Transcending the Madness with Education: An Editorial

For far too long, cannabis and psychedelics like magic mushrooms have been discussed behind closed doors, in hushed voices, maybe with the fear of doing something outlawed, something forbidden. That just should not be. As scientists and clinicians have resurrected their interest in studying these ancient substances, we’re learning with each passing day that cannabis and mushrooms gift much to humankind, a fact that conflicts the standard governmental line that they are nothing more than beatnik, hippie, or stoner vices, or the taboo secrets of a crestfallen few.

“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” said Jeff Sessions a few years ago. Who knows what he would say about people who ingest 5-MeO-DMT?

Ronald Reagan BS’ed the world with his lie that “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.” How did anyone believe this?

Go back further to a master of false news, Harry Anslinger, who said many ridiculous things about cannabis including: “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind,” and “I consider marihuana the worst of all narcotics – far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influences men becomes beasts…Marihuana destroys life itself.”

For decades, these fallacies have been shot at us from men who have consistently ignored the science and the everyday people who have testified all along that cannabis or mushrooms or some other ostracized plant benefits them in beautiful ways that many pharmaceutical drugs have not. But these people never really stood a chance to be heard over the louder, richer, indoctrinating madness from which pointed boney, white, accusatory fingers in the faces of those who voiced their endorsements.

There is a paradigm shift happening, however, that is cause for great hope. Cannabis is an increasingly validated plant, a household term these days, once hushed whispers giving way to an all-out scream. And I like to imagine that the force of that educated scream actively smashes against the weakened monster proposed by Reefer Madness, repelling it back to whatever hell it sprung from.

With so many people looking to cannabis for its wellness potential, the market is massively growing, and it’s recognizably pock-marked with shams. So, it is vital to possess the educational tools needed to grow and evolve. When I co-taught a course for senior citizens, their acceptance of cannabis as something contemporary was exciting and surprising. They were eager for the truth, for once, and to rightly understand how the plant might help them. But they couldn’t relate to industry jargon such as ominous-sounding cultivar names with words like Poison, Agent Orange, or Chernobyl. The language we use can deter some from seeing the plants’ promise.

Relation is paramount to educating people who don’t know about cannabis. It becomes a whole lot harder to find cannabinoids distasteful, for example, once you know that your body has an important system geared around these molecules, and, gasp(!), your body actually makes cannabinoids, too! Even the physique of Anslinger was mechanized for cannabinoids!

On a different note, terpenes are everywhere in nature, and so, when we enjoy how loud a cannabis plant’s funky or citrusy notes are, it’s no different from the pleasantness of smelling a rose or a good IPA. When you learn that you likely have a ton of terpenes in your spice cabinet, the conversation becomes more relatable.

So, as we continue to advance our rekindled adoration for very old plants and fungi, it’s important to clutch hold of the science, digest it, preach it, and scream it from the rafters where and when necessary. Our voices must be heard; we’ve come much to far to ever let them wane. And with patience, we can continue to reveal to the world that we have been duped, that the plants and fungi should have never have been schedule I, and that, once descheduled, we will never let it happen again.


Image Credit: Photo by Jose Luis Sanchez Pereyra on Unsplash

About the author

Jason S. Lupoi, Ph.D.

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