Progressive pockets within North America have enjoyed the benefits of medicinal marijuana for a while now, but there’s shift happening that has some cannabis users drawing lines in the sand, while others are working hard to erase them.
2018 is going to be a tremendous year for recreational cannabis. California alone contributed to creating the largest market for recreational cannabis when sales became legal January 1. This summer, the whole nation of Canada will now permit the sale of recreational cannabis through provincial regulation. There will be more people lighting up North America with recreational cannabis this year than ever before. What a reason to celebrate!
Within our revelry, it is important to note that there has been an underlying discourse among cannabis users that the Oov team has been privy to and feel it’s time to address. For many, recreational cannabis is indeed a cause to celebrate, but for others, some don’t see the shift from medicinal to recreational cannabis as a positive one they throw their support behind.
What is the difference between the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes versus using it for recreational purposes? Are these differences important? Do we need to draw a line between medicinal and recreational users?
Does Intent for Use Matter?
Snoop Dogg, one of the earliest and most notorious faces of cannabis is often quoted saying, “It makes me feel the way I need to feel,” when talking about why he’s been such a long-time advocate for cannabis use.
When looking at intent for cannabis consumption, the same can be said for both medicinal and recreational users.
Medicinal users and the medical cannabis community have rallied around the growing professionalism surrounding legal medical cannabis since it began to emerge in the late-1990s. With a medical cannabis card or recommendation for cannabis to treat one of the many qualifying conditions for medical cannabis, users can retrieve cannabis therapy from a cannabis dispensary as they do prescription medicines at a pharmacy.
When accessing legal medical cannabis became possible, was all legal cannabis used solely for medicinal purposes? For some users, yes. Many use cannabis therapy as they do traditional medicines. Daily doses, dose timing, CBD rich strains, and a thoughtful consumption targeted at only relieving medical symptoms make up thousands of medical cannabis users’ regime. On the other hand, it’s extremely naïve to assume that all medicinal cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes only.
Now, with the barriers of access removed, those who enjoy cannabis, whether for its medicinal or recreational purposes, can freely exercise their intent. They can continue to source their medicinal cannabis through the medical channels. However, if they have an enjoyment of cannabis for recreational purposes, and it “makes them feel the way they need to feel,” they can without shame and enjoy recreational cannabis and the various high-THC strains available and recreational dispensaries while they chase the perfect (legal) high.
Removing Stigma for All and Between All Cannabis Users
Personally, I’m prompted to address this topic within our Oov community because I’ve seen what I’ll refer to as “stoner shaming” within medical cannabis using circles, where there was an “us” versus “them” mentality beginning to cause divisiveness.
Recently, I chose to leave one forum that was highly focused on cannabis for medical use only because of the developing stigma that had been emerging against recreational users as adult use legalization approached. Many medical users worried about the threat to medical cannabis, and rightfully so, with some of the threats happening at the federal level with Jeff Sessions’ threats to cannabis in the USA, while medicinal and recreational cannabis simultaneously proceeds to legalize across more states.
The threat and worries surrounding teen use (which has gone down since recreational cannabis has legalized), impaired driving, and the consequences of abuse and overuse caused a few to speak up in concern both within and external to the cannabis discussion.
At the same time, the recreational cannabis community has worked hard to show that there is really no such thing as the “stoner” anymore, in order to elevate the image of the cannabis user. We’re breaking stigma by showing how mothers are using cannabis in their lifestyles, how the fitness communities are embracing cannabis, and how the modern cannabis user is a productive and contributing member of society.
So, does there need to be a distinction between cannabis users for medicinal and recreational purposes? Oov takes the stance that it shouldn’t matter. Cannabis is a resource we have on this planet that is to be enjoyed and used. Where we are fortunate to currently enjoy the benefits of legal cannabis in pockets of this continent, it’s up to us to demonstrate how cannabis should be used responsibly and safely, both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Both medicinal and recreational users have a role to play in elevating the role of cannabis in health, lifestyle, and society. We are stronger together than divided.
If cannabis makes you feel the way you need to feel – and deserve to, want to, and desire to feel – then go for it. The time to embrace de-stigmatization is now, calling for a uniting of cannabis users of all kinds for the strengthening of the entire community who has banded together behind the mighty green plant we all love.