It is well-traveled quote from none other than Tommy Chong. Maybe he is right. “All marijuana is medical marijuana,” Chong has said.
I heard him say it in Seattle a few years ago at the Cannabis Summit. There were a few chuckles in the room but even more knowing nods. His logic followed that even when people are not using marijuana for a particular ailment, they are likely using it for recreation. The purpose of recreation is to unwind, to relax and rejuvenate both body and mind.
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After all, based on scientific studies, we do know this much:
Stress is a killer. According to the American Psychological Association, stress affects the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous systems as well as both the female and male reproductive systems. It contributes to the six leading causes of death.
Outside the occasional over-consumption of the herb, which can be frightening and cause anxiety for some, not even by the most rabid prohibitionist would accuse marijuana of causing stress. That runs counter to its nature.
Research has shown the beneficial effects of “medical” marijuana use for inflammation and joint aches, neuropathic pain, chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and as a remedy for lack of appetite.
People are making decisions based on their improved quality of life and voting with their wallets. Based on the number of people using marijuana over their prescription drugs, one study found that if all 50 states had legalized medical marijuana in 2014, Medicaid could have saved over $1 billion to date.
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While we must always ground our cannabis knowledge in solid research, folk wisdom has its value. Before there were medical schools, police departments … even before Stonehenge was built, our ancestors used marijuana, most likely for medical and ceremonial purposes. Knowledge is passed from one generation to the next. My grandmother never attended a day of college, but I am wiser for the words I heard her speak. Experience teaches lessons books can’t.
So, thank you Tommy Chong. As some other folk icons have reminded us, “Once in awhile you get shown the light. In the strangest of places if you look at it right..”