If I am going to be someone’s “best guess” and guinea pig, then I may as well be my own…

April 19, 2018 marks my 19month Cannaversary. For the last 19 months, I have been using only cannabis oil to manage my Crohn’s Disease. I thought I would take some time to update where I am at on my green journey. There have been ups and downs but over all I am continuing to heal and improve…slowly but steadily! What I have learned in the months since my 1-year cannaversary is that my body LOVES cannabis oil!

my body LOVES cannabis oil!

The Shona Banda pills I make (named after the woman whose method of extracting oil I follow) are what make my body happy and “functioning”…not totally normal yet but NO pain! And as long as I take these pills 4 times a day I can maintain and heal…anything less and I go back in to a flare, as I have learned the hard way. On these pills I am able to maintain a healthy weight, for me anyway, I am not as nauseous and my sleeping has improved; I get about 7 hours of sleep a night. My biggest issues and challenges right now are fatigue and still unpredictable trips to the bathroom. The frequency is under 10 per day, unless something sets off my immune system.

The frequency is under 10 per day

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In early November I started analyzing what I have been doing with my Shona Banda pills. I follow her solvent-less method for extracting the cannabis oil. I use a table top glass dome dry herb vaporizer. I fill the machines with the dry herb and then let the machine run for an hour until all the smoke/ vapor dissipates leaving an oil/ resin on the glass dome. Using a spatula, I scrape the oil/ resin and I put it in an empty gel cap. Then I eat the pills 4 times a day.
There are no markings or numbers of any kind on the temperature controls (really just an on/ off dial) on the vaporizers, so I had no idea at what temperature I was vaping, let alone what the resulting potency was or what the cannabinoid profile was of the resulting oil. I really did not know exactly what I was ingesting, all I know is it’s working! I found out medical card patients can have their products tested, so I had the oil tested. I used C4 Labs here in the Phoenix area.

The results showed that pretty much everything is over processed, and the only cannabinoids left are THC and CBN. The oil has a ratio of about 3:1 CBN: THC. CBN (Cannabinol) is sedative…so I am micro dosing with both of those cannabinoids all day and that most likely explains my all-day tiredness/ fatigue…like I always need a 20 min power nap (which does help a little at times) or 1 more cup of coffee (I don’t really drink coffee). In fact, according to Steep Hill Labs “5mg of CBN is as effective as 10mg dose of diazepam”

“5mg of CBN is as effective as 10mg dose of diazepam”– Steep Hill Labs

I am currently doing more research on CBN, but here is what I know so far:

CBN is a CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist. That means it’s a chemical that binds to and activates the receptor to get a biological response. CBN is “key” like THC that opens the receptors and allows the cannabinoids inside to stimulate and supplement. Here are some other benefits of CBN:

  • Analgesic- Relieves pain
  • Anti-insomnia-aids with sleep
  • Bone stimulant-promotes bone growth by stimulating osteocytes
  • Antibacterial- slows bacterial growth
  • Anti-inflammatory- reduces inflammation systemically
  • Anti-epileptic- reduces seizures and convulsions
  • Appetite stimulant- CBN appears to a mild appetite stimulant
  • Anti-emetic- reduces vomiting and nausea
  • Anti- proliferative- inhibits cancer cell growth
    (https://farmvictoria.com/what-is-cbn/)

Click below for more about CBN:
https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-cbn-and-what-are-the-benefits-of-this-cannabinoid

What Is Cannabinol (CBN)?

Anyway, in late October/ early November, I had found a high CBD shatter that was about 37% CBD (not isolate). I started infusing this in coconut oil and using in empty gel capsules during the day 2-3 times and my Shona Banda pills only at night. Things seemed to be going well; meaning my health was maintaining and I was not feeling as tired all the time but then life happened and whole bunch of stress hit (my nemesis) and my health went downhill quickly!

In hind sight, I should have switched back to the Shona Banda pills 4 times a day as soon as life started getting above the usual stress level, but I didn’t. Instead I ended up in a flare up and landed myself in the hospital…and I HATE the hospital! I mean in addition to the poking, prodding, exams, scans, Iv’s, nothing for me to eat, etc. it’s exhausting and frustrating having to explain Crohn’s to many people over and over in the hospital, and I hate having to repeat my story over and over while dealing with excruciating pain…but this time was way different.

My fiancée and I were floored

This time was WAAAY different from even just 2½ years earlier (in Sept 2015). Everyone, nurses/ assistants/ etc., everyone I came into contact with at the hospital was familiar with Crohn’s. It seemed like everyone had a family member or friend who had the disease. My fiancée and I were floored, we were used to having to inform and educate about Crohn’s as we go…but not this time. This time we discussed how the disease impacts each person differently, how one treatment may work for one person but not another, we discussed diets and treatment options both pharmaceutical and natural, including cannabis! Not 1 person we spoke to batted an eye when we told them about my cannabis use and shared my journey so far…it was AWESOME to see the changes, the acceptance of cannabis that is taking place in the main stream medical community!

But the coolest, best part of the entire 3-day trip to the hospital, was the conversations I had with the floor doctor! Her openness and willingness to listen to me as I discuss the science behind cannabis and how it helps Crohn’s. She actually listened as I shared the success stories that inspired me to go on this green journey (Shona Banda and Coltyn Turner). I explained about why I was not on Humira or any other biologic due to my allergy to polysorbate and how polysorbate is in 7 out of the 8 biologics recommended for Crohn’s. I talked about the oil and Shona Banda pills I make, the results of the testing I have had done on my Shona Banda pills, I explained how long I had been using only cannabis oil (about 14 months at that time) and how I believe I messed up with changing my doses and that combined with the massive dose of stress landed me here in the hospital.

She did not say much after that initial conversation. She told me to get rest and she would come check on me the next day.

She kept asking me if I had any questions for her and I finally asked her if I should.

I really had no idea what she thought after that conversation, I mean she was quiet and seemed to be listening but her reaction at the end left me wondering. The doctor did come back the next day. She asked how I was doing and the usual checking in inquiries…but I could tell she was lingering for some reason. She kept asking me if I had any questions for her and I finally asked her if I should. She looked around and then looked at my friend who was visiting and asked if my friend could be trusted. After I assured the doctor that my friend could be trusted, the doctor says “ok, then tell me about those cannabis pills again”. So, I do a quick abbreviated version of our previous conversation. When I finish she says to me, I have no legal right or authorization to discuss cannabis with you, but the reality is there needs to be something in place at our hospital for patients like you, patients who need cannabis. We need to have procedures and legal protection for, the nurses, doctors, the patient, ect., for all involved. With that, she said (off the record) that I need to go back to “those pills” I was taking 4 times a day and stay there. What ever it is that I am doing, it is working, don’t change it. She also went on to say that she can not tell me start taking those pills, especially while in the hospital, but…she will turn a blind eye and we did not have this conversation. And with that, she told me to rest and she would see me tomorrow to hopefully send me home.

Did my hospital doctor just tell me (without telling me) to start my cannabis/ Shona Banda pills?!

I sat there in awe!! Did my hospital doctor just tell me (without telling me) to start my cannabis/ Shona Banda pills?! I looked at my friend (who has been on the fence about cannabis) and asked her if I just heard what I thought I heard and she confirmed it!!! OMG! I called my mom as fast as I could, explained the conversation and within a couple hours my mom was in my hospital room with a 1 days’ supply of my Shona Banda pills (luckily, I make pills a head of time). So that very day, I went back to the Shona Banda pills 4 times a day (instead of the once I day I had been trying) and as of the time I am writing this, I have not stopped! When the doctor came to back to discharge me, she made a point to tell me to keep doing what I am doing, it is working. I am still in awe as I write this now, the changes are happening; the knowledge and truth are finally coming out!

However, I still did have to leave the hospital on 40mg of prednisone for 3 weeks then it took another 4 weeks to tapered off the prednisone completely…ugh! I truly hate prednisone and its side effects! However, I took the Shona Banda pills 4 times a day with the steroids and HOLY COW! I have NEEEEVER healed and returned to my “normal” so fast!! 3 days after being discharged from the hospital, I was able to sleep on my belly without pain! The pressure, on the other hand, would cause me to need to sprint to the bathroom at the speed of light, but NO pain! I was back to MY “normal” … not remission but not in constant pain! I am able to take care of my self and do what I need to to continue healing. I am hopeful that one day I will return to work. I think my days of teaching children are over…too much stress in the education system for me to work and stay healthy. But I am convinced one day I will get into remission and back to work in some way…

I am hopeful that one day I will return to work

I am blessed to be able to continue to work with a friend of mine who has worked in the cannabis industry for several years both here in AZ and in OR. She is extremely informed and educated about cannabis…in my opinion she’s damn near a genius about cannabis, especially infusing/ edibles! I LOVE the time I get with her and the new insights and information I gain from her!! Currently we are working on trying to use concentrates (like shatter) to recreate the same ratio of CBN: THC that I get in the Shona Banda pills. Using the vaporizers is very time consuming and a lot of labor (although totally worth it!), it would be nice to find a faster way. We are also looking to incorporate CBD (isolate?) to see if I can get the frequent, unpredictable bathroom trips to be a bit less frequent and a bit more predictable. My friend has also just come across CBN isolate!! Not sure I can get as an individual, but it is another avenue we are researching and exploring…hopefully we can get our hands on some to try!?!? We are researching and using trial & error to find some ratio of THC: CBN: CBD that works for me and gets me into remission…stay tuned!

I have several of these glass dome table top dry herb vaporizers that have broken over the year that I have been making this oil because I run the machine longer than they are designed for. Currently I am down to 1 working machine and having trouble finding them on line again. So, I am working with my brother and fiancé to fix some of the vaporizers and to make a bigger, better vaporizer with parts that can easily be replaced instead of needing to get a new machine. The new bigger/ better vaporizer will have a larger glass dome to help collect more oil and it will have a real temperature control. I want to see if we can start targeting different or specific cannabinoids and see if I can find that ratio of THC: CBN: CBD that gets me into remission. I love having engineers in the family! And again…stay tuned!

One additional note I would like to share has to do with one of my cousins. This cousin has been sick for some time, doctors are not exactly sure what is going on with her, but her current diagnosis is fibromyalgia. She has pain all over her body, she has trouble sleeping, digestive issues (test for Crohn’s were negative), significant weight loss without trying, tremors that start in her hands and go through out her body. She is only 28 years old; she’s a wife and a mom to an 8-year-old son and she struggles to take care of him. Her husband’s job requires him to travel so she spends stretches of time being a “single” parent.

Most recently at our holiday get together, my cousin was unable to make it more than an hour before her tremor and issues were so bad she had to go home. She and I have spent a lot of time taking about our issues and in late January/ early February she decided she wanted to try my cannabis oil, my Shona Banda pills. Smoking or vaping was helping manager her symptoms once they started but after watching me and doing her own research she was ready to give cannabis oil a try and wanted to follow what I am doing…so we did! I am happy to report that my cousin has seen huge improvements! She still struggles but is beginning to have more good days than bad. She makes the same Shona Banda pills I do and takes them 3 times a day. Her tremor is almost totally gone, if she misses more than 1 dose the tremor will start…so she no longer misses doses! She is sleeping better, she has stopped losing weight and her pain level has decreased. In fact, my mom recently saw my cousin in the last couple weeks and my mom had not seen my cousin since we got together over the holidays. My mom was floored to see my cousin! She could not believe the difference; how much better she looked and sounded when they talked!

I am hoping my she will write about her story, giving more details and let me post it here on my site, so stay tuned for that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am truly loving this crazy green journey I am on, the people I am connecting with and I am excited to share more updates…Stay turned!

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