I had been purchasing a cannabis extracted oil from various dispensaries over the last few years or so, and use the oil to make my own gel caps with a base of either coconut oil or hemp seed oil. The results, when I first started, took a few weeks to become apparent, but I was definitely in less pain and generally felt to be in better health.
Last year I grew my own cannabis and had enough of a crop to make my own batch of this oil commonly referred to as RSO (Rick Simpson Oil, named for the man who first developed this technique), or FECO (Full Extract Cannabis Oil) which is a more descriptive name. The oil is a dark, nearly black tar-like substance that has proven to be a healing medicine for many ailments from cancer to general inflammation and a lot of things in between.
Because so many methods of making this oil may be found all over the internet, I’m not going to go into how to make the oil itself. I’m here to tell about my experience with my home made RSO.
First, I’d like to explain that there are many cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) being the most recognized and studied, and CBD (cannabidiol) being the second and more recently introduced to the cannabis community. There are many others. Both THC and CBD are present in the live cannabis plant in their acid forms. CBD in any form is NOT psycho-active. THC becomes psycho-active when it is converted by age and especially by heat, a process known as decarboxylation. Decarboxylation is completed when smoking or vaping cannabis but can also be done in the oven when preparing cannabis or cannabis extracts for uses other than inhalation. The thing to remember is THCa (non psycho-active form) is converted to THC (psycho-active form) with heat. But do we always have to take that step of decarboxylation to create cannabis medicine?
Last spring, and fall I was lucky enough to have attended some learning workshops put on by Steep Hill Labs of New Mexico, and got to learn from expert scientists in the field of cannabis medicine. One of the educators was Rev. Dr. Kymron deCesare, a leader in the investigative science of cannabis. I learned a lot during his presentations, the most pertinent to this post being that THCa is showing to have even more anti-inflammatory properties than THC in its more familiar, neutral form. Rev. Dr. Kymron also taught that the terpenes in cannabis work in synergy with the plant’s cannabinoids to make the healing properties even stronger, and that the heating process (decarboxylation), degrades and may even destroy the medically precious yet volatile terpenes present in any given cannabis strain. Being an Aromatherapist I pretty much figured that one out for myself, but the THCa was a real eye opener.
Back to my crop and my home made RSO. I purchased a Magical Butter Machine, which is an easy way to make cannabis butter, oils, tinctures and RSO. On my first run with the MB machine I absolutely forgot to decarboxylate my plant matter before or anytime during the process. I was at the end of the whole process and packaging up my yield when I figured it out, but remembering what Rev. Dr. Kymron said about THCa, I decided to leave it alone and make my canna-caps anyway.
Here is what happened. After several months I suddenly realized I felt better than I have in years. Probably better than I have felt in over ten years. I am still a little stiff and sore in the morning, which is to be expected for a person with RA and ten years of ortho surgeries, but the duration of this morning stiffness is less than 30 minutes, and for the rest of the day I am feeling really good without having to supplement with any other cannabis use. I should also add that this is a really physically demanding time for me because we are working aggressively to clean out a house and move.
Additionally, and to be totally fair, I also had a consultation with a nutritionist who got me using turmeric capsules with piper nigrum (black pepper). She also suggested some diet changes and I have cut back significantly on red meat. But what is it that made such a turn around in my pain levels recently?
I think it was mostly the combination of using THCa RSO in conjunction with the turmeric, because it really was the only major and recent change I made in my life since my harvest. I had really already cut back on red meats, had started on the turmeric, and was using cannacaps all summer long, but when I harvested my cannabis, made the oil from it, and forgot to decarboxylate, that is when the serious daily pain disappeared. It may also very well be that the THCa is also having a huge positive effect on my immune system, and that is BIG when you have an auto-immunne condition like Rheumatoid Arthritis. This treatment has suppressed my pain levels from both Fibromyalsia and severe Osteoarthritis – to zero.
As soon as my husband and I have finished preparing our home and yard for its sale, I plan on testing my theory further by stopping my (very low dose of) the methotrexate that is prescribed to battle RA for a couple of months and see what my blood tests show. My hope is that the RA goes into total remission. Time will tell, but for now I am feeling wonderful. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Questions always welcomed!