There’s an interesting human condition that we all suffer from that’s known as bias. It can take one word and our brains will rapidly generate the imagery, vocabulary, and ideas behind our biases. For example: ‘stoner.’
I know what you saw in your mind: an overweight, 20’s-something male sitting on a beat-up couch in his parent’s basement watching TV and eating Cheetos. It’s so heavily ingrained into our bias that even, I, an advocate for plant justice, sees that image when I hear that word.
However, that is not the reality of most people’s lives who consume cannabis. Do those types of ‘stoners’ exist? Sure, but the overwhelming majority of stoners use cannabis as a medicine, as a tool to improve their lives, and are happy, healthy, fully-functioning adults who contribute to society on a daily basis.
Consider a very interesting fellow who is widely known as Dr. Bob. Bob Melamede has a doctoral degree in biochemistry and molecular genetics. Would you expect that he also consumes enough cannabis each day to plant most consumers on their faces? Probably not, but his story is one of reality, compared to the bias of what a ‘stoner’ looks like.
Dr. Bob is an advocate for cannabis, a leader in an industry that’s long been held underground, and a man with a passion for healing with plants. The charismatic, well-thought, mustachioed gentlemen believes the endocannabinoid system exists in our bodies for a good reason. He says that ‘he’s always wanted to know what life is,’ and through that pursuit, he has discovered the vast importance of our endocannabinoid system. He speaks to its importance within a number of our homeostatic systems:
- Stress responses
- And more
In his own words, he says that the endocannabinoid system is the ‘thermostat’ of our own bodies. It’s a regulatory system that ensures our bodies function correctly and responds to their environment in the same way a thermostat responds to the environment of our homes.
Of course, our endocannabinoid system creates its own version of cannabinoids, but we can find additional inputs from plants, such as Cannabis. These additional inputs have a wide variety of documented health benefits for humans, such as:
- Pain relief
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved sleep outcomes
- And much, much more
Perhaps the most important health benefit of cannabis, as Dr. Bob says, is it’s ‘very clear, unambiguous, cancer-killing ability.’
And this is why he is so pissed.
He’s pissed because he can access, as he claims, 12,000-13,000 scientific articles on his computer in a moment’s notice—with nearly 1,000 of them pointing to the anti-cancer effects of cannabis—and still the government and pharmaceutical companies say there isn’t enough research on its efficacy.
What has him even more upset is that cannabis is still labeled as a Schedule I drug in the United States which means that it is assumed to have zero medicinal value. Furthermore, Schedule I status prevents research into its use.
So, as a man with a doctoral degree in understanding how the human body works, and years of personal and professional experience dealing with cannabis, he’s pissed that the government won’t even consider looking at letting people heal themselves with a plant instead of a lab-formulated pharmaceutical and a round of chemotherapy.
It’s easy to assume that ‘stoners’ are the simple-minded, lazy people we’ve been brainwashed to believe them to be. But, most of them are more like the people who use coffee in the morning before work and exercise in the evening before having dinner with their families. Cannabis is a plant that provides countless benefits to its consumers, and those consumers are just as productive as any other subset of people in our society.
Of course, Dr. Bob is pissed. He sees injustice in the Western world. He sees ignorance and propaganda infecting our minds. He sees people behind bars for a lifetime because they consumed an herb. And, most importantly, he sees the role of cannabis in providing people with healthy, happy lives. He sees that all one needs to do for that health and happiness is grow a plant.
Yet our bias makes us see a plant that creates lazy, thoughtless zombies of its consumers.