Canna-Kitchen Witchery: Let’s Make Some Magic!
Hello Heady Vermont community! My name is Stephanie Boucher, and I am a certified Clinical Herbalist, gardener, forager, mother, traveler, and self-proclaimed kitchen witch who loves all things DIY, especially when it comes to food and medicine. I am beyond excited to share with you all some nuggets of wisdom that I’ve learned in my years working with plant medicine, and hope to inspire you to try your hand at making your own remedies as well.
I usually tell folks that I have over four years of experience working in the cannabis industry, but in reality, my relationship with the plant goes back much farther. As a teenager, I became enamored with how we humans can use plants to shift our consciousness, and cannabis figured prominently in my early explorations. My relationship with the herb ebbed and flowed throughout my teenage and early adult years. Then one day, after realizing my current career path in academia was leaving me thoroughly unsatisfied, I set out west to volunteer on some organic farms – which landed me unsuspectingly and serendipitously on a beautiful, budding cannabis farm nestled in the hills of northern California.
Living and working on this farm brought me into contact with the plant in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Seeing cannabis grown to its full glory in the Mendocino county sun, being around people who fully appreciated the plant for all it offered, and befriending some amazing herbalists making medicine with cannabis (and other plants), helped me to make some big shifts in my life that desperately needed to happen.
For me, cannabis was most definitely a gateway herb. By this I mean that cannabis is the plant that introduced me to the power and beauty of plant medicine more generally, and helped inspire me to pursue the study of herbalism. After confirming my passions with Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbology home study course, I decided to come back east to deepen my education at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, a rigorous three-year clinical training program in Montpelier. Here, I had the pleasure of studying with Guido Mase, Larken Bunce, Betzy Bancroft, Laura Litchfield, and a handful of other prominent herbalists and naturopaths including Jody Noe, Mary Bove, and 7Song.
During my course of study at VCIH, the cannabis plant called me back once more, this time with a job in the kitchen at Vermont Patients Alliance, Montpelier’s medical dispensary. Combining my study of herbalism with the hands-on work of formulating and making medicine for Vermont’s registered patients was a dream and a privilege. Post graduation, I continued my education by completing the Certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine through UVM’s Larner College of Medicine, which helped to further deepen my understanding of the chemistry and pharmacology of the herb.
My goal is to bridge the divide between the Vermont cannabis community and the Vermont herbal medicine community — two strong groups of folks who have much in common and a lot to learn from one another, but who might not always be in conversation. I firmly believe that cannabis should be reinstated to its rightful place in the modern herbal apothecary, and that Vermont is the perfect place to make that happen. One way I’m attempting this is by launching my clinical herbal practice, CannaBotanicals, in which I offer holistic health consultations and provide individualized recommendations for cannabis and other herbs, as well as dietary and lifestyle shifts that will encourage healing. And since wellness to me cannot be separated from the health of our society and our planet, I am committed to using sustainably harvested herbs and donating a portion of all profits to social justice organizations. To learn more, please visit my website – www.cannabotanicals.net – and feel free to be in touch.
For many folks, cannabis may be the only herb that they know or use regularly, but I believe that it can be the gateway herb for all people. I envision cannabis as a plant that inspires our love of nature and empowers us, maybe for the first time, to take our health back into our own hands. As such, I believe that cannabis is and has always been medicine of the people, and should remain in the hands of the herbalist and not the pharmacist. And we all have an herbalist within us, just waiting to germinate and be cultivated.
Through this column, I hope to not only teach you all about how fun and easy it is to make your own cannabis remedies at home (from butter to tincture to topicals and beyond), but to inspire you all to learn about the other healing herbs that surround us every time we step outside. We’ll cover the basics like decarboxylation and why fats are your friends, but for folks who already know their way around a pot brownie, don’t despair – we’ll quickly get into some second- and third-level kitchen witchery, too. So let’s roll up our sleeves, clear off the counter, and channel the healers and medicine makers we all undoubtedly have in our ancestry. It’s time to make some magic.
Stephanie is a certified Clinical Herbalist, having graduated from the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism‘s 3-year Clinical Herbalist Training Program. In addition to her traditional herbal training, she also holds a Professional Certificate in Cannabis Science and Medicine from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, and has over 4 years of experience in the cannabis industry. This spring she is excited to launch her clinical practice CannaBotanicals, offering herbal consults with an emphasis on holistic approaches to therapeutic cannabis use.