Gisele Fetterman, the Second Lady of Pennsylvania was recently spotlighted in the national news, not for her stash, but for the color of her skin.
“Right out the gate, I have three strikes against me,” she shared from her home in Braddock, Pennsylvania. “I’m an immigrant, a woman, and a cannabis patient. But on that day, the woman only saw my skin, with the knowledge I was foreign born.”
Being the wife of John Fetterman, Lt. Governor of the state, Gisele Fetterman is typically accompanied by a security detail when out in public. But, on this day, she’d made a quick trip to a local market to pick up some yellow kiwis that were on sale, when a woman approached her in line, then followed her to her car yelling expletives, telling her she didn’t belong here, ending with the “N” word.
Originally from Brazil, Gisele Fetterman’s family immigrated to the U.S. due to ongoing violence when she was just eight years old. For the first 15 years they were in America they were undocumented, with their mother telling her and her siblings to “be invisible” each morning as they left for school. The little girl lived in fear of a knock at the door that might send the family back to Brazil. To say the market incident was triggering, as they say, is an understatement.
To add another layer, she just recently opened up publicly about her cannabis use, after a state legislator made a derogatory comment regarding cannabis users, in lieu of a pending Bill on legalizing cannabis in the state.
During an interview last year with PennLive.com, Fetterman said, “Politics is difficult and complicated, but it also can change lives.” That’s kind of how she feels about cannabis.
“There’s so much stigma and misinformation surrounding this plant. I’m regularly referred to as the ‘Pothead’ Second Lady,” she explained. “It’s the language, judgements and prejudice that keeps so many from seeking proper help for real illness—and that’s a real shame.”
Food as Medicine
She always knew that food was medicine. She’d learned it as a child from her mother, who was a nutritionist and hospital administrator in their home country.
“I was open to cannabis because my mother helped us to understand that nature is better,” she shared. “As a teenager I experimented with smoking cannabis, but it became my pain medication later in life.”
A horse riding accident as a child and then a series of car accidents caused her to suffer chronic pain most of her life, with every memory including pain.
“In every photograph, I’m in pain,” she added. “But I didn’t like the prescription medications they gave me. As I became older and worked in community service, and was involved with the distribution of Narcan. I’ve seen first hand the suffering that opioids and other addictive drugs have caused our community, and I never wanted to go there.”
Alternative practices became second nature as she purchased a Dharma Yoga Wheel and inversion table, working with chiropractors, acupuncturists and more, stating, “All these things help, but they aren’t sustainable on a daily basis.”
Her initial use of cannabis was by smoking or vaporizing flower or concentrates, using a PAX, but recently she added ingesting CBD products from a variety of companies, with great success.
CBD or cannabidiol, is just one beneficial compound of hundreds from the cannabis plant, with little to no psychoactive effects. Rules dictate it measure in below 0.3 percent THC, but many products have no THC at all. The benefits of CBD include anti-inflammatory properties, with analgesic effects, commonly used for pain. The bonus is it’s also an immune system builder, has anti-infection properties, and is used to calm anxiety and aid in treating depression.
Gisele Fetterman said she takes her CBD tinctures daily, keeping the pain at bay. She uses topical lotions as needed in hot spots. Smoking, as needed, done in conjunction with ingesting compliments each other, often referred to as an entourage effect. Smoking also lifts endorphins immediately.
Gisele Fetterman on Honoring the Plant
As reported in the Smithsonian in June of this year, two altars discovered in the 1960s in Israel had substances tested this past year, with cannabis said to be burned there approximately 2,500 years ago. Archaeologists date the altars to Judas, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Albeit, the one who betrayed him, but I digress.
With Frankincense and Myrrh in the mix, and what we now know of plant-based remedies, researchers speculate all were medicinal, opening up a Medusa-sized can of worms regarding the spiritual and medicinal use of cannabis in Biblical times. Not just incense for the baby Jesus. Very wise men.
Cannabis historian and Canadian author, Chris Bennet, penned Cannabis and the Soma Solution, with extensive research on the plant in the Bible and Biblical times, citing a direct quote from the Old Testament in its foreword:
God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air; and to everything that creepeth upon the earth,, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat:” and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
– Genesis 1:29-31
The Tree of Life is also mentioned in Revelations 22:1-2, “… healing the lands of the nations.
Bennet doesn’t stop with the Bible, though, and explores every nomadic tribe seemingly familiar with the plant that heals. When it’s found on an altar, rather than immediately think they were inhaling the smoke to get high, it’s easier to imagine they were praising the plant, as we do today, for its many healing benefits.
In homage to Gisele Fetterman’s Latin American upbringing and in gratitude to the plant that relieves her pain, Fetterman added her remedies to an altar she created with her children in celebration of Día de Muertos.
Known in America as Day of the Dead, it’s a yearly celebration from Latin America honoring and remembering those who have passed before us, with gifts and mementos to help lead them home on this day. According to tradition, children are honored first, on the eve of Halloween, with adult items added to the altar for the day. This year it’s celebrated on Sunday, November 1.
“It wasn’t until I came to America, with its rich cultural heritage from so many different kinds of people and ways to worship, that I was able to experience Día de Muertos,” she said. “I learned from watching them build altars, honoring their loved ones. It would be an inspiration to anyone, in that way. Happy to include this female plant that’s given me so much relief, alongside my loved ones.”
Stash as Altar
It’s traditional for flowers to decorate the altars, enticing the spirit of loved ones to come home for the day. Gisele Fetterman chose flowers from her garden and her stash, next to classic skull candles to be lit on All Hallows Eve. The doll is from a famous Brazilian cartoon she grew up watching.
A photo of her husband, John Fetterman, the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, with their three children, sits next to photos of loved ones who have passed. The large photo of a woman is her mother, Esther. The smaller photos of her Uncle Telmo who she just recently lost to COVID-19, her brother Del, and her grandmother, Teresinha.
Flowers of a different nature also adorn Fetterman’s altar as stash, with products from a variety of makers around the country, all chosen to aid in her pain and give her clarity and calm.
Sheweed, a woman-owned cannabis company located in Southern California, also curates monthly boxes, delivered. Its online store offers its own products of flower and concentrates.
Sheweed’s Lucid, a CBD tincture with additional terpenes added in for effect is included. Terpenes are the compounds within the plant that give flavor and fragrance, but they also have beneficial properties of their own.
Lucid’s proprietary blend include additional terpenes, such as limonene for mood elevation (flavor also found in citrus); Pinene, to help focus and memory (scent also found in pine); Humulene, an appetite suppressant (earthy flavor also found in hops – which are related to the cannabis family of plants).
Other cannabinoids included in the mix are CBG, CBDV, and THCV (non-psychoactive) at potent levels, ensuring full potential in its healing profile – something many CBD companies are moving toward today.
Magic Soothing Balm, lemon infused MCT oil and vanilla Super Drops are all full-spectrum CBD products from the Honest Hemp Company located in the U.K., with distribution in the U.S. Great Britain has legalized the use of CBD.
Mother’s Hemp is another woman owned CBD company located in North Carolina. Founded by Rachel Grano, after she helped herself with CBD for fibromyalgia. Both her Plain Jane tincture and Mystical Muscle Salve are made from full-spectrum hemp grown in North Carolina.
Her salve includes the same plant-based compounds given to the Baby Jesus by those Wise Men, Frankincense and Myrrh; with other plants with analgesic effects, such as comfrey, calendula, arnica, juniper berry, and meadowsweet. As if that wasn’t enough in the little jar, essential oils are also added of lavender, marjoram, peppermint, eucalyptus, ginger rosemary and clove.
Lastly, from Elixicure of California, is its roll-on CBD topical lotion and Pain Relief with CBD in a pump bottle. Elixicure was founded by two brothers, Eyal and Yaniv Kotler, after watching their mother suffer from chronic pain, given a seemingly endless amount of prescription medications.
Also interesting to note, according to its website, Elixicure’s products are handcrafted at its FDA-registered facility (yes, you read that right, the Federal Drug Administration), under the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Its products are also certified by the Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG), responsible for certifying the ingredients of dietary supplements.
The pen and pod hold cartridges of flower concentrates for smoking, a Sativa (cultivar unknown) from Rise; and the other from Terrapin of Dark Blue Dream, also Sativa.
“On the altar sits things and people who make my life better everyday,” Gisele Fetterman concluded. “They make my quality of life what it is, and I’m so grateful to all of them – for my family’s unconditional love, the support they give and the lessons we learn from each other everyday. Cannabis is included because it’s allowed me to fully enjoy them, the moments, and the gifts this life has for us.”