The Grass Roots America Magazine Team attended the Cannabis Science Conference in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this year and saw Rylie Maedler take the stage as the Keynote Speaker on the Medical Cannabis Track. Rylie is accomplishing her goals and changing the world and laws, all while being a teenager and the CEO of her own cannabis oil company and foundation. She is an awe-inspiring activist and cannabis patient living in Delaware. She’s on a mission to share her story with the value of helping others benefit from cannabis legally. Rylie is in 7th grade and has been using cannabis since she was just 7 years old, first trying it in 2013. We spoke with Rylie and her mother, Janie, about their journey with cannabis, how it has impacted and transformed their lives, and how it has empowered them to share their story in pursuit of their mission to improve the lives of others around the world.
“I was diagnosed with bone tumors in October of 2013, after my family started noticing that my face was looking strange and uneven. My teeth also were very loose.” Rylie said. “It took a long time to get an exact diagnosis. After many scary weeks, we finally got a diagnosis of Aggressive Giant Cell Granuloma (AGCG) and then the tumor team began planning what to do.” She was just 7 years old when she was diagnosed with life-threatening bone tumors. The extremely rare disease behaves similarly to bone cancer and causes tumors to destroy bones.
“My mom had been looking into cannabis oils to help me with the tumors and decided there were no bad side effects and that she wanted me to have the best outcome.” Rylie had surgery on her tumors and developed a severe seizure disorder ten days later. “I had a follow up MRI in December where we learned how much tumor was left behind. The normal treatment at this point for AGCG is chemotherapy or immunotherapy, but we were thankfully given a chance to watch and wait. I would start treatment once the tumor started to grow again.”
“I knew what I wanted: a way to help kids as much as possible.”
Rylie’s mother, Janie Maedler, began cannabis treatment after Rylie’s MRI scan. “Right away, we noticed that my pain and inflammation got better.” She also saw improvement with her seizures. “I had regular MRI’s, and each time, the tumor left behind was shrinking, and my facial bones were regenerating at a quick rate. I ended up not needing any reconstructive surgery or dental implants as expected.” She is the only recorded AGCG patient in the world to have her bones grow back.
Rylie, now a teenager, continues to share her story and advocate for those in need. She says, “My parents told me that if I did everything the doctors and nurses asked of me that they’d give me anything, within reason, that I wanted. As time went along and I made more friends with sick kids I started noticing things that were needed. I felt sad that a couple of other little kids died, and I was getting better every day. I knew my medicine was different and not available legally, but it was hard to talk to parents about this. I told my parents exactly one year after my diagnosis that I knew what I wanted: a way to help kids as much as possible. They said yes! I started off speaking at Rotaries and small groups about the lack of pediatric research for cancer and rare diseases. I wanted a way to meet families and bring joy to kids, so I gave away iPods! I also decided that I wanted to make my medicine legal for other kids to help their quality of life. I came out in the public to a Delaware Senator and our DEA. I begged them to help us make it legal for pediatrics.”
Rylie’s Smile Foundation, her 501c3, became official in February of 2015. Rylie’s Smile Foundation is, “Focused on bringing the smiles back to sick children and their families by helping them achieve a better quality of life. We do this through providing health education, technology devices, advocating for more treatment options for seriously sick children and supporting research of less toxic therapies. When we know better we can do better for our children. As the foundation grows, we are looking forward to making a great impact in children’s lives globally.”
Rylie fought for other children to be allowed to benefit from cannabis, and Rylie’s Law passed 3 months later. Rylie’s Law allows children to use cannabis oils for medicinal reasons in Delaware. She also passed for allowance on school property and autism as a qualifying condition in her home state of Delaware.
In 2017, she founded Rylie’s Sunshine in order to research and develop cannabis treatments for overlooked targets. Their focus is to supply quality, medicinal, whole plant botanical oil to those looking for relief.
Today, Rylie’s tumors are stable and we’re so thankful to hear how her health has improved with cannabis medicine.
All of her accomplishments have fueled Rylie’s passion to continue her mission. “I’m super excited about going to countries and areas where this is completely new to them and helping to encourage them in their medical cannabis policies. I am looking forward to working on legislation concerning our schools anti-drug program. I’m excited to grow my business to the point that we can give needed products to families who are facing sad sicknesses with their kids.”
From Rylie’s diagnosis to her creating her own companies and changing laws, she is on a mission to improve the lives of others around the world. Being a teenager is tough, but publicly coming out of the green closet to a U.S. Senator and the DEA is tough too! From such a young age, Rylie has proven to be a powerful patient advocate and activist, despite fighting for her own health and wellness. We deeply appreciate and applaud her and her team’s work to help families around the world!
On this mission alongside Rylie is her mother Janie. Janie started her mission to treat her child and give her the best quality of life she possibly could.
Treating a child with cannabis can be challenging for some parents. Rylie’s mother, Janie Maedler, explains, “In 2013, the challenges were very different than they are now. Just six years ago, it was harder to find CBD, especially CBD that was tested. Today, it’s a staple in dispensaries! I would say the biggest challenges are finding consistent products each time you need to purchase, transparency with the labels’ information since these are products given to your child daily, they must be fully lab tested.” Another challenge is finding a doctor who knows the truth about cannabis and its benefits. The family was working with a neurologist who claimed that Rylie must be addicted to cannabis and was the cause of her seizures. They moved on and found a doctor who worked with them and their medical choices.
For those looking for resources, Janie says, “I found that taking as many classes as possible helps! Cannabis Clinicians, healer.com, and even pubmed.com are great resources.” Janie says, “My family has found the most help by going to conferences and speaking to researchers in person. We are so thankful for Janie’s continued advocacy work and support for her daughter, Rylie. Janie’s message to other parents considering cannabis medicine is, “If what you’re looking for is for your child to live a better quality of life, cannabis is a great option. We have seen many kids with severely debilitating illnesses go on to lead productive happy lives after starting cannabis therapy.”
Rylie’s Smile Foundation also pro-vides consulting to help families make choices concerning cannabis therapy. There are several ways to support Rylie’s Smile Foundation. Sharing and supporting on social media platforms, as well as sponsoring, shopping, and donating to the foundation will help share her message and efforts to help those in need. The laws are changing, but until everyone has safe and legal access, sharing and supporting is key. It’s so inspiring to see such an empowered young lady stand up for what’s right and work so hard to make the changes needed for those all around the world.
Turmeric is a root vegetable commonly used as a spice in various Indian and other cultures’ dishes. Turmeric is in the zingiberaceae family, as is ginger. The turmeric plant is native to the southeastern region of Asia and commonly harvested in places like India, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, and Taiwan. It is responsible for curry’s signature orange color, and its vibrant pigment will give essentially any meal an orange hue.
Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin, and curcumin has been shown through research to offer anti-inflammatory and other therapeutic benefits. The scientific name for the turmeric plant is Curcuma Longa, and likely where the name curcumin comes from. When people are talking about the health benefits of turmeric, they are referencing curcumin so you may hear the two names used interchangeably. Curcumin is part of a group called curcuminoids, with curcumin being the most active and the most beneficial for health. Flavonoids are another substance found in various plants and give these plants their color. Curcumin is a flavonoid and is responsible for providing that bright orange color to turmeric. In addition to providing aesthetic value, flavonoids are also strong antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry published a study done by Sanjaya Singh and Bharat B. Aggarwal of the Cytokine Research Laboratory at the world-renowned cancer hospital, M.D. Anderson. The study found that curcumin suppressed NF-κB, a protein complex responsible for controlling inflammatory responses. In other words, turmeric shuts off the body’s inflammatory response. Anti-inflammatories can be beneficial for many different ailments, including chronic pain and digestive disorders. A lot of CBD companies even put curcumin in their products because of its benefits. It is believed to be a synergistic pair with complementary therapeutic properties. The thought is that the two plant medicines are powerful on their own; as a combination, they can deliver even more anti-inflammatory and medicinal benefits.
Many people simply add turmeric to their dishes as a way to easily incorporate it into their daily routine. It is pretty mild in flavor and can be added to many dishes without changing the overall taste too drastically. Some say that turmeric isn’t strong enough on its own to receive the anti-inflammatory properties that curcumin provides, and therefore recommend a curcumin supplement. Research varies on that, so in the end it is just up to personal preference and your doctor’s approval. Curcumin supplements come most available in capsules. Pregnant women can safely use turmeric as an addition to their food, but should avoid taking high-dosage supplements. Those who are interested in supplementing with curcumin products should talk with their doctor first.
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center did another study in 2007 exploring curcumin for cancer treatment. The study found that curcumin inhibits ovarian cancer growth and angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels). It does this by targeting and manipulating the NF-κB pathway, the same protein complex responsible for controlling inflammatory response. According to a report published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The nuclear factor NF-κB pathway has long been considered a prototypical proinflammatory signaling pathway, largely based on the role of NF-κB in the expression of proinflammatory genes including cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules.”
The trend with curcumin seems to be it’s ability to control inflammatory responses in the body. It does this by multiple pathways, but a commonly researched one is the NF-κB protein complex. Because this pathway is able to be manipulated by curcumin to encourage anti-inflammatory expressions, its potential for successfully treating various ailments is there.
Psilocybin + Magic Mushrooms
When many think of plant medicine, specifically those plants with psychoactive effects, they think of “magic mushrooms,” or fungi containing psilocybin and psilocin that can cause hallucinations depending on the dosage consumed. In many states, there are active efforts to decriminalize these otherwise scheduled substances, lowering penalties for their use and possession. But what value do psilocybin-containing mushrooms offer? New research suggests a range of therapeutic and psychological value ranging from the treatment of substance abuse to anxiety and depression management.
What are Magic Mushrooms?
Magic Mushroom use dates back to 10,000 BCE and references continue throughout the era. Their modern popularity began when the term “magic mushroom” was coined by two etnomycologists who learned of a Harvard study on local doctors in Mexico using these substances, noting the substance’s ability to affect the nervous system. These findings were eventually published in Life magazine in 1957, and the term became the universal reference for psychoactive fungi and truffles, specifically those containing high concentrations of psilocybin and psilocin.
Psilocybin & Psilocin: The “Magic” in Magic Mushrooms
Psilocybin and psilocin are part of a family of psychedelic compounds found in magic mushrooms. Psilocin is pharmacologically active, and psilocybin is converted into psilocin when consumed or activated. Similar in structure to serotonin, there are more than 50 species of mushrooms and a variety of truffles that produce both the precursor, psilocybin, and the psychoactive compound, psilocin. Unlike LSD, magic mushrooms do not affect dopamine receptors, solely targeting serotonin sites.
How are Magic Mushrooms used?
Magic mushrooms are often used for recreational, therapeutic and medicinal reasons. “Effects range from mild feelings of relaxation, giddiness, euphoria, visual enhancement (seeing colors brighter), visual disturbances (moving surfaces, waves), to delusions, altered perception of real events, images and faces, or real hallucinations.” Recreationally, this is often known as “tripping.” As an alternative health option, these fungi are being used for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and trauma, as well as psychological disorders such as substance abuse disorders, and science is beginning to back the potential for these applications.
Research on Mushrooms
Evaluations of currently available scientific studies suggest a growing number of therapeutic benefits and treatment options. “In the past few years, a growing number of studies using human volunteers have begun to explore the possible therapeutic benefits of drugs such as psilocybin…looking at psilocybin and other hallucinogens to treat a number of otherwise intractable psychiatric disorders, including chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and drug or alcohol dependency.”
Magic mushrooms have been respected as a “safe & natural healing sacrament for millennia throughout Mexico, Central America and the world,” and are known to be beneficial for depression, recidivism (the tendency to repeat past transgressions), and encourages openness, creativity, as well as personal and spiritual growth. UCLA and NYC have done studies on the applications of magic mushrooms in the treatment of end-of-life anxiety and other studies have backed up the use of psilocybin and psilocin in the treatment of substance use disorders, depression (especially in cases of terminal conditions like cancer as well as treatment-resistant depression), and reducing depression and anxiety overall.
Best way for people to consume?
When it comes to the consumption of mushrooms, advice on dosage is about as specific as it was with cannabis under prohibition. Consumers must purchase on the black market and are subject to whatever may be available.
“Recreational doses range from 1–5 grams of dry mushrooms depending on the species and individual strength of the specimens… After ingestion, the psilocybin is enzymatically converted to psilocin. Absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract, hallucinogenic effects usually occur within 30 minutes of ingestion with a duration of effect of 4–6 hours.”
My recommendation as someone who has used magic mushrooms both for recreational and therapeutic purposes, is to grind the mushrooms into a fine powder and either encapsulate them in small increments and/or combine with lemon juice. Capsules will allow you to titrate your dosage as needed with a recognizable increment, while lemon juice will expedite onset time.
The Legality of Magic Mushrooms
In the United States, psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance, with no accepted medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. In contrast, the Drug Policy Alliance states that “Physically, psilocybin mushrooms are considered to be one of the least toxic drugs known.” With that being said, local efforts such as Decriminalize Nature – Oakland and Decriminalize Denver have pushed for and successfully passed initiatives and legislation to reduce penalties and make enforcement a low priority, as was done in the early days of cannabis activism. This has spurred multiple local and international efforts to “Decriminalize Nature,” efforts that we learn more about in this month’s feature.
Ginkgo biloba is an ancient tree; its roots originate in China. The ginkgo biloba tree is also sometimes known as the maidenhair tree or the Japanese silver apricot, and it produces a foul-smelling fruit commonly harvested for its seeds known as “ginkgo nuts”. Ginkgo nuts are popularly used in Asian cuisine.
The ginkgo biloba tree’s fan-shaped leaves are used to make ginkgo biloba extract, a supplement traditionally used in Chinese medicine, but has since garnered the attention of cultures worldwide. The supplement comes in liquid extracts, capsules, and tablets. The leaves can also be dried to make tea. The type of ginkgo biloba extract supplement someone takes is all a matter of personal preference, and depends on the user’s already existing regimen. If you do not already drink tea, a ginkgo biloba tea may not implement easily into your lifestyle, thus a greater chance for inconsistency or erratic results. But if you take vitamins or other supplements regularly, after a doctor’s approval you can easily incorporate an additional capsule or tablet into your daily routine.
The 16th-century Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu is revered as the most comprehensive text ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine. This text reveals that ginkgo biloba seeds were used as a topical extract for antimicrobial purposes on the skin. Traditional Chinese Medicine also uses the leaves for tea and attributes it to soothing coughs and activating blood circulation, as well as other benefits like respiratory and digestive ailments.
A common use for ginkgo biloba is to preserve memory and prevent cognitive decline. Dr. Hiroko Dodge of Oregon State University at Corvallis and his research team followed 118 people for three years aged 85 years and older, in good health, and showing no signs of dementia or memory loss at the beginning of the study. Half took ginkgo biloba and half took a placebo over three years. The patients taking it regularly had a 70% lower risk of developing dementia. According to the study, the other variables included considered “basic demographic variables including age, sex, years of education, and living arrangement (living alone vs living with someone).”
The National Center for Biotechnology and Information published a study exploring ginkgo as a potential remedy for anxiety and, “The authors reported a significant improvement in psychopathological symptoms. Response rates were 44% in the high-dose group, 31% in the low-dose group, and 22% with placebo. Additionally, the percentages of clinically significant responses were 81%, 67%, and 38% for the high-dose, the low-dose, and the placebo groups, respectively.”2
A 2008 study reinforced the idea behind Traditional Chinese Medicine that ginkgo biloba improves blood circulation. The study shows ginkgo biloba extract to improve coronary artery circulation in patients with coronary artery disease. The study notes, “GBE (ginkgo biloba extract) treatment demonstrated a significant improvement in maximal diastolic peak velocity (MDPV), maximal systolic peak velocity (MSPV) and diastolic time velocity integral (DTVI) compared with controls.”3 In other words, ginkgo biloba extract is a great contender as a treatment to improve blood flow.
Like cannabis and other medicinal plants, ginkgo has terpenes and flavonoids. Both of these compounds have therapeutic properties, and can provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well as being packed with antioxidants. Anti-inflammatory effects can serve many different ailments, especially relieving pain of various kinds. Antioxidants are thought to protect our bodies from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause harm to the body. Terpenes are also responsible for giving plants their unique and flavorful smell. Flavonoids are the compounds that give plants their vibrant and diverse colors, and are the largest group of phytonutrients. There are approximately 6,00 different types of flavonoids.
A few years back, the National Toxicology Program released a detailed report on ginkgo biloba extract. It dissects the toxicity and carcinogenic properties of ginkgo biloba using rodent test subjects. The report made its rounds as proof that ginkgo biloba causes cancer, because the rodents developed cancer at high-rates over two year periods. Per the American Botanical Council, “Adjusted for bodyweight, dosage levels given to the animals were up to 55 to 108 times higher than levels of ginkgo normally ingested by human beings taking ginkgo supplements.” Many people have been using this report to warn against the supplement, but Bill J. Gurley, Ph.D., a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Arkansas School for Medical Sciences, Little Rock said, “Almost anything will create cancer in rats and mice when it’s fed to them at high doses for two years.” The American Botanical Council also claims the ginkgo biloba extract used in the rodent experiment was of lesser quality, and not meeting European standards.
Though this seemingly negative research on ginkgo can be explained, it is still important to discuss any kind of supplement addition with your doctor, especially if you are on other supplements or pharmaceutical prescriptions.