In a small city in the middle of the Netherlands, eight seniors join each other on a Friday afternoon for a group activity. We’re not talking golf or making flower arrangements, but making their very own weed-oil.
Organised by Wernard Bruining, owner of Amsterdam’s very first coffeeshop back in the 70s and now medicinal cannabis pioneer and advisor, the participants have each brought 5 grams of the green plant. Some even bought it a few minutes before the class started at the coffeeshop around the corner. Today’s goal? Learn how to make your own CBD- or THC-oil, which are two of the main active substances in cannabis. ‘Turning care-consumers, into care-producers,’ as Bruining likes to call it.
One of the ladies giggles while using a big grinder to break the cannabis up into small bits, because she ‘feels like a junkie’, doing this. I can tell this is very new to her. “I wanted to try it, because it’s good to expand your horizons,” she explains. She looks very excited to be here, taking in all the information that is given during the presentation, while at the same time ambitiously taking notes. With her cat-eye glasses and lace collar, she doesn’t look like the typical kind of person you’d expect at a workshop like this. Still I couldn’t tell you what kind of person I did expect.
Each participant has their own reason for joining today. From stage four cancer patients, to rheumatism, fibromyalgia and arthritis. It seems like there is no ache the plant can’t cure, or at least lessen. Bruining gives personalised advice to everyone in the room. Trouble sleeping? Stressed? Painful joints? Nauseous? Knot in your neck? I’m sure you can guess the answer by now.
To explain in detail exactly how the oil is made, would be too complicated, but in short 96% pure alcohol is added to the cannabis which removes the oil from the leaves. After that it’s a matter of evaporating the alcohol and thinning out the thick residue with olive oil. And voilà: your own medication. Bruining’s advice? Get high off your own supply at least once, just to know how it feels and to know what your limits are. On top of that it’s actually a lot of fun, he tells the audience with a wink.