For many cannabis employees who aren’t offered health insurance or paid sick time, prioritizing care and choosing whether or not to go to work is a struggle. With COVID cases increasing this past October in 2020, preventive care and prioritizing health takes on a whole new meaning.

The Beginning of Unwellness

It was a chilly Sunday afternoon and I was on the second hour of my three hour pop up I was working as a brand ambassador. The traffic of people had settled down and I had a moment to myself and checked-in. In a matter of minutes I observed my physiology change-I noticed that my bones started to feel achy, especially my lower back. It almost hurt to stand. I grabbed a chair to sit while I waited for customers to walk into the budroom of the dispensary. I felt myself get the chills, as if someone had turned up the dial on the thermostat and the room felt freezing. I put on my jacket. A customer walks in and I smile to greet them and find that my throat starts to bug me. I walk over to grab a cup of water and then I feel- it felt like I was swallowing razorblades every time I took a sip and swallowed. “What’s going on with me?” I wondered.

I barely managed to make it through the last hour of the shift and was happy to shove all of my work items into my car when everything was said and done. It was after six in the evening and it was that last weekend of February. I didn’t feel well and was confused as to the sudden change in my sense of wellbeing. I figured I was exhausted and needed rest. I went home. I notified my supervisor I wasn’t feeling well and would be taking Monday off. When i got home, the symptoms didn’t get worse, but I felt achy and uncomfortable. I was given some nightquil and called it a night. The next morning, I woke up feeling worse and more sensitive. I pretty much stayed in bed all day and did my best to rest. I also thought about my circumstance. Since I didn’t have insurance, it would be a hefty fee to pay out of pocket and see the doctor. The symptoms I was feeling weren’t unfamiliar. Two years ago I bit the bullet and went to the doctor for the same symptoms I was experiencing and the doctor pretty much said,

“There’s not much I can do. I can prescribe you antibiotics but you just need to let your body heal and do it’s thing.”

He then charged me $200 for the fifteen minute pep talk and I was on my way. I was thinking about my situation now. I felt the same symptoms and the choice was either I have enough money to pay for rent or i go to the doctor. I chose to stay home and continue recouping. I expressed to my supervisor at the time that I wasn’t feeling well enough to be around people and frankly, didn’t think that was a good idea in terms of spreading germs and whatnot. She actually chewed me out because we were already understaffed in our department. This was right before the onset of the COVID pandemic. It’s amazing to me how we needed this global thing to occur so that when you say you’re sick or not feeling well, people will encourage you (now) to stay home (and now, get tested for COVID). It was now Tuesday and I woke up feeling just as bad and decided I was going to do something different today.

I asked myself, “What can I do to be proactive in this situation?”

I took it upon myself to do a little digging and see if there was something more wholesome and holistic I could try. Of course, I was taking a break from smoking weed because the smoke irritated my throat and tickled my chest. After spending a few hours doing some reading and fishing for something I felt would work for me, I stumbled upon this tonic on YouTube that gave me hope. I went to the grocery store and for twenty dollars, I got everything I needed to make enough of the tonic’s recipe to last me a week if needed, longer.

Our Ancestors have said that the key to vibrant health is in eating foods that nourish and repair our cells, keeping our organs functioning properly so that our bodies can thrive.

Night and Day Difference

Seeing the impact that lemons, herbs, spices, and garlic have on my health really surprised me. It changed the way I see my relationship with my body and my health. Everything is connected.

That Tuesday, I spent the day prepping enough of the tonic to last me for the next few days and drank a serving every hour or two. I made sure to drink plenty of water in between, did my best to rest, and for good measure, I watched a bunch of stand up comedy on YouTube to help me elevate the sickly energy I felt. By the end of the night my throat started to bug me less and by Wednesday morning I felt like I could SING. I was surprised to be feeling so much better than the previous days and continued to drink the tonic. By the weekend I felt like I was back to myself and had bounced back. This experience was fundamental for me because it gave me the opportunity to see how the impact of stress and a weakened immune system affects our ability to heal and get better faster. As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine.” I saw that by making the decision to do one thing that could make me feel better really helped take the inspired action necessary to help myself get back on track since my options were limited. With the spike in COVID cases and the lack of health insurance offered within the cannabis workforce, I highly recommend giving this tonic recipe a try the next time you find yourself feeling the same symptoms (aches, headaches, congestion, pain, sore throat, fever).

I will say that this is not to discourage anyone from seeking medical and professional help, I am just speaking from my personal experience and what worked for me; since I wasn’t able to afford going to the doctor, I had to be resourceful and work with what i had. For this reason, it’s important that you do your research and of course if you’re allergic to something in the recipe, please sub or opt out of it. May you restore yourself back to your natural state of great health and perfect wellbeing.


1 Minced Clove of Garlic
1 Tsp Grated Ginger
1 Tsp Raw Honey
1/4 Tsp Powdered Cayenne Pepper
Juice of One Lemon
1/4 Warm Water

Note that the contents of this guide are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. Contact the Cannabis Workers Coalition for employee-side employment attorney referrals.