Thursday, September 8, 2011

medical marijuana

I’ve spent my fair share of the last couple years researching and experimenting with cannabis, which has been more of a struggle than it sounds. I’ve had butter, milk, oil, peanut butter, various baked products and candies, and yes, I’ve inhaled. I wasn’t ready to write about it earlier, as I felt it was an enormous responsibility and wanted to be sure of my results. So far, I’ve only given help and advice on an individual, case-by-case basis, but the time is way overdue to put it out there, as it were.

I thought advances on the MMJ front would happen sooner in Europe than in the States, but after a recent trip to the Wild West, that appears to be otherwise. After talking with several dispensary workers and owners in California and Colorado in their various degrees of sobriety and ‘back pain’, I hit gold and stumbled upon Full Spectrum Labs while in Denver and discussed my own findings with a scientist there. He concurred.

The marijuana plant has multiple cannabinoids that have proven medicinal value against many diseases. Against cancer, the most important are CBG, CBD, CBC as well as THC.

The most effective delivery method is ingestion. My preferred method is milk, as it’s natural, easy to make, practically free and makes use of the entire plant.

Smoking marijuana is the most common method of administration and the least medically effective. Although it will alleviate many of the side effects associated with chemotherapy, it will have very little ‘direct’ impact on your cancer.

I tried hemp oil for a bit (which is expensive to make and potentially dangerous), but only after I was already well on the mend from the milk. It did, however, work very well topically when I applied it to what I believe was the primary tumor. I had another folk concoction at one point that I had analyzed and it also contained cannabinoids.

I had the milk while on chemo, pretty much every day, often with my morning coffee. Not only did it make the worst bearable, but I think it also saved me from many of the literally crippling side effects associated with Carmustine (BCNU) and Cisplatin, two of my chemo drugs, by acting as a neuroprotectant. I also sincerely believe that cannabis helped immensely to cure my cancer. I list it in its rightful place as #5 in my previous top ten, but as the first tangible and active (as opposed to giving something up) ingredient of my recovery, because that’s what it was.

That said, here’s my recipe for ‘pot milk’:

1) You need: a blender, a rice cooker (or crockpot), a French press (or less effective straining mechanism), a funnel and re-sealable glass container(s) - I use the equivalent of mason-jar-like Grolsch beer bottles or this beauty:

Whole milk: use only whole (higher-fat animal) milk. 3.5% or better to open. You can also add half-and-half or a little cream (if you want it whipped, but this may cause it to clot later) and optional (but pretty necessary) flavoring(s) like: Kahlua, vanilla or almond extract (that I use) or cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. NO SUGAR!

Get weed 'waste' from a grower. This can be leaves, schwag, trimmings, loose bud, hermaphrodite bud, or actual bud if you can afford it, etc. Remove the larger stems;

2) Fill (pack) the blender with the aforementioned to about 1/3 to 1/2 full (I use about three 'cups');

3) Add the milk - in the case of my blender, a liter.

4) Add Kahlua, vanilla, almond extract or some other flavoring to taste (steps 3 and 4 can be reversed);

5) Blend very well, working your way up the settings;

6) Pour mixture into a crockpot or, much better yet, a rice cooker. If using a crockpot, you should slow cook it for well over two hours (other recipes say up to 6 hours – which I find excessive). If using a rice cooker, you can alternate between settings and get out of there in about 45 minutes. Never actually boil the milk, but get close at first (other recipes say to keep it at 140°F - which seems about right), while stirring. Then you can leave it on the ‘warm’ setting for two hours. Stir fairly often. I give it a last ‘cook’ blast at the very end, so it strains better;

7) Pour the cooked mixture into a French press coffee maker (Bodum). Press;

8) Funnel into a glass receptacle, through yet another finer strainer (if you don’t want it gritty). Keep pressing, stirring up and pouring until you get it all;

9) Test potency very carefully. Try a teaspoon and give it at least an hour to have any effect. Then move up to a tablespoon, if you don’t feel anything.

Once you start ingesting marijuana products, your tolerance goes through the roof after a week. This is a huge plus, as you will want to increase your intake over time. The potency will vary from batch to batch and is very hard to regulate or standardize. So, test each batch with care.

What to expect? The effects of pot milk vary depending on potency, individual constitution, body weight and established tolerance. After a lengthy abstinence, I tried it again (a shot’s worth) in order to attempt to experience it as a first-time patient, before recommending it to someone without a known tolerance. It was, to put it mildly, very strong. Your mental state is very important, as the milk can magnify emotions, while making you very introspective. It can cause extreme paranoia in some, if you don’t know what to expect, so use carefully, with sound mind and judgment.

The effects kick in anytime after 30 minutes and can last from four to eight hours - the peak not coming until around two hours into it. I now take it only at night and use only indica (or mixed) strains, which are more relaxing than sativas. It’s an all body high, very deep, and very relaxing, if you let it be.

It’s best to have knowledge and even better yet to have some control over the strain that you’re using. Strains high in the particular cannabinoids mentioned above are obviously best. If you live in Colorado, Full Spectrum Labs will test your strain for $35, if you’re an MMJ cardholder. That said, beggars can’t be choosers and you may have to use what’s available from your nearest (or friendliest) grower. I have never paid for ‘waste’: it’s called that for a reason. My cost is the milk and the odd bottle of vanilla or Kahlua. The price tag beats the hell out of chemotherapy and is infinitely more pleasant.

The MMJ debate seems to be coming to a head, at once becoming more widely accepted, while at the same time strangely, much more polarized, contradictory, confused and confusing. I’ll get into some of the complicated legal issues in my next post. Until then, enjoy this excellent documentary:

Got milk?


maire said...

great post, mike! you'll become the julia child of pot!

Jiffy said...

True to your word! So glad that you finally posted this, Mike, and what a lovely reference photo. Is it wrong that it caused me salivate a little bit?

Tycho Sierra said...

Great post, Mike! Thanks for sharing all that info, including the recipe :-)

Anonymous said...

Great work Mike. If every blogger did as much reporting and wrote as clearly and compassionately as you did, we might be able to more easily sift through the crap and secrets and lies and find out from one other how to live a little better.

I'm sorry we didn't get to meet when you were in Plattsburgh. I'm afraid we ate the cookies that we baked for you, but next time. BG

mike said...

Thanks everyone for the very encouraging words! I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Waiting for the next installment. Ann

David Haas said...

I have a question about your blog. Please email me!

Liz in P-6 said...

Thanks, Mike!

- Liz

mike said...

You're very welcome! Let me know if you have any questions. Here's another great film about medical marijuana:

mike said...

PS: You can make a weaker batch for starters by just using less plant material.

juliuscesarsalad said...

Awesome content Mike, thanks! So why is hemp oil potentially dangerous?

mike said...

Well, it can be both dangerous to make and dangerous to take: The first time I tried to make it, I didn't boil off enough of the solvent (denatured rubbing alcohol) and my kidneys shut down for the day. I almost had to go on dialysis.

The second time, it blew up in my face (taking some of my massive eyebrow mass with it) and almost burned down my kitchen - not enough ventilation.

Also, the recipe calls for 'buds' which can get expensive; and although high in THC may be limiting in other cannabinoid content.

It may also may be harder to absorb / ingest internally - I have that from a scientist and it makes sense. I prefer to use whole fat milk and leaves (practically free) - make a lot and build up a tolerance. That said, when used topically, the oil is miraculous.

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Unknown said...

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pamela said...
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