A Guide to "Lifted Layering": Getting to Sleep & Staying There with Cannabis.

We know poor sleep leads to a myriad of unpleasant ripple effects like daytime sleepiness, fatigue, headaches, unwanted mood shifts, inattention, increased susceptibility to accident, and other health problems that delightfully snowball into daily livin’. I’ve been struggling with getting to sleep and staying there, as well as feeling refreshed when I awaken as opposed to a zombified extra on The Walking Dead. In addition to dealing with old soccer injuries, identifying & reflecting on my stressors (hello parenting in the day of active shooter drills), I’ve been experimenting with “layering” techniques for enhancing my sleep integrating, but not depending upon, THC and CBD

“Lifted Layering” is a term I coined for a self-care equation I’ve been honing - a strategy anyone can use to cobble together relaxing, ritualistic activities to either establish or enhance your self care regimen according to your budget of time, money, and needs. While not wholly reliant upon it, Lifted Layering involves integrating cannabis with other tools of relaxation in an intentional way. This isn’t earth shattering stuff, but more of an example of things I’ve implemented in my own life which complement one another beautifully. Self-care IS healthcare, friends, and unfortunately, consider this a gentle reminder this isn’t a luxury, or stuff you earn, friends, you are entitled to caring for yourself: human beings need rest to live, period.

Sure, some weed will knock you out - hello, Academic: a solid Indica flower with high THC and really sleepy terps (think linalool, a floral sedative terpene also found in Lavender, and is known to calm the mind and body and induce sleep). But, I found that after my initial pajama-clad smoke sesh, I tended to wake up after a couple of hours and proceed to exemplify that Squidward-visiting-the-bong-at-midnight-meme. *Not* that there’s anything wrong with midnight tokin’, but mama needs a solid eight hours of sleep. I’m so interested in this space that I’ve framed a bunch of my time around it, including my recent #WomensWeedNight and in most, if not all, of the consulting I do with clients. Americans have a biiiig sleep issue. Here I’ve articulated some helpful practices with which I’ve been experimenting - try some adaptation of them in your routine and let me know how it goes! Do not feel pressure to do all of these all the time; really, it’s like choosing a few cards from a deck - selfcare need not be lockstep uniform, but a fluid regular activity you relish in and are called to do consistently. I do some combo of these things each night of my life, but that doesn’t mean you need to do the same.

Prep for success by building this time into your schedule. Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to this routine after your responsibilities for the day are met (or even if they aren’t, frankly, if it can be done tomorrow, let it be). So charge your crystals, grab some herb, a scented candle, and treat yo’ self along these lines, ladies (and gents).

Step 1. Find a quiet area to chillax uninterrupted, find your happy place, your “lady lair” as I call my spot. I don’t care if it’s Harry Potter's under-the-stairs hovel. Make like Liz Lemon and go to there and (politely) tell those in your household to leave ya be!

Step 2. Smoke or vape an Indica-leaning strain, you have to get into your “me time” headspace immediately, amirite? Remember, Indica cannabis varieties are known to abate anxiety and relax the body moreso than our Sativas. Pay attention to where you carry your stress physically, and when that area starts to relax you’ve found medicine which suits you. If you’re more of a mental stress person, the next step is for you. I can always tell when I’ve medicated adequately when my shoulders drop involuntarily because this is where most of my stress manifests physically. My absolute favorite concentrate before bed comes from my friends at Craft1861, their SLEEP formula is outstanding - I and my clients clamor for it. Some of my fave flower strains that are widely available: Northern Lights, Gelato, Granddaddy Purple, and Skywalker; no worries if this list doesn’t match your local weed inventory - just ask your supplier for an Indica with a moderate to high amount of THC (18%+) and maybe even some CBD in there, if you can find it.

Also, interesting tidbit: old cannabis has been shown to help aide in sleep issues thanks to the development of Cannabinol or CBN, a lesser known cannabinoid that slowly develops as the others degrade over time and is known to be a very sleep-inducing compound. Only problem? There aren’t a lot of CBN-heavy strains on the market (yet) and we know there isn’t a demand for old weed, so good luck finding CBN flower; some people make their own by basically leaving a jar of herb in the garage. For a year. Yeah, not so appetizing, but read on for a product suggestion featuring CBN.

Step 3. You’re stoned now so we’ll keep this short, but I promise, skipping this step is a mistake. Do a 4 minute journal entry/scribble in a notebook or phone (though I think there’s more tactile benefit to putting pen to paper). Use a sharpie to resist drilling down too far - just mind-blurt out the things that are on your mind, bothering you, or stressing you out. Simply getting it out helps calm your brainwaves into a state that’s far more conducive to relaxation. Set a timer and try this: Take ONE minute to think about your worries, take ONE minute to write them down, ONE minute to write the simplest actions to address each, and ONE minute to write down 4 things for which you’re grateful. This exercise lowers your heart rate almost immediately and cumulatively over time will help you feel more balanced and happy. Perfect for us mental stress cases. Bonus? Your to-do list for the next day is started.  

 Medicated bath bombs: worthy of the HIGHpe. This is my set-up for bathtime.

Medicated bath bombs: worthy of the HIGHpe. This is my set-up for bathtime.

Step 5. Run (and style) your bath! Layer your Lair! One of my BFFs literally drags her plants into her bathroom to achieve the vibe - like a 5 foot palm tree, ya’ll. I put crystals around and light candles just to gussy it up. I’m also a fan of adding an infused bathbomb (KushQueen makes wonderful products); No, you will not get high from such a thing, essentially you’ll leave the bath uber-moisturized and noticeably more relaxed, sorta like you’ve had a massage in addition to a warm bath. Sometimes I cut the bombs in half, too, for future tub time. Make your bath HOT so you can stay in there longer than you think you should. Spoiler alert: you should stay in there longer than you think you should. Our epidermis is literally our largest organ thus soaking yourself in a CBD and THC-laden bath relieves inflammation at the skin and superficial muscle group levels outstandingly.

Step 6. Hydrate. While your bath runs (mine takes foreverrr) grab a drank. There is research showing a connection between mood and dehydration, think hangry but for water (#HydRage?), and you lose a lot of H2O while you soak your body into raisinity. I like to chug a glass of water then steep some cannabis tea to enjoy in the bath - I make my own cannacoconut oil (here’s an easy DIY recipe) and my dose is roughly around 20-30mg. You can also find medicated teas on the market, Kikoko makes a sleepytime version with CBN in it, it’s on my list to try.

Step 7. Throw on a facemask, pack a bowl and Tune. The. Eff. Out. Not enough people smoke in the bath for some reason. Do it. If quiet solitude is your thang, do it, if you wanna binge on The Real Housewives of Any City, do it. I tend to listen to music, puff, and revel in how awesome I feel while sippin’ my tea TOTALLY ALONE. Now lay there...for as long as you’d like. Warm the bath up once or twice.  

Step 8. Here’s where things get interesting. So yes, I’ve smoked by this time probably twice and my tea is settling in and I’m feeling good *how-ev-er* I’ve discovered that my body needs more layers to help me sleep all night. Post-bath is when I’ll take my fave Charlotte’s Web CBD and THC extracts; I usually take one dose but may double up if I’m sore from a workout or something. It sounds like a lot, but remember that CBD actually disrupts THC, dampening it’s cognitive effects, while holding the medicinal benefit in place. Even given that, still be sure to titrate (aka adjust dosage) conservatively and use ratios aligned with your tolerance - you can always take more. Start with the dose on the package, give yourself a few minutes to allow it to spread into your bloodstream (15-20 should definitely do it when using a sublingual), and when you feel good, stop.

 My favorite products from Stanley Brothers and Charlotte's Web, these are my staples. 

My favorite products from Stanley Brothers and Charlotte's Web, these are my staples. 

Step 9. Ever heard of Self Massage? I can almost hear the dirty jokes being typed. Seriously, who can get a massage every time s/he needs one? I certainly cannot and have devised a little technique, with the help of topicals, a tennis ball, and my foam roller. I really like Papa & Barkley’s topical line but I’ve also made my own and it was outstanding. This is usually my last stop before hittin’ the actual sack - and sometimes I just do 5 minutes of bed yoga - but these two techniques relax my spine and hips better than others and are adaptable to almost any body part. I slather any achy muscles or joints in a medicated salve then do 5 minutes of stretching, that’s it. Here’s a nice set of tennis ball massage moves and here’s my absolute favorite move EVER using my foam roller, the Spine Roll Release. *squeal* Seriously, be prepared to be obsessed. And if you have a partner who doesn’t massage you like Skeletor (I’m looking at you, husband), ask them to work ya over.

 Just a casual foam roller moment between friends: here I am leading my friend Laura of @Queen_Canna in the spine release move I adore.

Just a casual foam roller moment between friends: here I am leading my friend Laura of @Queen_Canna in the spine release move I adore.

Step 10. Do you! Some of my clients feel like they “shouldn’t” medicate in the middle of the night for some reason. Do not feel a modicum of guilt if you wake up and have a toke. Like, would you feel guilty taking an Advil in the middle of night for a gnar toothache? NO. Do what it takes to get the rest you need, but really, don’t resort to Ambien - it’s addictive and makes for some weird sleepwalking/driving/shopping tales. Ask Chelsea Handler. And word to the wise: if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night within 4-6 hours of your alarm, you probably do NOT want to ingest edibles so close to wake-up, you’ll proooobably still be high when the buzzer goes off; In this case, opt to smoke or vaporize a little something and hook up some white noise or instrumental music to lull you back into REM sleep.

Happy Layering! Let me know in how these tools and strategies work for you or if you have your own rituals you rely on, cannabis-related or not. XO - TC

 

Cannabis x Parkinson's

Just finished my monthly consult with my sweet client, a 77-year-old Grandpa living with mid-stage Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

PD afflicts over 60,000 Americans and is a degenerative, central nervous system disorder impacting motor control and typically occurs in folks over 60. There is no agreed upon cause nor cure for PD, unfortunately. The symptoms, which as a group are sometimes referred to as “Parkinsonism”, generally appear slowly, at first the most obvious are physical: slowed movement, shakiness, walking and speaking problems. Also, behavioral & thought problems like Dementia are common as PD advances; and emotional imbalances like depression and anxiety are common in more than 30% of folks with PD at every stage of the disease. PD sufferers may experience sleep problems, as well.

About my client’s symptoms: a profound tremor in his tongue & jaw robbing him of his speech, depression and anxiety, painful muscle spasms & rigidity, extremely disturbed sleep patterns with night terrors and sleepwalking, and low energy.

And those aren’t even the side effects of his prescription! Carbidopa/levodopa is a commonly prescribed Parkinson’s drug combo; some of the side effects include nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation; headache, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision; stuffy nose/cold symptoms; insomnia; muscle pain, and what my client experienced most: severe, painful facial spasms that would last HOURS. The worst part for my client? The drugs weren’t helping. In fact, the side effects of the CL were so much more excruciating than the illness, he stopped taking them all together (under the care of his doctor).

Since PD is a neurological disorder wherein dopamine producing cells die off, meds prescribed to mitigate it usually involve a #DopamineAgonist, or a compound that encourages dopamine production. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a dopamine agonist and THC is, too! Per @ProjectCBD (check them out, btw), “By acting as an “inverse agonist” at the GPR6 receptor, CBD boosts dopamine levels in preclinical studies.” THC, as well, increases dopamine in the brain; Cannabinoids don’t actually connect with dopamine neurons but activate the endocannabinoid system instead. Cannabinoid membrane receptors are all over the body including parts of the brain where dopamine neurons also live. Interestingly, dopamine neurons themselves don’t have any cannabinoid receptors. What happens in PD is that dopamine neurons in the reward pathway are inhibited, or blocked, by GABA neurons which *do* have cannabinoid receptors. THC plugs into the CB1 receptors on the GABA neurons, which inactivates the neurons, unblocking the neural pathway allowing dopamine neurons to be more active, enabling the flow of dopamine to disrupt the symptoms of PD.

Here’s what Pops has been doing for the last six months and how it has impacted his life. Remember that everyone is different, but his is a great testimony for therapeutic cannabis use. Papa tells me he medicates all day in this way, sometimes adding extracts to food but usually taking them sublingually (under the tongue):

•Stanley Bros CBD:THC 1:1 CANNABIS Extract x 1.5 dose Twice Daily

•CW Everyday Advanced HEMP extract, x 2 doses Twice Daily

•25-30 mg vaporized THC Flower (Chemdawg) as needed, usually in the evening

Why Chemdawg? It’s a common cultivar to find, has high THC content, and the right terpene profile to treat pain and spasms. But, if you can’t find it specifically, have no fear - look for flower w/ the following features:

  • High THC content (20% or more)

  • Most prominent terpenes are #Myrcene, #Caryophllyene

  • Cannabigerol, or CBG, another cannabinoid with significant promise. Essentially, described as the “parent chemical”, CBG eventually turns into THC & CBD, and may help quell muscle spasms.

Papa reports a huge decrease in pain, tremors and spasms, better depth and duration of sleep (without night terrors), and distinct lifts in mood and appetite when he stays well medicated w/ CBD *and* THC. It’s important to note that both cannabinoids should be used together for maximum therapeutic benefit for certain illnesses, Parkinson’s is one; it’s The #entourageeffect, essentially when both compounds are present they work more effectively. When THC and CBD are both present, the CB1 Receptors (which THC likes) and CB2 receptors (which CBD likes) are “greased” allowing the cannabinoids to find them more securely and deliver their benefits more effectively. These compounds are remarkably synergistic - take advantage, regardless of your health status, and find your perfect ratio.

Pops is someone who has never used cannabis before, a dear friend’s dad, and identifies as a Christian conservative voter. When my friend introduced us for cannabis coaching, I was happy to help - I also thought that this is a step in not only helping Pops but a step toward changing hearts and minds about this plant and the social issues in which it’s intertwined. I’ve been providing info and education to this family for a while (Pops’ wife has arthritis) with monthly check-ins, and they’re now able to make very informed decisions about their medicinal choices involving #MedicalMarijuana. It’s a blessing to share knowledge in a personalized way and help others (and be paid for my intellect).

At the end of our call what Sessions did this month came up as did Congress needing to act, and the fact that this is plant medicine. All that came up from conservative voters who are changing their minds about multiple social issues because of cannabis! Our sweet lady plant is *THE* crux of human connection in our World. Everyone - regardless of age, size, ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic background, sexual or gender identity, political or religious beliefs - can find healing and happiness in cannabis.

I’m dedicated on my niche of serving women, but I obviously work with men and I adore my seniors. If you or someone you love is curious about personalized #cannabiscoaching, drop a DM or email - confidential phone consults start at $30. Be well, friends!

 

The Wee(d)kend Savior in Your Pantry.

Ever over-indulged with cannabis? Pulled the classic “this edible isn’t working” and take more too soon? Or just gotten *too* lifted? A few of my clients have asked for advice for some, um, cannsumption problems recently so I wanted to spread a tidbit of knowledge that might save your weekend sometime.

I’ve definitely had moments of regret over the decades, especially since part of my work is testing many different products for clients, etc. This common stoner misstep is sometimes a rough but necessary part of figuring out our ideal personal THC dosage; unfortunately, it also leads to folks ending up in the emergency room or just plain having a TERRIBLE time. I mean, I know people who have had one atrocious edible experience and have sworn off marijuana for life. For LIFE, ya’ll. It really does feel horrible, believe people when they say they feel like they’re “dying”: the racing heart, the sweating, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, disorientation - it’s like, bad.  And don’t think you’re beyond it, veteran smokers, cannabinoids are processed very differently in our bodies depending on a litany of factors from your age, sex, what you’ve eaten that day, if you’ve worked out, your mental state, if you’re a woman your hormonal cycle will impact how cannabis effects you, and of course the amount, type and mode of weed you ingest matters. You never know how  different ganja products will impact you, regardless of how you take them - smoking, eating, vaping AND/or combining with alcohol (which can be the cannabis kiss of death, btw). Go low and slow, people, low and slow! At least until you understand your tolerance and limits (as you would with alcohol, frankly). And please don’t drive when you’re blazed, it’s JUST AS BAD AS DRUNK DRIVING. It’s one thing to smoke a joint with your friends, have a hike or something, then drive a couple of hours later - don’t puff tuff then go control a 2,000 pound gas-filled vehicle. Ya feel?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to counteract the negative effects of THC but isn’t always at our fingertips. But good news, however, and it involves a kitchen staple you probably have in your cabinet or is growing in your California ‘hood: Pink Peppercorns. The Peruvian Pepper Tree (sometimes called the California Pepper Tree) thrives in central and southern California and was planted prolificly in planned neighborhood grids like mine in San Diego in the 50s/60s. The berries or “drupes” are the seeds inside these vivid pink outer husks which are ripe in the Fall and Winter months and they last basically forever. (I use them medicinally and in my cooking as well, they lend a really subtle sweet chili flavor to my avo toast. Mmmultitasker!)

How to Use: Simply crush peppercorns using a mortar and pestle or grinder, give them a few deep sniffs, and/ or chew on 5-10 kernals for a couple of minutes, taking care not to swallow right away. I found that chewing the kernals made for a quick (minutes) onset of “de-high-ing” (ha) wherein sniffing them didn’t do much for me. Others have reported a reversal in the negative effects of THC (anxiety lessened, nausea subsided, heart rate normalized, etc.).

Why it Works: It’s posited that there is an #EntourageEffect of the Terpenoids in the pepper plant interacting directly with the THC cannabinoid in cannabis. Per LeafScience, "Pepper contains the terpenes myrcene, α-Pinene (alpha-pinene) and the terpenoid (a modified terpene) caryophyllene.  Pinene has been used for asthmatic patients as a bronchodilator, and, beta-caryophyllene which has been researched for help with athritis, multiple sclerosis and HIV-associated dementia as well as treatment with anxiety and depression. In other words, the terpenoids found in pepper could help with the THC-induced symptoms felt from the phytocannabinoids found in marijuana".

Terpenes, cannabinoids and the entourage effect - extremely exciting plant medicine for our world - this space is just so, so promising. If you or someone you love is curious about cannabis and would like to acquire deeper knowledge of the plant, applications, and therapeutic benefits to help her make more informed cannabis-for-wellness decisions, contact me for personalized, confidential virtual cannabis coaching: thecanncierge@gmail.

 

Women's Weed Night

We had so much fun at the last Women’s Weed Night!

Lifted ladies ranging from our 30s to 70s gathered in a private residence to learn more about the sacred cannabis flower, discover vetted effective products, and workshop new techniques to embolden and improve the cannabis practice. Here’s a little bit about the evening.

Opening with champagne and introductions, we dined on uber-tasty vegetarian, gluten-free lasagne by the very talented multi-talented Christine Dionese.  After we had a bite, we kicked off the evening with some background on the difference between hemp and cannabis plants, drilled down into the active compounds of THC and CBD, then briefed peeps on the ECS. Everyone in attendance had at least a mid-level understanding, so the content was tailored.

We like to do something we call “level up” with #cannsumption, starting with the non-psychoactives and moving into THC. I highly recommend this practice, especially for women, (since THC impacts us more quickly), for those on other medications, or who are very sensitive to THC (fyi: you are one of these people if you get really paranoid, nauseated, sweaty, etc. when you smoke a sativa-leaning weed). Even for veteran stoners, you really don’t know how different compounds and combos of said compounds will take to your system - I don’t care if you’re Snoop - but especially when mixing edibles, flower & concentrates - TAKE YOUR TIME. And, very good thing to know: CBD counteracts the negative things like paranoia, nausea, and shakiness that some strains can cause in certain individuals - I keep it on hand for those moments of too much cannsumption (they happen, trust).

First Course: CW Everyday Hemp Extract for everyone! I literally want to yell that daily. We started the night off with my health supplement obsession, non-psychoactive #hempextract from Charlotte’s Web. Adults generally will use 1-2 droppers twice daily for optimal results, so we all had that dose to kick off the evening, in addition, we sipped CBD-dosed cocktails I posted to Insta about earlier. I’m pretty into healthy living (though I cannot pass-up a coldass coca-cola) and CBD has been in my orbit for a while now, but, moreover, this product has become a staple for my family, not just for me: I use it to quell inflammation, improve skin & brain elasticity and it has helped joint pain from old soccer injuries diminish; my husband is using it to heal after a cycling injury and for sleep; My child also, is benefiting from CBD in topical form and uses CW’s Topical Pen, for an outbreak of eczema associated with, we think, the stress of starting school.

Second course: Marley Natural's Red Label CBD joints of ACDC, a famously relaxing strain with 17% CBD and 1.1% THC. These Js are relatively petite but pack a solid smoke, I’ve found that my “levels” are just right when I use about a 3:1 THC:CBD sort of ratio, so a few tokes of this was a really nice primer for the THC to follow, and, it was ideal for the CBD-only users of the group who are more of a reversed form of me, so more CBD to THC. Your shoulders will drop a little bit, you’ll feel your muscles relax, and some of the ladies used the following adjectives post-smokage: “fuzzy..but only physically”, “relaxed”, “cozy”, “anxiety - gone”, “content”.

Third Course: CRAFT 1861 Premium Cannabis Oil, we tested the whole line designed to help you uplift, create, relax, and sleep; they’re also releasing a CBD:THC oil soon, which will be amazing. Craft 1861 is a brand I’m pleased to be working with in my consulting practice, they're thoughtful and effective from the start: the fresh-frozen flower is cold-pressed extracted (NO BHO, Co2, MCT, PEG, or PEG 400! No bad stuff!) resulting in very pure cannabis oil. But, then, what's done next is what sets Craft 1861 apart: in addition to extracting THC and CBD, Craft 1861 extracts those essential oils we've all been learning so much about, terpenes, like linalool, myrcene, and limonene. The terpenes are then combined in custom profiles aligned with supporting an array of common mood destinations (with which everyone can connect), then the terpene cocktails are re-combined with the pure cannabis oil to a delightful taste and remarkable affect. 

As far as accessibility, Craft 1861 is next level - eschewing sometimes complicated-for-the-novice-to-understand strain names and plant compound references, Craft 1861 designed a product using common language everyone uses in life, it's recognizable; Obviously, in pen form, micro-dosing and discretion is just total necessity. I've affectionately named the line my “Weed Wardrobe” because I keep the set on deck to support daily across-the-board needs: Uplift, for a bright, "day" medication; Create for an energetic euphoria ideal for making, thinking, and doing; Relax for when you need to chill and allay some pain; and Sleep, for exactly that. And, what’s heartening is that I’ve received positive feedback from one client using Craft 1861 Sleep to wean off of ambien: she reports better, more sustained sleep and no more fear of addiction...or nude sleepwalking!

In their collective, Craft 1861 works with farmers from Calaveras County, CA, and pays their farmer-partners a fair wage for sustainably sungrown, organic marijuana for their exclusive use. I really, REALLY trust this brand philosophically and scientifically - and I do not say that lightly. Check them out at www.craft1861.com, ask for them by name at your shop, or find them on Weedmaps. Obviously, nothing for sale here folks!

Fourth Course: Homegrown Cheesecake Joint packed to the gills. My grow partners and I just took this strain from a nice slow cure and it’s dank, cheesy, and elicits an extremely stoney, sort of silly euphoria, leading to...

Fifth Course: Donuts & an episode of #Disjointed. Naturally.

We closed our workshop with hugs, new friends exchanging info, and a collective feeling of happiness from watching one’s community grow before her eyes. Cannabis heals, unites, and makes us better people - it’s a beautiful thing to witness, especially among a group of women spanning multiple generations. For more information on my work, classes, and retreats visit thecanncierge.com or on Instagram @thecanncierge.