Introduction to Michelle Ross, the Plant Medicine Queenpin

If you’ve spent any time within the West Coast plant medicine underground, you’ve probably come across the name of Dr. Michelle Ross. Holding a PhD in Neuroscience from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Ross fully embraced the allopathic model from her medical training and a just-say-no attitude towards scheduled drugs before she came down with fibromyalgia. Like many cannabis patients, she had first gone through the wringer of prescription painkillers and their brutal side effects before turning to cannabis. From there, she turned her analytical prowess towards plant medicine, offering her expertise on cannabis, medicinal mushrooms and herbs through her Institute for Plant-Assisted Therapy. She also offered some of her expertise to Medicine Box in a special edition of our Shift series, and like us, we’re pretty sure you’ll walk away wanting more.

While there is no shortage of good tips Dr. Ross gave us, we’ve pulled out a few of our favorites below:

  1. When starting out on your plant medicine journey, it helps to travel with a pathfinder

Early on in the conversation, Dr. Ross recommended the importance of finding a good pathfinder to assist in finding the right plant medicines. Like Medicine Box, she agrees that this is larger than treating the symptoms of one’s condition, and working all at once with the larger “gestalt,” or totality, of a person’s life. “My goal is to help them access their best version of themselves. And like, that’s a totally weird part of medicine because you normally have your MDs [over here] and your therapist or something over there. But I think with plant medicine, you could actually just do a little bit of both, because cannabis can help you tap into your better self.”

  1. When searching for the right cannabis medicine, trust the process

We say it ourselves on the label — everybody and every body is different. You may take different medications, your body may metabolize cannabinoids differently, and that may make all the difference. It’s the basis of a medical phenomenon called pharmacogenetics. And it also means that certain plants, or certain dosages, may work better than others. “You’re almost like, House, MD where you’re like, ‘Okay, what is going on with your cannabis journey? Why isn’t it working? How can we tweak it?’ And it is a little bit of a process,” says Ross. “And I think that’s why it’s really helpful to have somebody guide you through this. Especially when you’re [contemplating] going completely off of one medication you may have taken for a long time and then you completely shift to plant medicine — you need to find somebody that works with you every single day.”

  1. When it comes to formulations like Medicine Box’s 1CaB, it’s all about the blend

They call it plant medicine for a reason — because it’s about ALL of the plants, not just one compound. We’re proud that Dr. Michelle Ross works with us as one of our Wellness Muses. For her, our 1CaB healing suite of botanical formulations is the plant medicine equivalent to the V8 vegetable drink.  “it’s nice to have something that’s already formulated, so you don’t have to say, ‘Okay, well you need this CBD product. Now you need this mushroom product. Now you need this other one,’ where the client has to go and buy 30 different things. Some of them, they’re in pain or they have memory problems. And it’s nice to be able to have them start off on one thing that has all the things that is going to help them.”

  1. In mental and physical health alike, strong immunity is key.

It’s not just a physical thing — you need good immunity for both your mental and physical health, because immune cells are everywhere in your body. The beta-glucans in medicinal mushrooms support the immune system, giving your body a chance to fight back against whatever sorts of exterior stresses are attacking it. Dr. Ross gave us the lowdown on mushroom benefits. “One in two people will actually get cancer at one point in their life, right?”, Ross reckons. “Our food is not clean. You know, our air is not clean. We should be doing things that support our system and help our body be as healthy as possible to help fight off some of the things that we’re exposed to. I love the fact that medicinal mushrooms have so many different benefits, whether it’s protecting the brain, whether it’s reducing inflammation, promoting heart health, there’s a lot of different benefits from these things. We know that these cannabinoids have so many properties from being antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory neuroprotective. So I think combined, it’s like a super entourage effect.”

  1. Sometimes, you need to give THC a chance.

Not everybody appreciates THC’s after-effects, and of course, outside of prescribed medications like Marinol, it’s not even federally legal — yet. However, even though she’s far from a stoner, Ross sees usefulness in THC as a medicine, and helps to coach those who have difficulty with its effects. This is how she does it:

Brian also did a lightning round with Dr. Ross, just because we could. 

Favorite Terpene: beta-caryophyllene

Favorite Cannabinoid: CBD (no surprise for the woman who just wrote CBD Oil for Health)

Favorite Outdoor Activity: hiking

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check the entire video out here