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Cannabis And The Collective - Good Or Bad, It Seems It's Here To Stay

Updated on January 1, 2017

Medication vs. Self-Medication

I have never endorsed getting stoned.

While Big Pharma carries its own issues with it, I myself have benefitted from traditional medicines designed to treat mental health conditions and so forth. Many individuals who deal with illnesses like cancer or disorders like multiple sclerosis and the like have also benefitted from advances in medications.

That said, there are also individuals who simply cannot, for whatever reason, tolerate traditional medications. For some, they end up so numbed to the world around them that they may as well be catatonic. For others, medications might have the reverse effect; sedatives designed to calm the system, for instance, might throw it into overdrive.

There is a problem right now, and social worker Dr. Brene Brown puts it perfectly when she said this 21st century society is the most numbed in history. Whether it's through drink, food, sex, or drugs, we don't work on learning to cope or on trying to heal; we just want whatever problem we have to go away. People are self-medicators in spades, turning generally to alcohol or other drugs in order to get rid of the feelings they are having, whether it's anxiety, depression, or something else.

But there is a growing trend towards reaching for legalized medical marijuana in order to cure or at least cope with symptoms that would leave a good many individuals struggling. This is not to say everyone is smoking up - far from it - but there are markets where legalized marijuana is turning into a very good thing for many people.

These are not people who are self-medicating as a means of escape from their responsibilities or lives. These are people who are turning to marijuana as a means of saving their own lives because their symptoms of whatever condition they are dealing with are quite frankly so unbearable using weed is about the best option they can muster.

Misperception?

There's a growing body of information about what medical marijuana actually is, and what it is not. There are those who believe that having a "green card" - a card that allows the holder to purchase medical marijuana with a prescription - is the ticket to being perpetually stoned, and it's not.

Generally speaking, medical marijuana doesn't have the buzz factor that those who smoke weed are craving. What it has is varying levels of roughly five different cannabinoids, of which Cannabidiol and THC are the most common. Medical marijuana is believed to function as a muscle relaxant, a painkiller, mental health "balm", among others. Each strain has different levels of the cannabinoid in question in order to most effectively help that particular patient.

The results have come under intense scrutiny over the years, but whether the medical marijuana is smoked, ingested or applied, there seem to have been huge benefits. Young children have had their epileptic seizures almost stopped; glaucoma patients no longer have such significant levels of pain; those with mental health challenges are now able to go out and live life.

I've been fortunate enough that neither my health nor that of my children has been so dire that I've had to consider alternative therapies such as medical marijuana, but I know what compelling evidence is when I see it. I've watched documentaries, clips, and so forth and there seems to be a growing consensus that maybe - just maybe - there's some actual benefit.

Now it's time for us to explore it in greater measure.

Medical Marijuana - Providing Some Good?

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Good or Bad?

Is Medical Marijuana Helpful?

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Is There A Benefit?

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CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta On Weed

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