Like no other substance in history, cannabis sits at the eye of a storm that is currently upsetting the status quo across the spectrum of political, economic, legal, cultural, scientific and healthcare worlds.
Chaos and confusion pervade the scene:
- State regulatory authorities grapple with legalization of both medicinal and recreational cannabis;
- The “cannabusiness” feeding frenzy attracts all stripes of entrepreneurs, from dealers and growers to venture capital and Big Pharma;
- Myths, misinformation and marketing clichés promoting expensive, unproven cannabis products dominate the Internet;
- Proliferating cannabis ‘dispensaries’ present more like hippie head-shops than professional medical suppliers.
- Cancer patients have long known of the proven benefits of combining cannabis with their mainstream oncology treatments. But emerging research has created an upsurge of interest in its potential as an anticancer treatment.
The biggest challenge for patients and caregivers wanting to learn more about how to incorporate cannabis into cancer care is the complete absence of reliable, educated and unbiased information on the subject.
Answering the urgent call for this information is The Thinking Patient’s Guide to Cannabis and Cancer, a practical, patient-centered guidebook by internationally respected medical herbalist and herb-drug interaction expert Jonathan Treasure. Backed by over 15 years of clinical practice devoted to providing botanical protocols to people with cancer, Treasure brings a formidable expertise to the subject that no journalist, activist, or product manufacturer can.
I had the privilege of contributing research and editorial assistance to this book, and can attest to its quality of research and clinical analysis. If you want to cut through the misinformation and get accurate information about the use of cannabis and cancer, check out Volume 1: Cannabis in Context now.
August 21 marks my last day as a clinical herbalist at the Olympia Free Herbal Clinic. After 5 years of volunteer work, my departure conjures an array of emotions: excitement, sadness, and contradictory ones like guilt with concurrent relief.
I’m leaving the free clinic to engage in premedical studies at the University of Washington. I’ll still be available as a clinical herbalist at my own practice, Goldroot Botanical Medicine, and will continue to see clients who I’ve established a relationship with at OFHC on a sliding scale basis. (Sliding scale is available to all my clients.) To help focus my efforts, I want to bring everything under one roof. Working between 2 different practices is hard, and it leaves me feeling scattered as a practitioner. Read more
Last weekend the Traditional Roots Conference was held at NCNM in Portland. And what a great weekend it was! Along with myself, teachers and speakers included Jim McDonald, Aviva Romm, Lydia Bartholow, Donnie Yance, Glen Nagel, Howie Brounstein, Tania Neubauer, and Jillian Stansbury. Orna Izakson is a stellar organizer and hosted a wonderful and engaging event (besides being an overall excellent person and good friend!).
Along with a clinical case panel on PCOS (with Elise Schroeder and Amanda Lattin), I taught a class on medical cannabis for herbalists on Friday. I was still recovering from the flu, so I’m grateful for the patience of all in attendance. Nevertheless, it was a true joy to teach on this important subject. We covered chemistry, pharmacology, clinical applications, routes of administration, safety/toxicology and QA issues.
As an herbalist who helps formulate and develop herbal supplements, sourcing, supply chain and quality control are paramount. I want to help educate others on what constitutes good quality products and maintain quality standards in the industry.
Anthropologist Ann Armbrecht (who brought us the Numen film) is creating a new documentary called the Sustainable Herbs Project, which explores these facets of herbal trade and product development. They want to make it available for free. To do so, they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. Please consider making a pledge (I did!) to make this documentary a reality and raise awareness about what goes into herbal supplements.
I presented a workshop titled Trees, Humans & Healing: Alder, Douglas-fir & Hawthorn yesterday at the 2nd Dandelion Seed Conference in Olympia, WA. Though I was sick (with a kidney infection! Argh!), it was a fantastic 2 hours spent with these 3 locally abundant & important tree species.
So why trees as opposed to a general discussion on plants? There’s something a bit different that sets them apart. Trees occupy a special space in our imagination & hearts. Their size & reach for the sky confers a sense of majesty, and the joining of earth & sky. Their long lifespan makes them an instrumental aspect of surroundings & landmarks and provides a sense of continuity that spans generations. Many traditions & cultures employ trees (and related metaphor & imagery) in their spiritual traditions and cosmos. And the branching patterns characteristic of trees are seen in many biological : ecoogical forms: rivers, veins, neurons, etc. So trees touch something deep. They also meet our physical needs with food, shelter, and medicine.
Trees & forests play a critical role in global ecological balance. They produce oxygen, remediate soil, prevent erosion, provide shade, and regulate the global weather. And we’re rapidly changing forests. At the end of the last Ice Age, about half of our planet was forested. Now it’s less than a third, with most deforestation occurring in the last few decades. There are ecological and, arguably, spiritual consequences to this rapid loss of forest ecosystems. And there are public health concerns too–increased exposure to zoonotic infections, poorer air quality, nutrient transition, and others. And, in the Pacific Northwest, our temperate rainforests are special–they have more biomass per hectare than anywhere on Earth.
So as we’re considering community and socioecological health, tree medicine & forests are a necessary component of this conversation.
Feel free to send an email for the notes here. (I’ll also be posting the monographs for these trees over the next several days.)