Saturday, August 20, 2016

Up In Smoke*

*I couldn't think of a better title that describes cannabis and the state of artist discovery and development in 2016

I had a blast the other night appearing on the Elevate the Conversation podcast/show with @IAmDoctor420.

I'm a huge advocate for the use of cannabis as a medicinal alternative. I always have been. I think the amount of prescribed and over the counter medications that exist that are part of the pharmaceutical is such a huge business and so dangerous in long terms and in addiction, that to ignore the benefits of naturally grown cannabis to deal with the ailments a lot of the patients go to use cannabis is absolutely criminal. Cannabis is considered a class 1 drug by the DEA. That puts it in the category with Heroin, crystal Method and other drugs that are chemically created and have a dangerous effect in long term use. This alone is absurd.

Of course, the social and recreational use is a huge part of medicinal cannabis, but let's look at what we are talking about. It's not heroin. Seriously.

I have always heard the term "gateway" drug when referring to cannabis and that in itself is ridiculous. That's like saying beer is a gateway to alcoholism. These are both social and recreational substances that when enjoyed are normal. When abused, sure they can be dangerous. The only difference is you don't get in fights when medicated. You go to sleep. You don't hear about medicated driving as much as you hear about drunk driving. Shit, more people drive high on Xanax daily (pharmaceutical approved) and that's dangerous as fuck. Combine that with alcohol and you have people blacking out. You don't black out in cannabis.

The "gateway" factor comes from something deeper in someone's subconscious and issues that elevate the opportunity of addiction. But, you can't blame that path in cannabis. If you do, blame Zoloft, Paxil, klonopin, Xanax, oxycontin and every other prescribed medication. Abuse is going to happen as long as people are prescribed them and don't deal with other issues that drive them to addiction.

I grew up with a mother who had rheumatoid arthritis. I think she was on (at least) 6 different meds a day to treat various things. She didn't want to live on those. Who does? In the mid 80's I remember she was prescribed medicinal cannabis to help with certain parts of her daily pains and ailments. I don't think she stuck with it as long as someone would, but in 1985, medicinal cannabis was not understood or agreed on socially and medically. So, in the long run, she stuck with prescribed meds and drank socially. Socially of course leads to drinking daily. She wasn't an alcoholic, but defiantly drank to close out the night. Again, I don't blame her. I can't imagine what it was like to be in her body, looking at the world through limited opportunities, mostly physically. Not being about to walk, do things independently, like cook dinner for us. But she was my queen in teaching me how to do it through her. I'm grateful. I can't imagine how life would have been if the stigma of cannabis use was not so frowned upon. I think she would have had an easier time than resorting to drinking. Plus, for a frail woman, her appetite would have increased rather than not being able to eat well because of all the pills that I'm sure mixed would make you nauseous and unable to actually eat.

I've known many addicts and alcoholics in my life. I must say, it's a rare thing when you get to know one who doesn't have a story of some sort of traumatic experience that has been buried or silenced for decades that comes out eventually and they turn to substance abuse, but never has it been from smoking a joint.

I'm a casual user. If I was Cheech and Chong, I'd be Cheech. The guy that looks the part, acts the part, but when it comes down to it, is a huge lightweight. When I'm with friends, they can blaze up and I just look in amazement on what they can take down and function. I know my limits. My best friend is my Chong. She could match Snoop Dogg dab for dab. But what's amazing to me is, she's 100% aware, functional and responsible. Sure a pothead, but not the stereotypical, living in her parent garage not working and not doing anything. I admire the dedication and love she has for her job, being reliable and aware. That's today's real cannabis users. Of course the basement living stereotypes exist, but it's not all of them.

There people that I always have had a problem with that criticized and looked down upon cannabis use. I think I'm pretty safe to say that 80% of them were wine drinkers. Very judgmental while having no problem posting photos of them at a winery enjoying a Merlot or at a "classy" gathering of cheese and wine.

Well, let's compare the two.

Both come and are cultivated by the earth. Makers of wine are artists. They blend, they are scientific about it, where they grow it, weather conditions. The same can be said about cannabis growers. What they do with earth, blending and cultivating grows these plants into beautiful works of nature.

The time to harvest, the time it takes to actually get it ready, pick at the right time and prepare. Both growers are very organic and try not to grow with pesticides and harmful products to compromise their grows.

In wine, you have a Sommeliers who is an expert in wine to help you find exactly what you are looking in taste and mood as well for pairing with food. In cannabis, dispensaries have experts who go the same. What are you looking for in flavor, mood, feel and ailment.

When you open a bottle of wine, you smell, taste and have a process to judge the quality. With cannabis, the dispensary will have jars of flower that you can smell, look at under a magnifying glass to see the bud up close and see the beauty, colors and texture of the strain.

Even to the point of the enjoyment, the crafting of glass. In wine, beautiful glass is made to drink from, decanters all for presentation and use. Same is done with cannabis. Glass is blown for pipes, dab rigs and bongs. They are works of art that are useful.

So, in the end the similarities are there, but the stigma of cannibus makes these wine appreciating people superior culturally over cannibus users.

My thing about this is that is I feel like these people that frown upon cannabis users while drinking their wine is they maybe should put themselves in the place of these people that use it for medicinal purposes to aid them with an illness that include nausea, loss of appetite, migraines, fatigue, anxiety and so many other ailments people go to cannabis for... Ironically, the same side effects you have from drinking too much... Wine.

You go to a dispensary in Los Angeles and it never fails who you run into. People of all races, religions, age and socioeconomic backgrounds. It's a legitimate alternative for people. They don't judge each other while in there, the people who run these places look happy to be able to offer this service that makes people feel better. Dr. 420 was a very successful spinal surgeon prior to becoming a doctor who can give recommendation letters to grant these patients the opportunities of cannabis. He will be the first to say that it's the most gratifying thing he's ever done, because these people who come to him have been in hell for years and this is their final chance. His service is great, because in our world, the continuing stigma attached to cannabis is still frowned upon and the way he does it is not by going to Venice Beach and walking into some weird house that makes you feel like you are doing something wrong. It's over his site, he gets online with you talks to you about your issues and supports your decision. If I wasn't a patient already and wasn't sure of the decision, after talking to him, I'd be sold from feeling good about it.

The show was informative, funny and I got to talk about the music business. A few people I know watched it and thought the insight I had with regard to today's music industry and musical artistry was good. I'm far from an expert. I'm a dummy who used to be in it and has a passion for music, trends (music, technology, etc) and just wants to figure it out.

If any of this sounds of interest to you and you are tired of the olympics, the 24 hour news cycle, Donald Trump and all the other bullshit we get stuck with, watch this Interview and the others he's posted from his show. There are video versions on youtube and podcast versions.

Itunes Podcast version

He's a funny motherfucker.

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