Out in the sunny climes of Newport, Rhode Island, one man has found his calling in all things cannabis-related
Sometimes people find something in life which they are so motivated by that they dedicate themselves to learning as much as they can about it. For some people this can take the form of a quest for knowledge in relation to a particular area of science, or perhaps focusing their energies on learning the strict disciplines of a martial art, while others may find an interest which allows them to explore the world around them and connect with like-minded individuals around the globe. Out in the sunny climes of Newport, Rhode Island, one man has found his calling in all things cannabis-related. His name? RayBo.
RayBo first got into growing when he was in his early teens and hasn’t looked back since. From his initial grows in a closet at his parents’ home his skills and understanding have expanded exponentially over the ensuing decades as he has tried his hand at growing multiple strains both indoors and outdoors, and he has made a name for himself as a passionate, honest, hardworking character who is full of the joys of life and always has a smile to share. Despite the taboo surrounding cannabis in his youth (and much of his adult life too), he has never let the stigma inhibit his passions for producing and has found that cannabis has become an intrinsic part of his existence. Over the years he has made a name for himself as a seed tester for a number of companies and everyone who meets or works with him agrees that he is such a positive person that it is impossible not to take a shine to him. RayBo takes pride in his work with others and always pays it forward when it comes to the kindness of strangers.
While his younger days were spent looking for a chance to get high, it was in 1991 when he first started to realize the incredible healing powers of this incredible plant. Having moved out to San Diego, RayBo got his first chance to work on an outdoor grow and it changed his life. Putting his efforts into a larger scale operation and working alongside other enthusiasts allowed him to see a different side to cannabis and he became increasingly aware of its ability to be used as a medicine and therapeutic aid. A fellow grower advised him to try a specific strain to help treat his restless leg syndrome and another to aid peaceful sleep (two issues which had plagued him for some time) and he was amazed to find what a huge impact the right balance of CBD and THC could have on specific ailments. By the time he had returned from San Diego 10 years later, RayBo was totally convinced that his calling was true.
Fast forward a few years and RayBo continued to take pride in the fact that he was always trying to stay on top of his game. With every new development, new strain or new method of consuming cannabis, he wanted to try it for himself and let others know his opinions. During this time he continued to self- medicate, but he didn’t realize that his passion for the plant would soon become a way for him to dedicate himself to the treatment of others.
In 2001, RayBo married the love of his life and was on top of the world. They had been long-time sweethearts, so it was an extraordinarily special day when they finally tied the knot. Devastatingly, just as they were making plans for their future together, tragedy suddenly struck the happy couple. Only four short months after their happy occasion, his wife was diagnosed with lymphoma of the brain.
The following months were a whirlwind of hardship as RayBo had to watch the woman he loved undergo surgery and sit helplessly by her side as her health began to diminish before his eyes. The tumor soon impacted on her level of coherence and she started to experience issues with mobility; further surgery was required when doctors discovered that the tumor was leaking and this, in combination with the intense chemotherapy, left her struggling to communicate, walk or look after herself. RayBo dedicated himself to her care and tried his best to keep her happy as her weight plummeted to 75lb and her hair began to fall out. In his eyes, she would always be the woman he fell in love with and he knew that he would stop at nothing to make sure she knew how much she meant to him. They had made a vow to each other and RayBo is a man of his word.
Eventually, due to her health continuing to decline, the decision was made to move her into hospice care. By this point in time she was unable to eat or drink effectively and was dehydrated and starving. Her body was struggling to cope and the family was advised that it would be best if they put their affairs in order and prepared for her imminent passing. Unable to accept that this was how it would all end, RayBo decided that he had to try something different.
A few days later, he spoke to the doctor and asked if they could use any cannabis-based medicines to ease her pain. His wife was not keen on the idea, as she had never been involved in cannabis consumption, but she could see how important it was to her husband for her to try. She agreed, but the THC pills her doctor gave to her made her sick after her dose. Unperturbed, RayBo returned home and came back to the hospice a day later with some tea he had made with the last of his buds.
After a few tentative sips, something incredible happened: she drank more and more of it and was able to keep it down. Having finished the tea she asked for more, but RayBo didn’t have any with him. Over the next few hours she began to drink more fluids and rehydrated herself, while RayBo set about acquiring some more medicine of his own making. Just as she was at the very brink of death, this small act of compassion from a husband for his wife set her on an amazing road to recovery.
In the coming months she only used cannabis a relatively small number of times, but her recovery continued to astound doctors as she gained weight, was able to drink and eat regularly and began to regain her cognitive functions. RayBo supported her as she made steps towards teaching herself how to talk again and she underwent physiotherapy to assist in her mobility issues. Even though she had to learn everything again from scratch, her progress was truly astounding and she never gave up hope (not even in her darkest hour).
Fast forward to today and it’s hard to believe the difference cannabis has made to her life. Her biggest fear was that she would be unable to live a normal life after she had survived such a traumatic experience, but her indomitable spirit and supportive husband have enabled her to make a full recovery and return to work. At the time of writing, after 14 years in remission, she is still back where she loves to be and works 60 hours a week in the catering department of an incredibly popular hotel. Subsequently, the couple moved from the projects and bought their own house in Newport, Rhode Island, where they have been living happily together ever since.
RayBo has continued to work with cannabis as a medicine and now acts in the role of a licensed caregiver. Thanks to his license he can grow up to 12 plants at a time and is always exploring new strains to help provide his patients with the care and attention they need. He now works with his patients and other growers to make the best quality bud that he can and has fun making some exceptional edibles to help increase the range of methods that people can use to consume. The future looks bright for the happy couple and RayBo is looking forward to a new venture in the near future when he is set to go and spend six months on a commercial grow with Grumpy’s Garden and Genetics.
We at Weed World wish him and his family all the best as he continues to follow his heart in the quest to help others.
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 135