From the land, to the people: introducing Mukwa Botanicals

By Smoke Signals Media

ALDERVILLE FIRST NATION – From salves and lip balms to tinctures and vape pens, Mukwa Botanicals now offers a wide range of indigenous sourced and indigenous made cannabis products. After the official product launch to be held on Saturday, February 24th from 1-4pm at Medicine Wheel Natural Healing, the Mukwa Botanicals line will be available at indigenous cannabis dispensaries across Ontario.

Mukwa means bear in the Ojibway language. In Anishinaabe culture, the bear represents courage, strength, and leadership and the bear clan is traditionally tasked with providing medicines for the people. Mukwa Botanicals was created by Rob Stevenson, an Anishinaabe man of the Bear Clan, who owns Medicine Wheel Natural Healing in Alderville First Nation. Rob identified the need for an Indigenous brand of cannabis products that would uphold the Seven Grandfather Teachings that underpin the core philosophy of Medicine Wheel Natural Healing.

Rob Stevenson speaks with a reporter in Medicine Wheel Natural Healing.

“We’re community-focused,” says Stevenson. “I’m trying to put us in a position to develop the indigenous cannabis industry as a whole, not just for myself but for all the different communities that want to take this path.”

The Mukwa Botanical brand is “developed by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people,” Stevenson emphasizes, indicating that ‘Mukwa’ is a reference to his own identity in belonging to the bear clan. “It encompasses all of what we’re trying to do: using products that are made by indigenous people, majority-sourced from Indigenous people, and we are putting a portion of the profits back to the community.”

Some of the products that Mukwa Botanicals will feature at the launch include rechargeable vape pens that vary in CBD and THC content, from all CBD, to mixed, to mostly THC. Other products include tinctures and essential oils, and soon organic edibles will be added to the product line.

Mukwa Botanicals tincture line.

Essential to the Mukwa brand is the way the medicine is extracted, a method that favours using the entire plant’s spectrum rather than employing isolates or distillates to separate its various psycho and non-psychoactive contents. The idea, Stevenson explains, is to maintain the plant’s full terpene profile, which then creates an “entourage effect” that works much better on the body.

“So we’re trying to create a more holistic environment, because it’s not just about money,” Stevenson said. “We’re really trying to educate people. Again, it’s not just the THC numbers and products; there’s a heck of a lot more to the plant than just the THC – and that’s what we want to focus on.”

As the medicinal cannabis industry grows, more people are beginning to see the true potential of the plant. Its medicinal value is rapidly coming to be accepted even by the western health system. But it will be a while longer before all the stigma is removed from the plant and those that choose to use it are able to do so freely. Rob hopes that what he is doing at Medicine Wheel and with Mukwa Botanicals will help bridge that gap and, in doing so, give Indian Country a much needed economic boost.

And that cannot be understated. As Rob explained, economic independence – whether it’s from medicinal cannabis or any other industry – is essential for political independence.

Medicinal cannabis “is an opportunity for us to get off the coattails of the government and to become self sustaining again,” he said. “What I’d like to see is non-interference. I understand there will be some kind of need to work with the government, but I think it should be up to each individual community to decide how to proceed. Now there’s the opportunity to get on board and make something of this opportunity.”

Medicine Wheel Natural Healing is located at 8986 County Road 45, in Alderville First Nation. The Mukwa Botanicals launch will be held all day on Saturday, February 24 at the Medicine Wheel store from 1-4pm. Visit Mukwa Botanicals at www.mukwabotanicals.com

 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that is associated with increased pressure within the eye causing damage to the optic nerve. This can lead to:

  • Loss of vision
  • Appearance of rainbow colours and circles around brought lights.
  • Eye pain  
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting

Benefits: Cannabis smoking has been shown to decrease the pressure within the eye that causes damage to the nerve. This is thanks to cannabis’s anti-inflammatory properties. Treatment with cannabis has slowed and even stopped the loss of vision. It helps with alleviating pain and nausea associated with headaches from pressure within the eyes.

Treatment: The most direct method of intake is to use topical eye drops of 2.8% THC drops. This method lowers the IOP which is the leading cause of nerve damage in the eye. Other options include smoking or vaping which is fast acting.

Recommended method of intake: Edibles, smoking, topicals, eye drops.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

RLS is a disorder of the nervous system that causes an urge to move the legs. People experience various sensations especial when at rest that cause an irresistible urge to move their legs. Symptoms include:

  • Various sensations in the legs
  • Itchy skin
  • Pins and needles
  • Creepy crawly sensation
  • Sleep disturbances

Benefits: Studies have found that inhalation of cannabis works best. The quickness of inhalations allows for the decrease of various sensations in the legs. Strains containing THC help with sleep disturbances as well.

Treatment: Due to the nature of RLS, smoking or vaping is most effective right before bed as the effects do not last for a long time, but will aid in falling asleep.  Sativa strains work best due to their relaxing properties. A combination of smoking for the quick effect and an edible can allowed for a restful sleep all night.  

Recommended method of intake: Smoking, vaping, edibles.

Arthritis

Arthritis refers to joint pain/inflammations or joint disease of which there are many different types. The two most common forms of arthritis are Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, which then becomes inflamed and swollen. Osteoarthritis is this most common form of arthritis and is a degenerative conditions caused by aging bones, obesity, or injury. Symptoms my come and go as well as be mild or sever and can cause permanent joint changes:

  • Joint: swelling, pain, stiffness, redness, tenderness and warmth
  • Fatigue
  • Deceased range of motion

Benefits: Cannabis has shown to be beneficial to those suffering with any form of arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties and it’s regulation of pain. People suffering from RA find it alleviates pain, reduces inflammation, and aids with sleep. With the use of cannabis, patients have reduced or even eliminated their use of pharmaceutical drugs, which means eliminating all of the negative side effects that come with them. Although there is no treatment of osteoarthritis, cannabis aids with the symptoms that accompany this ailment through its pain regulation and anti-inflammatory properties.

Treatment: A combination of THC and CBD would be most effective, depending to time of usage as well as pain intensity. Strains higher in CBD help with pain management throughout the day without any psychoactive effects, whereas strains with THC are better suited for the night. Treatment can also include a combination of methods such as smoking as well as topical use. Smoking delivers rapid pain relief although it does not last long. Therefore a combination with a tincture or edible would offer the most relief from symptoms.

Recommended method of intake: Topicals, edibles, oils, tinctures, smoking, vaping

Crohn’s and colitis

Colitis is an inflammatory disease that occurs within the inner lining of the colon. Crohn’s disease can appear anywhere in the digestive tract and often affects all layers of the bowel walls. Its symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Inability to defecate
  • Pain due to inflammation

Benefits: The benefit of using cannabis for the treatment of Crohn’s and colitis is that it offers relief from pain associated with cramping and general pain, as well as pain associated with inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties characteristic of cannabis reduce inflammation within the colon as well as the digestive track. This in turn allows the body to more properly digest food and allows for more regular bowl movements.

Patients with Crohn’s can sometimes suffer from “opportunistic” infections. CBD anti bacteria effects can help with the prevention of these infections.  

Treatment: Strains high in CBD help reduce severe inflammation and discomfort within the digestive track (4% or higher). Strains containing 30 mg of THC and 15 mg of CBD (2:1 ratio) have shown to be the most beneficial.

Other options include topicals, which can be applied to the abdominal area to decrease pain and intestinal motility. Juicing the raw leaves of cannabis if available allows for the intake of THC-A, reducing the inflammation and symptoms associated with Crohn’s.

For those suffering with severe pain or discomfort, because of potency, concentrates are strong enough to ease pain and discomfort.  

Recommended method of intake: Smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, topicals.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an umbrella term for progressive lung disease. COPD is characterized by:

  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Excess mucus
  • Chronis cough

Benefits: Breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness, are all characterized by inflammation within the lungs caused by disease.  The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis reduce inflammation within the lungs that causes many of the symptoms associated with COPD. Some studies have found that low levels of CBD have helped treat nicotine addictions as well which lead to COPD.

Treatment: Strains containing both THC and CBD are effective in the treatments of inflammation. THC was found to deactivate inflammatory proteins where CBD has continued to reduce the amount of inflammation. Ingestion through edibles or oils in food is favourable due to the nature of COPD, smoking as well as vaporizing, may irritate the lining of the lungs.  

Recommended method of intake: Edibles, oils.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder categorized by unpredictable seizures, with a wide range of types and control varying between people. Along with seizures one might experience many other symptoms such as:

  • Convulsion
  • Blackouts
  • Confused memory
  • Fainting
  • Loss of bowel/bladder control
  • Body stiffness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Fearfulness or anger
  • Sudden bouts of chewing or blinking

Benefits: Cannabidiol was effective in reducing frequency as well as severity of seizures in patients suffering with epilepsy. High levels of CBD have shown to drastically reduce seizures and some people even became seizure free. Patients struggling with treatment resistance epilepsy are encouraged to try CBD since many patients have found treatments to be very effective.  

Treatment: Treatment of epilepsy with cannabis is done through CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Avoid strains containing THC, which may cause anxiety and impairment. Vaporizing or mixing oils into food each day will reduce the likelihood of seizures, as well as side effects associated with seizures.

Recommended method of intake: Oils, vaping, edibles.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue. It is often found coexisting with other chronic pain conditions. Symptoms may include:

  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • Drowsiness/fatigue
  • Widespread pain
  • Moodiness
  • Headaches
  • Cognitive and memory difficulties

Benefits: Cannabis strains containing both THC and CBD are known to be the best pain relievers. Those suffering from fibromyalgia have found that treating their symptoms with cannabis rather than prescription drugs, they can better treat their ever changing symptoms as well as not have to suffer with all the side effects that come with prescription medication. Strains containing CBD and THC can relieve widespread pain and headaches.

Treatment: Microdosing throughout the day helps to aid with pain intensity. Using strains higher in CBD or CBD oils minimizes psychoactive effects but decreases pain as well as provides the body with energy to get through the day. Microdosing strains that contain higher level of THC, decreases cognitive and psychoactive side effects.
In the evening a combination of indica edibles as well as vaporizing will allows for good night sleep, which then helps with controlling symptoms the next day.  

Recommended method of intake: Smoking, vaping, tinctures, edibles

MS- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS occurs when the immune system attacks myelin, which wraps around nerve fibers. This effects how the nerves work and therefore the damaged nerve fibers are not able to correctly send signals throughout the body. This can lead to:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Unusual sensations
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Lack of concentration  
  • Bladder/digestive problems

Benefits: Cannabis strains that contains equal to or higher amounts of CBD than THC are most beneficial to those suffering with multiple sclerosis. Cannabis has a positive effect on muscle spasticity, stiffness and pain. People find that spasms decrease, muscles relax and they have more control over their body. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of THC and CBD, inflammation within the brain has decreased in patients over time. The ability of THC to stimulate appetite causes the body to release digestive enzymes, which in turn increase the body’s metabolism and aid in any gastrointestinal issues people with MS might have.

Unfortunately due to side effects of THC, we do not see much of an improvement with cognitive functions.

Treatment: Thus far the best treatment for those who live with MS includes treatment specifically with indica strains. These strains have more of a body relaxation effect, and less of an energetic effect. Indica edibles an hour before bed will aid with insomnia, and can help with staying asleep longer. During the day CBD oils or extracts can be mixed in with food to help with any pain and muscle stiffness or spasms.

Recommended method of intake: Oral spray, and extracts, edibles

Why Whole Plant Medicine Matters

The nature of the plant

Take a close look at your cannabis buds. They’re covered in a sticky dusting of crystal resin, which contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds known as cannabinoids and terpenoids. We assume you’re well acquainted with THC and CBD, but these are just two among many important players working together to produce specific effects. This interactive synergy between marijuana compounds has been coined the “entourage effect,” and once you know what this is, you’ll see why medicines containing only THC or CBD aren’t sufficient for many medical conditions.

THC-only medicines primarily refer to synthetic renderings of THC, the two most popular being Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). These are legal pharmaceuticals primarily prescribed to treat cancer-related nausea, but their efficacy is questionable. A 2011 survey on forms of consumption found only 1.8% of 953 patients prefer synthetic THC pharmaceuticals over inhaled or infused methods. Furthermore, it can take hours for a THC-only pill to deliver relief whereas inhaled methods take effect immediately.

CBD-only medicines have been gaining momentum in recent years following the media frenzy around Charlotte’s Web, a non-psychoactive cannabis strain that was processed into a CBD-rich oil for an epileptic child. This miraculous remedy prompted several states to adopt CBD-only laws under which THC-rich medicines remain illegal.

That is not to say that synthetic, hemp-based, and CBD-only medicines aren’t effective options for many patients, especially as laws limit access to alternatives. These types of products have served a monumental role both as medicine and as a legislative stepping stone. But what else can patients get from whole plant medicine?

Modern Therapeutic Applications Of The Cannabinoid Ratio

The most recent research into THC:CBD ratios comes out of the pharmaceutical industry, specifically around the GW Pharmaceuticals‘ Sativex, which has a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. In the clinical trials phase of drug development, researchers examined the effects of THC, CBD, and combination extracts on sleep, pain control, and muscle spasms. They found that 1:1 THC-CBD extracts provided the most therapeutic relief across all categories.

In cancer, cannabis has long been credited with helping people combat the nausea associated with chemotherapy. Furthermore, THC and CBD each possess cytotoxic (cell destroying) and anti-angiogenic (prevention of development of new blood vessels) properties. These two properties are critical to combating the spread of cancer within the body, making whole-plant cannabis extracts a viable medical option.

“While cannabinoid ratios in most cannabis may be about the same, it is the terpene content which typically creates the different qualities that we have parsed as the difference between Indicas and Sativas for some time. It is highly likely that terpenes may very well alter the properties of the cannabinoids. Standardized testing is essential to the advancement of our understanding of this issue.”

2:1 THC to CBD Ratios

Contrary to popular misconception, so-called indica varieties are no more likely to have CBD than sativas. Lab studies by the WercShop, co-sponsored by California NORML, found no relation between chemical profiles, as measured by cannabinoid and terpene content, and varietal types, whether indica or sativa. Breeders have developed special high-CBD hybrids from various genetic stock. Some have virtually pure CBD, while others typically have THC; CBD ratios ranging from 2:1 to 1:2.

The optimal dosage levels of CBD are uncertain due to a lack of human studies. Chronic high doses of up to 1500 mg per day are well tolerated and produce no noticeable physiological effects. However, there is evidence to suggest that the medical benefits of CBD disappear when dosages become excessive. For inhaled medical use, most users prefer varieties with THC:CBD ratios between 2:1 and 1:2. Extremely low-THC varieties are useful for making CBD extracts and tinctures. Unlike THC, CBD does not show up positive on standard drug tests for marijuana.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes
Work Together

The diverse chemical availability in whole plant medicines is remarkable in its own right, but research looking into how cannabinoids and terpenoids work together adds another level of intrigue.

Instrumental in this area of science is Ethan Russo, M.D., a neurologist who has long studied cannabis compounds and their role in the body. In his study “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” he details how cannabis compounds influence each other’s mechanisms. We aren’t just talking about the well-known THC-CBD tag team here – even small amounts of terpenes (fragrant oils that give cannabis its smell) can make a difference.

The terpene myrcene, for example, can reduce resistance in the blood-brain barrier, enabling easier passage of other beneficial chemicals. Pinene helps counteract compromised cognition and memory caused by THC. A combination of terpenes pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene help unravel anxiety. Mixing terpenes linalool and limonene with the cannabinoid CBG shows promise in the treatment of MRSA. THC plus CBN yields enhanced sedating effects. Linalool and limonene combined with CBD is being examined as an anti-acne treatment.

These examples only scratch the surface of all possible synergies made available to us by way of whole plant therapies. Think of all the medical possibilities waiting for us as the combinational potential of these compounds is unlocked. The thought of how many lives could be changed for the better by such discoveries is almost overwhelming.

What is CBD?

CBD or Cannabidiol is the principal non-psychoactive cannabinoid present largely in the Hemp plant. Along with not having  psychoactive properties, CBD is a powerful anti-psychotic drug and valuable for anyone with psychosis or schizophrenia. CBD has been shown to be a better anti-inflammatory than THC and Ibuprofen, it is also effective treating pain and managing tumors. CBD can also help to relieve anxiety and depression. Due to the fact that it is non-psychoactive and strongly medicinal even in small doses, CBD is highly recommended for treatment of children, the elderly, and anyone who wants to remain clear headed yet medicated.

Scientific research has shown that CBD may be therapeutic for many conditions, including (but not limited to) chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, diabetes, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, sleep disorders, alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, antibiotic-resistant infections, and various neurological ailments.

CBD Hemp Oil Beauty Products provides unique skin protection. Cannabidiol-rich hemp oil comes as an exfoliant, cleanser, eye cream, gel masque, moisturizer and serum. It turns out that it is the real deal – at least for dry skin. There is clinical research that cannabinoids have anti-aging and antioxidant – properties. There are findings confirming that cannabinoids are responsible for lipid production and, therefore, for regulating conditions such as dry skin or acne and has the potential for helping unspecified skin disease.

Vaporization

Vaporization is the optimal delivery method for dried flower cannabis. Unlike smoking, vaporization is achieved by heating the cannabis to a temperature that vaporizes, but does not burn the cannabinoids, virtually eliminating the health risks associated with smoking. The effects of inhaled cannabis – whether smoked or vaporized – will be felt in a matter of minutes. It is recommended to pause between inhalations to let the dose be fully realized.

Edible Oils

It is important to remember that cannabis taken orally has a slower onset time than when it is vaporized because it is absorbed through the digestive system. Wait at least four hours after the first dose before taking a second of cannabis oils.

Patients should follow extreme caution when dosing cannabis oils for the first time.

Suggested Dosing

For casual users, people who don’t have high tolerances, 10-20 milligrams should be more than enough to feel the effects. 10 milligrams is the recommended serving size for edibles, because you don’t want to take too much at once. In one recent Canadian study, 25 mg of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis with a THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) content of 9.4% was effective in reducing intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated when smoked as a single inhalation 3x/day for five days at low tolerance to THC.