Cannabis is often considered a drug even by my medical marijuana patients in Los Angeles California. California cannabis patients and medical marijuana patients throughout multiple states in the US has ingrained the mindset that Cannabis is a “drug.” Medical cannabis patients believe this so much, that it is rare for me to ever hear a patient talk about their cannabis usage, except under the social history portion of my interview. This is the part of the medical marijuana evaluation where I ask a patient if they smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or use any recreational drugs.
Cannabis is medicine. It is only when we start to think differently will cannabis be considered medicine to assist in a disability or daily activity. It is exciting to hear a patient talk about cannabis when I ask them about any medications they are taking.
Can recreational marijuana and the cannabis is medicine ideologies coexist? As a nation, no, as a state, the question of medical marijuana as medicine and recreational 420 culture remains to be answered. Marijuana became legalized in California in 1996 under support from seriously ill patients that didn’t want to spend the rest of their short lifetime in a prison cell. There is a conservative culture that attaches the stigma of cannabis as criminal associated substance. The 420 recreational marijuana patients give the conservative voters ammo to stop medical marijuana altogether. This makes it significantly harder for medical marijuana patients with serious medical problems to get access to cannabis as medicine with significant regulations such as those in Colorado.
Medical marijuana patients rarely believe cannabis is medicine. I see this on every medical marijuana evaluation I perform in my patients answers to our questions of medications they are taking. I have seen one patient write cannabis as their medicine. It is our job to change the way we think and talk about cannabis as medicine.
It is very rare for patients to be as enthusiastic for their medicine as they are for cannabis. My medical marijuana patients have T shirts, socks, pens and multiple items that advertise their enthusiasm for cannabis. I never see a patient wear a t shirt for viagra or ibuprofen.
So remember the next time you list your medications at your health care visit that cannabis is medicine.