Embracing the Transformative Power of Cannabis: A Personal Journey

As we find ourselves at the midway point of 2022, a glimmer of hope shines on the horizon for cannabis legislation. The idea of cannabis reform, once considered far-fetched, now stirs excitement within me, reminiscent of the dreams I’ve held for over two decades about the potential impact of cannabis on our lives and the world at large.

My personal journey with cannabis stretches what seems like multiple lifetimes ago, with the first puff of a joint in a friend’s beautifully landscaped backyard after high school. I recall feeling a sense of happiness rather than an overwhelming high. However, at that time, cannabis didn’t hold a lasting place in my life.

It was during my twenties that cannabis began to play a pivotal role in my personal development. Looking back, I now realize how it acted as a catalyst for self-reflection. Cannabis enabled me to take a deep and honest look at myself, my self-worth, and how I had been selling myself short.

This introspective journey wasn’t without its challenges, as I encountered some uncomfortable moments while under the influence. Instead of blaming cannabis, I came to understand that it was merely a mirror reflecting my inner turmoil. As Bob Marley wisely put it, “when you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.” Cannabis wasn’t a threat; it was a gentle guide helping me confront my lack of self-esteem. Faced with this newfound clarity, I had two choices.

As I delved deeper into my relationship with cannabis, I embarked on the journey of cultivation—a game-changer for me. Witnessing a cannabis plant’s transformation from seed to full-sized maturity in just four months was nothing short of astonishing. The vigorous growth during certain phases, at times an inch or more in a single day, showcased the remarkable power and determination inherent in nature. It was a profound lesson in dedication to a cause. Yet, the true magic unfolded during the flowering phase, akin to a caterpillar’s transformation inside its cocoon. Those final weeks of flowering filled me with inspiration, reminding me of the importance of limitless possibilities in life.

This newfound passion for cannabis cultivation led me to make a significant shift in my life—I enrolled in college to major in botany, with cannabis as a likely part of my professional journey.

Over the years, my academic and professional life took various twists and turns, eventually leading me to become a licensed medical professional with a professional-level degree. While it’s gratifying to acknowledge these achievements, it’s equally disheartening to witness the continued lack of acceptance and stigmatization surrounding cannabis. This is especially true in the clinical environment. The safety of cannabis in comparison to alcohol and drugs like cocaine and heroin has been demonstrated, yet these arguments often fall on deaf ears.

Cannabis, I’ve come to realize, is what you make of it. It can serve as a means of numbing and escapism, much like alcohol. Alternatively, when used intentionally, cannabis becomes a powerful tool for deep intellectual thought, meditation, personal development, and introspection. It has the potential to bring individuals closer to themselves and to others—a crucial asset in a world yearning for connection, community, and togetherness.

The potency of cannabis extends even further when considering its potential in the realm of health. As both a personal consumer and a medical professional, I’ve witnessed the positive impact cannabis can have on those battling illness. While pharmaceuticals have their place, they often fall short in providing relief from critical symptoms. I speak from personal experience when I say that cannabis played a focal role in my healing journey, enabling me to regain a semblance of normalcy in my life. Western medicine, it seems, is designed to treat rather than heal.

I firmly believe that cannabis and its derivatives are tools the clinical world is sorely lacking. It’s disconcerting that cannabis remains classified as a Schedule 1 substance with no recognized medical benefits, despite FDA-approved medications containing cannabis derivatives. This contradiction appears hypocritical and illogical, raising questions about financial interests in the scheduling of cannabis.

In my professional life, I refrain from consuming cannabis on days when patient care is involved. However, I must also be cautious about disclosing my cannabis use, as it is not widely accepted among medical professionals. My intention in sharing these thoughts is not to ignite controversy but to encourage everyone to reconsider their perspective on cannabis and the potential good it can bring to the world.

We must all shed our judgment of cannabis. Consuming cannabis does not equate to fitting the stereotypical stoner mold. It’s essential to recognize that the way someone uses cannabis can vary greatly, from seeking intoxication at a party to using it as a tool for meditation and self-improvement at home.

I find it important to remain mindful of my cannabis use, ensuring that it enhances my life rather than serves as an escape. I urge everyone to evaluate their own relationship with cannabis, reflecting on whether it enriches their lives or creates distance from their true selves and what truly matters in life.

In a world where change and connection are more crucial than ever, perhaps it’s time to embrace the transformative potential of cannabis with an open heart and open mind.