To treat ‘medical’ and ‘recreational’ marijuana differently is to ignore our failing mental health.
Medical: (Adj) relating to the science of medicine, or to the treatment of illness and injuries.
People have used cannabis for thousands of years for its healing properties, both physical and mental. Yet in just the past hundred years or so we have been conditioned to believe the term “medical” only applies when sanctioned by a governing authority – like the FDA or Board of Medicine.
We’ve also been conditioned to believe that there is a difference between mental and physical health. The reality is there isn’t. We get irritable when you are hungry because our emotions are directly tied to the feedback our brain is getting from our body. Our emotions influence our actions, what we eat for example, which then influences how our body feels. And round and round we go.
Forget debilitating depression or PTSD for a second, the simple act of daily stress reduction via cannabis is one of its most medicinal attributes. It’s not up for debate whether or not stress it detrimental to health. Stress has been linked to illnesses that include cancer, lung disease, fatal accidents, suicide, and cirrhosis of the liver. Not to mention being stressed out sucks!
The debate really is around what we do to destress and do the benefits outweigh any negative side effects. Alcohol for instance has probably been the most popular anti-stress drug throughout history (outside of oxytocin which is produced by our bodies when we feel intense love). But too much alcohol is deadly to our minds and bodies, as well as the minds and bodies of those around us.
On the other end of the spectrum are things like meditation, exercise and yoga, which have very few negative side effects, but can be powerful in fighting daily stress.
Cannabis, in my opinion, falls in between the two, but closer to the meditation side of things. Physical side effects are minimal, anti-stress effects are profound, yet it does cost money (whereas meditation is free) and you need to make sure you have some. Plus, don’t forget, cannabis can cause major stress, especially if it’s in your car when you get pulled over and you are NOT a legal patient!
We have fun with cannabis. We celebrate it because it changed our lives and the lives of so many others for the better. Don’t be ashamed if you enjoy medicating. It should be fun. Remember ‘medical’ doesn’t mean ‘FDA approved’, it means relating to the treatment of illness.
At a time when mental health seems to be in crisis, we could use more recreation.