Welcome back from “Dry January.” Now that we’ve had a couple of weeks to make good our promise to return to imbibing intoxicating substances, did our minds get clear?
Cannabis-as-medicine is the new paradigm that guides all our conversations about the plant and its uses. Let’s not take anything away from the importance of that shift. Many studies—and common sense—show that crime rates are down in communities throughout the country with cannabis legalization in place, and that as fewer people are fed into the criminal justice system on nonviolent possession charges, whole communities are less traumatized and therefore healthier.
Yet, in my years in and around this “business” since legalization and commercialization has taken off, I hear more and more about the almost magical properties of cannabis to treat stress, depression, social anxiety, sleep disorders and eating issues, not to mention cancer, but very little—and by that I mean zero—discussion of the risks of addiction and other complications from using any mind-altering substance with any regularity.
Look, I’m not trying to harsh anyone’s buzz, but the cannabis industry is just like any other industry: not to be trusted to shed light on the negative impacts of its product.
Don’t get me wrong, smoking weed in my youth—eating gummies these days—has helped me personally with the issues—like stress and social anxiety—above. On the other hand, some of my most anxious moments in a crowd have come right after toking, and I am certainly familiar with the depression that can follow a cannabis binge. At the time, we just called it “our 20s.” Now I can recognize the physiological response to withdrawal of a psychoactive chemical.
Surely, our readers sympathize in part with the occasionally negative reactions to getting high. Sometimes, even a little high is too high. Buzzing too hard to sleep, waking up cloudy and tired for work, stepping outside for the “hair of the dog that bit ya.” Some of us may even occasionally need a bump in the afternoon before our second shift. Agree or not, a week of that fits the textbook definition of addiction.
PLEASE NO SHAME if that looks familiar to you. The thing is, if we talk about the full spectrum of effects honestly, we can best see and help each other when we are in need.
The ancient Greek word for “medicine” is pharmako. The ancient Greek word for “poison” is pharmako. Get my drift?