In the early 1900’s alcohol was the chosen substance to become a taboo. There was a nationwide ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages. Today liquor stores are on many corners of many neighborhoods in every state, from Beverly Hills, CA to Baltimore, MD.
Cannabis has a negative stigma, and is also still a taboo subject, thanks to melodramatic propaganda [like Reefer Madness] and stereotypes [like granola eating, sandal wearing, long haired, lewd hippies, who do nothing but lay around and smoke]. And then there are the street colloquialisms like “Pot, Weed, Mary Jane, and Marijuana” to name a few. Marijuana is a Mexican word that spread to other varieties of Spanish and then to French, English, other languages and many other slang words – a further history about which, I care NOT go into at this time.
[Photo courtesy of Google]
I prefer to use the botanical name, Cannabis, because it has no connotations to me or in society as far as I can tell; and I’m a closet nerd. What am I about to read? You ask. Oh lord, has Dale been a weed-head all this time? You ask. I know she ain’t about to tell me that what those rappers, stoners from the 60’s and rock stars smoke is a health topic! Well yes I am, actually.
Nine years ago I suffered a stroke due to taking pharmaceutical medication prescribed to me many years prior by my physician to correct another health issue. THAT medication is not prohibited although it should be due to the devastating side effects. Well my original health condition was dormant for nine years but reared it’s ugly head recently which caused me to seek out alternative methods to manage the pain associated with my moon cycle. A friend talked to me about her use of cannabis lotion and topical oil for her health issue and that it works for her. My curiosity ignited me to research further. No I’m not a weed-head, I’ve never smoked cannabis, not because I’m a saint. I’m just not a smoker.
First, cannabis is a medicinal plant – and it always has been however due to the psychoactive properties of one feeling “high” it became known as a drug. And NO JUDGEMENT to those who do light up a joint. It is widely popular to seek out the “high” folks get from smoking cannabis and that’s cool. But second, let me titillate you with some basic facts: there are several cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis flower or “bud” that begins as a seed. THC is the most commonly known part of the plant because that is what people want to smoke to get “stoned” or “high.” A cannabinoid that gives off ZERO psychoactive effects is called CBD. Patients seek out CBD because of it’s powerful anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory effects. It targets pain, reduces nausea and manages tumors. Ah cancer [another post for another day].
I first sought it out to assist me with my chronic insomnia and then my moon cycle abdominal [wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night] pain. Thanks to some very smart and savvy bud tenders I learned all about how to self dose with CBD products – and there are many from which to choose [also another post for another day]. A budtender is a dispensary agent, alternative treatment technician, sales person. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Budtender sounds like bartender. That is because just like bartenders, budtenders are our front line of information and customer service for a newbie like me and for a regular more knowledgeable patient looking for relief. Admittedly, I was nervous to walk into a dispensary because the majority of them are illegally run sketchy store fronts in sketchy neighborhoods. Since cannabis is still illegal on the U.S. Federal level classified as a drug with no medical benefits what so ever while holding a use patent for cannabis as a medicine [especially for stroke survivors] but more on that in a forthcoming post, I had my serious reservations about broaching this subject publicly. I shook off my nerves by reminding myself that I must always take my wellness into my own hands and I walked tall into that dispensary. I peppered that poor bud tender with more questions that I’m sure she was used to – ever! I had my Google print outs and my cannabis books highlighted. I talked all about my brain injury history which explained my insomnia, blah, blah, blah. She recommended an edible, that is a food infused with a certain measurement of cannabis oil. I visited another more high end dispensary in a better neighborhood that told me more information about how to get the medicine quickly into my blood stream by a sublingual spray method to take or dose about 30 minutes before bed and that I should track how many sprays at what time of night as well as how many hours of sleep I tracked.
I was happy to report that for the first time in 9 years I slept about 8 hours uninterrupted. That dispensary is also a research dispensary which means their cannabis goes through stringent laboratory testing before they offer it to patients. Budtenders are NOT medical practitioners nor do they dispense medical advice. Rather with their knowledge and use of the products they recommend and suggest what folks can buy as an option to try and test for themselves. I went back to inquire about some type of CBD edible or sublingual for pain. Tried it and it also worked to reduce/manage my pain.
[courtesy of Google]
On the strength of my own testimony I took advantage of a certification opportunity for me to better be able to have conversations good, bad or indifferent to continue to help myself, to speak intelligently with anyone in the cannabis community and to help others. I can confirm that cannabis is actually a medicine. A medicine I could have used over a decade ago before having a brain injury. Cannabis is not a panacea by any means – a “stoner” will tell you different – but it is helping me as I tinker with the doses and it’s great to know that I can never overdose on cannabis as the effects only pass through our bodies. One can over consume, which is not the same. All of the collective research in the world done by the smartest physicians in the world could not site even one death from cannabis. I also found out in the community that using cannabis for any reason other than health reasons is probably not a good idea. Every individual should utilize cannabis for their own personal reasons. Strains exist to address different issues weather physical, psychological and so on. It’s something that really interests me. Unfortunately the stigma doesn’t help but the more education I get that stigma falls away and the excitement returns.
[Also courtesy of Google, these are the faces of the cannabis industry today, attractive, smart, professional business owners]
It is also kinda stupid to think that anyone can be addicted to it, said Dale to the U.S. government. Our government was hoping that we would buy into into that lie. And we did because what happens is a typical “stoner” gets “addicted” to the feeling that smoking cannabis with high amounts of the THC cannabinoid brings them. Now I know “pot heads” who think that cannabis is a panacea. And that’s cool, good for them, no judgement. When in reality alcohol, processed sugar, cocaine, & prescription drugs, those are addictive on a pharmaceutical level. Although I had no addiction to birth control pills, I suffered from one of the side effects and am still going through the fallout of making the choice to use them.
Good bad or indifferent.