Cannabis: Beating the Stigma and Healing the People

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.

The Other Green Movement

Alternative medicine looks greener and greener everyday. Recent studies have shown the medical benefits of Cannabis to be vast, and the landscape ever changing. So much so, Medical Marijuana Patients are often more informed than their doctors. For those who learn of its healing potential and are brave enough to journey forward, it can feel a little like the Wild West.

Vapor, Oils, Edibles, and Topical lotions are just some of the ways to medicate with Cannabis. These methods are gaining in popularity. Naturally, some questions will arise. Is it safe? Can I get addicted? Are there side effects? What is the healthiest way to consume it? Fortunately there are good answers for all these questions. Seeking the answers is the first step in removing the stigma and starting on a healing path.

First, Cannabis is safe. More specifically it is non-toxic. You could consume large amounts of Cannabis in one sitting (don’t do that) and have no risk of overdose or any harm. In fact, Cannabis is commonly administered to children who suffer from Epileptic Seizures, Autism, and ADHD.  Adults with dementia also benefit from Cannabis. Studies as recent as July 2016 show that the cannabinoids in Cannabis can prevent, and potentially, treat Dementia that is caused by Amyloid Beta accumulation in brain cells (a.k.a. Alzheimer’s).

The second thing you should know is Cannabis contains phytochemicals called cannabinoids. The most prevalent being THC (a psychoactive (high feeling) cannabinoid) and CBD (a non-psychoactive (non-high feeling) cannabinoid). Both of these provided enormous benefit to the human body. In fact our bodies produce our own cannabinoids and have a whole system dedicated to them, The Endocannabinoid System.

Cannabis is not physically addictive. Like any behavior that makes you feel good, it may become a habit, but habitual behavior is not the same as physical addiction. Adversely, drugs like pharmaceutical grade opiates are highly physically addictive, very expensive, and require a prescription. Most people who become addicted to these overprescribed opiates end up turning to heroin on the streets because it’s cheaper and easier to get. These opiates are extremely dangerous.

America faces a tsunami of addiction in the coming decades, and Cannabis may provide some high ground (pun intended). Study after study shows the addiction rate of opiates dropping drastically in states where people are given the dignity of legal Cannabis, while other legal outlets with major side effects like alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco are killing us.

Cannabis, on the other hand, has no long-term negative side effects, if used correctly and responsibly. Even if Cannabis is used incorrectly and irresponsibly, the side effects are far from life threatening.  For example, you are inhaling toxic byproducts produced from combustion when you smoke dried flowers (buds). These toxins can be a problem; however there are no studies showing that long-term, heavy Cannabis smoking cause cancer or any other life threatening effects. Coughing, wheezing, and short breath are often reported as acute side effects.

The healthiest way to consume Cannabis may depend on your specific ailment or goal. Although smoking is still the most popular among recreational consumers, as mentioned earlier, it is definitely not the healthiest choice.

Food infused with Cannabis is great for those who need a longer and slower release of the medicine. A wide selection of Edibles is available these days. Cookies, soda, pasta sauce, and candy are just a few examples. Most of these edibles are high in sugar so daily consumption for major ailments can be detrimental to your health.

Hands down the healthiest way to consume is by vaporizing the dried flower. Vaporizing allows you to get the benefits of smoking, and more, without the toxic by products.

The line between vaporization and combustion (smoking) is thinner than most people realize.

When vaporized, dried Cannabis Flower must be heated between 355F and 410F in order to get maximum benefit and no toxins. At this range you get all the cannabinoids and terpenes with none of the toxins from burning organic material.

Often, in search of a more smoke like experience, people will vaporize to hot which defeats the purpose altogether. Also, the heating chamber must be separate from the heating element and use convection (touching heated airflow) not conduction (heated surface). Think hot air popped corn vs. grilled charred corn.

Cannabis is as far away from non-medicinal and highly addictive as a plant can get. It is the Swiss Army Knife for homeostasis in the human body. The cannabinoids healing properties are so promising, the Federal Heath and Human Services Department filed a patent on them, and got it.

If you are suffering from PTSD, COPD, Fibromyalgia, Cancer, Tumors, or are interested in improving your general overall well being, you may want to reconsider the role of Cannabis in your life.