A NEED FOR MORE INFORMED PRACTITIONERS
The majority of information obtained by the public, if they’re seeking out the healing effects of medical cannabis, is often garnered from budtenders when a patient or user visits a dispensary. This is unfortunate, as these individuals (better known as the sales staff at a shop) are typically not trained healthcare providers and as a result, the information that is relayed can be misleading, not helpful or incorrect.
Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit dedicated to providing research in cannabidiol medicine (and speaker at the Holistic Cannabis Summit on The Tao of Healing: The Integration of Cannabis Therapeutics & Holistic Modalities), speaks to this matter, saying, “…it’s kind of unfair for the staff at the dispensary because they’re not trained in a medical practice, and yet they have to assume that role.”
Education is key to be able to explain that although cannabis is extremely effective (because it works on receptors within our body’s own endocannabinoid system), it should always be used with a holistic approach. Meaning, if the problem is pain, insomnia, seizures, cancer, anxiety, etc., more than one modality should be used to treat the problem.
For example, consider if the main health issue is pain. Cannabis can provide relief, but applying it along with a number of other methods, such as chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, yoga, etc., will prove much more effective in treating both causes and effects of the problem. For this reason, advocates such as Martin Lee and organizations such as the Holistic Cannabis Network are dedicated to providing knowledge on how to integrate cannabis with other modalities.
And, as important as it is to educate practitioners on the place cannabis has within the healing framework, it’s equally important to empower the consumer when it comes to what they’re putting into their bodies. Instead of just meeting a patient for seven minutes and sending them on their way with a shallow idea of his/her condition and a drug, some holistic practitioners have begun to lead tours of dispensaries, much like some dietitians who take their patients on grocery store tour, to teach healthful food shopping.
For those who are traveling for access to medical marijuana, it may be helpful to keep in mind that cannabis is only one instrument in the holistic healing toolbox. With the surplus of information that is becoming more and more available on medicinal cannabis, it’s wise to find a holistic-minded practitioner who considers the whole picture, or at least recommends cannabis as an adjunct to a healthier lifestyle.