Part the Second: Medical Marijuana, the Stigma, and Politics

(The Stigma of using a cool flower to treat whatever ails you)

Welcome back to the multi part blog series about Medical Marijuana, or MMJ, and the stigma and politics that surround this issue. Let’s load a bowl and dive right into it, shall we?

Photo by Grav on Unsplash

Most of the big bloggers or article writers, will begin with some definitions, and the definitions I found for stigma were pretty great, so it’s a great jumping off point.

Stigma:stig·ma

/ˈstiɡmə/

noun

noun: stigma; plural noun: stigmas; plural noun: stigmata

1- a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

“the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”

synonyms: shame, disgrace, dishonor; More
antonyms: honor, credit

2- Religious (in Christian tradition) marks corresponding to those left on Jesus’ body by the Crucifixion, said to have been impressed by divine favor on the bodies of St. Francis of Assisi and others.

3- Medicine– a visible sign or characteristic of a disease.

-a mark or spot on the skin.

4- Botany-(in a flower) the part of a pistil that receives the pollen during pollination.

Let’s take this point by point, shall we?

Mark of disgrace is the biggest one, and comes in many forms. The example in this definition mentions prison, and the arrest of people for marijuana related charges leads to lifelong stigma’s, in many cases, impeding people from getting good jobs, good homes, or even to later on work with marijuana in legal capacities.

One arrest, and it can all be gone, and you are now branded, for life, as some sort of criminal. For smoking, or even possessing, a flower.

The stigma will follow a person around, even if you are never arrested, sometimes, the consumption, even when legal, even when medically recommended by a doctor, sometimes for life. See, the problem with this type of stigma is it isn’t strictly confined to just legal ramifications. Entirely too often, people who consume cannabis, even legally, will have a stigma around them, for any shortcoming that may be perceived.

Example:

I smoke weed, all the time, and I am known for having quite a good memory.

I write shit down, mostly, but also, I have a decent memory.

If I so much as blank on a small detail, for even a moment, around the wrong person, I immediately here “oh man, hit the bong too much?” “Oh, damn, someone’s high.”

Or, another classic example, I won’t wear any makeup.

Now, ladies, you know the usual refrain. You wear makeup, they say “you don’t need it” but the second you go bare face, you hear “Are you sick?” All day.

With the weed stigma, I get: “are you high?”

Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

Am I high? Because I didn’t add mascara, really, Gary?

If I get busy because seventeen different accountants at seventeen different schools all had incredibly stupid questions, so I don’t respond to your invoice request, it doesn’t mean I smoked too much weed before work, Jimbo, it means I am up to my ears in Karen’s bitchy attitude because she has a Jimbo up HER ass too.

Sadly, her job has it’s OWN stigma against smoking, and she isn’t even allowed the medical weed she needs for the anxiety this job brings her.

When I go out to eat, I am putting away so much food not because I am a stoner suffering from munchies, but because I am hungry, with a massive appetite.

The stigma that permeates our culture is that smokers/stoners are burn outs who can’t retain information, who eat too much, who are lazy and don’t work.

The stigma is wrong, it is overwhelmingly wrong.

Today alone I have done more than most of my non smoking friends, and my stoner friends have all been busy hustling all day.

Why?

Maybe because we can’t afford to slip up, not with you judgy people out there ready to blame a plant for us having a bad day.

Maybe weed is a wonder drug that makes some of us work harder.

But maybe, just maybe, we are hustling because that is what we do, and a flower isn’t going to stop this.

The reason people think these things, so incorrectly, is because of this stigma. The stigma comes from any number of small causes, but it all seems to fall under an umbrella of “uninformed,” at best.

Like all stigma, bias, and assorted “isms” (racism, sexism, fascism), the root cause is uninformed minds.

People who have allowed “reefer madness” type propaganda to inform their ideas, people who can’t be bothered to understand the science behind weed, who find it easier to think in a tiny box of thinking, choosing to believe literal lies told to them, instead of facts backed by science. As you can probably tell, I have very little respect for these types of people.

It is one thing to be the uninformed type of uneducated, to not have access to information. It is quite another to be willfully ignorant and deny people medicine.

The stigma is being kept alive by these uneducated people, and by people who like excuses, and like to blame weed for their own shortcomings.

Feel free to check this thing I wrote about it: “The weeds not making you lazy, you just want to be lazy.”

ttps://medium.com/@abbigrasso/the-weeds-not-making-you-lazy-you-just-want-to-be-lazy-1b6dd978c87b

The second part of the definition is a Christian origin, which means the marks left on Jesus’s body from crucifixion. There isn’t a huge relation to anything with weed here, obviously, but the Christians have done more than their fair share towards building the stigma against marijuana. I won’t be putting any religion on blast today, as that isn’t anything, I am interested in doing, and many others have done it better than I ever could, but I will leave it at this. Purity culture insisting that weed is evil, that everyone must be protected from it, and that a innocent flower that grows easily and freely on this planet, is somehow the root of all drug problems, is detrimental to the community, and based in shear hysteria, or worse, yet again, willful ignorance.

I have no tolerance for willful ignorance.

There is, it should be noted, some religious parts of cannabis, but that warrants it’s own post.

Three- a definition from medicine, a physical mark from disease. This isn’t an issue, but it should be noted that physical marks can be treated with cannabis, with many topical salves available for injuries, and plenty of evidence that explains how various parts of the cannabis plant make it helpful in generating cellular growth.

Both THC and CBG (Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabigerol, respectfully) stimulate new growth in cells and tissues, so, if there were a physical mark, it stands to reason, MMJ could help treat it.

This third part of the definition applies to disease, which this plant is not, but this plant can help treat diseases, in fact CBG stops the growth of bacteria, CBN (Cannabinol) and THC fight free radicals in the blood stream. CBC (Cannabichromene) not only stops growth of fungi, but also slows inflammation. CBN, THC and CBD all also slow inflammation.

So, clearly, the third part isn’t a big concern, but how could it be? Let’s face it, I basically just used this section to add some dope ass facts about medical marijuana. It’s cool though, because, let’s face it, you learned some cool stuff.

The fourth and final part of the definition is that of a part of a flower, and this one is the only one that makes any sense when applied to weed.

Why?

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Because weed is just a flower. A very pretty flower, by some accounts, and a highly useful one by even more accounts. The idea that weed is not fully legal, and certainly medically legal, is silly. The idea that there should be some stigma against this plant, and its users, is stupid and asinine.

What does this line by line analysis of the definition of stigma teach us?

*Get ready for the big reveal! *

Humans, bad humans, are the problem.

The stigma against marijuana and marijuana users comes from humans, and humans alone. There is no reason in nature to have this stigma against medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or hemp production.

Cannabis can not only treat medical issues, but as I will detail in a later blog not about medical marijuana, cannabis can also be used as a feed for animals, the material hemp can be made into clothing, paper, oil, nutritional supplements, and yes, medicine.

Nature has nothing against this plant that grows, because it is a part of a natural system, one that, it stands to reason, was meant to help humans.

More and more humans are waking up and being educated to the truth about cannabis, and I hope this blog has helped, in some small way to help dismantle the stigma around cannabis and cannabis consumption. There is no basis for the stigma against marijuana, medical or otherwise, other than human error. The human error is just that and is wrong. Cannabis may not be for everyone, but neither are oranges.

Some people are allergic to water, despite EVERYONE needing it. So, sure, cannabis may not be a perfect wonder drug for everyone, but it is good for many people (including, I should add, those who suffer from weird allergies like sun or water). Nature, science, medicine, none of it has any stigma against weed, that isn’t pushed by a human.

Well, what can we do about it? In this blog series we will be discussing not only MMJ and the stigma around it and cannabis, but also the politics, which is always inexplicably linked, to the very human error of the stigma.

The politics of weed however, are changing, and we are teetering on the future, one where this plant is freely grown, and damaging lies about a great plant aren’t spread like a decimating wildfire. People speaking out against the stigma, being open with their use, as I am on this blog, and in my every day life, are a key part of ending the stigma of weed, which is a big part of the reason why I have started this new career goal, as you may recall from previous postings.

Educating people who do not know, opening up the access to marijuana as a medicine, letting the treatment “speak for itself” as it were, all help contribute to ending the stigma.

Not using excuses like “I got too high to do that,” and “Yeah man I smoked weed and forgot” are another great way to end the stigma. Cannabis users everywhere, listen up.

Weed isn’t making you lazy, you are! Stop telling everyone that they will become lazy burn outs simply because YOU do not have the ability to own up to your own shortcomings.

I’m not saying you can’t get blazed and watch Hulu all day, I am saying you have to own the fact that YOU want to get blitzed and watch Hulu, and the weed didn’t make you do it.

Seriously, knock it off, some of us are trying to end a stigma against marijuana. People are working to end a stigma against weed, one that has been fed with paid advertising, for decades. We don’t need people on our side making the battle harder.

Besides, you weren’t too lazy to roll that joint, right?

Encouraging cannabis culture, and not scoffing at every cannabis reference, helps promote the community, instead of hiding it from the mainstream.

One of my favorite past times is being the one to start the cannabis conversation in a room. It normally goes the same way, once you open up about it, and discuss not only how fun weed can be, but the science behind it, a great conversation follows. Sometimes, the group dynamic is forever better for it. Plenty of times I have seen myself and others find new dear friends, all with the realization that we all love weed, in one way or another, and we are all dead tired of a stigma against weed.

The more people are openly discussing weed, opening having these conversations, and more importantly, correcting myths that have been perpetuated, the quicker we will end the stigma.

I hope you join me in ending the stigma, that you found this interesting and informative, and that you will enjoy the rest of the series.

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Abbi

Feel free to follow me on all the social medias: @AbbiGrasso on Twitter, Instagram, Speekin’, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress, Medium, WeedTube, YouTube, WeedTV, and any place else I have forgotten.

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