The value of cannabis
If cannabis was a person, what would it be like? Would it be agreeable or difficult, moody or predictable?
Judging from my time within communities that live its life around the plant, cannabis is pretty much everyone’s friend, and has something to give to everybody. You wouldn’t know it, however, to see how the industry around the country represents it. That should show you how far away we’ve sailed from the actual plant people grow and nurture. To do it well requires understanding the plant and what makes it special. When that understanding is maintained from soil to oil, there’s nothing you can’t do with it.
Of course, cannabis is not the only plant that has a personality, if you will. That’s one of the reasons we integrate many different herbs in our tinctures. Skullcap, valerian, lemon balm — you can’t help but be as relaxed and as placid as these plants are, especially if they’re enhancing the best parts of what they are in solution. That said, just like people, the plant can’t serve if it isn’t raised to be the best it can be. Developing a strong voice for any cannabis plant or product is crucial in order for the plant to express its strongest values. The proof is in the people.
The more things change
No matter how far you go back, cannabis has always healed people. From its first mention in the famed Shen Nung Chinese pharmacopoeia of healing herbs, it’s been touted for its treatment of a variety of maladies and issues, including many it treats to this day. Something, of course, got lost in translation when the Europeans and the Americans got their hands on it. Since many of them didn’t understand dosages, or were often taking it in patent remedies with lots of other drugs, their testimonies, whether it’s Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s paranoid fantasies or Baudelaire’s fever dreams, tended to obscure or even exaggerate its actual effects.
That’s what I dread from the threat of commoditization. Bringing a plant as powerful and as potentially transformative such as cannabis and reducing it to a few generic effects short-changes it, and prevents us from fully knowing its most important benefits. My own work with a woman who weaned herself off of Xanax using the same cannabis-dominant treatment regimen I used. (By the way, that’s by no means the first time cannabis has been used in dependency therapy. A report on “Indian hemp” in 1843 details its use in allaying morphine withdrawal.) If all you know about cannabis is its use in party situations or the horridly reductive CBD-isolate narrative (which should be STRONGLY questioned by anyone before they spend $57 on a worthless CBD smoothie). The values of an open-source/free trade economy that existed in Northern California derive directly from the plant, and it helped create thriving communities that when allowed to fully express themselves raise everyone’s quality of life. We’ve seen it here in Nevada County, where a cutoff point of 10,000 square feet of canopy for licensed farms preserves this heritage and the quality of its produce.
Cannabis value maintenance
So what are cannabis values, then? Again, it comes back down to Equanimity: staying cool, calm and collected no matter what troubles may befall you. For thousands of years, and throughout our country, people are using cannabis to aid them with focus and emotional stability, amongst other conditions. Mind you, they’re only using as much as they need if they’re doing it right, but they do need it all the same.
Bottom line, however, is authenticity. One simply cannot compromise on the power of the plant, no matter if it’s cannabis, brugmansia or the basil leaves in your tomato sauce. And that authenticity comes from within. The emergence of cannabis heralds a sea change in the way people do business; many companies all around us are failing in large part because they refuse to accept that. Aligning oneself with the values of cannabis and its demand to live healthier, better lives across the board could save everyone, including, ironically enough, the very people trying to make a living at it, too. Once we all start listening to it and living by its values, that’s when our lives will start changing for the better — no matter who you are.