Changing stigmas in America, historically, has been done many times over. From equal rights, to mental illness, to tattoos, stigmas have come and gone, and come back again. They are either reinforced, or corrected, though our children. The Cannabis stigma has been around for 100 years, and will be around for 100 more if change does not take place now.
It's time to move past the taboo, and see this plant and all of it's healing powers for what it really is-one of nature's many miracles. If certain industries have their way, though, and if the average parent continues to see Cannabis as "not for my child", then beating the stigma anytime soon will prove difficult.
The real challenge for the Cannabis movement is how to turn the corner and help people to see that Cannabis is more than just Marijuana. Moving from the idea of a recreational gateway street drug, to medicine you would give your loved one, is a lofty, but important, goal. What will it take to get the average person to hear this message? That is the question. My response....Let's turn "Just Say No" to "Just Say Know".
In order for Cannabis as medicine to become mainstream, it needs to be understood and accepted by the average person. Demographically, the average person leans more conservative than liberal. This fact is not relevant to Cannabis itself, other than to show that personal politics are often a barrier between the people and the plant. In other words, if the everyday person feels like they have to give up their core beliefs in order to accept Cannabis as medicine, then the stigma is here to stay.
Accepting the truth about Cannabis doesn’t make you a liberal or a hippie, just like playing golf doesn’t make you a conservative yuppie. All people can benefit from the plant, but not if we make it about one lifestyle over another. This issue is, and should be, about science and biology. But if emotion overrides facts, it is the people that suffer needlessly.
I have seen first-hand how homemade medicine from this plant can heal a patch of Psoriasis the size of a half dollar in seven days, leaving the skin restored to perfect condition. I have seen a man treat a life-threatening lung infection when doctors could do nothing but leave him with severe hearing loss, a stated side effect of pharmaceutical antibiotics. In his case, homemade Cannabis Oil was a more effective antibiotic, and had no detrimental side effects. With such testimonials, and so many more, it is obvious to me that the narrative needs to become more about treating serious illnesses, and less about anything else.
For those advocates who insist recreational Cannabis is a human right and no man can take it away from the people, I’m with you 100%. All I am asking for is priorities. Let's make sure that people are educated on Cannabis, and that they have access on a medical level first. Making people feel they are forced to accept recreational and medical Cannabis at the same time, though, is a failing strategy. It’s one of the many traps we need to avoid.
On this note, talking about CBD only is also a trap. It's a way to further demonize THC. There is a lot to know about CBD, starting with where it comes from, and how to use it. Besides, running around telling everyone you know to take CBD because it doesn't get you high is dangerous. For example, CBD can actually neutralize certain common medications if not taken correctly.
That last statement may not be popular among my fellow advocates, but popularity is not the goal. Truth is the goal. Education is the key to bringing light to the truth about the anti-cancer, anti-tumor, antibiotic miracle that is the people's medicine. Cannabis has been a part of human development and health for thousands of years. It was only in the last century that politics, not science, motivated some men to tell all of man they could no longer have it. The time has come to put an end to this shameful criminalization of science and medicine. If you agree, I challenge you to attend serious events and support organizations that promote Cannabis as medicine.