From salves and lip balms to tinctures and vape pens, Mukwa Botanicals now offers a wide range of indigenous sourced and indigenous made cannabis products.

Mukwa means bear in the Ojibway language. In Anishinaabe culture, the bear represents courage, strength, and leadership and the bear clan is traditionally tasked with providing medicines for the people. Mukwa Botanicals was created by Rob Stevenson, an Anishinaabe man of the Bear Clan, who owns Medicine Wheel Natural Healing in Alderville First Nation. Rob identified the need for an Indigenous brand of cannabis products that would uphold the Seven Grandfather Teachings that underpin the core philosophy of Medicine Wheel Natural Healing.

“We’re community-focused,” says Stevenson. “I’m trying to put us in a position to develop the indigenous cannabis industry as a whole, not just for myself but for all the different communities that want to take this path.”

The Mukwa Botanical brand is “developed by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people,” Stevenson emphasizes, indicating that ‘Mukwa’ is a reference to his own identity in belonging to the bear clan. “It encompasses all of what we’re trying to do: using products that are made by indigenous people, majority-sourced from Indigenous people, and we are putting a portion of the profits back to the community.”

Some of the products that Mukwa Botanicals will feature at the launch include rechargeable vape pens that vary in CBD and THC content, from all CBD, to mixed, to mostly THC. Other products include tinctures and essential oils, and soon organic edibles will be added to the product line.

Essential to the Mukwa brand is the way the medicine is extracted, a method that favours using the entire plant’s spectrum rather than employing isolates or distillates to separate its various psycho and non-psychoactive contents. The idea, Stevenson explains, is to maintain the plant’s full terpene profile, which then creates an “entourage effect” that works much better on the body.

“So we’re trying to create a more holistic environment, because it’s not just about money,” Stevenson said. “We’re really trying to educate people. Again, it’s not just the THC numbers and products; there’s a heck of a lot more to the plant than just the THC – and that’s what we want to focus on.”

As the medicinal cannabis industry grows, more people are beginning to see the true potential of the plant. Its medicinal value is rapidly coming to be accepted even by the western health system. But it will be a while longer before all the stigma is removed from the plant and those that choose to use it are able to do so freely. Rob hopes that what he is doing at Medicine Wheel and with Mukwa Botanicals will help bridge that gap and, in doing so, give Indian Country a much needed economic boost.

And that cannot be understated. As Rob explained, economic independence – whether it’s from medicinal cannabis or any other industry – is essential for political independence.

Medicinal cannabis “is an opportunity for us to get off the coattails of the government and to become self sustaining again,” he said. “What I’d like to see is non-interference. I understand there will be some kind of need to work with the government, but I think it should be up to each individual community to decide how to proceed. Now there’s the opportunity to get on board and make something of this opportunity.”

Medicine Wheel Natural Healing is located at 8986 County Road 45, in Alderville First Nation.

 

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Mukwa Botanicals tinctures are made with full spectrum, whole plant extract rather than isolates or distillates. This preserves the full terpene profile to maximize the medicinal value and maintain the integrity and spirit of the source plants.

The primary carrier agent for Mukwa Botanicals tinctures is MCT oil. MCTs are medium chain triglycerides, and in addition to helping the medicine to absorb more readily into the bloodstream, MCTs themselves have a number of medicinal benefits ranging from improvements in cognitive performance to antiviral properties.

 

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Mukwa Botanicals: From the land, for the people

Mukwa means bear in the Ojibway. The bear represents courage, strength, and leadership. The bear clan traditionally provides the medicine for the people as they know the healing properties of plants, and they are the protector of the people. It is the goal of Mukwa Botanicals to offer healing and leadership in forging a proud Indigenous place in the growing cannabis industry.

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What is microdosing?

Microdosing is the act of taking what would have previously been thought of as sub-therapeutic doses of a medicine at regular intervals throughout the day. With higher doses, sometimes undesired side effects can occur. Microdosing allows patients to reap the medicinal benefits to alleviate their symptoms without these unwanted effects.

With cannabis, and in particular its primary psychoactive ingredient, THC, there is an interesting relationship between dosing strength and effect. This differs from many other more traditional pharmaceutical medicines.

For symptoms such as pain and anxiety, THC seems to have an effectiveness curve. At pre-dosing or extreme low dosing, there is little to no benefit. Then, as the dosage is increased to sub-therapeutic or microdosing levels, it begins to alleviate these symptoms.

With most other medicines, increasing the dosage beyond this point yields increased effectiveness. If you have a headache, you take an aspirin. If you have a bad headache, you take two aspirin.

However, for THC there is a point beyond which its pain relieving properties wane, leaving users occasionally with increased sensation of pain than they felt pre-dosage. Similarly for anxiety, at low and microdoses, THC can be an effective anti-anxiety medication. Yet, at higher doses it can have the opposite effect, causing increased anxiety and even paranoia.

Microdosing can alleviate these effectiveness curve problems, while simultaneously helping patients to remain clear headed so that they feel productive, sharp, and functional throughout the day.

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