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21st Century Paperwork Marks New Era for Ancient Medicine

The times, they are-a-changin'.

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As the Drug Peace Bumblebee, whose job it is to spread cannabis information worldwide as the Drug Peace Era dawns, I was of course curious about these multi-generational cannabis tincture recipes that Latina healers have passed from mother to daughter and granddaughter for centuries in my home region. 

But when I asked if she would reveal specifics, Martinez laughed. I got the message. Would I ask a Japanese woman for her mother’s Miso recipe, or a Brooklyn bagel maker for the family dough secret? Probably, but I’d get the same laugh.

Esmerelda, in other words, is willing to help any patient who comes to her, but she’s going to keep the exeact components and ratios of her grandmother’s elixirs a closely guarded secret. “I do educate my patients, and I may pass all the elements on one day, to a protégé or in a book,” she said. “But not any time soon.”

Martinez did say that in addition to cannabis, her orally-administered medicines are rich in a variety of essential oils and other traditional Latin-region desert medicinal herbs. For patients who won’t be able to find her, she said, “The basics of, say, a Simpson’s cannabis oil recipe is right on YouTube,” she said. “This will heal.”

As a cannabis journalist, what I found most fascinating was Esmeralda’s decades-long experience with local cannabis strains -- specifically how effective they are. When I told her about that the argument some regulators are making that, for patient safety, cannabis must be as uniform and tested as any pharmaceutical, she scoffed. 

“It’s sativas that grow here, of course,” she said, referring to New Mexico’s traditional warm climate varieties of the plant. “And I’ve never, in three decades of work, seen a patient have a negative reaction to my medicine. And it is nearly always effective. Even when I’m with a terminal cancer or AIDS patient in Hospice, if she’s using cannabis medicine she passes aware of her loved ones around her, and generally with a smile on her face. And I’ve seen some very painful and unpleasant passings from people on prescription opiates. One thing I know: when it’s my time, I want to have as many cannabinoids in my system as possible.”

What else does Esmerelda want? “To give my real name to you the next time we talk. To allow everyone who can benefit from it to be able to use cannabis.”

Doug Fine's weekly Drug Peace Bumblebee columns first appear on the  National Cannabis CoalitionReprinted with permission.

Doug Fine is the author of Farewell, My Subaru, Too High to Fail, and most recently, Hemp Bound. Books and films: Twitter: @organiccowboy.

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