Accepting people for who they are involves trade-offs, pluses and minuses, but it has to be holistic. The acceptance of people with mental illness in this country has become incredibly short, and even shorter when it comes to caring for these people. Many institutions have ignored the needs of these patients and have not accepted what resources might be helpful to them, one such resource being cannabis.
Consuming cannabis for medical purposes is nothing new; people have used it for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of physical and mental medical conditions. According to a May 2017 Psychiatric Times article, cannabis provides perceived relief for anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, insomnia, and even schizophrenia. Since even before cannabis was legalized as a medical substance, activists and organizations like Americans for Safe Access have advocated for the health benefits of the plant with the goal of safe access for those in need. .
This problem comes down to access. Treatments for people with mental health issues have always been a complicated topic, but the result is often a one-size-fits-all approach with prescription opioids. While these drugs may work for some people, the overprescription of opioids in this country has created a crisis of opioid addiction and death. Opioids are usually prescribed first, but cannabis is a more natural option that does not include organ destruction as a byproduct. Cannabis prohibitions must end. It’s time for the medical establishment to take a closer look at the use of cannabis as an alternative to these addictive substances.
The United States can follow in the footsteps of our neighbors to the north and to the south. Countries like Canada have legalized and regulated the substance as well as contributed to important studies on its medicinal qualities and as a result have integrated its use more seamlessly into their society. Mexico has also legalized the consumption of cannabis. Even in our country, cannabis is widely regarded as a valuable medicine, announced in 1988 by former DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young as “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man”.
That’s not to say that cannabis would be perfect for everyone. As with any medicinal substance, it is important to consult a doctor to see if it is suitable for the problems you are facing, both physical and psychological. Cannabis specialists are already there-Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather is an internationally renowned cannabis clinician, based in Sevastopol, who provides cannabis recommendations to people with serious medical conditions and consultations worldwide by phone and online appointment. There’s even the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, whose goal is to provide continuing education in the medical use of cannabis and best practices in clinical care. Additionally, many cannabis advocacy groups hold information sessions to educate those curious about its beneficial qualities, such as the Sonoma County Cannabis Science and Education Forum to be held October 28, 2022 in Petaluma.
Ultimately, creating an open dialogue between physicians and patients about cannabis use as a valid and effective treatment is crucial. Making cannabis a more accessible option and destigmatizing its use is the next step in developing a more holistic and open-minded approach to treating mental illness. It’s strange that people in some US states tell other adults that they can’t use cannabis. We are fortunate to live in California, which began the long road to normalization of an ancient herbal remedy that, for a short time, produced crimes for simple possession.
Cannabis is an herb that provides relief, and part of accepting everyone for who they are is accepting the kind of medicine they need and supporting safe pathways.
Craig Litwin was a leading signature collector for Prop 215, served as mayor of Sevastopol where he co-wrote one of the nation’s first dispensary ordinances. He is the CEO of 421 Group, a California-based cannabis consulting firm headquartered in Sebastopol, and co-creator of Resourcery, a state-licensed and licensed cannabis oil extractor, tincture manufacturer and of ointment and a dispenser.
Craig Litwin was a key signature collector for Proposition 215 and served as mayor of Sevastopol, where he co-wrote one of the nation’s first dispensary ordinances. He is the CEO of 421 Group, a California-based cannabis consulting firm headquartered in Sonoma County, and co-creator of Resourcery, a state-licensed and licensed cannabis oil extractor, manufacturer of tincture and ointment and a distributor in Sevastopol.