Updated: Feb 17
How Cannabis changed the perception of Health & Wellness
Cannabis has been one of the most disruptive plants shattering preconceptions in the Health & Wellness field. Less than 30 years ago most health care professionals deterred their patients from Cannabis consumption and would not even consider recommending medical cannabis as an alternative treatment. They were taught that Cannabis was a gateway to heavy drug usage, irreversible brain cell damage, laziness and unproductivity, despite all of the ancient historic texts from all over the world describing the medical properties of Cannabis.
Documentation going back as far as 2900 BC describes when "The Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi, whom the Chinese credit with bringing civilization to China, noted that Cannabis was a very popular medicine that possessed both yin and yang." However, enough fear and indoctrination, lack of education and The Marijuana Tax act imposed on growers, buyers and sellers in 1937, led to the reduction of medical Cannabis prescriptions by doctors and eventually its removal from the United States Pharmacopeia and Medical text books in 1942.
A new generation of Doctors emerged with new found knowledge in chemistry and pharmacology which was ensured to them to be the best possible approach. In most traditional medical schools students are often discouraged to discuss holistic healing practices and they are often dismissed as “there is not enough evidence to really know, so don’t recommend it.”
The pharmaceutical industry shifted the perception of health from a steady, natural, and often preventative, self-healing approach to a system that profits off symptom based, quick fixes, which often lead to a cocktail of prescription drugs that don’t get to the root of the problem and very often make the person dependent and worse. The CDC estimates that 130 people die from opioid abuse daily in the United States, 40% of which are as a result of prescription opioid-based drugs. Cannabis has shown huge promise in changing these statistics and medical professionals are becoming more and more aware of the need to take an integrative approach when treating their patients.
On the bright side, today we see many medical doctors, psychologists, physical therapists, massage therapists, holistic practitioners and fitness experts of all different specialties advocating for medical Cannabis and incorporating it into their practice, for some, it is their preferred recommendation. The Knox family is a great example of doctors who dared to look beyond the textbooks and recognized a huge gap in their education and traditional medical practices. They are internationally recognized as thought leaders in the care of the Endocannabinoid System and Cannabis therapeutics, from cannabinoid science and patient care, to Cannabis regulation & education.
The discovery of THC by Dr. Raphael Machoulam was a major milestone for Cannabis medicine in 1964. The Israeli Organic Chemist and professor of medical chemistry became known as the Father of Cannabis for his major scientific contributions. He paved the way to his surprise, for the discovery of hundreds of different Cannabinoids within the Cannabis plant and also produced within our body. This led to the discovery of Cannabinoid receptors in the body, predominantly concentrated in the brain and throughout the nervous and immune systems.
This system of cannabinoids and receptors is known as the Endocannabinoid System which regulates all physiological systems and processes in the human body, like a conductor guiding an orchestra. ECS function highly influences mood, behavior, learning, alertness, pain, stress, appetite, digestion, and countless other important body functions. Research has linked many chronic conditions to ECS dysfunction which occurs due to stressors in the environment such as pollution, genetics and/or lifestyle. Luckily there are many different ways to restore ECS function- Cannabis, yoga, exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, music, certain foods, plants and herbs, singing, dancing and making love all stimulate and optimize your ECS.
Cannabis research and knowledge on the ECS gives us a glimpse at the complexity and interconnection of our mind, body and spirit. As a result, more and more medical practitioners are getting educated and recognizing the value of integrating ancient medicine into their practices. Cannabis has bridged a gap between natural and western medicine, by showing the interconnection of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being on physical health.
Currently we are seeing a collective shift in the consciousness of the entire country and world toward plant medicine. On November 3rd 2020, Oregon voted to legalize psilocybin, known as magic mushrooms, for people age 21 and older to be used to treat PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction and other conditions. Additionally, 6 states including NJ, made steps to legalize Cannabis and 1 state decriminalized all Psychedelics.
Self reflection is a vital part of knowing what you need to be your own healer. Many patients report a complete change in their quality of life after undergoing Cannabis therapy. Cannabis use highly reduces stress and allows the person to forget negative thoughts and feelings during challenging times, and this is especially important when the person is healing. Cannabis allows people to connect to themselves at a deeper level and have different perceptions of life and of themselves, others and the environment, which can help create the necessary change to improve their health and wellbeing. In other words, Cannabis changed the perception of health and wellness by becoming the gateway to health and wellness.