Free speech. It’s on the lips of just about everyone you talk to nowadays, and everyone has an issue with what they can and cannot say anymore about the world WE live in.
Well, plant medicine practitioners have their own unique cross to bear, especially those of us here in California who remember another time, back when we were able to make our own unique connections with the consumer. As our Chief Spiritual Advisor Michael Hollister used to say, “There is no right or wrong way; there’s just a different way.” For us here at Medicine Box, it means that if you’re using plant medicine, there’s more than one way to get well, no matter what anyone may insist upon.
Because right now, the world of plant medicine is flooded with generic, substandard product, optimized to make a quick buck, but not for quality or the overall well-being of people like you. For instance, the very fact that cannabinoids require their own “PARENTAL ADVISORY” sticker, or that you can barely find your favorite brand on social media, shows just how deep the stigma lies, even for hemp, which is 100% legal. Fact is that the story you’ve been told about plant medicine has been oversimplified by people who don’t really care about the medicine and are exploiting fear and misunderstanding for their own personal benefit, not yours. For those of us who have been working with it for years, we see things a little bit differently. Now, that story can finally be told.
The days of the possible
One of Medicine Box’s most trusted colleagues is the NorCal medicinal cannabis brand Aunt Zelda’s. Founded by Mara Gordon, Aunt Zelda’s has prided themselves on making bespoke medical products for seriously ill patients, often working with their patient consumers directly. This allowed Mara and her team to drill down on precise dosages from plants grown specifically for the patients in question. This all changed after 2016, when Proposition 64 legalized cannabis throughout California. Believe it or not, that’s when Aunt Zelda’s patients got short-changed.
“With the implementation of Prop 64, our physicians and nurses can do an excellent job guiding the patients as to profile, method of ingestion, dose, etc., but once the patient goes to fulfill their recommendation, the guidance at the dispensary level is by individuals with varying degrees of knowledge who are incentivized to upsell and move specific products whether [they’re] the best match for patients or not. Also, being able to work with smaller farmers who were dedicated to growing our patients’ medicine is no longer possible. Minimum acreage and cost of licensing has put most of these small farmers out of business, leaving behind an industry focused on biomass and ROI instead of patient outcomes.”
– Mara Gordon, Aunt Zelda’s
To be sure, there have always been charlatans within this field, but the management response of the state of California was to utterly annihilate the medical cannabis market, along with all of the important innovations that it developed in-state. Another similarly affected charitable group, the Caladrius Network, supplied cannabis medicine FOR FREE to catastrophically ill children, starting with the founder Forest Hurd’s son. Silas. Over trial and error, Forest determined that while cannabis medicine worked for his son’s seizures, CBD alone did NOT help him— he found his son responded best to a plant with more THC. However, in one fell swoop, Prop 64 not only geared the entire state market towards money-making, adult use products, but it also made donations of cannabis illegal. Groups like Weed for Warriors and Sweetleaf Collective, which gave out cannabis medicine to veterans, the elderly and indigent, could no longer carry on with programs upon which their members had come to depend upon. While the ban on in-kind donations was eventually undone by Senate Bill 34, it took years and a new governor to get it passed, and it came too late for organizations such as Forrest’s to take advantage.
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A brighter future
It will take a mixture of convincing testimony and solid data to prove to the rest of the world that we indeed know what we’re doing. Much of it involves a TON of education to scrub certain elements of plant medicine of unfair stigma. So while we’ve got you, let us disabuse you of two BIG ones that need to be dispelled, toot sweet:
- THC IS a medicine. The FDA had recognized it for years with its approval of dronabinol and nabilone, and if 38 states have already approved the whole plant — and the states, btw, have the right idea. And guess what: even those not looking for psychoactivity can work with it through proper education.
“When THC is introduced to a cannabis-naïve patient it is important to start with a low dose and increase it slowly. Many speak of cannabis as a ‘mind, body, spirit, medicine, and I would have to agree. With education and dose modulation we can eliminate the fear associated with psychoactivity.”
– Mara Gordon, Aunt Zelda’s
- Microdosing* is not a vice. For that matter, macrodosing isn’t, either, but to potentially extend punitive responses to a practice that DOESN’T get people high, shows great anecdotal efficacy and is clearly non-addictive makes zero sense. As a matter of fact, as Erin Sharoni argues on the Harvard Law Petrie-Flom Center, placing restrictions on microdosing flies in the face of ethics, since as it currently stands, its restrictions prevent all but the most privileged and well-resourced members of society from taking advantage. If microdosing provides much-needed health benefits with minimal risk of harm, then restricting access is unethical,” she concludes, having earlier cited her own successful microdosing use. “However, any frameworks for expanding access to microdosing must seriously engage with ethical concerns around access and fairness to ensure that going forward, we reduce, rather than perpetuate, existing injustices and allow equal access to flourishing.”
*For those who want to learn more about microdosing, we encourage you to read our Mushroom Microdosing Manifesto, which you can access on our site.
Download our FREE Microdosing PDF!
Only pain can emerge from a paradigm when such promising work is relegated to difficult-to-access communities. To stifle information coming from these communities or dismiss it as “misinformation” adds even graver insults to the continued injury. And all it does in the end is perpetuate an intolerable status quo. If that status quo worked for everyone, there would be no need for Medicine Box. But here we are, along with Mara Gordon, making sure that free speech about plant medicine will carry the day. Serving those who have been failed elsewhere is why we’ll continue to let people know, whenever possible, how it’s all about the Plant, the Whole Plant, and nothing but the Plant. Anything less, and you’re just not letting nature take its course.