Cannabis: A Health and Wellness Movement
It’s an unbelievable time to be alive, is it not? With the legalization of cannabis finally a reality and the cannabis industry projected to be the fastest growing industry in the world, one has to ask themselves: What does the future of this emerging industry look like?
When I was fifteen, I began my relationship with cannabis. Unbeknownst to me, what started as a means of rebellion and good times, led to some extremely therapeutic side effects. Many of us are still being reconditioned, pulling away from the negative stigma of cannabis. Most of us are still coming to terms with the realization that what was deeply stated to be a criminal act was actually an act of revolution and an unabashed embrace of medicine in its most natural form.
I entered the cannabis industry with the intent of infusing the aspects of the blueprint I had seen work well within the health and medical industry into this new industry that, as of now, only has first draft sketching of the blueprint that will be the future of cannabis.
Imagine, if you will, that cannabis cultivation centers and production facilities are the pharmaceutical pill manufacturing companies of the cannabis industry. That the growers and employees working are synonymous with the scientists and researchers that concoct and package our over-the-counter and prescription pills. That the dispensaries are like a pharmacy, and the patient consultants, budtenders and dispensary technicians function in the cannabis industry much like the pharmacy technicians, nurses, doctors and other medical professionals function in traditional medicine.
Imagine that hemp is our industry’s over-the-counter medicine, and that all other products and retail items found in a dispensary are prescription medications prescribed by our doctors. Both industries vary by degree and kind and yet they parallel on many levels that we can shape into the beginning of a new blueprint. One that we can come together and make corrections and edits to in the ways we see fit moving forward. Still with me?
The debate between recreational and medicinal consumption of cannabis and how to define both has been somewhat misleading and inconsistent and it’s something I have been passionate about bringing to light.
Now, imagine that it has been a long and stressful day…
You personally have no known or diagnosed medical issues and yet you know if you consume your favorite strain of cannabis that you will automatically feel relaxed and as if your stress has melted away. Is this not a ‘medicinal’ way to combat stress?
Millions of people daily resort to cigarettes, alcohol, food, and pills to combat stress and while they may not be diagnosed with a medical issue, they are still consuming a substance to alter their brain chemistry to achieve a more desirable state than the one they are currently in. The same can be said for people who exercise, meditate, take over-the-counter pills, problem solve by journaling, or receive mental coaching to alleviate stress. In all instances, the person is looking to do something proactive about improving their current state. Each person is medicating in their own way.
This is where we have the unique opportunity in the cannabis industry to educate the population on how to view and destigmatize cannabis, and how to embrace health and wellness through consumption of this plant. Each use of the plant serves as a medicine to a capacity that is relevant for the person consuming. The stark divide with medicinal and recreational use is the gap we should be striving as an industry to close.
Whether a person is looking into cannabis to enhance athletic performance and decrease appetite, or is looking to utilize specific terpene profiles to potentially treat symptoms of asthma or cancer, this plant has the unique capabilities to apply to all spectrums of health and wellness as a daily supplement and/or medicine to compliment all walks of life. Our approach should be one of normalizing our dialogue regarding cannabis as a way of life and as a plant that benefits our bodies whether we need it for a diagnosed medical reason or a personal reason of our own instead of separating it as either recreational or medicinal consumption.
It should be about shaping the culture and raising the standard of professionalism in storefronts, cultivation centers, and production facilities to match the perception we want the cynical outside world to have looking in.
There is still so little concrete science proven through peer-reviewed research and studies around cannabis, but there is no shortage of health and wellness sciences, research and studies. As cannabis research and development unfolds in the years to come, the future of the cannabis industry will lie with the people and businesses who embody and combine the best of both worlds. The future will lie with those who shape this new industry into something better than anything before, using the blueprint the Western world of medicine created as reference. The movement will be in working as a collective to improve upon familiar systems and applying health and wellness protocols to cannabis. It is a movement about bettering the quality of life of each person who chooses to medicate with cannabis.
With all the current troubles, hardships and challenges we face today in the cannabis industry, one thing is certain; the future is bright and those of us in the industry right now are paving the way and creating the narratives that will one day fill the pages of history books. Just as I have studied the health sciences of industry pioneers preceding me, others will be studying our work one day.
As cannabis industry professionals, we have a responsibility to make that work that others will one day study, as innovative and as excellent as possible.
Let us focus on professionalism, on raising the bar in medicine, and on destroying stereotypes and stigmas related to cannabis. Let us give our future students and patients the experience in their lifelong journey of health, wellness and quality of life that we wish existed today and in our youth. Let us be the leaders we never had.
If we want change, it starts here. It starts with us raising the bar high and setting the standard higher. Together we can change the world. Together we will change the world.