Pearl Moon and Dr. Joyce Centofanti met in 1981 at the University of Montana while both were studying ceramics and performance art. Their common interests and time spent together led to a strong friendship, and it was then that Pearl introduced Joyce to herbal remedies and methods on how to live a holistic life.

Today, the duo is known as the Bud Sisters of Southern Humboldt.

“No matter where we were in our lives, we always found time to spend together,” Joyce 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.”

Joyce grew up in Vandenberg Village in Lompoc, California, known as The Valley of Flowers, which provides up to 75% of the cut flowers in the United States. 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,” says Joyce. “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.

Joyce had a lengthy and often tenured career as a professor for the past 30 years. She holds a doctorate 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,” says Joyce. “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 and the redwoods, and to be in the heart of the Emerald Triangle with my bud sister.”

Pearl left Montana for the Emerald Triangle, which includes Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties, 25 years ago, following her heart to the redwoods. “I came to Humboldt to follow my spiritual path, have fun and not take life so seriously,” says Pearl, who attended and volunteered at Heartwood Institute, a Southern Humboldt institution of healing since 1978.

“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 Pearl understand the medicinal benefits of the plant, as she learned how to ingest it in many ways, parlaying that knowledge into the business she and Joyce have today. “Without cannabis I would never have been able to stop drinking,” she adds.

“It makes me a more understanding person, and not so overbearing. I medicate for pain by smoking and using The Bud Sisters’ 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.

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.

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

“I’ve farmed my land for 25 years, and it’s where The Bud Sisters farm is now,” says Pearl. “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.”

Joyce says medicating daily gives her energy and makes all her moments happy ones. “I’ve been a patient of cannabis for 43 years,” she says. “I just knew that it settled my mind and made me feel as though I could accomplish anything I wanted to do,” adding that she smokes or vaporizes the flower, keif, and bubble hash, but also ingests medibles, and loves to juice the leaf.

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 Sisters salve.

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

“Our topicals are not ingested, so it will be interesting to see how they get regulated,” says Joyce. “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 and 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.