Sue is a cannabis nurse and advocate for using plant medicine to heal. Her journey began when her mother was not thriving on all of the medications she was taking for osteoarthritis. Sue began to wonder why doctors easily prescribed opioids, but never considered cannabis. She embarked on a deep journey into healing with cannabis and CBD, and became an advocate along the way. Her mother is thriving, and Sue has found a new career consulting patients who want to get off of prescribed medications.
What does a plant-based life mean to you?
To me a plant-based life means using and interacting with plants the way our early ancestors did – as food, medicine and appreciating the plant’s beauty.
How do you practice a plant-based life?
I have come to rely on using the raw cannabis plant to help alleviate my elderly mother’s arthritis pain and anxiety. As a nurse, I am very familiar with pharmaceuticals, both their benefits and harms. Over 3 years ago, I was determined to find a less harmful pain remedy for my mother’s chronic arthritis pain than the 3 or 4 opiates she was taking daily, which caused constipation, personality changes and inadequate pain relief. After lots of reading and research, I started giving her CBD oil, then gradually a little THC oil for sleep. Incredibly, she was able to quickly taper down her opioid use to 1 pill a day while slowly increasing the cannabis oil doses. After a couple of years, her mild dementia got worse and her pain improved, so I lowered her dose of cannabis oil which she tolerated well. Then I experimented with growing some cannabis plants in my backyard (it is legal for an adult to grow 6 cannabis/marijuana plants in California). I like to garden and this turned out to be a very easy plant to grow. My plants have no CBD, just THC which can be intoxicating if heated or burned, but when used raw, they contain THCa (the acidic precursor to THC) and is not intoxicating. THCa has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and pain relieving properties so I picked the cannabis leaves and/or flowers and added them to my mother’s daily smoothie. Over several months, she remained in a good stable condition and I was able to wean her completely off the THC oil and most of the CBD oil while she continued having the raw cannabis. I’m still amazed at how well it works and she just turned 92 and continues to do well with her plant remedy!
What do you think the benefits of a plant-based life are?
I firmly believe that plant remedies pose many fewer harmful side effects than pharmaceuticals and should be tried first when treating an illness or symptom. I have found that many times, plant based remedies like peppermint for an upset stomach, chamomile tea for sleep or to relax, honey and lemon for a sore throat, CBD for anxiety or pain, etc – do the trick with no unwanted side effect or dependence.
What is your favorite tip or hack for a plant-based life?
Take a look at all the wonderful teas that are available to help relieve different symptoms and try some that sound interesting or useful. Tea is loaded with antioxidants and delicious so it’s a win-win!
What is your favorite plant-based recipe?
Anything I can grow in my garden – roasted carrots, spinach for salad or sauted, beets to roast, mint for my mojito – but my go to is making a simple salad dressing of olive oil, lemon juice (from our lemon tree) with salt and pepper. I also am starting to like riced cauliflower almost better than regular rice!
What is your favorite plant medicine?
CBD. If fact, cannabis may be the most amazing medicine I have ever seen, plant based or not.
How do you learn about plant based life? What books or sources inspire you?
My grandpa was very into making fresh vegetable juice for me as a kid and living a healthy lifestyle. He lived to a healthy 100 years old, so I learned that what he was doing had a positive effect on his health. I also started looking at food differently after I read The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry.
In what category do you wish we had more plant-based solutions?
I wish there were more plant based products to replace plastic and other non-biodegradeable items.
Do you have a plant-based hero?
I appreciate commercial organic farmers!