Medical Cannabis Class Notes from the Traditional Roots Conference

Last weekend the Traditional Roots Conference was held at NCNM in Portland. And what a great weekend it was! Along with myself, teachers and speakers included Jim McDonald, Aviva Romm, Lydia Bartholow, Donnie Yance, Glen Nagel, Howie Brounstein, Tania Neubauer, and Jillian Stansbury. Orna Izakson is a stellar organizer and hosted a wonderful and engaging event (besides being an overall excellent person and good friend!).

Along with a clinical case panel on PCOS (with Elise Schroeder and Amanda Lattin), I taught a class on medical cannabis for herbalists on Friday. I was still recovering from the flu, so I’m grateful for the patience of all in attendance. Nevertheless, it was a true joy to teach on this important subject. We covered chemistry, pharmacology, clinical applications, routes of administration, safety/toxicology and QA issues.

It’s important for herbalists to be engaging in the emerging medical cannabis movement. As people who know plant medicine, we should be active in characterizing its therapeutics and have a voice in product development. Herbalists have largely shied away from the issue for many reasons. But, in our absence, a landscape of protocols and odd products have surfaced–many of which are indistinguishable from recreational products. Jonathan Treasure, my mentor and author of an upcoming book on cannabis and cancer, says herbalists need to “Occupy Cannabis”. Cannabis is a powerful herb, but ultimately it’s just one of many that we use. It shines in some capacities. In others, it’s not the best fit and there may be some safety concerns.

I’ve been asked to post the powerpoint. Find it here as a PDF. Also download the supplemental notes with some suggested reading resources.

I’ve been assisting Jonathan Treasure in the drafting and development of The Intelligent Patient’s Guide to Cannabis in Cancer Treatment to be launched in summer 2015. If you’d like to be notified when it launches, please subscribe to this blog or contact me directly to be on this list.

About Author

Renée A. Davis MA RH is a designer and educator in botanical and mycological medicine. Her training began at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design in New York City and concluded in biomedical sciences at the University of Washington. She currently directs research and development for a nutraceutical mushroom company in the Pacific Northwest.


  • Rosalee de la Forêt
    May 20, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Thank you for sharing this Renee!

  • Ally Leadbetter
    May 20, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this! There truly is a place for this amazing plant in herbalism, but it seems to carry a sense of fear when discussing its benefits… Although she doesn’t necessarily have a background in herbalism nor science, I found Joan Bello’s book The Benefits of Marijuana to be a great resource as well.

  • Michael DeMarco
    May 21, 2015 at 12:43 am


  • Mae Wright
    May 23, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing; it is so good to finally start seeing other herbalists who are teaching about this low toxicity plant! We can quell fears through education; this plant has been around and used medicinally and spiritually for much longer than prohibition has been in effect. Please feel free to contact me for any informaiton about cannabis acitivism as well, which I am heavily involved in on the East Coast.

    • Renee Davis
      May 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      Thank you Mae!

  • Maggie Wolfendale
    May 24, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Though C. sat use is still illegal here [UK] outside of mainstream medicine; the potential for HM reclamation of this important herb inspired my own dissertation. Very much enjoyed reading this and look forward to following your progress on the subject. Thank you for opening up access to these materials!

    • Renee Davis
      May 24, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you Maggie. I haven’t been following UK developments or legalities. Please share your dissertations when it’s complete!

  • Crystal
    June 2, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge!


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