• Cristina Montoya, RD

The Arthritis Dietitian's Cannabis Journey While Enjoying CBD-Infused Golden Milk

I was born and raised in Colombia at the height of the drug cartel wars and the Pablo Escobar era in Medellin. By the mid-80s, approximately 60% of the marijuana available in the U.S came from Colombia. This horrific war claimed many lives, including my father, who was on the illegal side of the cannabis industry. I grew up with a repulsion for the cannabis plant, even though our native tribes have been using it for medicinal purposes for generations. In 2007, when I moved to Canada, my husband suggested medical cannabis, and I almost filed for divorce (not even kidding). I was ready to pack my bags and head back to Colombia.

In 2015, everything changed, and medical cannabis was added to my pain and anti-inflammatory toolkit box. I became more passionate about it after giving birth to my son in 2019. My rheumatologist and family doctor prescribed Oxycontin (a type of opioid) to put out the fire caused by a horrible postpartum Rheumatoid Arthritis flare-up and the C-section incision. I refused narcotics altogether due to the unpleasant side-effects (i.e. nausea, decreased appetite, drowsiness, brain fog, constipation, headache, and even anxiety). Sadly, there were no other options offered to treat my chronic pain. Since I could not breastfeed my boy after two weeks, I was able to resume my medical cannabis therapy with a physician's assistance from the Canadian Cannabis Clinics and later on with the Apollo Medical Clinics' support.

I wanted to know more about this ancient plant demonized for almost a century, but a game-changer in managing my own chronic pain and anxiety. The COVID-19 pandemic presented the opportunity to complete online evidence-based programs on cannabis sciences. I graduated as a Holistic Cannabis Practitioner with the Holistic Cannabis Academy from the U.S, recognized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics but unrecognized by Dietitians of Canada and our regulatory bodies across Canada. I keep interested in this journey and almost approaching the finish line for the Canadian Cannabis Educator Certificate through The Michener Institute of Education at the University Health Network. In the Summer, along with a tremendous group of women with experience in cannabis education, I joined the founding members of EduCanNation: Canadian Cannabis Educators' Association, a non-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide the highest standard of responsible cannabis education across the nation.

My cannabis journey has hit a few roadblocks. Allied Health Care Providers in Canada, including Registered Dietitians, are limited to the type of guidance they can provide to the public. Only physicians and nurse practitioners can write a medical document, but often they cannot offer comprehensive and personalized cannabis education due to time constraints, industry demands, or other reasons. According to a survey of 1000 medical cannabis patients done by Medical Cannabis Cannada found that "83% of patients felt stigma in the medical system regarding cannabis use, and 57% found it hard to find a healthcare provider to speak to about their medical cannabis use."

We are all learning along the way, and I am building a knowledge framework that will hopefully allow me to be more involved in this emerging field of health education.

Recipe Alert: While I look for the next cannabis education opportunity, I want you to join me in enjoying a cup of the traditional Golden Milk with a cannabis twist. Don't worry; you can skip the cannabis oil. Golden Milk makes a creamy and delicious anti-inflammatory drink even without the CBD oil. ⠀

CBD-Infused Golden Milk

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

*Serving size: 1 Cup

Yield: 2

CBD content: approx. 30 mg CBD per cup.


2 cups coconut milk (I used Silk coconut milk)⠀

2 Tbsps pure maple syrup⠀

2 teaspoons ground turmeric⠀

1/2 tsp ground ginger⠀

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder⠀

1/2 tsp vanilla extract⠀

1/2 tsp ground black pepper⠀

2 ml CBD oil (currently using Redecan CBD Reign Drops 1:30)


1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add all ingredients, except for the CBD oil.⠀

2. Bring to boil; stir sparingly. Allow boiling for about one minute.⠀

3. Turn the heat to low and allow the golden milk to simmer for 10 minutes. ⠀

4. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and whisk in the CBD oil. ⠀

5. Enjoy immediately. ⠀


Extra tips:

✔ Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the most studied cannabinoids found in Cannabis Sativa. In pre-clinical or animal studies, CBD has shown anti-inflammatory properties, improve motor activity, decrease anxiety, among other benefits.

✔ Reheat your CBD golden milk on the stove over medium heat. High temperatures released by the microwave may alter the quality of your CBD oil.

✔ Turmeric and CBD oil are best absorbed when mixed with a source of fat.

Please speak with your healthcare provider if you are considering cannabis as part of your pain and wellness toolkit. It's important to "Start Slow and Go Slow."

Emily Kyle's Cannabis Golden Milk inspired this recipe.

Curious about working with the Arthritis Dietitian? I would love to hear from you.