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Monday, July 10, 2017

A Safer Alternative to Big Pharma - by Rebecca Veenstra

     Someone near and dear to me suffered a stroke last month. I was just going about my morning when suddenly I received a text saying she was in the hospital downstate having been taken to the emergency room from work with a numb face and elevated blood pressure. Her husband dropped everything to be by her side. Family picked up the kids from school and we all waited frantically by our phones for any news.

     The doctors admitted her and she stayed the night in the hospital while they ran a battery of tests that we can only hope insurance will cover. Now, she is home and thankfully her mind and body are functioning fine. The kids were just told Mom had some tests run. So, they were spared the trauma of the actual diagnosis. What was the diagnosis you ask?

     Apparently, she’d had a stroke at 41. How is that possible? Did she main line bacon? Is she a couch potato? Does she have a heart problem? No, no, and no. She exercises regularly, avoids salt, eats her veggies, has a healthy diet and takes good care of herself. So, what caused her stroke? Quite shockingly it was explained to her by her doctors that her use of NSAIDS likely caused her stroke.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strengthening an existing label warning that non-aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the chance of a heart attack or stroke. Based on a comprehensive review of new safety information, the FDA is requiring updates to the drug labels of all prescription NSAIDs. As is the case with current prescription NSAID labels, the Drug Facts labels of over-the-counter (OTC) non-aspirin NSAIDs already contain information on heart attack and stroke risk.

     Patients taking NSAIDs should seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, weakness in one part or side of their body, or slurred speech. Examples of NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and celecoxib.

     The risk of heart attack and stroke with NSAIDs, either of which can lead to death, was first described in 2005 in the Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions sections of the prescription drug labels…Based on our review and the advisory committees’ recommendations, the prescription NSAID labels will be revised to reflect the following information:

     The risk of heart attack or stroke can occur as early as the first weeks of using an NSAID. The risk may increase with longer use of the NSAID.
The risk appears greater at higher doses (1)

     Now, just to be clear she wasn’t gobbling these things up like candy. She was taking the anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by her doctor for arthritic pain and inflammation. In addition, an NSAID topical gel was prescribed by her physician for those times when her pain was holding up the day. With three kids Mom’s owies are not allowed to get in the way of things. 
Guess what she applied the night before she suffered a stroke? You guessed it… the NSAID topical gel that came with a folder of side effects in microscopic print. The first potential side effect mentioned is risk of stroke or heart attack.

     NSAIDS are pretty common these days but I think most people are unaware of their potentially fatal side effects.  So, what is a person to do? Are there alternatives?

     As a matter of fact, there are…. Cannabis has long been accredited with anti-inflammatory properties. (2) Marijuana can be consumed orally to offset inflammation and pain as well as applied topically.

     With three kids and a full-time job eating a brownie to get through the day might prove impractical. Not to disparage the use of medibles, as they are a very effective method of pain management that of course, is completely legal for registered patients. Regardless, some people find them debilitating for day to day functioning.

     Topical cannabis applications provide a safe alternative to NSAID gels and creams that can allow for a busy person to maintain their schedule without feeling impaired and without the looming risk of stroke or heart attack. A topical cannabis preparation can be applied as needed for localized pain relief. The active components will absorb 70% faster than orally consumed products. The active components can vary depending on the strain, potency and the portion of the plant used to manufacture the topical.

     Now, there are thousands of people and big corporations salivating over the prospects of fleecing the general public and padding their pockets by creating and selling topical cannabis preparations. Bless their hearts for wanting to help their fellow man. After all, making topical cannabis preparations is just so complicated we need big pharma to do it for us…right?  I’d like to think not.
Sure, I understand the convenience of buying it all finished is huge and that many people will choose to stop at their local provisioning center to pick up a bottle of topical cannabis preparation. I don’t mean to disparage that in any way at all. I only mean to illustrate how simple the process is so that you can see it is not rocket science. The industry would have you believe that it is--- and often prices reflect this common misconception.

     Many preparations are cannabis concentrate added to a lotion or balm base. Some are alcohol based and sold in a liquid form. These types of recipes can often contain high THC levels.  Whether a person enjoys a balm, lotion, oil or tincture type application is really not a factor in the effectiveness of the product.  Some recipes contain higher concentrations of CBD with none or very little THC. These preparations are commonly made with high CBD strains or with the non-flowering portions of the plant.

     The recipe I have shared with you can be prepared with any strain and any portion of the plant according to your preference.

     Today, I see the umbrella of big pharma shadowing our community and I feel like the do-it-yourself times are fading before my eyes. So, if you are able, give this recipe a try. Make an effort to preserve your right to cultivate and process your own cannabis.

     We may be one of the last generations to truly comprehend and appreciate how far we have come. The younger generations who haven’t lived through the past few decades can’t help but take for granted the freedoms we are on the cusp of experiencing. Those of us who were witness to the frightful wrongs perpetuated on cannabis users and cultivators must never forget the terrible persecution our community has suffered during cannabis prohibition at the hands of the establishment that now is endeavoring to hand us over to big pharma.

Topical Cannabis Oil

1 dry ounce of one of the following:
Large sucker leaves from a cannabis plant that is two weeks into its flower cycle -or- Cannabis flowers and or leaves in any combination of strain and potency

5 cups of olive oil

1 TBSP of ginger powder

2 TSP of cayenne powder

Pre-heat oven to 285 degrees.
Lay dried cannabis leaves and or flowers onto a clean, dry cookie sheet.
Cover completely with foil, making sure there is an airtight seal. Place cookie sheet with cannabis into oven for 8 minutes. Remove cookie sheet and let it cool completely with foil still sealed.  Fill a small crock pot or a pan on an induction cooker with the 5 cups of olive oil. Add the ginger and cayenne powder and stir to mix. Then add the completely cooled cannabis to the oil.

Heat the crock pot on low
Use a candy thermometer to make sure the temperature remains at 100-125 degrees
When the temperature rises to 125 degrees turn off the crock pot so that you do not over heat.
When the temperature falls below 100 degrees turn the heat back on
Continue this process for 6-8 hours.

Set timer on induction cooker for 8 hours
Set temperature for 120 degrees

Once oil has cooked for the 8 hours let it sit for 48 hours with no heat applied.
Then strain into clean glass container using a metal screen strainer. Strain several times to ensure all leaf and flower particles are removed. Any particulates in the oil can affect its integrity in storage. Discard the leaves and or flowers used to make the oil. Store in cool dark location in a clean sealed glass jar. It can now be added to lotions or balms as well as applied directly and or consumed orally.


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