Rheumatoid Arthritis
By Caroline Browne

 I am presently almost 43 years of age. Born and continue to spend my life on the island of St. Thomas in the beautiful Virgin Islands (US). Life would not be the same without my partner of 18 years. My training is in Radio/Television Production and as a media artist, my creativity has flourished and has taken off to another level because of my interaction with this herb.

Most of my young life involved athletics of some sort because my survival depended on it. Many days my brother and I had to walk up & down a 1500 ft. mountain to get from our house to the main town area. Needless to say being fit was more than a fad but a necessity. It probably didn’t help that I had been part of the reefer madness indoctrination (which I swallowed without question) and an athlete. Using marijuana or anything else wasn’t part of my thinking. Some of my friends got high, but I never felt the need to indulge or experience what they were feeling. On top of that I was part of the Civil Air Patrol since 12 and they surely frowned on “drug use”.

In 1985, while enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, after an extremely challenging training session, that left me incapacitated, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at 19 by the Coast Guard Doctors. From Cape May, New Jersey, I was seen by the first of many Rheumatologists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

My use of Marijuana started when I was 29 on one of my many trips to Boston while traveling with a friend. Until that point, I had not slept in 10 years because I was constantly in agony. After keeping my friend awake several nights in a row, she offered me a joint which at first I refused. Until then, I had been prescribed the synthetic form which did nothing for me so I wasn’t particularly ecstatic. My apprehension was not knowing what to expect. That was until I feel asleep and woke up several hours later less stiff and in less pain. The lone fact that I slept through the night was a miracle itself.

Over the past 20 something years, I have tried all types of pharmaceuticals, some FDA approved & many going through the trial process. Methatrxate, Prednisone, NSAIDS, Steroids, Antibiotics/IntraVenous Antibiotics, IntraVenous Prednisone, Motrin, Cytoxin, Birth Control Pills (to regulate hormones), etc. Needless to say these various medications and their harmful side effects ultimately made my disease worse as well as damaged parts of the physical & mental structure. Since my diagnosis, I have had multiple joint replacements including hips, knees, shoulders as well as multiple wrist and ankle fusions along with other surgeries. At one point my pharmaceuticals cost over $1200 a month, whereas $1200 of marijuana in the V.I. could supply my medicinal needs for a few months.

 Some months after my first smoke, I reduced my use of pharmaceuticals. My Dr.s were shocked at my positive progress, but weren’t happy about my reduction of their prescriptions. Pretty shortly after that I stopped taking their medications all together. At first my interaction with marijuana was through smoking, however at times I didn’t feel like smoking so I decided to explore the options. My options open up after I got to access to home grown organic herb. As time went by I started experimenting, learning and passed on much of the knowledge & info that worked for me onto other persons with disabilities.

Currently, cannabis is part of my daily regiment. I use it as a tincture, in cigarettes, vaporize, and ingest. After brushing my teeth, I place a few droppers under my tongue and while resting, within 10 minutes I can feel the pain subsiding. A few drops are usually placed into my morning tea or coffee. I vape and usually by this time I can proceed in getting a few things done. During the day I use the tincture and a few drops of tincture in hot chocolate before I go to bed. If smoking cigarettes, (heat in toaster oven or microwave on lowest setting, before grinding). Tincture - 2 oz of ground dried bud to 8 oz. of water & 8 oz. of vegetable glycerin. Place in a sunny place for at least 2 weeks, shaking vigorously everyday until foams. Place drops of tincture under tongue a few times daily or add to un-sweetened tea, coffee, chocolate. Experiment for your dosage. Ingest - use 1 to 2 oz. of finely ground (destemmed, deseeded) per 8 oz of butter, olive oil, etc. Use double boiler and simmer butter/oil at least 45 minutes. The longer it simmers, the more potent the mixture. Do not let mixture burn. Regularly add/check water in double boiler. After cooling, strain out leaves with cheesecloth or other fine strainer. Use herb butter in place of regular butter. Toast, Rice & Beans, Brownies, etc.

No problems with authorities, only when traveling.


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