The Bud Sisters

BudSisters_SLetts (6)By Sharon Letts


Dr. Joyce Centofanti and Pearl Moon of “The Bud Sister’s™ met in 1981 while both were studying ceramics and performance art at the University of Montana in Missoula. Pearl, who refers to herself as “the older sister,” is a native of Montana. She said she taught her “younger sister from Southern California,” Joyce, about herbal remedies and living a holistic life.

“No matter where we were in our lives, we always found time to spend together,” Dr. Centofanti explained. “We love having adventures and creating visual and performance art together. Over the many years we’ve been friends, and the many projects we’ve worked on, we always knew we wanted to find something that we could make together that would benefit people’s health.”

Dr. Centofanti grew up in Vandenberg Village in Lompoc, California, known as “The Valley of Flowers,” where much of California’s cut flower industry provides up to 75 percent of the cut flowers in the U.S.  The irony of ending up in California’s other flower industry is not lost on the good doctor.

“I smoked my first cannabis flowers in the Valley of the Flowers!” she exclaimed. “During that time the Vietnam War was still happening and living near Vandenberg Air Force Base we had access to Thai Stick and other fabulous strains to smoke. I have always been around the best flowers,” she laughed.

Dr. Centofanti had a lengthy and often tenured career as professor for the past 30 years.  She holds a PhD in Art Education, and has taught ceramics, visual arts, and special education. But she always found time to visit her friend, Pearl, in the place she grew to love, Northern California.

“I’m a California girl,” she said.  “During my high school and undergraduate college days I backpacked a lot in Northern California. There is something magical about the redwoods and how they call you back to them. When I semi-retired early from my professorship I settled down in this area to be by the ocean, the redwoods, and to be in the heart of the Emerald Triangle with my bud sister.”

Pearl Moon left Montana for the Emerald Triangle, which comprises Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties, 25 years ago, following her heart to the redwoods.

“I’m originally from the wild, wild west of Montana,” she laughed.  “I came to Humboldt to follow my spiritual path, have fun and not take life so seriously. “

Moon attended and volunteered at Heartwood Institute, a Southern Humboldt institution of healing since 1978, then said she settled down in the “middle of the Emerald Triangle.”

“I’ve been a patient of the plant for 47 years, but thought it was recreational until it helped me stop drinking.”

Replacing alcohol with cannabis helped Moon understand the medicinal benefits of the plant, as she learned how to ingest in many ways, parlaying that knowledge into the business she and Dr. Centofanti have today.

“Without cannabis I would never have been able to stop drinking,” she continued. “It makes me a more understanding person, and not so overbearing. I medicate for pain by smoking and using The Bud Sister’s organic topical pain relief salve. I also use cannabis as a sleep aid, and like to juice the leaf because I believe it takes care of everything.”

Anecdotal stories of juicing leaf putting serious ailments, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus, and more into remission are common today.

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Mendocino physician Dr. William Courtney helped his wife replace upwards of 20 prescription medications for Lupus by juicing leaf daily. In her 20s she was told she would never have children, and today she is still symptom free, with the couple’s three thriving children in tow.

Oregon MS patient and chef, Karina Wolford of Eugene, was helped off of 23 prescription meds via juicing leaf.  After being bedridden for two years with the disease, today she has her own juicing cart in Eugene.Juice_SLetts (14)

“I’ve farmed my land for 25 years, and it’s where The Bud Sister’s farm is now,” Moon said

When I realized the importance of medicinal cannabis, my growing techniques changed. We are all organic – our leaf is clean, our farm is clean, and that means our medicine is clean.”

Medicating daily, Dr. Centofanti said, gives her energy and makes all her moments happy ones.

“I’ve been a patient of cannabis for 43 years,” she said. “I just knew that it settled my mind and made me feel as though I could accomplish anything I wanted to do.”

Dr. Centofanti said she smokes or vaporizes the flower, keif, and bubble hash, but also ingests medibles, and loves to juice the leaf.

“Of course I’m a big fan of using topicals and The Bud Sister’s salve,” she added. “I use it every morning and every evening. Our salve was just featured in ‘Mary Jane: The Musical,’ which is being made into a film now at Dell’Arte in Blue Lake.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.11.10 PMThe process of making their own medicine included attending workshops by Wendy Read of “The Caretaker’s Garden” in Mendocino, with the two just finishing up its Certified Cannabis Therapy Consultant Program, an intensive training series with a focus on the Endocannabinoid Receptor System, beneficial cannabinoids, how the plant applies, and how to make medicine from it.

A few years ago Moon helped establish a learning campus close to home in Garberville, with “707 Cannabis College.” Today the two are working together as Humboldt Cannabis College, with an emphasis on farming, making good medicine, and training from seed to shelf, as legalization approaches and more cottage industry medicine makers get organized.

“We learned to make infused salves and tinctures from Wendy after she taught here in Garberville at the Vet’s Hall,” Moon said. “Now we are waiting to take the test that certifies us as official cannabis therapy consultants ourselves.”

Other mentors along the way include Samantha Miller, Chief Scientist and founder of Pure Analytics, where the Sister’s product is tested; and local farmer and co-owner of Wonderland Nursery in Garberville, Kevin Jodrey.

“Samantha has taught at the college, and we’ve learned so much from her about the scientific aspects of making our salve,” Dr. Centofanti said. “Kevin is an inspiration, a teacher, and mentor to us. He really believes in our product, and we’ve learned much about farming, cannabis theory, business, and cannabis life from him. If we say anything profound about cannabis, it probably came from him!”

Getting information out to the public and educating farmers further about good medicine is a big goal of the Bud Sisters, as they continue to do projects together. Most recently the two have begun a series of video clips sharing how others have been helped by The Bud Sister’s salve.

With legalization just around the corner, and nearly every conversation in the farming community of Humboldt today abuzz with pending ordinances, The Bud Sister’s are hopeful its topical salves will be better understood, and not lumped together with “concentrates” as they are now.

“Our topical is not ingested, so it will be interesting to see how it gets regulated,” Dr. Centofanti said. “It’s important to stay informed and to be ready for some changes, if needed. We hope legalization will take topical products out of the gray area.”

Education, enlightenment, healing, the cannabis plant means all this and more to the sisters of the bud, best friends forever on the farm with a clear, clean commitment to healing.

“We are real believers in organic cannabis medicine,” Dr. Centofanti mused. “It’s such an incredible plant, with so many different ways to use it. Our salve is just one method; juicing is another that many don’t really know about yet. That’s why Pearl started the college and why we are getting certified. We want our words to mean something.”

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Emerald contributor since July 2019


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