown. She tells us, “I just wanted him to know I saw him.” It can also be found in the selfless giving of herself to Tasty Farms. Along with Jeannean and their spouses they have developed a Body ReLeaf line of products that “will improve your quality of life.” Boy, are they right and Kat is the living, breathing, dancing data to show it!

Tasty Farms’ detoxifying Full Spectrum cannabis layering line offers products intended for micro dosing for a patient’s daily maintenance, and macro dosing for break through pain. “Each one of our products were developed due to necessity,” Jeannean reiterates. Their Gluten Free, sugar free Body ReLeaf Drops are RSO infused, and made using Olive Oil- which provides it’s own profile of added benefits. Patients with nut allergies, unlike MCT oil based products, can use the Drops. Their GF RSO infused Honey is sourced in Glenpool by rescued hives. Tasty Farm’s Full Spectrum RSO infused ReLeaf Balm push up stick offers transdermal relief with added Activated Turmeric and Kratom, natural butters including Hemp Seed, Beeswax, Olive Oil, and Essential Oils. The GF, sugar free, dairy free Peruvian Cacao Mushroom Mix includes Red Maca, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, Chaga, Marshmallow Root, and Bolete Mushroom Powders. CBD Comfort Suppositories are available in packs of five. 

When looking to support a true vertically integrated, family-owned and operated brand who strives to improve the quality of lives first and foremost, lean into Tasty Farms where Neaner reminds us, raising her arms with exuberance,  “everything goes through these hands.” Kat understands and appreciates the value of life and tells us she doesn’t know how long her life will be but she hopes to create something that will continue to help people after she’s gone. “If we can reach one person a day we are doing our jobs.”

Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate is a Writer and Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Professional since 2018. She is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant with a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background.

                                  

Sowing The Seed – Pt. 14

Sowing The Seed

by Chet Tucker

 

In our last edition, we covered the primary consumption method of cannabis which is rolling and smoking it. Though we didn’t cover “smoking” via vaping cannabis (using vape cartridges), we will roll back into the other inhalation method in next month’s article. This round we will cover the most discreet and arguably one of the most medicinally effective consumption methods… eating cannabis. Whether using for relaxing, sleep, anxiety, or creativity, edibles are an incredible way to consume cannabis. 

First, what we cover here will touch on several different methods of ingesting cannabis but the focus will be on the more medicinal edible options. Raw cannabis consumption is one of the best ways to intake all the nutrients of the true superfood that it is. Eating the parts of the plant is as organic as you can get and the benefits are quite amazing. With the fats, lipids, cannabinoids, vitamins (K, C, Omegas, and more) and THC, you’ve got Mother Nature’s purest ways into the bloodstream. Grind it into a fine powder for shakes, sprinkle leaves or ground bud on your salad, but know that as soon as the raw form is heated (think baked brownies), the THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) will convert into THC (Delta 9) which will then produce psychedelic properties. Note: The digestion process does heat the cannabis and can activate small amounts of THC.

Though organic consumption is a wonderful way to benefit from the plant’s medicinal properties, many look for the full effect of the “decarbed” THCa which provides some of the additional benefits that THC delivers. So, with all the ingestible choices of edibles, drinks, and tinctures, etc out there in the marketplace, how do you sort through and find the best products for you? There are several different cannabis processing methods to derive cannabis extracts such as distillate, RSO, live resin, live rosin, flower rosin, etc. Quality edibles will typically last longer than smoking or vaping so make sure you start with lower doses and prepare for longer periods of psychedelic experiences.

Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is one the simplest but most effective ways to ingest cannabis. Though it’s a modern version of cannabis plant extraction, it has been the pillar in the landslide movement to legalize cannabis. An amount as small as a grain of rice is recommended until you find the right amount but the powerful impact of such a small amount is an amazing testament to the plant’s medicinal benefits, most notably for cancer patients. A more diluted and often mixed (with herbs or flavors to help curb the bitter taste of raw cannabis) version are tinctures. This is a more liquified form and emulates the bottling process of bitters (mostly used for cocktails). 

Last, there are countless edible options such as chocolate, baked goods, hard candies, and the most popular gummy. No matter which form you choose, look for edibles that are full spectrum, particularly solventless if you can find it. When you consume edibles that are full spectrum, you are ingesting more parts & pieces of the powerful plant. Typically, the less cannabis is heated or gassed (CO2), the more cannabinoids, fats, lipids, and terpenes remain for medicinal impact. Products that are derived from high THC content and low cannabinoids and terpenes may taste better but are much less balanced than the more pure versions. 

Though I didn’t touch on drink options, there are many available but as noted, most lack the more intact purities of the cannabis plant. Some will have water-soluble cannabis extracts which help bypass the liver because of their near immediate absorption into the mucus membranes. I’m a personal fan of strain specific options that retain as much of the whole plant together in the end product. However, there are some solid options and it’s important to prepare for balancing the immediate THC impact and that can be done mostly with a CBD blend (3:1/5:1 etc). 

Finally, when shopping at your dispensary for options, always ask your budtender or Cannaician for the highest quality products. Granted, there’s a great deal of cheaper options but they’re often cheaper because of the input and overall quality. It’s like looking for a craft cocktail over straight high proof alcohol. You can get a balanced alcoholic drink but an Everclear drink will be cheaper and hit you harder. However, it won’t taste as good and it’ll likely have a morning-after regret. Regardless, ask good questions, do your research, and journal as you find what works best for you.

The Devil Went Down to Ardmore; a Patient’s Story of Resilience Despite the Odds

The Devil Went Down to Ardmore;

a Patient’s Story of Resilience Despite the Odds

By Jessi Lane

Amelia is a compassionate woman who gives everything she’s got to the cause. She cares deeply about people and shares her cannabis as medicine knowledge with those in need.  At her age she has lived more lives than 30 cats. She is a treasure, a relic. She is a beautiful piece of sea glass, smooth from years and years of waves crashing over it. The sea glass, once a discarded broken rigid fragment of something more is now acceptable, pleasing to the outside world in its color and texture. What’s that phrase? Handle everyone you meet with care because you don’t know what battles they’ve been through? No quote was more fitting than that when describing Miss Amelia, who treats her PTSD with licensed Oklahoma cannabis as medicine.

Photo of Amelia

Eager to join the world of lawful cannabis distribution, something she thought she would never see in her lifetime, Amelia made her way into the Oklahoma cannabis industry via Tulsa Flowercraft’s application cattle call in 2018. Her muted self-reflection stood out among the hundreds of other (much younger) applicants. Even on paper, providing just a taste of the Encyclopedia of Cannabia that is her life experience, the hiring team knew she was a diamond in the rough. Her white hair delicately coiffed, with red framed glasses and a smile the size of Texas. Quick-witted and pleasant mannered, she also carried a bit of sorrow with her that she wears like a badge of honor- however protective of its placement. Today, Amelia has proven to have more character than most cannabis industry professionals have in their little finger. The Just Be Nice Project reminds us, “Character is developed through being tested, especially in the face of adversity and difficulty. Simply going through a tough time or being tested does not mean you develop character automatically, adherence to your principles when tested is what defines character. (1)”

The year was 1953. It was the end of the Korean War. Dwight D Eisenhower was the President of the United States. Georgia approved the first U.S. literature censorship board. The average retail price of gasoline was 29 cents. Amelia Banks was born to an Ardmore, Oklahoma family. She was a “free range child,” spending her time outside all day “running wild without supervision,” Amelia recalls. She was the 5th child born of her siblings, who dreamed of being a gymnast one day – balancing and flipping on the family clothesline. She tells us, “In my home, at the age of 18 – regardless of what time it was – we were kicked out of the house.” 

Amelia at 14 years of age

With her older siblings scattered away, at the young age of just 13 years old Amelia was the victim of rape. It was determined by a medical professional that she had become pregnant as a result of the incident. Amelia’s sister took her in, and at 7 months gestation a healthy baby boy was born. Instead of returning to her sisters after the delivery, Amelia and her baby would be forced back into the family Ardmore home. Quickly, her parents shipped her off to Cookson Hills School. According to the school’s current website, “Cookson Hills was founded on love of God and love for humanity, especially children who were hurting, abandoned, or abused.” “Where youth help themselves to Happiness (2),” or so their motto claimed at that time. Amelia’s parents kept her baby and later adopted him, forcing Amelia’s son to be known as her brother.

Amelia was then shuffled into foster care. She was placed in Tulsa at the St. John Vianney Training School for Girls, alone and without a penny to her name. During institution breaks other students went back home, but Amelia was forced to wander the Tulsa streets without food or shelter. She would dine and dash in Downtown Tulsa diners to feed herself. Then one day the fatigued and malnourished Amelia passed out cold in a Downtown parking lot. When three little girls happened upon her, their dear mother scooped Amelia up and took her back to their home, where she was recovered by St. John Vianney nuns. After receiving medical care, she was then passed along to the Carter County Sherrif’s department with whom Amelia was baselessly determined “a lesbian and needed mental help,” she relays. This was common at the time, as The Lavender Scare trickled down to affect and influence all levels of government. The Lavender Scare, known as “Eisenhower’s Executive Order 10450, [was] the investigation, interrogation and systematic removal of gay men and lesbians from the federal government,” according to Time.com. “The policy was based on the unfounded fear that gay men and lesbians ‘posed a threat to national security because they were vulnerable to blackmail and were considered to have weak moral characters.’ (3)” 

Amelia

It was the Summer of her 16th year, and our Amelia was forced to endure 90 days of isolation and other unspeakable hells at Griffin Memorial Hospital. But her life until now could not prepare her for her experiences while residing at her next placement – Girls Town in Tecumseh, also known as the Oklahoma State Industrial School for Incorrigible Girls. “That’s actually a reformatory. They have underground cells there,” she says. Amelia gravely recalls, “I saw people hang themselves. I saw people slit their throats.” At that time Amelia attempted suicide and learned, “you can’t OD on Benadryl, you just take a trip.” Physically, Amelia seemingly recovered from her trauma and by her 18th birthday she earned her beauty school license and GED, however this marked her release from state custody. Amelia says, “That family that found me in Tulsa? They let me stay with them.” A few months later would be Halloween weekend and Amelia would endure a sudden Hysterectomy at the young age of 18. “I’d never have another child,” she sorrowfully recounts. 

Amelia moved into the Downtown Tulsa YMCA where she found herself involved in the Job Corps. It was then in the early 1970s that she was introduced to cannabis. “We smoked joints and we didn’t have all this fancy stuff,” she tells us. “We didn’t have grinders. We used our fingers.” Amelia quickly became a joint rolling aficionado and passed her time with friends in Brookside pool hauls where she found family in these friendships and was introduced to Mescaline and LSD through Vietnam Vets. “Marijuana has always been my thing,” she says. Despite it all Amelia earned her high school diploma and graduated from the Job Corps. She remembers, “people were betting on me that I wouldn’t graduate.” She then wed one of these friends. Amelia was driving a ‘71 Dodge Charger by now. Her girlfriends moved drugs, hustled, “a lot of people were drinking a lot back then,” she goes on to say. “The only reason we got married is so I wouldn’t have to testify against him.” Following witnessing a public police altercation and subsequent court appearance, Amelia and her spouse moved to Wagoner where she perfected her green thumb. She made friends with Vietnam Vets who moved Panama Red – queue Steven Stills’ “Treetop Flyer” – and learned the fine art of creating Hashish. Amelia never lost hope of reunification with her son and eventually relocated back to Ardmore to try for custody. However, upon her father’s death Amelia learned that her son – like his mother – had been shipped off to an Arkansas Christian School. She traveled to Arkansas to let him know personally that she always wanted him, a fact that had been withheld from him by her parents.

Amelia and Vincent

Life chugged along and Amelia, despite every odd against her, gained a divorce and climbed the ladder of Orchids Papermill, to whom she gave 26 years of her life and worked the Union ranks to become Union President. Drug Tests were not common practice yet. She tells us, “If they did [UA], nobody’d be workin’ there!”  It was here that she met Vince. “He was the best companion I ever had in my life,” she wistfully recalls. Vince was a person privately struggling to live with HIV. Amelia recalls that at that time HIV patients who didn’t see their doctors were arrested but Vince couldn’t afford his appointments, meds, and rent. Amelia found she needed protection from her ex-husband, so cohabitation seemed the best option for the pair – and they were right. Vince was smoking cannabis daily – an ounce every 2 weeks – mostly to treat the side effects of the drug cocktails he’d been prescribed. “Meds at that time were extremely expensive,” Amelia recalls. They saw $900 copays for single scripts. Vince continued his employment at the papermill to keep his insurance, but he developed Wasting Disease and the pair understood his days were numbered. They enjoyed traveling across the U.S. together. “We took joints with us,” she relays with enthusiasm, “I rolled pre-rolls for a week!” Amelia says the weed they scored locally at the time was primo Acapulco Gold. They traveled to Mexico to cop his prescriptions for next to nothing when they could but by November 2, 2002, Vince said his last goodbyes to dear Amelia and under the cover of the night’s light misting rain, he passed away in their home. As his Caregiver, Amelia compassionately cared for his every personal need for 8 and a half years. “He gave me a reason to live,” she sobs. “Nobody can tell you how to live like a person who’s dying.”

This relationship with Vince impacted Amelia’s life more than any other crossing of souls throughout her time. After this impenetrable loss, Amelia relocated to Virginia by way of a budding AOL chat relationship. These were the dial-up days. “Dead Heads know where all the good drugs are,” she jokes. Securing her VA plug through a Dead Head called Daniel, they enjoyed marijuana and acid together, taking in the sights of Richmond, VA. “The weed in Virginia was about $180 an ounce,” she recalls, “and you got what you got.” Amelia enrolled in Tidewater Tech where she received her Associates of Occupational Science degree in Medical Administration Management. In 2007 she moved back to reunite with her son, who had been incarcerated. Amelia took several back-to-back jobs including the now-closed Gatorade plant, “I have passed many UAs after smoking that morning,” Amelia boasts, “I was good at it.” She went on to work for the National Census Bureau, Bama, Kimberly-Clark, and Nordam, where she says that lots of employees privately consumed cannabis. Amelia retired from manufacturing as the time was finally approaching for these skilled workers to come out of their canna-closets. In 2018 The Oklahoma 788 vote to legalize cannabis as medicine passed with 57% of the votes. Amelia sought the care of Dr. Brandon Bailey, who issued Amelia’s medical recommendation to treat her PTSD with cannabis as medicine, thus qualifying our heroine to obtain her OMMA license. She chooses to layer her daily consumption methods using tinctures, gummies and combustible flower. 

Amelia at Private Stash

Amelia has since obtained her Cannacian I and II certifications, serving Tulsa area patients as a Patient Advocate, bridging the gap for Oklahoma patients embarking on their own cannabis as medicine journey by offering her compassionate care to everyone she meets. But don’t be mistaken by those warm hugs as she’ll be the first to tell you among her siblings, “I’m the mean one,” she goes on to say, “I’ve always been the mean one because I’ve always had to fight.”

 

 

 

Jessi Lane, Patient Advocate is a Writer and Oklahoma Cannabis Industry Professional since 2018. She is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant with a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background.

Works Cited

  1. “What Does It Mean to Have Character?” JUST BE NICE PROJECT, 13 Mar. 2018, https://www.jbnproject.com/news/what-does-it-mean-to-have-character. 
  2. “Cookson Hills History 1950s – 1960s.” Cookson Hills, 22 Dec. 2017, https://cooksonhills.org/stories/history1950s-1960s/. 
  3. Haynes, Suyin. “History You Didn’t Learn About the Anti-Gay Lavender Scare.” Time, Time, 22 Dec. 2020, https://time.com/5922679/lavender-scare-history/. 

24-Carat Trajectory

24-Carat Trajectory

by Contracted Writer

 

C.W. “Russ” Harrison, Founder & CEO of Golden Trends

They say the Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries. Now, I don’t know what a Snozzberrry tastes like, but I do know the Golden Trends Reserve unique 100% glass one gram Snozzberry cartridge is sure to be Golden Trend’s best seller, offering a delectable, quenching flavor profile you can only expect from Russ Harrison, who is truly the finest salt of the earth.

Meet Golden Trends, a state of the art Oklahoma-owned processor and producer of finely engineered cannabis products offering a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. Their one-gram cartridges and Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Vegan gummies provide Oklahoma patients with the synergistic effects of a full spectrum product while offering the reassurance of a predictable, lab created profile. “We are very outcome driven,” says C.W. “Russ” Harrison, Founder & CEO of Golden Trends. “When (the extract) leaves we know exactly what we’ve got.”

This is due to Golden Trend’s implementation of a multi-test process, lab testing their extracts in-house prior to sending out for compliance testing. Using their High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) system -the same equipment used by OMMA accredited labs- as well as a qPCR instrument, gives them the ability to perform rapid detection of microbial contamination. “Everything’s independently tested,” notes Russ, “You need to be monitoring the process, not the outcome.” Access to onsite testing that aligns with state approved labs helps Golden Trends develop new and innovative delivery systems more quickly.

Golden Trends stays above the curve by utilizing on-site quality control biochemist, Jason Davenport. He tells us, “I’m responsible for performing cannabinoid profiling on all incoming plant material, distillates, and final products, as well as material from various points in our process stream.” And according to Russ, “A good chemist is conservative.” Their products are CO2 extracted in a revolutionary 3-system laboratory and manufacturing facility. These trailblazing brand characteristics can be attributed to to the life’s work of Mr. Harrison, who has delivered food-grade products to national consumer brands since 1986. “These sound, food-grade principles are ingrained into our training and processes.”

Russ Harrison may have grown up on a farm but he didn’t aspire to be a farmer. Young Russ couldn’t foresee the high-CBG plant based medicine his future self would attempt and succeed in soil growing one day.  Instead Russ found his fortune in salts and in plaster- “a serial plaster entrepreneur,” his wife, Celina, refers gently.

For 32 years Russ grew his reputable business-to-business enterprise in the food-grade Gypsum salt industry with his company Allied Custom Gypsum. Gypsum salt, sometimes called land plaster, improves soil’s workability and capacity to receive moisture. Gypsum is used in toothpaste and to make cement, drywall, and streets. As described by Russ, “Gypsum salt is a yeast food.” Russ’ A+ rated partnership with industry giant in the yeast business- Anheuser Busch aligned him to join the bubbly hemp market merger. In 2018 Russ sold Allied Custom Gypsum, initially focusing on CBD processing for food and drink manufacturers. The Farm Bill was signed into law that same year and Russ seized the opportunity. However, due to the 2019 FDA ruling that CBD could not be considered GRAS- Generally Regarded As Safe, Harrison pivoted into the Cannabis as Medicine industry. “He’s very curious and likes to figure things out,” relays Celina.

Harrison has always been an exemplary model of following Good Manufacturing Practices while producing a food-grade product. “Good Manufacturing Practice is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. GMP is a mindset and covers all aspects of production – not just equipment,” explains Russ. For Golden Trends, “it’s about patient safety first. It’s about repeatable, predictable, traceable, and transparent processes.” Russ and his team extensively researched to find the top equipment, consulting with industry experts to perfect their extraction methodologies. He relays, “the result is a proven extraction process that is clean, safe and produces the best cannabis product for patients.”

Golden Trends’ extracts used to craft their carts and gummies are potent- testing at 80-90% THC, “I’ve seen 95%!” exclaims Russ. Their extract is pure, providing only naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes without using fillers or cutting agents. Cannabis materials undergo a comprehensive sampling, quarantine and testing protocol to ensure quality. “Everything we do is to ensure that our products are of high quality and free of contaminants,” relays Russ.

Golden Trends Prime one-gram carts are manufactured using Jupiter hardware, providing less packaging and waste than the industry standard. Golden Trends Reserve carts are supremely manufactured using 100% glass hardware. Both lines are currently available in the flavorful throwback Indica- Blueberry, Lemon Lime Sativa, Pineapple Chunk Sativa, and Golden Trend’s own uniquely floral and candy sweet Snozzberry Indica. Golden Trends Reserve high dose gummies are currently available in packs of ten and come in 50-milligram per piece Cherry, 100-milligram Lemon Raspberry, and 200-milligram Grape. This all-natural edible option is notably Sugar Free, not an easy product to come by in the Oklahoma cannabis consumables market.

The Golden Trends team is gearing up for the launch of Abstract- premiere 10-milligram lab created ratios targeting a patient’s desire for Sleep, for Relief, for Focus, and for Balance.When you are developing products to target specific outcomes, having a chemist on staff allows you to test in-house at each stage of production. This ensures the products contain the correct dose for the targeted outcome,” declares Russ.

Abstract product art is designed by local artists, with a portion of the product’s proceeds going to local arts. Giving back is very much a part of who Celina and Russ are, as good-hearted Oklahomans. Russ himself has adopted six children, some of which work for the family business. Everyone else on Team Golden Trends was intricately chosen. “Creating the right team is critical because nothing is more important than making safe, high quality products for patients,” Russ relays.

Golden Trends trajectory is sure to surge with its unmatched 24-carat team and Harrison at the helm. When it comes to Golden Trends, “Predictable IS priceless.”

Thin Green Line

Thin Green Line

By Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan

The difference between Recreational and Medicinal Cannabis is a topic that brings much debate. Personally, I think the only difference is Tax Rate and Accessibility. Some say it’s all Recreational. Others say it’s all Medicinal. I tend to follow the philosophy that to have a healthy smile you need both.

There is another issue at hand regarding medicinal cannabis that no one seems to want to talk about. And that is that cannabis does not “cure” anxiety nor depression. It helps alleviate the symptoms of both in some people. Read that again. Cannabis is not for everyone and it does not cure anything.

But in order to talk about the benefits of using cannabis for anxiety and/or depression we must first understand that neither anxiety nor depression are things that get “cured”. They are mental health issues and not a cut that heals or bone that mends. Some people experience symptoms of anxiety or depression daily while others are a lot less frequent. Some symptoms may be more severe for you than others with the same challenges. But the point is, they don’t just get “healed” and go away.

It’s hard to argue that the person using cannabis to help increase their appetite so that in turn they can take other medication isn’t using it for medicinal purposes. Obviously they are. But I would ask you to consider that the person using cannabis in order to relax after a stressful day is also using it medicinally. Just for mental health as opposed to physical health. Pain Management comes in many forms.

The bigger question that we should be asking is why are we allowing state and local governments to apply excise tax rates to cannabis and at higher rates for those they feel are buying it for “recreational” purposes. Just because they are treating their mental health personally and privately without the request of a doctor’s permission.

Hopefully, sometime soon, we can eliminate this sideshow for the taxman and have meaningful arguments over cannabis. Like why isn’t there cannabis taught in science class?

 I have decided to focus a large part of Uncle Chuck’s Cannabis Camp (theuccc.com) to educating the heart and not just the mind when it comes to cannabis education. The ADaPT Program will highlight cannabis use for those facing PTSD-driven and NON-PTSD driven Anxiety or Depression.   

Sowing The Seed – Part 13

Sowing The Seed

By Chet Tucker

 

As we spanned into consumption methods with the last “Sowing the Seed” edition, we covered the number one desired method … smoking flower. Though it stands upon the peak, there are many other “quieter” methods to consuming that fall right behind smoking raw flower. And these other methods of consumption typically affect people differently than the inhalation of cannabis. One of the most popular and discreet ways is using cannabis in an edible form.

 

The effects of cannabis in edible form aren’t as simple as just grinding up flower and putting in your food, though there are tremendous benefits from raw consumption (think tossing a bud in your smoothie or shake) that won’t hit you remotely as hard because the raw THCa (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) doesn’t warm to a temperature that converts to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive property that most seek. However, the raw consumption holds a myriad of benefits that are much more subtle and calming to the user.

So, what makes an edible an EDIBLE?!  It’s the full conversion of THCa to THC through the decarboxylation process … ie heating at a temperature that converts the properties. Some will grind their cannabis into a powder and mix with their butter or into a baking batter and the conversion takes place as the batter is heated at steady temperature over a period of time, (ie the infamous BAKED brownie). Others may take their leftover shake and bake on a baking sheet before mixing into their edibles which then converts the cannabis. Note: When you’re using these methods, the THC from the particular strain used should convert at a relative level (assuming the temperature and time is adequate for the conversion). For example, a strain with 14% vs a strain at 28% THCa will be different in how they impact you (double) but just as importantly are the cannabinoids within the respective strain. Strains higher in CBG, CBN, and CBD will have different effects as long as they aren’t “burned” off through too much heat.

 

We could take some deeper dives on all of the different ways that edibles can impact you and which strains or cannabinoids are best for your desired result but a brief example we’ll cover a few basics first. The following statements aren’t to down certain edibles but rather promote the difference in finding the best balance for your personal needs. Some require higher ratios of THC than others and some prefer lower doses of THC with more cannabinoids present in their edibles. So, are all edibles are not the same and will explain why you may have significantly different experiences from edible to edible and even within the same edible/manufacturer.

 

A landslide majority of edibles are produced by a distillate (think a large jar of sticky honey) and depending on the material used (trim, bud, higher/lower THCa flower, etc) and the method in which it was processed, the quality and results will vary. Distillate can range from 80-95%+ in “potency” which is a generic way of illustrating how much THC is within the jar. The higher the THC, the lower the presence of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other fats and lipids that are a part of the plant. And though there is much to be discussed on the lack of terpene effects when processed through the liver (what happens when you eat a cannabis product), the cannabinoids will have the largest impact on balancing the end result/experience.

 

Knowing that, there are solventless (true full spectrum) extraction methods which provide for a more rounded, and arguably more medicinal, experience. The term “entourage effect” is used when there’s a better balance of THC and cannabinoids. Instead of seeing a 90/10% of THC to other parts, you get more of a 65/35% balance. This results in less THC for the processor to work with but more of the whole plant to pass on and into the edible and consumer experience. A 10mg THC edible is still the same as a distillate counterpart’s 10mg THC edible but you get the other parts of the plant that are burned off in the distillation process mentioned above. With that said, it will result in a more laborious and expensive process but the end result is a more rounded medicinal experience.

 

Though there are countless ways to process cannabis for edible consumption, they mostly fall in those few categories so ask your budtenders or Cannicians(TM) about the different options within the dispensary you shop. Look at the different cannabinoids and their percentages to find what’s best for you. “Indica/Sativa” edibles may or may not give you what you’re looking for as the cannabinoids that trigger relaxation and sleep (CBD & CBN) may be listed in a “sativa” edible and the desired result may not be what you’re looking for so again, ask questions and learn what’s in your edible before you accept what may be leveraged to market the edible in a certain way.

 

We all react and require different amounts of THC for our respective endocannabinoid systems (ECS) and the best way is to start with low dosages (unless you’re already an experienced consumer) and journal what you took and how it impacted you. Other foods can impact the experience but an edible experience will typically be longer than the traditional smoking method so start slow and learn as you go!

 

Cannabis-Lover’s Gift Guide 2021

Cannabis-Lover’s Gift Guide 2021

By Bee Miller

Herbage Ambassdor

Tis’ the season to be jolly, so let’s get the jolliest with cannabis in your stocking this year. Innovative products are hitting your holiday shelves everyday. From CBD to THC, there is something for everyone in the family. This holiday gift guide will start the year off right, with visions of pot leaves dancing in your head into 2022.

There is much chatter going around about Christmas being canceled due to cargo ships being stuck out to sea. So now, more than ever, it is important to buy and support locally, and get your family what they really want, weed. Here is a comprehensive list of a few of my favorite things perfect for any Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or non-denominational, gift-giving holiday time (We see you, Pastafarians).

  1. 788 Collection Pain Stick

Winning the Best of OK in the Oklahoma Gazette of 2020, and most recently for Herbage Magazine’s Audience Choice 2021 for Best Topical, the Pain Stick would be a win under any tree. The pain stick comes in a dosage of 1000 mg THC/CBD. Made from all-natural products, the Pain Stick has been used to treat symptoms from Chron’s disease, neuropathy, migraines, lupus, arthritis, and other chronic pain issues. Their sister company, The Teal Turtle, offers the alternative CBD products for medicinal needs.

Where Can I Get Them?
You can find the 788 Collection Pain Stick at Likewise Cannabis Craft in OKC, Prestige Cannabis in Edmond and Del City, Terps Dispensary in Tulsa, and Kanna Kures in Broken Bow. The Teal Turtle CBD Pain Stick can be found Mustang Chiropractic and Urban Oak in Yukon, or can be ordered online.

Websites/Social Media
www.788collection.com
www.thetealturtle.com
IG: @788collection
FB: www.facebook.com/788collection

  1. DroStixx Pre-Rolls

Nothing says Happy Holidays like lighting up the tree! DroStixx Pre-Rolls are a great addition to your caroling, sure enough to boost your holiday spirit. What is great about Drostixx is their commitment to making a quality pre-roll, filling them with top shelf, indoor flower. No trim, no shake, nor last year’s outdoor.

Where Can I Get Them?
You can pick up Drostixx Pre-Rolls for all of your holiday needs at Essential Cannabis in Tulsa and The Bakery Cannabis Dispensary in Bixby.

Websites/Social Media
www.bbcsfarms.com
IG: @bbcsfarms

  1. Hot Drink Mixes by Mittie’s Medicinals

The White Elephant Gift Exchange is coming up at work and you just don’t know what to get Tom from Accounting after drawing his name. How about a tasty Hot Drink Mix from Mittie’s Medicinals! They have flavors such as Pumpkin Spice, Spiced Apple, Pot Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, and Chocolate Mocha. You will be the hit of the gift giving exchange, and will have co-workers hoping all year long that you get them for next Secret Santa. Not only does Mittie’s Medicinals have hot and cold drink mixes, but also offer other infused products, such as gummies and hard candies.

Where Can I Get Them?
Get drink mixes for everyone in the office at Local Leaf RX in Tecumseh (comes with free mug!) Mary Jane’s in Moore, Native Releaf in Bixby, or Apco Med in Tulsa.

Website/Social Media
www.mittiesmedicinals.wixsite.com
IG: @mittiesmedicinals
FB: www.facebook.com/mittiesmedicinals

  1. Cannabis Seeds by Wavy Flower Company

Granny has been growing tomatoes for the family for decades, and now her arthritis is really starting to hinder her growing abilities. Help her try her hand at relief from cannabis growing. Award-winning seeds are what’s best for your loves ones, that will not break the bank. Wavy Flower Company is known for great genetics and heavy yields at affordable prices. So Granny’s crop will be enough to spread holiday cheer back to you during the rest of the year!

Where Can I Get Them?
You can find premium seed pack at MABS Natural Solutions in Norman, Ten Hippies Dispensary in Paul’s Valley, Moonrock Eddies in Tecumseh, Joe’s Herb Cabinet in OKC, or online.

Website/Social Media
www.wavyflowercompany.com
IG: @wavy.flower.company
FB: www.facebook.com/wavyflowercompany

  1. Bison Extracts Carts

It is hard to shop for dad when he already has everything! Bison Extracts has dad covered with their premium pure cannabis oil cartridges. They come in indica, sativa, or hybrid, to meet all of his needs. Winning Best Cartridge by Herbage Magazine’s Audience Choice 2021, you are supporting a local, woman-owned business. They also offer LGBTQ+ Scholarships for education opportunities. Dad not a smoker, but is a snacker? Try their gummies or full-spectrum chocolate bars.

Where Can I Find Them?
You can get the carts at Entitled Health Dispensary in Broken Arrow or Robot Pharmer in Tulsa.

Website/ Social Media
www.bisonextracts.com
IG: @bisonextracts
FB: www.facebook.com/bisonextracts

  1. Custom Photos by Trichome Pony Photography

Looking for custom Christmas cards to send out this year? Trichome Pony Photography can help you design the perfect photos to send out your loved ones featuring your victory garden, favorite products, or smoke sesh. It is about time we start celebrating the Green Holidays, and we don’t mean Grinch! Everything from card ideas, to framing some of your favorite moments on your walls at home, let Ryan with Trichome Pony Photography help you create memories.

Where Can I Get Them?
Book a photo shoot with them on Instagram

Website/Social Media
IG: @trichomeponyphotos

  1. 918 OG Solventless Live Rosin

Get the gift that can be shared! When your loved one pulls a 918 OG Solventless Live Rosin jar from their stocking, you know that the joy will be complete for everyone. Their process preserves as many cannabinoids and terpenes as possible, making every benefit from the plant stand out.

Where Can I Get Them?
Pick up your jar of 918 OG Solventless Live Rosin at Elevate Dispensary in Yukon, World of Weed in Collinsville, or Pura Cannabis Collective in Tulsa,

Website/ Social Media
www.918ogs.com
IG: @918og_
FB: www.facebook.com/918ogedibles

  1. New Threads by Official Genius

You will have everyone in the family excited about those boxes of t-shirts and socks again if you are gifting them Official Genius gear. Beanies, snap backs, and face masks are available, with modern designs that will make you happy to show off that you are a proud member of stoner nation. Mix and match to have the neighborhood looking to you for style tips.

Wear (haha) Can I get Them?
You can find Official Genius styles at BS Unlimited Dispensary and Giddy’s Premium Cannabis in OKC, Pinky’s Smoke Shop and Apparel in Muskogee, Tulsa’s oldest headshop, Oz (Curiozity), or online.

Website/Social Media
www.officialgenius.net
IG: @officialgenius

  1. Feel This LipBom by Simply Bare

Your lip care routine can get even better for the holidays! Simply Bare offers a variety of skin care products to up your routine, but the award-winning Feel This LipBom is special. This full-spectrum THC lip balm helps to give relief to damaged lips and souls. Two for one? Sign me up! This lip gear is good for men and women, alike!

Where Can I Get Them?
Pick up Feel This Lipbom for everyone’s stocking at Project Releaf in OKC, Elemental Progress in Yukon, The Motherland in Tulsa, Supreme Cannabis Co in Tulsa, and Lemon in Glenpool.

Website/Social Media
Itsfoodforyourskin.com/onlinestore
IG: @simplybarellc
FB: www.facebook.com/simplybarellc

  1. Sunday Extracts Cured Resin Gummies

 

Winning 2nd Place in The Cowboy Cup 2020, these cured resin gummies will put you in the giving spirit. The gummies are vegan, gluten free, and contain no high fructose corn syrup, making them a great gift for parents, grandparents, friends and other family. Don’t forget to grab a pack for yourself!

Where Can I Get Them?
Likewise Craft, Hamilton’s, One Love Wellness in Tulsa, and Big Buds of OKC and Tulsa.

Website/Social Media
https://sundayextracts.com
IG: @sundayextracts

BALANCING AUTISM

BALANCING AUTISM
By Chip Paul | Chief Innovator

At GnuPharma, we are a research, development, and manufacturing company specializing in modulating the endocannabinoid system with both hemp and non-cannabis plants.

“Spice up your life®”

Autism is a disability that affects almost every area of human function. What I mean by that is that the incidence of autism is increasing. Boys born today have a 3% chance of being autistic. Girls slightly less. 1 in 54 children born today will be autistic. Why? Well that question certainly rings in my ears. Our company has specialized in autism and other severe disease states. We study these under our model of human function. We are able to suggest treatments. We work with a major University on what we do. Here is what we are finding…

Autism is a metabolic disease. Metabolism in this case means the ability to deal with fatty acids to build things. In particular endocannabinoids and immune mediators. In fact, without the assistance of the bacteria produced in their guts, most severely autistic folks would die of infection due to their inability to produce immune mediators normally. They produce several fatty acids with bacteria in their guts which provide an “alternative” immune system. Pretty effective actually! They do not get sick like normal kid- dos. But those same fatty acids also are likely the cause of the more severe symptoms of autism.

Autism is a disease of oxidative stress. When your body is dealing with inflammation or foreign invasion, it can go into crisis. The autistic individual appears to ALWAYS be in crisis. Their bodies act like they are always fighting against something. Similar to always holding a block of lead.

And horribly, these two issues feed each other. Oxidative stress causes an inability to metabolize omega fatty acids which is the very metabolic problem autistic people suffer from. What is the lead in their pocket? The cause? Looking to be an immune system imbalance worsened by an allergy or similar.

The great news is improvement can be made by ad- dressing the oxidative stress and metabolic issues! Most of these can be addressed by supplements and dietary adjustments.

Phenotypes like Grandma used to make

Phenotypes like Grandma used to make

by  Charles “Uncle Chuck” Duncan

All living things, including humans, communicate on a cellular level. One cell tells another what to do. The extremely unique group of cells that make up each of us affect who we are and how we are perceived by others. Traits that can be observed by others, and not always by sight alone, have a direct impact on how others see us and treat us. The combination of our visual appearance, the sound of our voice, physical quirks and smells among other things, greatly affect how we are treated by others. Those unique combinations can be referred to as our Phenotype. Each one is unique to ourselves.      

Now think back to your favorite meal as a kid. Was it your grandmother’s biscuits and gravy? Your mothers lasagne? Pizza-bake at the school cafeteria? I personally miss cafeteria  dining. What do you miss about it the most? Maybe it was the smell of an apple pie. Maybe it was how the meal looked. Perfect grill marks. Or maybe it was how it made you feel afterwards. Homemade ice-cream always provided memories of childhood summers within minutes of completing my first scoop. The things you observed and remembered about your favorite childhood meals are also considered phenotypes.

Oxford Language Resource defines Phenotypes as “the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.”

The genotype of an organism is its set of genetic material. The genes partly determine the “observable characteristics” of an organism, such as hair color, height, etc  

Cannabis has a phenotype as well. The smell, looks, taste and affects between and within strain names can differ greatly. Just because something is labeled Indica, doesn’t mean it will be the same as other Indicas. Much like one growers harvest of OG Kush won’t be the same as another growers version of the same strain. So what can you do to make sure you get consistent results? Follow the grower and not the strain name. And keep a cannabis journal. Tracking your cannabis experiences can be both educational and enjoyable. Don’t forget to include strain names, grower, dosage, emotional state pre and post consumption.

Whether it is a traditional paper journal or one of the many online journals and blogs available, keeping notes regarding your cannabis consumption can be as clinical or as creative as your mind will allow. And no one says you just have to have one. The important thing is to document your experience.

Defining the Phenotypes is typically one of the easiest ways to categorize the experience. Any good wine review will give you an idea of how phenotypes are expressed with cannabis.  Diesel, Skunk, Fruity, Savory. Write that down. Everytime. Also note the effect. Was it a body high or head high or both? While I do love seeing a beautiful cannabis plant and have seen many in my years. I never connected the dots between a visually beautiful plant and its impact on my dispensary purchase. It’s the Charisma characteristic I never used in Dungeon and Dragons and don’t really use in Dungeons and Doobies ethier. But nonetheless, visual appearance is very much part of the overall phenotype of the cannabis plant. 

Once you start noticing repeatable patterns in your journal, you might name a specific favorite group of phenotypes you enjoy. Hint, soft drink companies have made billions by doing this. 

The important thing is to take it slow and document your progress. You will learn alot about the plant and yourself in the process.  

Once Labeled “Catatonic” Oklahoma Boy’s Cannabis as Medicine Results Take Him TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!

Once Labeled “Catatonic” Oklahoma Boy’s Cannabis as Medicine Results Take Him TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!

by Jessi Lane Patient Advocate

 

Amber didn’t know anything about cannabis as medicine when she first sought plant based medicine treatment for her son, Austyn, who Amber lovingly refers to as her “forever baby.” Traditional seizure medications were a frightening prospect. “My sister had passed away from liver failure actually, while I was pregnant, and I couldn’t justify putting him on a medication that had the potential to cause the same thing.”

Amber began reading about medical marijuana refugees, “I told my husband that if families were leaving their entire lives to get their kids help, then it must be working! It had to be life changing!” But where to begin can be an overwhelming feat.

The Bain Family

Amber utilized the services of Tulsa’s Higher Care Clinic, who assisted her through the process, offering both required pediatric recommendations and state submission. “They were so great!” relayed Amber. Upon receipt of Austyn’s OMMA license June 2019, Amber started Austyn on a full spectrum tincture.

Choosing to begin Austyn’s oral administration at bedtime she followed the first rule of titration- start low and slow, and noted some improvement in his sleep.

Austyn lives with a painful condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis that, upon flare, is sleep inhibiting. EoE is a chronic immune system disease in which a type of white blood cell (eosinophil) builds up in the lining of the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach (esophagus) 1. “EOE is terrifying.

Anytime he doesn’t feel great, it is the first thing we have to check.” Due to Austyn’s vast allergy list of potential flare triggers, Austyn thrives on Neocate formula and likely will always have to.

Austyn

Since becoming an OMMA licensed patient, Amber does report improvements in Austyn’s sleep, however “he still stays awake a lot.” The huge difference, she finds, is that he is noticeably able to relax during awake hours- something he was unable to achieve prior to licensing. This was affecting the entire family.

“He used to stim and yell all night and nobody in our house was getting sleep. Now he will lay in bed with me while I sleep and is able to quietly watch a movie and cuddle up until he falls asleep.” Austyn’s stimming may be due to the complex nature of his neurological profile.

 

Due to Polyhydramnious, an excessive volume of amniotic fluid known to be associated with an increased risk of various adverse pregnancy outcomes including fetal anomalies2, Amber was hospitalized in her third trimester. Born blue and unresponsive, Amber learned her baby may show signs of brain damage due to lack of oxygen at birth.

Seemingly thriving his first year, Austyn learned some speech and ate regularly. However despite this progress, Amber eventually began to notice a change in Austyn’s behavior and soon those successes had come to an abrupt halt. “He was just staring into space,” Amber sorrowfully recounted. Labeled “catatonic” by a neuropsychologist, Austyn received his Autism diagnosis and at 2 years EEG results determined Austyn was also experiencing Absence Seizures every five to ten minutes. “He could be having a thousand seizures a day and we had no idea.”

Austyn

The Bain family is a blended family of eight children and three grandchildren that have adapted their entire lives to support Austyn’s needs. “I would say my kids are incredibly caring, open minded, kind, and understanding as a result of having a brother like him.”

Thanks to cannabis as medicine Austyn is able to bounce into outer space on the trampoline with his siblings and loves to jump on the bed and watch his favorite movie- Toy Story. Amber may be unconventional in her goals for Austyn and her family. “My goals are just to be happy with the life we have and stay kind.” She goes on to say, “It’s not a popular answer, but I am okay if Austyn never says his ABC’s, I just want him to always feel loved and valued and be able to show us love back.”

 

Amber’s consumption method of choice for Austyn is tincture and when exhibiting the symptoms of a flare or higher than average levels of pain she adjusts his dosage accordingly and incorporates pain creams and patches. In doing so she is layering his consumption methods, supporting the full spectrum profile provided by his tincture. This regiment has catapulted Austyn’s quality of life. “We couldn’t touch him before and now he is the biggest cuddler. He is active. He runs and plays, he laughs and dances. He makes sounds now. Cannabis has changed his entire life, and as a result also changed our family’s.”

 

Author Jessi Lane

Jessi Lane is a Patient Advocate, Writer, and Oklahoma cannabis industry Consultant. She is a native Tulsan and Mom to three boys- two with ASD and SPD- one of whom is an OMMA licensed pediatric cardholder and she his licensed Caregiver. Jessi Lane is a Certified Cannacian III and Trichome Institute Certified Cannabis Consultant. With a “full spectrum” Postpartum Wellness background, Jessi has been an active member of the Tulsa cannabis industry since 2018, advocating for and assisting Oklahoma families while forging and growing several Oklahoma cannabis industry brands you know and love.

 

  1. Mayo Clinic (n.d.). Eosinophilic esophagitis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eosinophilic-esophagitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20372197

 

  1. Beeloosesky, MD, Ron, Ross, Michael G, MD, MPH. (March 31, 2021). Polyhydramnios: Etiology, diagnosis, and management. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/polyhydramnios-etiology-diagnosis-and-management

 

 

 

Universal Cannabis 101: The History pt.2 

Universal Cannabis 101 

The History pt.2 

by Jasmine Harvey

HERBAGE MAGAZINE

 

Who knew the Cannabis Sativa plant had such a rich history!? With this lovely lady being at the forefront for many medicinal uses and spiritual practices there is no wonder why it has remained a staple in many cultures. 

 

According to a Chinese legend, the emperor Shen Nung, considered the Father of Chinese medicine, discovered cannabis’ healing properties during the Han dynasty. With the wide growing awareness of cannabis fast forwarding to 1563 when Hemp was highly sought after, Queen Elizabeth required everyone with more than 60 acres of land to grow Hemp. 

In 1890 Queen Victoria was prescribed Cannabis by her physician to treat the pain from period cramps. Cannabis became an important crop for many due to its many uses and value. With the ever growing knowledge on Cannabis there started to be more experiments to test all the different uses for Cannabis/Hemp. In 1942 Henry Ford constructed an entire vehicle made out of hemp and soybeans that ran on a hemp-soybean mixture for fuel.

 

As you can see we are just scratching the surface for the many uses of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Coming up next are the complexes of the Cannabis Sativa plant.

 

Let’s dive deeper into the vast universe of Cannabis, until next time!

Fighting Back RAKEEM WILLIS

Fighting Back RAKEEM WILLIS
by Michael Kinney

As manager of Everything’s OK Dispensary, one of the first faces a customer sees is Rakeem Willis. Better known as Kemo, the 32-year-old stands behind the counter dressed crisp and fresh, and looking to help people find the perfect strain or edible for the right occasion.

To see Willis today, it would appear life has been treating him well and he has everything going for him. However, Willis will tell anyone who asks that has not always been the case. More than a decade ago, he almost lost his life (twice), his ability to walk and the use of some important internal organs all because he was living a life he isn’t too proud of today.

Because of that, Willis had to endure things that most young men entering their prime never have to face and he didn’t know if he could handle those challenges.

“The biggest thing I learned is how strong. I never knew my strength,” Willis said. “I didn’t know how strong I could get. I had days where I was like, man, just go ahead and take me. I would ask God. I would literally pray, like please let this be the day. But I overcame that. I overcame some of those dark days that I had. My strength just became incredibly bigger.”

Willis grew up the son of a single mother who was constantly moving back and forth from Oklahoma to Texas. He described his mother as a rolling stone.

As he got older, Willis found himself attracted to the streets and the parting life. By the time he was out of his teens he was drinking heavily, ‘popping’ pills and living that rock and roll lifestyle.

“I was experimenting with life,” Willis said. “I was 21 at the time and following the crowd of what everybody else was doing, trying to be cool.”

After partying in Duncan (Ok.) one summer night in 2011, Willis and a friend were heading through Lawton. Willis realized he was too inebriated to drive, so he handed the keys to the car to his friend, who also had been drinking heavily.

“We were driving, passing the east side of Lawton, and right as we were passing, boom. I just remember boom, that’s all I remember. Boom,” Willis said. “I opened my eyes, man, and I was in the grass. It was crazy. We crashed and we hit a pole, but when the car hit the pole, it shattered the windshield.”

According to Willis he flew through the windshield and landed outside the car in the grass. The next thing he knew his friend had run up to him saying they needed to get out of there.

“I’m lying in the grass. He’s like, ‘Get up, man. We gotta go. We got to go. I just crashed. I got up to try to runaway,” Willis said. I fall instantly. I just feel this sharp pain go down the bottom of my spine, down my whole spine. I just freeze up and fall back on the ground, and I’m like ‘I can’t go. I think I’m paralyzed.’”

As if he didn’t understand the gravity of what Willis told him, the driver of the car kept encouraging him to get up and run and saying they needed to get out of there.

“He just left me. He ran off and he was like, ‘I’m going to go find some help.’ That’s what he told me,” Willis said. “And he ran off and I don’t know where he went.”

His friend never came back and to this day he has never heard from him.

Willis was laying in the middle of a back road, well after midnight and unable to get up or move. His phone was nowhere to be found. At that moment, Willis thought he was going to die.

But then a car came from around the bend, pulled up on the wreckage and spotted Willis all alone.

“She gets out the car and she came over to me, and she’s like, ‘Sweetheart, don’t move. Just lay here.’ She helped me out, laid me down flat and just told me to lay there, don’t move,” Willis said. “So, she called it. She actually ended up saving my life. She called the ambulance. The ambulance came there, picked me up, took me to the hospital.”

Willis was told he fractured the C2 vertebra in his neck, along with a few other injuries, in the crash. Yet, as bad as he was feeling, Willis was about to get even worse news that would have a much longer-lasting effect on him.

“Once they did the CAT scan and all that good stuff, that’s when they told me ‘Your kidneys are failing. You ever had any problems, any issues with your kidneys?’ I’m like, ‘Not that I’m aware of,’” Willis said. “So, they did some more tests on me and stuff like that, told me they were going to have to do a biopsy. So, we ended up doing a biopsy, and when the biopsy came back, they said, ‘It looks like basically, your kidneys are just failing due to high blood pressure.’ So, I guess through the car wreck and all that stuff, I lost a lot of blood, caused my blood pressure to skyrocket, and that’s just how it happened.”

At that point, Willis had no idea how long his kidneys had been in such a dire situation. What his doctors told him confused him even more. “It bothered me for a long time because they never really gave me an underlying cause. They just said they believed that my kidneys failed due to a lot of blood loss,” Willis said. “I had two different opinions from two different doctors. One of the doctors also told me that he believed that I probably had high blood pressure over some time. Because he said usually kidney failure and things like that happen over a time period. It’s not something that happens instantly. So, I just had two different opinions on it.”

As Willis laid in the intensive care unit and later in his hospital room for two months, he didn’t know what to make of the situation. He would ask himself for a long time if the wreck ultimately saved his life because he may never have discovered his kidney problems until it was too late.

“When I first found out about my kidney stuff, I was still drinking. I didn’t take it seriously,” Willis said. “I just didn’t take it seriously at all. And one day my mom came in and she had a really long talk with me. That was the moment that I realized this is the decision that I got to make to change my life, to better my life, to look forward to the future and be able to overcome this disease. So I think around that time when I was 21 is really when I had an eye opener for me.”

Unfortunately, his kidneys were in such bad shape, that it was going to take more than just cleaning up to save his life.

Willis was given two wildly different options from two different doctors. The first told him he needed to change his diet. The second doctor told him he needed to get on dialysis because his kidneys were only functioning at 10 percent and dropping.

At 21 years of age, Willis had to make a life-changing decision about his health.

“I didn’t know what to do. So, I honestly contemplated for about a week before I made the decision that I was going to get on dialysis,” Willis said. “I was at what they call the beginning of end-stage renal failure. So, there was no coming back is how they looked at it. At that point you’re at end stage. They’re not going to come back, so you got to get on dialysis or you’re going to eventually die.”

That was enough to persuade Willis. He wanted more time to see if just changing his diet would have worked, but he didn’t want to take the chance.

However, he made that choice before he knew exactly what he would endure while doing dialysis, which is a procedure to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. It often involves diverting blood to a machine to be cleaned.

“It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. I don’t wish it on my worst enemy,” Willis said. “I still have dreams about it sometimes. Three days a week, six hours a day. It became real hard on me, man, because I was trying to work and I was sick, too. When you’re dealing with kidney disease, you have days where you’re just feeling real, real bad. And you can’t control it. It’s just your body’s natural reaction to trying to fight out this disease, you know. Hardest thing I ever did in my life, man. Still to this day, I’ve never faced anything more challenging.”

Willis was on dialysis for almost five years. It wasn’t until he got a call at 3 a.m. in 2015 from the hospital to inform him they found a kidney. He had been on the transplant waiting list and they finally got hold of a match for him.

The transplant took place Oct. 2. Willis readily admitted he was scared going into the surgery because he knew some people didn’t make it out alive.

But it was also a relief. After four and half years of dialysis, Willis was ready for the next chapter in his life. That included making the necessary changes to ensure he would be around long enough to enjoy the kidney.

It took a life altering accident for Willis to turn his life around. He has been with Everything’s OK (10717 N. May Ave) since its founding in August of 2019. The former restaurant manager sees a bright future for it and himself.

Yet, Willis’s journey is never too far from his thoughts. He knows he has come a long way just to get to where he is now.

“I don’t know who I’d be today if I didn’t go through those changes in my life,” Willis said. “I was partying, drugs, you know, rock and roll. So, I don’t know who I’d be today if I didn’t have that. It really humbled me in life and made me appreciate my fingers, my toes, my eyes, everything on my body a little bit more. I don’t even drink because of how appreciative I am of my body parts now. So, oh yeah, it gave me a different strength and I’m proud of myself.”

Photo by Michael Kinney

Sowing the Seed pt.12

Sowing the Seed

By Chet Tucker

We’ve made it through the seed to marketplace and we’re now making our way to the checkout counter to learn what methods of cannabis make work best. The different methods and products for consuming cannabis have grown wider than the rows upon Oklahoma rows of “high cotton” growing in the state. Where once the plant was smoked or seeds ground into edible mash, the mechanisms used to process cannabis have extended the layers of medicinals.  Beyond the basics of inhalation, oral/sublingual, and topical consumption methods are a myriad of cannabis accessories and products, including suppositories as well.  We’ll start with the most popular way to consume the plant and move to the more isolated but no less effective ways of use.

Smoke. Smoking cannabis still remains the number one method of consumption but that’s been changing with alternative and more discreet methods of passing the puff puff. The ease and anonymity of which a vape allows has quickly amassed a consumer loyalty that only loses to the skepticism of its consistency and safety. That’s not to knock vaping cannabis, it’s simply to acknowledge the awareness brought forth by eCigs and “savory” additives that may add to taste but diminish the overall benefits of raw cannabis smoking. There’s something native to our campfire discoveries; of what smoke was pleasant and what herbs and trees over a fire were less palatable. It’s an ancient saging of the spirit and mind and though it may someday lose its peak standing, fire to the cured “herbal tree” still remains the tried and true. 

So, what makes smoking the king of the mountain? And more importantly, is smoking cannabis the best method for your desired result? Those that typically avoid smoking do it for a number of good and fair reasons. First, it may not impact the user the same way an edible or topical would affect them and their desired experience. Some avoid it due to smell and the stigma associated with a good ol’ cloud while others have lungs not equipped to take on inhalation of smoke. No matter the justification for consuming a certain way, do what works best for your mental and physical health and know that it doesn’t remove you from the peace pipe circle. The magic of cannabis is that it’s so versatile due to its DNA and how it moves through our endocannabinoid system that smoking it is definitely not the only way to benefit. 

So, how do you fire up the flower? Traditional hog leg roll? Stuffed cone? Dugout pinch and pull? Chip a nugget into a bowl? Bong rip? Pepper-poked cola can? Apple? No matter how you go at it, the way the flower was grown will certainly make a difference in the quality of experience and adjoining benefits. Some love the soil grown smoke that gives you the thick full taste of a full smoke while others lean toward a lighter drag from hydroponic flower. Further is the connasseur with a pallet for living soil practices for cultivation and the organics felt through and through. Most may not even taste or understand the difference but just as you taste other dishes of food, spirits, or beer, you learn to appreciate the craft that went into the growth and preparation of the flower you’re consuming. Next month we’ll cover how these even play into how you can taste and feel the difference in certain edibles. 

Universe With Jaz 

Universe With Jaz 

by Jasmine Harvey 

HERBAGE MAGAZINE 

Hiya Star Shines! 

I am Jasmine Harvey. Thank you all for coming along the ride of my life.  My story will consist of grief, anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder.

Author pictured with Father and paternal Grandfather

As a child I was relatively happy. I was always well taken care of, and my mother is to thank for that also my aunts. When I say relatively happy, meaning I’ve always had some form of anxiety since I could remember. I have been through quite a bit as a young child. I remember the nights when my mother and dad would have disagreements and me hiding from the noise. Which formed a sense of “on guard” mentality most of my life. I did not start seeing  a therapist until I was 27 (which I am a huge advocate for.) My therapist states that a lot of my deep rooted self guard comes from my childhood which has now translated into my adulthood.

At the age of seven I lost my father to a house fire. Losing a parent at such a young age was my first experience with death and it was difficult to fully process. I did not truly know he was gone until he was not there any longer and I caught myself missing him and being jealous of those around me that still had their father. My thoughts were that of “why and how could this happen to me? Why does he have to be gone?”. Of course these questions are not answered as a child because no one ever had the right answer or one at all. 

Author pictured with Mother
Author pictured with Mother

Which brings me to mental health within the black community. It has always been frowned upon to show weakness within the black community; you would be chastised for it even by your own peers. I so desperately needed therapy or counseling as a child. My mother just did not have the resources to provide that for me; it simply was never given or just the fear of losing your child because “the need for help” was expressed. Could you imagine not only losing your husband but also in fear of losing your child to a system that is unfair and unjust? That was my mother’s fear. So, no outside help has ever played a part in helping me sort out my feelings as a child. I just bucked up and carried on as did my mother.

   

Losing my father was merely the tip of my emotional iceberg. It has now been over 20 years since his loss. I’ve started to notice little things here and there. Hypersensitive to how people interact with me which made me very timid.

(Author pictured on left with head turned to Maternal Grandmother and pictured on the right with locs hanging in front of face)

 During school years all through both elementary and middle school I was bullied. Bullied to the point I would cry everyday and didn’t see the point of living. Can you imagine a child being bullied and the thoughts they have are that of suicide? SUICIDE! At the age of 10. That’s when it started to become too much. Too much for me to handle. All the bullying and the constant trying to fit in. It became worse in middle school. Losing my grandmother who I was dearly close to brought more depression and anxiety. Not only dealing with grief but also dealing with those who thought it was cool to be cruel to another. That’s when my self harm started to manifest. If I could hurt myself then when others hurt me it wouldn’t be as bad. This also started my night terrors. Dreams that feel so real and all you want is relief. This is something that I still struggle with to this day. 

Author pictured as a teenager

High school was my relief from the cruelty but it still left deep scars. I over analyzed (still do) everything and felt everyone around me was somehow upset with me. Wanting constant reassurance and navigating my way through my teenage years. It was rough. Rough to the point, again, became too much for me to handle. This came to be more self harm. Sitting in my room staring at a knife wanting to slit my own wrist. Make it all go away. I have done half-assed attempts of suicide. By half-assed I mean not fully going through with it but hurting myself enough to where it warranted attention. This is most certainly not to say to others “do this for attention”. No. This is not the way to go about it, but for some it may feel it is their only way to call for help when no one is listening. There is always another way. There is always someone there to listen. Moving along through my teenage years, that’s when I started to drink. My suppressor. I always had fun when I could drink no matter where it came from or who. It was a slippery slope. I managed to keep sliding through it. When I reached 19 (by this time I was already hanging out with those who were much older than I).  I met David. 

Author pictured with David

David became my outlet. We clicked. We clicked so well we became more than just “hanging out”. He was battling with a lot from his previous marriage so, we both wanted a breath of fresh air. It was just that. We became each other’s rock. We were ride or die in every sense of the meaning. No relationship is perfect and there were times where I reverted back to self harm to fix the feelings I had or feelings that were had towards me in our relationship. That was very early on when I did not know how to properly express myself. I became better. Moving onward after being through everything with each other for six years we married. The most exceptional day I could ever ask for. At this time I still battled with depressive episodes, anxiety and night terrors but he loved me through and through as I did for him.

We were at our most high. Newlyweds, starting a family of our own, becoming financially stable. We were at such a good spot he was at his happiest and I was as well. That year of marriage was the closest we have ever been. We both love cannabis and all it’s benefits which brought us to our trip in April of 2018. We celebrated our one year wedding anniversary in Colorado. We were on cloud 9 with our love. Then came May 16th, 2018 a part of my life that is not completely known to the public. 

Author with Husband David Portrait by Isa-B Photography

 

On this day it played out as a little normal but I woke up with a huge sense of anxiety. An impending doom if you will.  David was not home from an overnight job that he went straight to after working the normal 9-5 the same day. He kissed me goodbye the night before but was nowhere to be seen the morning after. I called and called, nothing till I got a call back from him stating how busy he was. I love you and goodbyes were said.  Then came the afternoon I spoke to him once more at this point he worked non stop over 24 hours. I rushed home after work to surprise him with something that I bought.

 I get home and he’s already there. 

I pushed the door open and he was presumably asleep on the couch.  I discovered that my husband died by gunshot that day. Events play out. A year of marriage and seven years together, was now gone. All that we built. Gone. I had to start completely new. I never want to explain in detail these events that have happened so please refrain from EVER asking me, just know it’s a huge source of trauma for me.

Losing David was the rest of the iceberg, hidden in plain sight and incredibly damaging. I have now lost 3 very important men in my life: my dad, my grandpa, and now my husband. After my husband’s death I sat and thought how easy it’d be to end it and be with him, from all the drugs I was prescribed.  

 

Author with late husband David

From David’s death I developed ptsd. The sight of a gun in person makes me go into a panic attack. Shooting of the face or head on any form of media I have an instant panic attack. Music is a huge trigger for me as well. I’ve had panic attacks before throughout my life but now they are way more intense. 

I have been put on Xanax, trazodone, hydroxyzine, klonopin, and antidepressants. None of those work as well as cannabis does for me. Cannabis has helped me get away from most of those drugs. I can no longer function without some type of aide. Every time I go to sleep it’s a night terror. Every time I wake it’s pure anxiety. Cannabis helps all of that with a combination of certain medications. I have pinpointed certain terpenes that work well for different times. For example, during the day I’d need something that has the terpene Limonene and Ocimene within it for anxiety and tiredness. For a relaxing evening and to sleep I need something with Linalool and Beta-Caryophyllene in it. A terpene I avoid is Terpenoline, it makes my heart race and puts me in panic mode. I am still learning all the benefits of cannabis for myself and others through my Cannacian level 3 certification as well as being a graduate from Oaksterdam University.  

I am a work in progress and I dedicate how strong and resilient I am from reaching out to a therapist after my husband’s death, my huge support system and cannabis. I am so grateful to be here today. I know there were many times that I thought I would not be.

I am in a good place now forever working on my mental well being. I now have someone by my side who supports me wholeheartedly knowing all that I have been through and makes me feel deserving of love once again even though I felt like I was not.

 

.                 

(Author pictured on left in middle with Aunts. Author pictured on right with significant other Jared.)

This journey is challenging but so worth it. Keep pushing and your path will shine brightly as the day is long.

I am starting a nonprofit called What The Widow!? for young widows and widowers and for those who are grieving here in Oklahoma. It is a completely unbiased peer to peer support group currently. The non-profit status will open up more doors to better help those in need. If you’d like more info please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

Thank you for taking this life journey with me.

Reach out:

Universewithjaz@gmail.com

 FB & IG: @universewithjaz

For donations for What The Widow!?: Jharveyportrait.com 

The Feminine Divine; Raw, Real, and Bare in Oklahoma

The Feminine Divine; Raw, Real, and Bare in Oklahoma

Nothing to hide behind, exposed, and real with Wendy Elena, The Naked Grower

 By Veronica Castillo

Born in the tropical state of Florida, and raised by Panamanian born and raised parents, cannabis cultivator Wendy Elena, keeps it raw, real, and truthful about her experience with cannabis. As she travels throughout the state of Oklahoma to mentor and inspire other cultivators, she took the time to chat with Herbage Magazine, about her journey into the world of cannabis consumption and cultivation.

 

About Wendy’s Childhood in the South

 

Wendy describes her childhood as: “I grew up in the tropical climate of Florida! My family immigrated to The United States from Panama during the late 80’s when the drug war was at its peak. My mother wanted a life with more options for my two sisters and I”.

I grew up in Florida, with Puerto Rican parents, and so I wondered how Wendy learned of cannabis and what cannabis was described as in her household. Wendy states:

 

My parents were closet stoners, they didn’t share with me at all the medicinal value of cannabis. It was rather the opposite, I was deterred from any “toxin” intake in my youth. Given the chaos my mother grew up around due to the “drug and narco violence”, to her keeping us away from everything was safer than attempting to explain the uniqueness of cannabis.

 

I never drank or smoked cannabis until adulthood, 21 to be exact. What my parents did do, rather successfully I might add, is prepare me for a life as a functional pothead. All of my good habits, my process driven lifestyle, and my “doer” mentality was derived and fed by my parents.

 

I had no idea cannabis was present or so prominent in my family’s history, including the practice of natural medicine in Panama (healing), or the fact that my parents even smoked until adulthood”.

 

Wendy’s Journey in Cannabis Consumption and Cultivation

 

When Wendy started consuming cannabis at the age of 21, she found healing and said: “ I knew I had to work with cannabis. I needed the space to teach other young ladies and people in general about life, happiness, spirituality, self-sustainability, self worth, and so much more”.

 

Wendy’s journey in life, led her to cannabis, cannabis cultivation, and so much more:

 

The journey that has led me to cultivating cannabis with so many amazing growers. It has been an incredibly long and grueling path, like much others in the industry still endure daily. My navigation has led me to experience almost every aspect of the industry, small and corporate level large. Through this I’ve developed several avenues of reaching out to the community”.

 

In the cannabis industry, you can find Wendy leading/being involved in/with:

 

  • Dispensary consultation
  • CRM and POS consultations
  • Sharing in local marketing networks
  • Cultivation
  • Cultivation consultation
  • Business Management Consultation
  • Seed to sale software (W.E.N.D.Y)
  • Software management consultation
  • A future platform for cultivation networking

 

Wendy’s Favorite Strain and About: W.E.N.D.Y

 

I always ask cultivators about their favorite strain to consume and grow. Wendy said:

 

My favorite strain is Tropicanna Cookies byOni Seed Co, but I think it may originate from  Bloom Seed Co.! I love to grow this and equally love to smoke it! The terpene profile is so good for the biology of my body. No matter my tolerance level, or the time of day, Tropicanna Cookies hugs me with a beautiful experience tailored by the terpenes, the stars of the show.”

 

In regards to hardest and easiest strain to grow, Wendy provided the following insight:

 

“The strains haven’t been the difficulty, so much as making due in environments that were not ideal ! I’ve had to veg in the tiniest spaces and flower in rooms that have were shorter ceilings than you’d like., and a lot more in th 150ces It is true that each strain is different, but as long as the environment and the watering is locked in, you can really have fun with any!

 

Wendy’s Goals in the Cannabis Industry

 

Wendy is on a mission to do amazing things in this industry. I asked her what her goals are:

 

The point behind all of this is very simple. Keep it local. This level of business only seems to be conducted by large corporate interests. My goal has always been and will always be, to empower the farmer. I travel all over the state of Oklahoma, on top of maintaining my own personal crops, to help other farmers pioneer their way into this industry. Oklahoma has an incredible local economy, it shouldn’t be any different with cannabis.

I dedicate my life to the plant and the farmer, giving as much information as I can so people can sustain their businesses on the cultivation end, and the system management end.  There isn’t a ‘big secret’ to growing weed. As a community it’s our responsibility to take care of eachother, by sharing the things we learn along the way.

 

I want to create a sustainable network of local farmers, processors, and retail stores in Oklahoma. With this powerful network, we can survive any potential industry takeover with federal legalization, and keep Oklahoma’s market strong!”

 

The Seed to Sale Software named W.E.N.D.Y

 

The software is inspired by a lack of functionality in existing software on the market. Wendy says:

 

The mission is an ease of use from grower, to key administrator, to ultimately reporting and data collection. Streamlining cultivation facilities has never been more accessible. The goal of it all is to take the mystery out of growing and operating a cultivation facility, and facilitate in building the next generation of farmers!”

 

Wendy’s Idols, Mentors, Inspiration

 

Wendy names a woman cultivator and her mom as her idol and muse:

 

Miss Rad Reefer is a huge female grower inspiration! She shares literally everything on instagram, all her knowledge and real life plant and crop practices. It’s so bold that she’s willing to give all her information away. It really shows her confidence in her own ability, and her personality to want others to rise with her in life.

 

My mother is my muse. She is a resilient, and incredible woman. As an American I know I could never understand what it was like in Panama from birth to age 28 for my mother, but I know the values and principles she carried with her to America made me who I am today. Without her, I would be nothing”.

Final Words

 

Wendy said that being a named grower is more than being physically naked:

 

I’m sure everyone has had a naked day or two in the garden. For me, the word naked means so much more than that. It means raw, real, and bare. Nothing to hide behind, exposed and real.

 

I try to fulfill all of those core values, every day in my own garden and with clients. Like I said before, there is no secret! Humans, fellow Americans, and fellow Oklahomans need to learn to be self sustainable, that’s the naked growing. The real growing”.

 

Women in cannabis rock! I asked Wendy what it’s like being a woman cultivator in Oklahoma’s legal industry, she said:

 

I try to maintain my femininity, without it being the basis of who I am. Like many others, I didn’t choose my meat suit. I do the best with what I was given. So in short, it can be difficult at times. People will try to put you in a box, label you, or disqualify you.

 

Tenacity is the qualifying attribute for a female in ANY INDUSTRY. I try to let the things I cannot control roll off my back like water, and do my best to steward what’s within my control well!

 

I look forward to the day that people view others as amazing individuals, and less off the basis of sex”.

 

As for advice for aspiring cultivators, Wendy said this:

 

Don’t be afraid to even begin!”

 

 

 

Changing The Law

Changing the law

By Michael Kinney

 

Like many people across the country, Cheri Cowan sees the federal laws concerning marijuana as antiquated. As a 31-year-old single mother in Norman who makes her living in Oklahoma’s cannabis industry, she watched her home state thrive when medical marijuana became legal in 2018.

Cowan said she wants to see that same type of access across the country with the changing of federal laws that look at marijuana as an illegal drug. But she doesn’t want to see them change just because it would be a boom for her industry. It is also because it may be the only way she can regain custody of her 5-year-old daughter Arrow Iyah’s Cowan.

Cowan hasn’t seen her daughter since April and is separated by more than 1,000 miles.

However, Cowan, a member of the Choctaw Nation, knows that in order to bring her daughter back home to Oklahoma she may have to force the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States to change its stance on marijuana.

“The custody case once finished will set a precedent in the Choctaw Nation court system meaning it will allow them to use my case in case studies,” Cowan said. “I have spent countless hours lobbying the Choctaw Tribal members including speaking at their monthly board meeting held in Talihina at the Choctaw headquarters.”

Cowan and her ex-husband, Roy Wesley Cowan, are involved in what appears to be a bitter custody battle over their daughter, Arrow. According to court reports and records from the Department of Human Services, both parents have made accusations against the other since they divorced.

However, that is not the story we’re here to tell. Divorces and custody battles can be messy, ugly and full of accusations that cannot always be corroborated.

Yet, it is one of those accusations that has led to Cheri Cowan having primary custody of Arrow taken away and has her wanting to overhaul federal drug laws.

“My end goal, aside from federal legalization, is to ensure that no mother or child or parent has to through what I have been through,” Cowan said. “These last six months have been a nightmare. I am a mess. And it’s because of my child, I don’t know where she is. Right now, at this moment, I couldn’t tell you where my daughter is. That is a flaw in our justice system.”

Along with being a courier for RockinT Cultivation, Cowan holds a portion of the processing license for Dunder Mifflin LLC and DBA 77 Extracts. She is also the company’s compliance officer.

Cowan said she has a license for her work and has a state medical marijuana card.

Up until the first week of 2021, Cheri Cowan held primary custody over Arrow. Her ex-husband had limited visitation rights. But that did include certain holidays, such as Christmas.

“Around Christmas time I let my ex-husband have his Christmas visitation,” Cheri Cowan said. “He ran an exposure follicle test on her and it tested positive. It tested positive for THC (0.8 pg/mg).”

According to court reports, Roy Cowan, who is currently living in Florida, had the test taken because of photos he saw on Cheri’s social media accounts that showed Arrow in the vicinity of marijuana.

However, Cheri Cowan contends she doesn’t smoke around her daughter and keeps her products locked away.

“There are over 3,000 active grows in the state of Oklahoma. My argument is she simply could of have gotten exposed simply by being in Oklahoma,” Cheri Cowan said. “My main job is compliance. I am not smoking around my child. I have all of my medication stored in a lockbox. I really don’t know, other than being around the groves, how she was exposed to it. But that is legal in Oklahoma. I brought that to the nation’s attention.”

Despite her argument, on Jan. 4, Roy Cowan was awarded temporary custody of Arrow through the Choctaw Nation’s court system. Cheri Cowan believes it’s because she works in the cannabis industry.

“That’s my fault. This is all because I thought my people would protect their people,” Cheri Cowan said. I thought whenever med passed it medicinally, the nation would jump on it because it’s beneficial for their people. We are a holistic culture. I don’t understand why this isn’t more pressing and at the forefront of their lives as the right thing to do.”

According to Cowan, if she had gone through the state of Oklahoma courts with her custody battle, she wouldn’t be in the position right now of having to fight to get her daughter back. Because Oklahoma is one of 19 states (including Washington, D.C., and Guam) that have legalized marijuana in some form, the claims her ex-husband made would not have been enough to take her daughter away.

Cowan’s battle to regain custody of her daughter coincides with a new push for the federal government to legalize marijuana. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, recently offered draft legislation to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances and begin regulating and taxing it.

Under the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, businesses and individuals in states that have legalized its use would be free for the first time to sell and consume without the risk of federal punishment.

“It’s not just an idea whose time has come; it’s long overdue,” Schumer said at a press conference July 14. “We have all seen the agony of a young person arrested with a small amount of marijuana in his or her pocket. And because of the historical over-criminalization of marijuana, they have a very severe criminal record they have to live with their whole lives.”

Cowan believes it will take legislation like Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to remove the stigma nationwide that is often associated with the cannabis industry across the country and on tribal lands.

However, the Choctaw Nation has recently started to address its laws concerning marijuana.

In April, the Choctaw Nation Tribal Council held a Special Session and voted to amend its Public Health and Safety Code to temporarily recognize medical marijuana. Before the vote, Choctaw nation members in possession of a valid state medical marijuana license, within the Choctaw Nation reservation, could have been arrested and charged for marijuana-related offenses in tribal court.

This ruling is only in effect until Nov. 13, when it will be repealed and the Choctaw Nation Tribal Council adopts other legislation.

In a release, the Choctaw Nation stated, “Tribal Council indicated that their intent is to research this issue further and propose better rules and regulations concerning medical marijuana for Native Americans within the Choctaw Nation reservation that minimize misuse of medical marijuana.”

Cowan said this move is a giant step forward for the Choctaw Nation.

“This is a huge milestone as patients who live in native housing were not allowed to consume their prescribed medications on tribal land in housing provided by the nation,” Cowan said. “Members of the tribe, such as myself, have been stripped of their rights due to the fact of the Nation’s hands being tied. We are a sovereign nation within a nation only allowed to operate within the (parameters) set forth by the federal government.”

Unfortunately for Cowan, none of this affects her custody case. The last time she appeared in court was March 22. At that time, Judge Mark Morrison with the District Court for the Choctaw Nation, ordered Arrow can stay with her father.

Yet, Cowan’s case is still alive.

“They are supposed to give me a decision on whether or not I regain my custody or I lose my custody,” Cowan said. “But I don’t know they can take my custody when they are currently infringing upon my civil liberties as a patient. That is my main argument. How is it that the state of Oklahoma can allow me to do

all these things and the Choctaw Nation not? So my attempt is that the Choctaw nation needs to be at the forefront of federal legislation being passed. My court case can set a prece

Infused BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sammies with Medicated Broccoli Slaw

by Anna Ervin & Dondi Cobb

It’s that time of year again, either a vegan’s worst nightmare or the season they’ve been most looking forward to. I personally fall into the second category, but not for a lack of many, many awkward backyard bar-b-que’s spent picking through a side salad and, if I was lucky, a few grilled veggies as everyone around me enjoyed their favorite summer flavors.

Eventually, I learned that if I wanted to enjoy the full cookout experience with my family and friends, I was going to have to come prepared. I have an entire arsenal of sides, entrees, and salads at my disposal, but today I wanted to share the one that grants me the most suspecting looks.

“Pulled” jackfruit looks a lot like pulled pork. The flavor and texture may not be spot on, but it’s more than enough to satisfy my craving for familiar comfort foods. Enter a cannasugar-infused BBQ sauce, as well as fresh, crunchy broccoli slaw with a touch of medicated olive oil, and this plant-based sandwich might just become the most popular item at your next outdoor gathering.

The best part? No grill required. Although, I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to smoke the jackfruit before you marinate!

 

Click here for the full recipe!

July 2021 Tarot: Nine of Cups

Contentment, Pride, Feeling Fulfilled.

This month we are basking in the glory of the experiences we have created for ourselves. You are likely feeling pleased with your life right now. Lately it feels as though all of your wishes have come true. This feeling won’t last forever, make sure to soak up all of that blissful, euphoric energy while you can!

June 2021 Tarot

Allow yourself to splurge a little this month, not necessarily through spending money, but also spending time on yourself and the things you love. Continue to count your blessings and thank the universe, yourself, and whatever higher power you believe in. Gratitude, always.

Practice: gratitude journals, laughing meditations, noticing the little things

 

Hey Sick Person

by Tab Moura

 

This goes out to the newest members of the chronic illness community.

 

I am a cannabis educator and wellness coach. Over the last year I’ve done a lot of listening. Do you know what people fear more than dying from Covid? They fear getting sick with Covid and never *fully* recovering. They fear something that many people are genuinely dealing with. While we know that conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) have been around for a long time, often treated as a pseudo diagnosis, it’s suddenly become widely accepted as the crowd of those suffering from it is growing. People are getting sick, and some of them are still sick.

by Tab Moura

Maybe it’s mild, maybe it’s debilitating… but you are not where you were beforehand. I know what that’s like. While I don’t give health advice online, because I believe we all require a unique approach, what I came here to say today is that we’re stronger together.

 

One of the most interesting concepts that I’ve witnessed over the last year, is the ability for a crowd to work together to change something they’re passionate about. In some cases a single hashtag trending can spark change, on a massive level. The truth is, lingering autoimmune related conditions affect roughly 50% of the country. We call them by many names, so we don’t usually think of ourselves as a unit, but honestly, we’re one of the biggest majorities, outside of gender. What would happen if we all asked for the same thing? What would happen if we asked our medical community to focus on us. I’m uniquely qualified to be so direct, because I’m successfully recovering from being bed bound.

 

I’ve sat with countless specialists at this point and none of them had information for me to pursue wellness, it felt like I was given my options of palliative care— with 50 years to go. “Physical therapy, diet, medicines, surgeries… these will be wastes of money, the best thing we can do is make you more comfortable.” I wish I could say I’ve only heard this once. Maybe you have had a doctor prescribe a thing or two, or 10, but you know that the answer is never that simple. Patients always end up holding the most responsibility if they want a better quality of life.

 

Science is confident enough to believe we can inject protection and prevent a specific illness, but if you are already sick… we’re so sorry to hear that? And that’s when it hit me… we’re asking for the wrong things. How safe are we if there’s no plan for those who fall through the cracks? What if the number of those with chronic illness continues to increase?

 

There I was, spending thousands of dollars trying to work within a health system that only knows how to keep us alive. First of all, what a valuable skill that is, right? If I am in an accident and need help, I’m thankful they exist. But what does this mainstream narrative teach us about thriving? Where can we go to learn about recovering? What the heck are micronutrients, how do I get proper sleep, how do I choose good brain foods, and yes, how do I support my immune system? We find one another. We look for the people who’ve already done it.

 

I was nervous about writing this article, because when you’re someone who cannot use pharmaceuticals, people assume you are anti-Pharma. They think you are biased. The truth is, I have my biases. I’m happy to be transparent about mine, because acknowledging my biases helped me find healing. I wish we were all more honest about such things. I’ve never had a client who is Pharma and chemical free to the extent that I am. I haven’t even considered turning someone away due to their choice to use Pharma. Pharma keeps people alive. Pharma has helped me stay alive once as well. But Pharma didn’t help me thrive. Perhaps it’s time we start asking for more. People are out here healing themselves, and the methods we use deserve recognition… not because natural medicine needs validation, but because people deserve to hear about it.

Silicone Solutions for Shaky Hands

by Sarah Thompson

When neuropathy and seizures left me dizzy and shaky, my klutzy moments no longer occasionally led to a broken glass piece. It was hard to hold onto reality, it was even harder to hold onto my bong. In the last two years, the sound of shattering interceding high pitch yowls and the rhythmic drumbeat of a glowing aura unpredictably occurred again, and again. I destroyed, chipped and obliterated glass straws, small pink and white swirling concentrate rigs, and finally my clear neon pink crystal bowl partnered in death with my birthday neon purple bong- all ending their duties in the graveyard of broken things faster than I could budget for replacements. My heart grieved for the gleaming glass aesthetic dreams of perfect pulls, but the benefits outweighed the cons as I accepted, and inhaled the one solution that delivered results- silicone.

 

A small teal silicone ooze dab rig, and a larger green silicone bong for my flower replaced my broken heart, with the mercy of tenacity.

The PROS

 

  1. My budget! It’s been one year since I bought my first silicone piece, the teal ooze, doubling as a dab rig or small bong, a perfect fit for my starting needs, and it hasn’t disappointed!
  2. Durability!

I have dropped, knocked over, kicked, trembled, shook and seized holding these silicone pieces, and the only incidents are the glass bowls- no more weak sauce breaking when I’m breaking.

  1.  Medicine made dependable!

When you deal with neuro events or immune flairs you know how fast cannabis is needed and how fast it can change the situation for a medical cannabis patient. Having that dependability gives peace of body and mind.

  1. Flexibility! Unlike glass, a silicone piece has mobility and can be easier to store or conceal. In the winter my ooze fits perfectly in my pocket so I could carry it to family functions discreetly.
  2. Easy clean up! Freezing the silicone bong is a popular method for cleaning out the gunk!

 

Silicone Considerations:

 

  1. There is a gap in the market for shaky hand friendly symptomatic cannabis patient medical devices. I bought one other hybrid of silicone/glass bong, which broke tragically within one hour of its delivery- I was reassured it would be a good fit.
  2. The ooze is a hybrid of glass/silicone however it’s smaller size allows for the glass chamber to be engulfed by the silicone-I’ve dropped it many times and the resilient one knows how to hang on!
  3. Is everything silicone or unbreakable? No, I use a glass dab straw and my bong bowls are still glass- I keep two or three backups of glass items.
  4. I have needed faster or easier methods of delivery for cannabis as I was not able to flick a lighter, or inhale the same due to symptoms. Methods like vaporizers and cannabis oil provided me with swift control for those times so in no means is one delivery method a blank all answer.

 

Shaky Hands? Contact me!

I would love to know- how do you prefer to medicate? What are struggles you have in the delivery of your medicine due to symptoms? Do you have a great delivery hack for medical cannabis? please send me a note at sarahsippin@gmail.com

 

Stay Cool,

Sarah

 

Focusing on Wellness

by Tab Moura

It’s the way the wind blows while I’m dabbing the Ambrosia. It’s the caryophyllene scented sunset after a sweaty day’s work. It’s the smell of limonene while I watch the mist rise off of the pond… it’s not just a medicine, it’s more than a medicine. It’s part of the backdrop of my life.

 

Cannabis therapy is a relatively old concept; this plant has evolved some over time, but the power of the plant has remained consistent. For me, using this medicine has become second nature, and like many of you, I feel it’s medicine and generally enjoyable as well.

I was sitting with my best friend yesterday, comparing terp profiles, sampling each other’s grams and chilling on my porch. Where is the line between recreation and medicine? I used to think I knew, but now I’m not sure it even exists. The plant we call cannabis is beneficial for the body, whether we use it strategically or not… so while I do believe that our intentions matter, the term “recreational” cannabis is honestly insulting to the plant. One of my mentors, Dr Regina Nelson (ECS Therapy Center) explained how she prefers to use the terms “casual use” and “focused use.”

 

Why do these distinctions matter in the grand scheme of things? We know that unlike recreational vs medicinal uses of other controlled substances, cannabis is always therapeutic due to how it directly supports the Endocannabinoid system. I cannot speak for synthetic products, or products that are sometimes paired with cannabis, but I can tell you that overstimulation of the Endocannabinoid system is not lethal, though I know it’s very uncomfortable.

 

And that just brings me back to recreational vs medicinal, and how it just doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s best interest, except those who wish to perpetuate the narrative that cannabis is still a big baddie. I prefer the terms casual and focused, because I believe it’s ok to enjoy a substance that supports your wellness. This is how I feel about food, and this is how I feel about cannabis. Just because I learned how to cook well, making my food delicious *and* healthy, doesn’t mean it’s nutrition doesn’t count… and why are we so ok talking about food this way also, healthy food and junk food— as though food should be anything BUT nutritious for us.

 

I’m an advocate for easy access to information, and

freedom to weigh that information as we see fit. And I believe that if we truly taught health, we wouldn’t see such disparities: “recreational vs medicinal”, or ”healthy food vs junk food…” Speaking as someone with a ton of food sensitivities and allergies, I still manage to eat treats (hello ice cream and brownies), and I refuse to call them junk… because their ingredients aren’t junk. Just like how I recommend becoming familiar with lab testing for cannabis, I am a big advocate for reading your ingredient labels. Know what you’re eating, and if you don’t know what it is… it’s time to find out. Wellness is a scale, and every choice, whether it’s beneficial or not, is carried with us. The things we keep around us become part of the fabric of our lives, literally and metaphorically.

What is a Seizure?

by Tab Moura

What is a seizure?

A seizure is when one or more of your neurons suddenly depolarize, before rapidly re-polarizing, causing an event (a seizure). Put simply, a seizure is when your brain cells are overreacting to stimuli, which leads to a power surge. What causes the sudden spike in brain cell drama? Well, that’s different for everyone; some people cannot handle lemons or sugar, for others the cause may never be narrowed down. After 3 years of managing my epilepsy, I’ve learned a few of my stressors. While cannabis has been a significant support for my pain and epilepsy, medication was not my biggest game changer. Two of my primary epilepsy stressors are electronics and corn. We learned this with trial and error, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I did try meds, and they gave me seizures too. “Officially” my Epilepsy is intractable; unofficially I’m healthier than I’ve ever been pharma-free, because the seizure meds have ingredients I cannot handle.

Let me be frank, I tried eliminating so many things. I was in a low place, and that powerlessness made me humble. I wouldn’t have called myself a natural person back then, but I got crunchy in a hurry. My youngest was a year old, the neurological symptoms probably increased after her birth. I wasn’t crazy, I was dying inside, slowly losing my mind. I was living my life, like everyone else, and suddenly it wasn’t working anymore. If it wasn’t oxygen or water, I was willing to part with it… I just wanted to be alive.

 

So I don’t play video games anymore, I hardly watch the screen when the TV is on. And I cut out Corn, and it’s children Ethanol, Maltodextrin, Popcorn, Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, etc… because it helped. I share all of this, because I’m not special, I’m just one of those people who asked themselves the question we all wonder at one time or another while pursuing wellness… “will this make a difference?” And I just didn’t stop asking. We are all different; different ethnicities, different ancestors, different genetics.

As it turns out, I’m photosensitive and very allergic to corn. Not everyone is like me, but I’m sure there is something that gives you trouble, or gives you relief, that is unique to you as well. I don’t focus on what I’m missing, corn just isn’t a food to me anymore. What a gift that our bodies are able to communicate these things to us.

 

Cutting out so many food products taught me a lot about perspective. While my food world had to get smaller in order to become healthier, I did get healthier. If it’s not meant for you, it’s just not meant for you… take it from me, popcorn can be replaced…but you cannot.

CasedGod

By Anna Ervin

 

Have you ever met someone with such an incredible attitude, that the more you get to know them the more you want to know them? The first time I worked with OKC photographer Jeff Hooten II, better known as CasedGod, I knew he was going to be one of those people.

Jeff is the type of person who greets you with a smile and a warm hug every time you meet, and never shies away from the opportunity to add a little light and color to someone’s world. However, his desire to make the world a more compassionate place was born out of his own struggles with opioid addiction. At the age of 19, Jeff overdosed on heroin for the second time in his life.

“The first time,” Jeff began explaining, one Thursday afternoon over pizza, “I was revived with Narcan. But the second time, I just woke up. And when I woke up, I didn’t have the same urges or desires anymore. I just had the desire to help people and I didn’t know where to place it.”

While attending a leadership academy in Arkansas, Jeff fell into the film track, learning to operate a camera and edit videos, among other things. “I was home,” he recalled. “It was like picking up a drug again. I picked up a camera and there was nothing better than that.”

“Addiction kind of isolates you as a person,” Jeff continued, “so you see the world through a different lens, or different perception. Because of that, I feel like I can see pictures before they happen, and time myself to be perfectly positioned to capture people in a light they may not typically get to see themselves in.”

“With my camera work all I want to do is inspire people to be the better versions of themselves. There was one point in time when someone showed me a picture of me, I was like, ‘woah. That’s me?’ In that moment I had instilled confidence, I had hope, I had faith. And I just continued to build off of that.”

I had invited Jeff to meet me in the Plaza in OKC to give him an opportunity to tell his story. Being the driven guy that he is, he showed up with all of his equipment and gear, ready to shoot. After reminding him that we were just there to chat about the things going on in his world, he laughed and admitted he’d been a little overbooked lately. Jeff is currently the CMO for 1440 Processing, on top of managing a photography business that takes him all over the state.

“The reason why I call myself CasedGod,” Jeff began when I asked about his brand name, “is that throughout my time in sobriety, I used cannabis and my faith to get through that. The bible talks about when you ask Jesus to come into your heart and transform your life, he comes and lives inside of you and works outwardly through you. It’s like a Cased God, or Encased God.”

“I’ve never been to college,” he explained. “I’ve never had any formal marketing training so everything I have and I’m able to do, I give all the glory to God. I used to stick needles in my arm and go hang out at a skate park. Never in my dreams would I think, ‘I’m gonna go shoot 50 cent tomorrow.’ Like that’s what I get to do.”

His journey to becoming one of OKC’s best event and cannabis photographers hasn’t always been easy, though. When Jeff first moved to Oklahoma, he wasn’t quite sure what he was doing in the cannabis industry. “At that time,” he told me, “the cannabis industry didn’t have such a social media presence as it does now. So I feel like I kind of had to carve my own path in that regard.”

Working at a local dispensary, Jeff began taking the opportunity to ask vendors to let him highlight their business or products free of charge. “For a good 6 months,” he explained, “I did a bunch of work for free, just kind of proving myself. And it was the best time in my life. I got to meet all the best processors, growers, chefs, cultivators, and extractors in the industry.”

“What it eventually did is it made a network for myself that, wherever I went, I had really really great relationships.”

This work ethic and dedication to his craft grabbed the attention of his current employer. “The boss had told me that he had been watching my Instagram for 6 months. His exact words were, ‘I love the way that you show people. I love the way that you highlight people’s businesses. I want you to work for my team.”

“With 1440,” he continued, “I’m representing some of the best brands in the nation. I’m actually going to get to travel around the country and film for Viola’s cultivation tours. I’m excited about that.”

Backtracking to his remark about the valuable relationships he had created through his work in the industry, I asked Jeff if he had received any noteworthy advice or inspiration from his community. He left me with this:

“Keep your head down and keep grinding. Don’t pay attention to the attention, because when you focus on anything but your work, you’re losing time. As hard as you can work, while you can work, do that.

“Don’t pay attention to people who are going to be negative. When you are succeeding, when you’re continuing to rise, you will be tested at every level, and if you’re not then you’re not truly making any progress.

“Any progress is forward progress. Pay attention to your micro wins and macro wins. Even the tiniest little bit of progress is something to be completely celebrated.

“When you’re going through trials, don’t get yourself down on it. Don’t focus purely on what the negative thing is, because at that point you’re giving your attention to it, and when you give your attention you give your energy, and the universe moves with energy.

“Get yourself out of the hole and continue to have a positive mindset and you’ll produce positive things. That’s the only reason why things have turned up for me through those tests & trials.”

 

 

Medicated Macaroni Salad

by Anna Ervin & Dondi Cobb

You know those dishes that just taste like summer? Like one bite instantly takes you back to camping trips at the lake, or BBQ’s with your family?

If you’ve been following my recipes for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I begin the majority of my recipes with a blurb about how my mom made this for me when I was a kid, and how I’ve adapted it to fit my diet and lifestyle.

The reason I use so many of my mom’s old recipes is that through those familiar flavors, I can relive some of my favorite memories.

I think a lot of people realize that cutting animal products out of your diet is a pretty major lifestyle change. It doesn’t take long after exploring a vegan diet to realize that 90% of your favorite recipes include the ingredients you’re striving to avoid. When I first made the switch, it was the home style comfort foods that I had grown up watching my mom create that I missed the most.

I made it my goal to transform as many of those dishes as I could into something that I could enjoy with a healthy conscience. I share them today because I want people to see that eating plant-based doesn’t always have to mean sacrificing the flavors you love (unless that flavor is prime rib, I still haven’t figured that one out).

This is one of those side dishes that you could easily buy a tub of at the store, but my mom took the time to make it at home summer after summer, which just made it that much more special. We would have it during camping trips, hikes, and backyard hangouts. I honestly have very few memories from summertime during adolescence that didn’t involve this salad. We still enjoy it to this day, only now it’s in a way that the whole family can experience.

The recipe calls for regular macaroni noodles, but I highly recommend chickpea noodles for a gluten-free option. I don’t personally have an sensitivity to gluten, but I do notice that my body functions a little slower when I consume a lot of it. As with cannabis, even the most delicious things in life are sometimes better explored in moderation.

Speaking of moderation, I decided to microdose this recipe, depending on how many servings you get out of it. I added 1-2 Tbsp of cannabis-infused oil, amounting to about 75-100mg of THC in the entire dish. For an extra pop of flavor and medication, try sprinkling a little bit of Two Twisted Girls’ medicated Lemon-Lime Beer Salt over the dish.

Check out the full recipe!

Two of Swords

by Anna Ervin

Ignorance, Stubbornness, Self-Induced Confusion
If you’re feeling stuck, ask yourself if you might be refusing to see the situation for what it truly is. You might be feeling the weight of a major decision this month. Pay close attention to your environment, influences, and the direction your energy is heading in. Try not to be so stubborn.
Change, by Anna Ervin