Mathew Gordon experimented on himself to perfect what he claims is a medicine that can cure everything from hepatitis C to bee stings.
He calls it “Old Toby.”
It’s a strain of marijuana he created by selectively breeding plants in small woodland plots near his North Whidbey home.
It’s a project that’s taken a decade, but the amateur botanist and part-time philosopher said it’s paid off. He claims that his strain, named after the “pipe weed” in the “Lord of the Rings” books, is the first one bred specifically for its medicinal qualities.
Gordon and Old Toby have attracted national and even international attention from the large and growing worlds of medical marijuana patients and recreational weed connoisseurs.
“I actually created my own medicine to treat my own short-term memory loss and in the process have revolutionized the medical cannabis community,” he said after self-medicating with his bud on a Thursday afternoon.
Gordon and Old Toby have appeared in 13 national and international pot publications, including High Times, the granddaddy of them all.
“I love the flavor and aroma, but best of all, the instant feeling of well-being and euphoria!” Danny Danko wrote in a review published in High Times.
Gordon said he entered Old Toby into the High Times “U.S. Cannabis Cup” competition and will have a booth at the Sept. 6-7 event at the Comcast Arena in Everett.
He regularly takes part in Seattle’s Hemp Fest and was on a televised panel discussion at the event with a couple of scientists. He has appeared on 50 cable access shows in Seattle to discuss pot.
And he’s met Tommy Chong.
He said one of the largest marijuana growing operations in Colorado is growing 400 of his plants, which will be ready around Halloween. He plans to start selling pills, chocolates, sublingual drops, suppositories and seeds to sick folks this fall. It’s strictly medical, he says.
Frequently stepping outside to inhale, Gordon speaks in stream-of-consciousness monologues about his theories on such topics as the co-evolution of marijuana and humans and the effects the complex compounds in pot have on the cellular level.
He said he’s a different person since bringing Old Toby to life. He said he was disabled from short-term memory loss due to treatment with interferon and couldn’t keep his train of thought focused long enough to explain his ideas.
Gordon said he would forget what he was doing while drinking a glass of water and taking a breath.
Medicating with Old Toby changed his life, he said.
“I wake up every morning and want to share it with the world,” he said.
Gordon admits that he’s been smoking weed since he was 17, but that it never did him any good before. After his memory loss left him disabled, he happened upon a strain that he said didn’t aggravate the condition. The dealer gave him a few of the seeds and, from those first plants, Old Toby was born.
Gordon didn’t introduce any new strains, as most growers will do. Instead, he tested each plant on himself and only propagated the one plant each generation that had the best medical qualities.
To determine which to propagate, he said he chose the ones that most helped him with his memory problems.
It took 25 generations and 10 years to develop Old Toby.
“I manipulated the plant through artificial selection to make complex medicine,” he said.
He’s known to make some extraordinary claims about the potential for Old Toby to cure just about any ailment without the side effects of regular, everyday marijuana.
There’s no confusion, paranoia, hunger, stress or anxiety, he claims. And the high is limited, he said, even though the THC levels are through the roof.
“It’s a new species as removed from modern marijuana as a Chihuahua is from a timber wolf,” he said.
Gordon believes that the benefits of Old Toby come largely from its extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties. He has video from people who claim the strain cured them of serious maladies such as diabetes and hepatitis C.
While such claims are surely hyperbolic — if not outlandish — more and more scientists and doctors believe the medical benefits of marijuana are real.
“It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications,” CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote last year.
For all his grandiloquence, Gordon said he is simply very proud of his super strain and hopes that it can help make the world a better place for people who are suffering.