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Kevin Strombel On How Cannabis Brought His Family Together

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Kevin Strombel On How Cannabis Brought His Family Together

Kevin and Tim Strombel

This article is by Erin McDonald and originally appeared on Cannaeffect.org.

Kevin Strombel, 26, has had a complex medical history and association with cannabis since his teenage years. His brother Tim is the Director of Media Development for Cashinbis, an online multimedia platform that covers the business side of the medical cannabis industry. In 2011, the two brothers lost their father to cancer, an event that inspired both of them to pursue their professional passions. Since his father’s passing, Kevin has become an award winning chef in San Diego, CA and Tim has pursued his dreams in the world of media and entertainment. While they may have ventured their separate ways over the years, the two brothers share a bond with their father that was created through the impact of medical cannabis. Kevin Strombel recently took the time to tell us about his journey and exactly how that bond became so strong.

Written By Kevin Strombel Kevin Strombel on how cannabis brought his family together


Lambs bread, Leda Uno, Blue Moonshine, Purple Kush. To some these names merely represent different strains of cannabis. To others they are more specific, containing different levels of Indica or Sativa properties. But to me, they are memories. Each smell and taste reminds me of a time when a father and son would spend their time together, not just growing and enjoying cannabis, but bonding over a shared passion that would forever bind them in love and memory.

My father was an amazing man. He was a family man who prioritized his children above all things. He coached almost every sport his kids played. He made sure we were all well fed, often going into work early to make sure he could be home to cook dinner for all of us when we finished with our busy schedules. Together, both he and my mom fought hard to make sure their kids were the best they could be. It was only after my high school graduation that he revealed to me that he was an avid cannabis user. It was a surprise without a doubt. How could a man who did so much with his life, raise such an amazing family, maintain such an amazing job, be the type of person that he was, also be an avid cannabis grower and advocate?

Each smell and taste reminds me of a time when a father and son would spend their time together, not just growing and enjoying cannabis, but bonding over a shared passion that would forever bind them in love and memory.

I was taught in school from an early age that cannabis was a gateway “drug”, and that the use of such would only lead to further drug abuse. That education continued in high school as many students were expelled for possession and use of cannabis. There was a stigma around cannabis, and I believed every bit of it. I believed that those who used cannabis were drug users, and I thought less of them for it. The societal stigma affected me to my core, and I never believed or understood any arguments advocating the use of cannabis, medical or recreational. However, my beliefs were forever changed the day my father sat me down and told me of his passion for cannabis. His passion was inspiring, and knowing the man he was, I could not help but absorb the love he had for cannabis.

From that day on, I engrossed myself in cannabis culture. I used cannabis on a daily basis. I read everything I could; the many versions of the Cannabible my father owned, books on growing cannabis, and scientific research on the multitude of effects of cannabis. My father and I had nightly conversations encompassing all topics of cannabis, but I most enjoyed our brainstorms on how to improve our own growing operation. We believed that our indoor organic set-up could easily surpass any cannabis we would purchase at any local medical cannabis shops. We sought out to grow a product that we could enjoy on a daily basis. We grew cannabis not to make a profit or win awards, but to share in a bond of creating something magnificent. Our goal was simple, but what I would experience in the next three years would, in many ways, forever shape the person I am today.

I have had a rough life when it comes to medical problems. At 6’6 it should come as no surprise to know I have had issues with my body. When I was 16, my mom noticed my left shin had progressively bowed out a bit more than my right. I played football at the time, so she would often rub night cramps out of my leg. An x-ray revealed a large tumor, roughly the size of three golf balls lined up, growing in my shin. The plan was to take some bone and bone marrow from my Iliac Crest and fuse it with cadaver material. The procedure was a success, and I was able to play my senior year of football. However, throughout the year I began to notice my left foot was numb, from the toes to my Achilles. Another procedure was performed, effectively destroying any hopes of a football career. I spent four months in a wheelchair, and was given a Vicodin prescription for the pain, 6 pills a day for 6 months.

Once we settled in, my father and I began crafting our new growing set-up. We spent days brainstorming ways to configure our new space – everything from the wooden frame light mounts to ventilation and humidity control. We went to local hydroponic shops and researched the most effective indoor organic growing methods.

Once recovered, my family decided to move to Temecula, California. My brother lived in San Diego at the time, and sister lived close by our new house in Temecula. The family being close together was very important to my parents, and I couldn’t argue with being close to such an amazing city. Once we settled in, my father and I began crafting our new growing set-up. We spent days brainstorming ways to configure our new space – everything from the wooden frame light mounts to ventilation and humidity control. We went to local hydroponic shops and researched the most effective indoor organic growing methods. Every night we conversed over a bag or two of vaporized cannabis. We looked forward to these nightly conversations and together we designed the perfect set-up.

I began to split my time between San Diego and Temecula. I had a girlfriend who went to UCSD, and of course my brother lived in La Jolla. We spent our time going to the beach, exploring the city, and I loved meeting new people in a new place for the first time. Since I had no place to live at the time, I slept on the floor of my brother’s room. One morning I woke up, and the scar on my hip from my first surgery felt odd, like someone had pierced something deep into the bone. I looked down and saw a chunk of bone sticking out of my scar, a bit unnerving to say the least. I removed the chunks from the hip, placed them in a zip-lock bag, and went to the hospital. I was back at a hospital in Temecula a few days later. It turns out a sinus had developed in my scar tissue because of some bone chips from my Iliac Crest, and it seemed to be an easy fix. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

My first procedure revealed a MRSA infection, one of the deadliest, deep in my hip. I spent three weeks in the hospital, pumped full of intravenous antibiotics and morphine. I was sent home with more pain pills, and was told it would only take a few weeks to recover. My father used cannabis during his recovery, and I did the same, replacing my narcotic pain medications.

Around the same time, my father was diagnosed with skin cancer. He had a few melanomas on his face and torso, which were swiftly removed to prevent spreading. While he was recovering, I was going through the worst period of my life. My first procedure revealed a MRSA infection, one of the deadliest, deep in my hip. I spent three weeks in the hospital, pumped full of intravenous antibiotics and morphine. I was sent home with more pain pills, and was told it would only take a few weeks to recover. My father used cannabis during his recovery, and I did the same, replacing my narcotic pain medications.

One night I woke up with an excruciating pain all along my left side. I had severe hematoma, and my left hip area was dark red and hot. I was rushed to the hospital, where my staples were removed as clots of blood spilled from my wound. Safe to say it was quite an intense experience. My wound remained open, still bleeding, as I was sent home to rest and recover. I fell asleep on our couch as my friends, who were visiting at the time, and family kept good spirits, attempting to make me comfortable. I woke up to a pool of my blood soaking into the couch, and a look of shock on all those who were present. There was nothing that could be done besides getting to bed, placing three towels under my left hip, and trying to stay positive and get some sleep. As I settled into bed, I began to wonder if this would be my last night, would I survive this or would I die right in this bed from bleeding? As these thoughts raced through my head, my father walked in with a huge bag of Purple Kush. A calm look swept across his face as he handed me the bad and reclined back in a chair next to my bed. I could only imagine what could be going through a parent’s face seeing that look of mortality on the face of their child. There he stayed, filling bags of Purple Kush until I fell asleep. Cannabis got me through that night. I had 4 surgeries done since then, and I continued to use cannabis to replace the need for narcotics.

As I settled into bed, I began to wonder if this would be my last night, would I survive this or would I die right in this bed from bleeding? As these thoughts raced through my head, my father walked in with a huge bag of Purple Kush. A calm look swept across his face as he handed me the bad and reclined back in a chair next to my bed.

Once recovered, I moved down to San Diego to live with my brother. On a visit back to Temecula, my parents delivered some intense news. My father’s cancer had spread to the nerve bundle of his left shoulder. He had a Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in his right chest wall. The doctors believed it best to remove his right arm and part of his chest wall as a way to hopefully remove as much of the SCC as possible. I decided to move back to Temecula so I could help as much as possible. My main help involved cooking whatever I could to make it an easier recovery. Having been bed-ridden myself, I knew how much a well-cooked meal helped recovery. I enjoyed a bag or two of cannabis with my father, and then I would make him a fantastic meal. I became obsessed with cooking during this time, and I told my father if he only had 100 meals left, I would make each one to the greatest of my ability.

The decision to take his arm and chest wall came too late; the cancer had spread throughout his skin cells and chest wall. It looked like acid was dripping on his torso, slowly eating away at everything in its path. It took a physical toll on my father, and an even greater emotional toll on our family. I provided my dad with hourly bags of Indica with the hope to ease his pain, while I used cannabis to keep focused on cooking and maintaining a positive attitude. I could tell cannabis helped him sleep, and also allowed us to stay close together by sharing in something we had both loved for so long. Even when he could no longer talk from the tumor in his lymph node, I could still tell he enjoyed our bag time together.

I could tell cannabis helped him sleep, and also allowed us to stay close together by sharing in something we had both loved for so long. Even when he could no longer talk from the tumor in his lymph node, I could still tell he enjoyed our bag time together.

My father passed away on September 19, 2011. I was playing my drums after enjoying a bag of blue moonshine when my mother came into my room with a look I would never forget. I knew he had passed, and went upstairs to be sure. His pulse had been feint for a few days, so I took the stethoscope and placed it on his heart. He was gone forever, but I found myself not overcome with sadness or depression. I was happy… honored.

The experiences we shared were not normal by any means. They were special. How many people can say they spent three amazing years so close to their father in the pursuit on something so great? We weren’t always close while I was growing up, but those last three years we developed a bond that far surpassed anything I could have hoped or imagined. That year forged who I am as a person. I became a chef and made a successful career from merely learning to cook for my sick father. I gained a perspective that few have, and the use of cannabis provided the foundation for who I am today.

I have had a few more procedures on my leg since then. My achilles has been replaced and lengthened twice. My second toe on my left foot has been broken and fused together twice, no longer able to bend. I have severe nerve damage and progressive nerve death in my left leg. The pain is often unbearable. Any other person in this condition would never dream of hiking parts of the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, and Zion national park, but I am a member of two hiking groups in El Paso, Texas. I hope to complete the John Muir trail in the next two years, and cannabis helps me live the way I want to live. From lotions, to edibles, and the occasional puff or two, cannabis has helped me through every difficult period in my adult life, and has allowed me to achieve amazing things. Best of all, the taste and smell remind me of my father, and that is the greatest gift cannabis can give.

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Five Ways Cannabis Affects Sleep

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Five Ways Cannabis Affects Sleep

Medical patients often suffer from not sleeping well. We dug into recent studies to see if cannabis improves sleep. Here are five things you should know:

THC boosts melatonin

The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC has been shown to dramatically increase melatonin production, causing a spike up to four thousand times that of baseline levels. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates circadian rhythm and sleep.

Increase slow-wave sleep

According to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of San Diego, THC increases the third and fourth stages of the sleep cycle, also known as ‘slow-wave sleep’ (SWS). Increased SWS has been linked to an increased reduction of beta-amyloid, the harmful neural protein associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other memory loss conditions.

Reduce REM

While cannabis is known for increasing SWS, it also reduces the fifth phase of sleep, commonly known as rapid eye movement (REM). Less REM means having less dreams, but there is yet to be any evidence of negative effects.

Treat sleep apnea

Cannabis’ sleep-inducing properties are an excellent natural remedy for those suffering from sleep apnea. This helps them to fall and stay asleep easier and with less interruption.

Reduce RBD in Parkinson’s Disease

By using a high-CBD cannabis before bed, you can lessen REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) effects such as tremors, violent movements, and nightmares. High-CBD cannabis has been found to be more effective than Levodopa, a prescription drug commonly prescribed to patients with Parkinson’s and onset-RBD.

More Information

Melatonin and marijuana (Lissoni, P., Resentini, M., and Fraschini, F. “Effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol on Melatonin Secretion in Man.”)
Cannabinoids for medical use (Journal of American Medical Association)
Effect of drugs on sleep (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
THC effects on sleep & sleep during withdrawal (Europe PMC)
How Cannabis can help RBD in Parkinson’s (Vanwinkles.com)

Has cannabis had an affect on your quality of sleep? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Grow Medicinal Marijuana At Home With A Grow Box

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Grow Medicinal Marijuana At Home With A Grow Box

Growing your own medicinal marijuana is a liberating experience. You control all the variables. You know exactly what is in the bud you are smoking. grow box is a discreet and easy way to grow marijuana indoors at home, freeing yourself from dependence on both doctor and dispensary.

Gain independence with a grow box

A grow box is like a tiny, camouflaged green house. It is a self-contained unit with soil or hydroponic growing medium, lights, filters and pumps. Just add seeds, electricity and voila! You are growing your own medicinal marijuana.

Choose the right marijuana strain for you

There are two important considerations when choosing a strain of medicinal marijuana to grow yourself:

Your Medical Requirements – Are you looking for a powerful sedative effect to help with your insomnia or a functional day-time smoke to relieve pain and lighten anxiety?

Your Growing Space – Choose small, bushy strains like Indica or hybrid seeds instead of a tall, leggy Sativa. For your first grow an auto-flowering marijuana variety is the best choice because they require very little care or expertise.

Grow enough marijuana to meet your needs

Grow boxes are available in all sizes. Several surveys in the UK, Canada and the US suggest that most medicinal marijuana patients use 1-3 grams per day, or about 2 ½ pounds per year.

Even the tiny PC Grow Box, which holds just two small plants, can produce two pounds of dried bud per year. The compact SuperBox allows you to grow 8 plants at once with annual yields of 7 pounds or more.

Grow your medicinal marijuana under lights

Marijuana grows best under lights that mimic natural sunlight. There are three common types of grow lights used in the cultivation of marijuana:

  • Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
  • High Intensity Discharge Lights (HIDs)
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

Most grow boxes use either CFL or full spectrum LED grow lights. HIDs don’t work well in the enclosed space of a grow box because they get too hot.

While you can grow small amounts of marijuana successfully using CFLs, high quality LED grow lights save electricity and produce the highest yields.

Obtain higher yields using hydroponics

A hydroponic system doesn’t use soil. Growing hydroponic marijuana is not as complex as it may sound.

Many grow boxes come with a simple hydroponic system already set-up. You simply add nutrients, which often come with the grow box, and water. You can even choose to grow marijuana with organic nutrients.

Grow marijuana naturally in soil

Some people prefer to grow marijuana as naturally as possible. The Earth Cab grow box series is one style of grow box designed for soil.

Grow a continuous supply of medicinal marijuana

Once you get started you don’t need new seeds for each growing cycle. You can propagate new marijuana plants by taking cuttings, called clones, of your favorite existing plant.

A dual chamber grow box has a special space for making clones. These grow boxes allow you to produce a constant supply of fresh buds.

Find the perfect grow box for your situation

For the many medicinal growers discretion is essential. Look for a specially designed stealth grow box.

You can also choose a fully automated grow box that allows you to leave town for two weeks and come home to healthy plants.

Use this detailed review of the best grow boxes of 2015 to find the perfect set-up for you.

Grow medicinal marijuana at home with a grow box

Are you considering growing at home? Let us know why in the comments below!

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How Edibles Are Made

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How Edibles Are Made

Since there are so many manufacturers throughout the US, cannabis-infused foods are produced in a variety of different ways. Read up on how your favorite edibles are made and learn how to make your own medicinal treats:

They’re usually made with trim

Trim contains the leftover leaf matter from the cannabis flower that growers usually throw away. It’s less potent than bud, but it’s full of trichomes and can be used in large quantities to produce a stronger effect.

Cannabis is decarboxylated

Decarboxylation activates THC and other cannabinoids to result in a more potent product. To achieve this, cannabis needs to be heated either through smoking, vaping, or baking. The flower is typically cooked for a long time over low heat before it’s used to make edibles. Eating raw cannabis won’t have a very strong effect, and it won’t taste good.

Cannabinoids are extracted

Edibles are infused with highly concentrated cannabis extracts. Depending on the extraction method, edibles can contain either tinctures, canna oil, or cannabutter. If you’re wondering how a specific edible was made, ask your budtender or contact the manufacturer.

Canna oil and cannabutter are common

THC is fat soluble, so cannabis is often cooked with oil or butter. When heated, the activated cannabinoids absorb into these ingredients. Check out this recipe for cannabis cooking oil and this one for cannabis-infused butter. Or try making cannabis coconut oil.

Tinctures are used in hard candies

Some edibles don’t go through a baking or cooking process, so tinctures are added instead of flower. Tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts made from a solvent like alcohol, vinegar, or glycerol. Rather than passing through the digestive system like cannabinoids in most edibles, these are absorbed by the body and can result in a quicker effect.

Have you ever made your own edibles? Tell us in the comments below.

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