April 20th is known as “The Stoner’s” holiday. Cannabis Cups from around the world gather on the sacred ground that allows them to consume a single plant that is banned in most of the world. The holiday usually comes packed with younger people clad in the standard “Bob Marleyesque” attire, giggling about munchies or discussing heavily philosophical topics like which constellation looks more like their dog. This is all awesome, but doesn’t sum up my holiday. For me, 4/20 is life. It is health. It is hope.
As a patient, I see cannabis very differently. Before coming to Colorado, cannabis was that hush-hush thing you did in your garage to relax. All your neighbors used cannabis, but it was a recreational thing. Then I was put on methotrexate and had 2-4 days of nausea depending on the week. I was aware that cancer patients used it for their nausea, so I started using cannabis differently. Even so, I had no idea just how medicinal cannabis actually was. Then I moved and my world changed. That January, things went south with finding the only opiates I could take, and I started actually researching cannabis as a medicine.
Cannabis is life. I mean this in a very profound sense too. Our endocannabinoid systems are one of our most essential when it comes to our ability to heal. Cannabis is one of the few known substances that interact with this system (and led to its discovery) and can help to regulate it. Healing and repair is essential. Cannabinoids are needed to protect the neurons (nerves and brain cells), and to help regulate our immune systems! Cannabinoid therapy has been around for thousands of millenia, helping to heal our bodies from what ever stupidity we could throw at it. Until now. Around the mid 1900’s something changed. We started introducing weird chemicals into our foods, water, and bodies at rates never before seen, and increasing exponentially every day. Everything we touch now has chemicals and petro-chemicals at that. We have modified our foods and added pesticides directly into the plant. Then we wonder why we are ailing as a species and our world is suffering. Enter cannabis. Cannabis protects our cells, and can tell them when to switch off or on. It promotes the healing that our bodies so desperately need. Cannabis is life.
Cannabis is health. Notice how sick our developed world is, but mainly the US? The United States actually has the highest pill consumption in the entire world. According to the World Health Organization, ” In 1999, the 15% of the world’s population who live in high-income countries purchased and consumed about 90% of total medicines, by value. This concentration in the pattern of global sales and consumption has increased over the past 15 years, with the share of the low-income countries falling and that of the high-income countries growing. The market share of the USA alone rose from 18.4% of the world total in 1976 to over 52% in 2000.” That is HUGE. Something in the developed world went terribly wrong and has caused ridiculous increases in illness among its population. Autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, and many more illnesses are being diagnosed at rapidly rising rates! This is fantastic, but how does cannabis fit in here? Oh how I love the CB2 receptors! Those snazzy little things are prolific within our immune systems and even have this uncanny way of popping up on damaged cells waiting for a substance to interact with it! Our bodies actually make a compound called 2-AG that regulates our immune systems. 2-AG doesn’t have a singular function, but seems to be able to decide what action needs to be taken and executes it. CBD is the cannabis equivalent to 2-AG. Ahhhhhhh – see the connection? CBD hype has been all over the news for its amazing healing powers! This compound has even been touted as a cancer killer (as has THC)! Clearly, the endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in our health and wellness. Cannabis is health.
Because of this, cannabis is hope. I was really sick when I came to Colorado. Honestly, I came for the weather – not the pot. The cannabis just found me, and thank goodness. Now I have hope that I will get better and maybe not deteriorate so fast. I have hope that I may be walking at my granddaughter’s graduation, and I have hope that I can still live my life. Hope is the singular thing that keeps us going everyday. We hope things will improve, regardless of how bad they are now. We hope to find the right medicine/lifestyle combo for the fabled “R” word – remission. We hope to live and not just exist, even if it isn’t today. Without hope, all light in human eyes fades. Cannabis has given me hope again, and in a big way. This last year, I have improved so tremendously, but I haven’t even touched regular high dose oil or juicing. (I have used oil for occasional use.) Cannabis is hope.
For these reasons I will always love and cherish 420, which is now my second favorite holiday. (Not by much – Halloween will always reign supreme in my home! Costumes and candy!) April 20th is a day to celebrate life, health, and hope. So blast the Bob Marley and smoke some George Bush – because 420 is so much more than getting high…..though most will get high.