An estimated 3,099,934 Americans are state-legal patients for medical marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project statistics updated in July of 2019 (Project MPP, 2019). Despite the number of medical marijuana patients increasing over time, not counting individuals who were not included in the studies, there is still controversy that cannabis is not an effective modern medicine versus the conversation that cannabis should be a part of daily nutrition to decrease the intake of modern medicine (e.g. aspirin, etc.).
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Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, Dr. Kevin Sabet, was asked his opinion on medical cannabis during a 2017 interview with Dr. Kevin Sabet. The CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana stated, in summary, that more of the US population resides with and suffers from “life-threatening, debilitating chronic illness” Sabet, 2017). Dr. Sabet further expressed that he agrees with cannabis being therapeutic, he grouped it with medicine versus a nutrient, comparing it to inhaling an opium to produce the same effect of morphine or aspirin for pain relief. While validity can be found in every opinion, I strongly believe that such opinions push cannabis into comparisons of medicine versus the upswing effects of it being a nutrient.
The hot topic that I am taking a stance on is the reframing of cannabis. Rather than cannabis be considered a medicine that falls into the category of suppressing the symptoms of an ailment, I would like to consider cannabis as a part of daily nutrition to assist with holistic wellness. I’ve become more interested in this topic over the years because of personal usage of Sativa, the growing number of medical marijuana patients, and my centric focus of my wellness business. I am a firm believer that cannabis is a helpful nutrition as long as the individual takes the right type and understands their personal dosage limits. Cannabis has assisted in my holistic wellness of my physical body, my mental state, and in my spiritual practices.
As an integrative system, wellness is holistic and providing, nurturing, and engaging our minds, bodies, and spirits (Stoewen, 2017). Typically when wellness is conversed about, the primary motivation is related to the body and nutrition; however, wellness includes eight interdependent notions that must all be cared for. For purposes of this hot topic, we will focus on three of the eight dimensions: spiritual, physical, and intellectual. Proper nutrition has been linked to increased cognition for intellectual stability and a decrease in a psychiatric disorders. In a 2008 study, it was found that decreased metabolic hormones were paired with psychiatric disorders, but with proper nutrition of vitamins and minerals, cognitive function improved (Gómez-Pinilla, 2008). The wellness dimensions are interdependent, proper nutrients in the body not only increase cognitive function improving the intellectual state, but overall physical health increases. Weight management, joint and bone health, and the ability to have more movement in the body is increased with proper nutrition. It has been noted and experienced personally that nutrition may be used for the 12 chakras in the body. As we nourish our bodies, we are nourishing our energy. For instance, Chakra One does well with red foods, and the spiritual message provided to us is that we deserve to be alive, safe, strong, and passionate. Chakra Five does well with blue foods such as berries and spices that stimulate the mouth providing the spiritual message that we can be honest and have integrity, it is safe for us to communicate, and manifest our needs (Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, 2019).
Cannabis contains nutrients essential for the body that play a major role in cognitive function (intellect), physical well-being, and spirituality. The importance of understanding how food serves as nutrient in these areas, makes for a solid foundation of cannabis being grouped with food nutrition for daily use rather than a medication that suppresses ailments. Cannabis works with the body on a cellular and metabolic level and includes the following nutrients essential for the body (Marijuana Break, 2019):
- Insoluble fiber,
- Vitamins E, C, B1, B3, B6 essential fatty acids,
- 9 Essential Amino acids, and
- Essential oils
While I advocate for the usage of cannabis as a daily nutrient aiding in holistic wellness, from a spiritual and ethical stance, there are studies that have analyzed the morality of cannabis use. In a 2016 study, empirical data was found that suggested that cannabis, on one hand was a harmless rite of passage while other data utilized scriptures aiding against it (Sullivan, 2016). I think it’s important for each individual to first define their personal spiritual views and identify if cannabis would be right for them. To evaluate cannabis in terms of nutrition, from a symbolic perspective, I would ask that each person deep dive into what wellness means to them and ask internally, will cannabis serve the dimensions of wellness. There is no right or wrong answer.
- Cannabis Nutrition Facts: 101. (2019, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.marijuanabreak.com/cannabis-nutrition-facts (Links to an external site.)
- Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008, July). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/ (Links to an external site.)
- Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, Shares Important Lessons from Cannabis Legalization. (2017, September 1). Retrieved from https://www.centeronaddiction.org/the-buzz-blog/kevin-sabet-phd-shares-important-lessons-cannabis-legalization?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu6PLn5Sz5wIVEpSzCh3PnQEREAAYAyAAEgI05fD_BwE (Links to an external site.)
- Project, M. P. (n.d.). Medical Marijuana Patient Numbers. Retrieved from https://www.mpp.org/issues/medical-marijuana/state-by-state-medical-marijuana-laws/medical-marijuana-patient-numbers/ (Links to an external site.)
- Spiritual Nutrition: How the Foods You Eat Affect Your Mind, Body and Spirit. (2019, April 22). Retrieved from https://www.consciouslifestylemag.com/spiritual-nutrition-food-vibration/ (Links to an external site.)
- Stoewen, D. L. (2017, August). Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5508938/ (Links to an external site.)
- Sullivan, E., & Austriaco, N. (2016, May). A virtue analysis of recreational marijuana use. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5102207/
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