I met Nina a few weeks ago at the much-ballyhooed King Of Pot Underground X-Mas Party, where she was gifting bountiful bottles of Jamaican Pearl and Pure Kush-variety Green Flower healing oils. A student at the New England Grassroots Institute in Quincy, Nina is a practicing healer. Before that, she grew up on Cape Cod and Jamaica with her family, did some traveling, and spent time in Northern California, Oregon, Greece, and Turkey before returning here for school last year. As it turns out, she’s got the goods. After a few nights of her Jamaican Pearl taming my daily excruciating back pain, I contacted Nina with some follow-up questions.
How did you get into oils?
I was first exposed to cannabis tinctures in Northern California in 2010, but they didn’t play a huge part in my life until spring 2013 here in Massachusetts, when I came in contact with an old family friend suffering with lymphoma, lung cancer, and mouth/throat cancer. Parts of his head, mouth, and throat were removed. He could barely eat, he had trouble speaking. I saw him suffering and I wanted to help him in any way that I could. This helped him.
How do you make your oils?
My main focus is cannabis glycerites. Glycerine tinctures are state-of-the-art in the medical cannabis industry. Being alcohol-free makes them mild and safe for patients suffering from illnesses of the liver, mouth, or throat, as well as anybody else who needs to avoid alcohol. My tinctures are also sugar-free and they are not a carbohydrate, [which makes] them safe for diabetics because they do not affect your blood-sugar. Due to it’s viscosity, glycerine only has one-third the extraction power [of] alcohol, [and so] it requires a lot more work (and time) to extract the THC and CBDs.
Generally I start with locally harvested organic cannabis flowers and leaves of the highest quality possible. Then I add pure vegetable glycerine. The mixture is slightly warmed and then left to sit for at least 60 days, being agitated 2-3 times daily. This mixture is then filtered. The extra step I do differently than most tincture makers is that I repeat this extraction process up to six times per batch depending on the desired strength. Some batches also contain added keef or hashish depending on the patients needs. Basically it takes many months … and a lot of shaking.
How are people using these oils?
Green Flower tinctures can be taken orally and are best administered sublingually in order to be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. They are sweet to the taste and cause a warming sensation on contact. Glycerine is an ingredient in almost every toothpaste and is excellent for your teeth and gums, killing bacteria colonies on contact; so go ahead and swish. Oh yeah, glycerites can also be vaporized in e-cigarettes.
Do you have patients that are using your oil and what’s the feedback?
Right now, I am donating my tinctures to several oncology patients at hospitals in MA, including Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s, U-Mass Medical School in Worcester, and the BMC Cancer Care Center. There are some remarkable results turning up; for instance, most cancer patients that have undergone radiation and chemo eventually develop a side-effect that causes them an extreme amount of very ropey saliva, especially at night. This obviously poses a choking risk during sleep. Doctors are then forced to prescribe another medication to dry the mouth in order to counteract this side-effect of the radiation and chemo drugs. Remarkably, when administered in the evenings and before bed, Green Flower Cannabis Tincture completely eliminated all symptoms of this side-effect, leaving the patients to sleep soundly without facing the risk of choking on saliva … It’s wonderful to hear how much they are helping people. It very encouraging. I’ve heard they help ease nausea and other chemo side-effects. I could go on and on about the benefits.
What are your goals?
My goals are to accelerate the adoption of medical cannabis both as a complementary medicine and as a safe alternative to more invasive procedures and treatments … I also want to help improve the quality of life of oncology patients suffering from cancer symptoms and debilitating side-effects of radiation and chemo meds … Honestly, all I want is to be a warm light that shines on people.
What’s the difference between the Pure Kush Indica and the Sativa Jamaican Pearl you gave me samples of?
The Pure Kush is an indica which is good for nighttime use. It’s used to treat chronic pain, insomnia, and seizures. The Jamaican Pearl is a sativa which is uplifting and cerebral, ideal for daytime use. Sativas are most commonly used for depression, and anxiety due to its bright and creative effect.