Cannabis 101


Hello dear friends!

This amazing, informative post is brought to you by Joanne Matson. She was kind enough to write this blog for all of you who may be curious about cannabis, and how it can help in your healing. Scroll down to check out her profile and contact info!

Cannabis, aka Marijuana, MaryJane, weed, pot, whatever you call it, is a plant. A beautifully strong, adaptable, flowering plant which has long been utilized, respected and revered. Some researchers and historians hypothesize that it is the plant referred to in the Bible as the “tree of life”, the nectar of immortality.

I remember the first time I read about legalizing marijuana for medical reasons in California, (to set the record straight, this disparaging term was coined by the U.S. government as a slang term to criminalize people of latin descent and color. The correct term is Cannabis.), I was stumped. As a closet (and sometimes not so closet) user of this herb, I understood that it helped me feel better from the constant nausea and intestinal cramping due to my chronic digestive issues, but I didn’t understand how smoking a joint could help heal or cure me of my Crohn’s disease, relieve my arthritis, or possibly kill a future cancer, among other medical claims. It seemed to me a way for people to justify their free right to smoke weed. Sure, that’s fine, but let’s not exaggerate what this baggie full of dry herb can do.

Boy, did I have some learning to do. Cannabis flower is one of the most misunderstood plants on the planet. If you were born after 1920 (and I am assuming if you are reading this, that you were), you most likely came of age in a time when cannabis was either vilified as a perverse intoxicant, or it was warned against as an illegal drug. Mainstream government lead propaganda characterized its use by anti-war hippies, jazz musicians, and people of color. Its truly remarkable qualities for healing, which have been known and respected for thousands of years, was removed from our collective knowledge thanks to a handful of folks hell-bent on ensuring that a natural plant did not compete with their profitable companies producing pharmaceuticals, plastics, fossil fuels, paper, timber or even food. Yes, the cannabis plant, both the medicinal and the industrial versions of the plant, can replace all of the above mentioned goods without poisoning or depleting our earth’s resources, while simultaneously cleaning up the soil. Think about that. The injustice that has enveloped our world due to greed, propaganda, and paranoia over this sacred and profound plant is tragic.


As for cannabis as medicine, which is currently one of the most important “new” discoveries of our time, it all comes down to science. Cannabis contains biologically active compounds called phtyocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. These chemicals react with our body chemistry to give certain effects, which can vary by individual. The very general term cannabinoid refers to a group of chemical compounds known as THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, THC-A, THCV, CBD-A, and CBDV, among many others still being discovered. These cannabinoids, along with the varying terpenes and flavonoids present, create therapeutic effects on the body.

The human body has an Endocannabinoid system which regulates the flow of signals between cells to govern homeostasis, or balance, in the body. Endocannabinoids are made and released by the cells in the body as needed, as a response to a signal, or trigger. This signal can present as inflammation due to an injury or illness, or other biological imbalances in the body. The newly discovered Endocannabinoid system is the most prolific receptor system in the human body, as it regulates many of the physiological pathways inherent in our body including the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and endocrine systems. Immune functionality, inflammatory responses and metabolism, among many other functions, are affected by the endocannabinoid system.

Much of the medical cannabis research today is consistently showing that when our endocannabinoid system is not properly functioning, we may experience enough of an imbalance as to create a serious medical condition. Cannabis is a natural remedy to balance and regulate this important biological system. A dysfunctional endocannabinoid system can present itself in a myriad of ways, including autoimmune diseases and disorders (Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, etc) cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s), Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Migraine headaches, IBS, anxiety, depression, arthritis, insomnia, nausea, menstrual dysfunctions, cancer and more. 1

The two most studied and understood of the phtyocannabinoids are THC and CBD. These cannabinoids both have incredible medicinal value, especially when taken as a whole plant extract or oil. People living in states that have legalized cannabis have greater access to the full spectrum of the plant, which gives a more balanced and well-rounded healing effect. Ideally, due to the complexities of the human and plant endocannabinoid system, the plant in its full expression offers the most therapeutic benefit due to the synergistic effects the separate cannabinoids have with one another. The use of the full plant and all of its biologically active compounds is referred to as the entourage effect, and often is the best choice for healing and balancing the body.

However, due to the varying and often absurd laws in each state, and the federal labeling of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, too many people cannot get access to the whole plant. Luckily, online access is available for CBD dominant oils (when the THC level is below .3%, which is the federal standard), tinctures and salves (the most common form of intake when being used as a medical supplement), which definitely have their place in the herbal apothecary for its superb pharmacological effects. CBD is known to be anti-cancer, anti-proliferative, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-psoratic, anti-diarrheal, analgesic, anti-spasmadic, vasorelaxant, neuroprotective, anti-epileptic, antipsychotic, a bone stimulant, and an excellent sleep aid. There have been over six thousand papers on phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids in PubMed peer-reviewed articles. The research is exploding, and its just the beginning. 2


Understanding why cannabis aids in the healing process of humans, and animals, is the first step to finding true self-healing using the plant world. Finding high quality products is another important step, especially in an industry full of greed and competition. In my holistic wellness practice, I ensure to the best of my knowledge that any recommendations I make are based on personal discovery and use. It is imperative that any plant-based medicine be made using high quality, organic materials (although the FDA does not allow the word organic to be listed on cannabis products) that undergo detailed lab testing to ensure there are no harmful solvents, pesticides or heavy metals present in the final medicine.

The Lighthearted Farmer and FlowerChild CBD are two companies whom I personally use and highly recommend. They both have a passion for healing and create high quality, pure CBD salves, oils, tinctures and pet products. I always recommend starting in a mid-range for potency (600mg per mL, for instance). I follow the “low and slow” guidelines of dosing: ¼ of a dropper, (or 200 mg) at most every 4 hours or twice a day, depending on purpose of use. Pay attention to how you feel, and recognize that the more out of balance your endocannabinoid system, the more strongly you may feel the effects. Although CBD is not considered psycho-active (giving the “high”), many people do report a feeling of euphoria or sleepiness when they begin dosing with CBD. Ideally, you would find a level of the tincture that works for you, stay with it for about 5 days, and then increase the dose by ¼ dropper. You can even go slower, or stay lower, for longer. Use the CBD as you would use a sleep aid, a pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory (NSAID), an anti-seizure or anti-nausea pill. When you find yourself reaching for your over-the-counter (or prescription medicine, with the collaboration of your doctor), consider experimenting with this non-toxic, non-addictive, plant medicine.

Interested in learning more? Check out for a full list of quality research sites, non-profit organizations and medical professionals dedicated to spreading the truth about cannabis and its truly safe and positive effects on humanity. Spread the word and free the plant from its illegal bondage. You will receive a 10% discount on CBD products for the above mentioned companies by entering Joanne10 at checkout.

1 Birnnaum, J., and Leinow, L. “Cannabidiol among the first of the Phtycannabionids discovered…” Healing without the High, 21-26.

2 Goldstein, Dr., Bonni, “Medical conditions that have been to shown to result from ECS dysfunction…” Cannabis Revealed, 38 - 40.


Joanne Matson has been teaching about Ayurveda, Yoga, Mindfulness and Cannabis for the past 10 years. She found these healing modalities after suffering for 15 years from the ravaging effects of Crohn’s disease, and the challenges of long-term pharmaceutical treatments. After curing herself from the disease, she received her certification in Ayurvedic Wellness counseling from Kerala Ayurveda Academy, her Yoga teacher training from Sundara College of Yoga and Yogaspirit, and received her Cannabis Counselor certification from The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI). Joanne is an active member with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA), the Society of Cannabis Consultants, registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance, and on faculty with the Holistic Cannabis Academy. She is raising her two kids and two dogs according to her eclectic and modern version of Ayurvedic principles, while teaching yoga and helping her community through her Ayurvedic consulting practice, Canna-Veda, in the Pacific NW.