Shekina Peña, owner of Your Healthy Choice Clinic at 628 E. Michigan Ave., discusses the benefits of feasting on your cannabis

by Andy Balaskovitz

You won’t catch Shekina Peña smoking a joint or a bong, but she is an expert on a wide variety of cannabis-based foods. “Medibles,” from her experience, is an equally enjoyable way to enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana if you don’t smoke.A browse through the medibles section at Your Healthy Choice Clinic features brownies, cookies, banana bread, tea, muffins, butters and apple cider — even cannabis pesto. Some have different strengths, too.
Peña says to be forewarned while cooking at home, because the aroma of cooking crock-pot sized batches of cannabis butter can be quite pungent. When cooking with cannabis-based oils, she recommends using saffron oil, which is safest for allergies. Olive or vegetable oils can be substituted, but when cooking with butter, do not use margarine, she stressed.
Another key point is to cook cannabis-based dishes “low and slow,” so as not to compromise the THC levels in the food. You run that risk cooking at temperatures higher than 212 degrees, she said.
Peña recommends sativa-based foods for a “kick-start” in the morning. For a slow-released body high, she recommends indica-based foods. However, Peña says a majority of medibles are combinations of the two (as are most strains). Hybrids can be effective for patients with Crohn’s disease or anything related to digestive function that leave a “confused high” and are recommended for nighttime use.
Peña studied medicine in Europe and the medibles idea came to her after a visit to Amsterdam about 10 years ago. She is registered with the state Health Department and her food labels comply with the state Cottage Food Laws, she said. She received her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Lansing Community College and Michigan State University.
Peña´s creativity doesn’t stop there. Your Healthy Choice Clinic also specializes in deep tissue cannabis massages that use pot-based topical oils. Peña says muscles respond within 20 minutes.
“Some of my patients come just for the medibles,” Pena said. “It’s pretty exciting sharing the secrets.”