The Healing Way of Looking at Weed
Stop stigmatizing the good doctor, Dr. Herb.
From pain management and nausea to mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, evidence-backed medical benefits substantiate an individual’s decision to partake in marijuana use. But with recreational cannabis use legalized in states from California to Connecticut, do we even have to make excuses for our love and appreciation for the good doctor, Dr. Herb? Actually, yes, but only because the social stigma faced by cannabis consumers is still very much real.
Having seen the effects of the opioid and designer drug crises firsthand, Safiya Lyn-Lassiter, MD, founder of Ask Doctor Lyn. first explored medical cannabis in search of an alternative holistic solution to “pain control, anxiety relief, nausea minimization, and ways to decrease inflammation.” “My initial venture into medicinal cannabis was not received well by some of my conservative peers,” Dr. Lyn-Lassiter tells rē•spin. “It was extremely important that I clearly articulated to the public that my Emergency Department position as Medical Director is unaffiliated with Ask Doctor Lyn (A.D.L.), which is my medical cannabis advisory practice.” She points out that the culture is shifting to be more accepting of cannabis use, with 37 states and the District of Columbia passing laws to legalize cannabis use in some capacity. “But yes, medical marijuana is still stigmatized in the medical science community.”
“Anti-Stoner” Social Stigma
Through A.D.L., Dr. Lyn-Lassiter helps patients in Florida qualify for their medical marijuana cards while training other physicians to do so. “My philosophy surrounding medical cannabis is that cannabis should be offered as first-line therapy and modality for pain and inflammation relief for qualifying medical conditions, instead of as an alternative option,” she says. She is an unwavering medical cannabis advocate for her patients.
But “stoners” themselves face social stigma that brands them as irresponsible, unmotivated, and a bevy of stereotypes regardless of whether there is a medical diagnosis behind it. “There’s still a pop culture stereotype of the ‘lazy stoner,'” explain Annette Mia Flores and Jenny Joslin, Co-Founders of High Herstory. This comedy show depicts women using cannabis as they recount the stories of historical women. “The idea that if you consume cannabis, you cannot be a functioning member of society, especially not a mother, was definitely ingrained in us by the D.A.R.E. program and ‘Just Say No.’ But if we really look at the history of the plant, it has been used medicinally for over 4,000 years and was only really prohibited in the last 60.” The key could be better understanding this form of plant medicine in order to rē-work society’s image of those who partake.
Mary Jane: The Healing Basics
“Think of CBD as your daily vitamin — to be effective, it should be used daily — while T.H.C. should be used like ‘Tylenol’ on an as-needed basis,” Dr. Lyn says. In addition to T.H.C.: CBD proportions, a host of terpenes impact the plant’s therapeutic effects. In her clinical capacity, Dr. Lyn customizes CBD/THC recommendations to meet the needs of each of her patients, as well as between strains and delivery methods (i.e., flower, vape, tincture, ingestible). As a clinician, her goal is to achieve maximum relief using a minimal amount of product. “Sativas improve energy and effectively manage specific diseases like P.T.S.D., A.D.H.D., or Alzheimer’s,” Dr. Lyn says. “Indicas are typically associated with full-body effects, such as increasing deep relaxation, managing nausea, epilepsy seizure control, and reducing insomnia. [They] are used to manage headaches, chronic pain associated with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and neuropathic conditions like Parkinson’s and Crohn’s Disease.”
Anecdotally, people tend to consider Sativas as energizing, creativity-inducing, “giggly” strains that are good for more social, daytime use. At the same time, the more sedating Indicas are the better choice for nighttime. You can also choose hybrids — including Indica-dominant and Sativa-dominant strains — for each combination. If choosing a strain is hard for you, you can always defer to the database on Leafly.com, where more seasoned stoners rate the different strains — from Purple Kush to Paris OG, Girl Scout Cookies to Wedding Cake. (In case you were wondering, yes, there really is a strain called Pineapple Express.)
How to rē-Frame Cannabis Use
In dismantling the stigma associated with cannabis use, it helps to remember that for many, it is medicine. Olivia Alexander, Founder of Kush Queen, shares, “I have been using cannabis every day since I was 18. I have bipolar disorder, and using cannabis has helped maintain my mood without pharmaceuticals.” By becoming a cannabis entrepreneur through her line of CBD goods for self-care, she has been creating products that truly improve her quality of life through wellness, as adapted to meet her changing life needs. “As a long-time CBD user, I have perfected how to approach CBD as a tool for self-care,” Alexander says.
But even beyond a medical diagnosis, it can be used responsibly as a form of stress-reduction and to promote holistic wellness. “Our team uses cannabis for anxiety, insomnia, and also just recreationally,” Flores and Joslin share. “Consuming really does seem to open people to relax and be present. The flower allows us to find joy in everyday life.” As they point out, women, in particular, face particular judgment as cannabis consumers, which is why Flores and Joslin make it a point to feature “herstory.” “Showcasing intelligent, ambitious women and femmes who utilize cannabis is particularly important to us because they have been left out of both mainstream media portrayals and traditional cannabis culture. We feel passionately that our show is doing a small part in destigmatizing this healing flower and allowing women to explore the responsible consumption of cannabis without shame,” they say. “Four years ago… we were asked many times if we were ‘worried about our reputations.’ Fast forward, and those same people are now asking us how to get involved in the cannabis industry.”
In solidarity with seasoned stoners and cannabis newbies alike, here is some weed-themed merch to shop on your wellness journeys.
Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD
This sensation-enhancing CBD oil will awaken pleasure beyond your wildest expectations.
This strawberry lemonade CBD gummies take the edge off — and taste fantastic.
Kush Queen Spirit of the Bayou 200mg CBD Bath Bomb
10% of all Spirit of the Bayou products go towards supporting native and local bayou communities post, Hurricane Ida.
A108 Studio Alabaster Stone CBD-Infused Candle
Enjoy a CBD-infused, organic candle housed in a sophisticated alabaster jar for relaxation along with an aromatherapeutic effect.
Cann Social Tonic Grapefruit Rosemary
The gourmet flavors by Cann have been inspiring social “drinkers” to forego alcohol for these hangover-free alternatives. But containing just 2 mg T.H.C.
Cloud11 Cannabis-Infused Confections
For an upscale edible, consider the confections made by Cloud11 when you create your next custom box.
Flower by Edie Parker Tabletop Lighter
Easily the luxurious torch of our greenest dreams, this is as much an item of decor as it is functional.
The Feelist Most Wanted Radiant Facial Oil
This award-winning facial oil blend includes 500 mg of broad-spectrum CBD for potent anti-inflammatory benefits while imparting a nourished, hydrated glow.
For gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free lollipops featuring water-soluble CBD, try the high-end goodies made by head chef Taryn Garcia.