humbleroots

Startups, Health and Medical Marijuana.

It’s been 2.5 years since my last post. Wow! Why such a long radio silence, you might ask?

Well, it’s simple: from 2011 to 2014, I poured all of my energy into building and growing a business until it became clear that it was literally killing me from physical stress, burnout and depression. Never mind why; just know to never do business with friends. Ever. As I was trying to survive, writing personal blog posts was the last of my concerns, until today.

As you read on, please keep in mind that this post is an opinion piece prompted by the desire to share a personal experience that, I hope, you will find interesting.

In 2013, the physical stress I had been experiencing manifested itself as severe tendon inflammation in my hands, wrists, arms and shoulders, mostly caused by years of sub-optimal workstation ergonomics and excessive weight lifting at the gym. I was in constant pain and unable to do anything that required physical strength. Using a keyboard and a mouse was torture. Even lifting a pint of beer was a challenge. That’s when I knew I was in trouble😉

I was prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine, physical therapy and a new workstation setup. However, the anti-inflammatory medicine was ineffective, making physical therapy a non-starter. When my doctor talked about surgery as a fallback plan, I wasn’t on-board with the idea: it felt premature and it had the potential of making things worse. Why open Pandora’s box when other options are available, as ‘unconventional’ as they may seem?  Why not try cannabis for its anti-inflammatory properties instead?

Living in Washington State, where medical and recreational marijuana are legal, getting a prescription for my condition was straight forward. And guess what? It worked! I finally experienced relief and began recovering. Even though the tendon damage is permanent, the pain was manageable. Being mindful about taking frequent breaks from the keyboard and avoiding heavy lifting as much as possible, I was on the mend, without surgery!

Becoming a medical cannabis patient was a transformative experience for me: I went from thinking “Weed’s just for fun” to “Holy cow, cannabis is truly medicine!” to “Why is marijuana a Schedule 1 substance and why is anyone going to prison for it?”.

I started researching the motives behind the “War on Drugs” and realized the staggering amount of deception covering the agenda of the U.S. government. What I discovered was revolting and I went from being a patient to being an activist advocating drug policy reform. If you’re interested in the facts, regardless of your position on marijuana, I recommend watching The Culture High documentary. It is enlightening, to say the least…

There was one thing that was troubling me about using medical marijuana as medicine though: due to the lack of federal regulations applicable to marijuana cultivation, pesticide use is allowed by state law. In Washington State, commercial marijuana growers are allowed to use over 200 different kinds of chemicals as pesticides, some of which are proven to be toxic and should never be used to produce medicine.

That’s when I decided to experiment with growing my own organic, pesticide-free medicine, legally and sustainably. To this end, I built a lab serving as a controlled environment, wrote some software, built some hardware and combined it all with various consumer appliances in order to automate the cultivation process as much as possible, sparing me a great deal of manual labor and pain.

Three prototypes and four beautiful harvests later, The Humble Roots Project was born.

While developing the project, I learned a great deal about horticulture, cannabis and designing sustainable systems. Above all, this experience has opened my eyes to the crimes being committed against patients, preventing them from accessing the medicine that can save their lives and landing them in prison instead. Washington State’s marijuana laws might be far from perfect but I’m grateful that they even exist. Fortunately, the marijuana legalization movement is well under way and there’s hope that it will sweep the rest of the nation before too long…

I hope that The Humble Roots Project will inspire and help other medical cannabis patients to become self-sufficient. It’s the least that I can do to give back and support a cause that I deeply care about.

Live long and prosper,

-Fabien.

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