Lifestyle, Treatment

Let’s Face it, Cannabis is Medicine and Should be Treated That Way

May 28, 2021 10:30 am ET
Let’s Face it, Cannabis is Medicine and Should be Treated That Way

Is it medicine, or is it a recreational drug like booze or tobacco products? In states that have medical cannabis, many of them often forget the word medical is in front of cannabis. Medical patients that turn to cannabis often have compromised immune systems or suffer from other issues. The prescription drugs that failed them were made in meticulously controlled and sterile environments. Prescription drug makers have to follow a protocol called GMP. GMP stands for good manufacturing practices. There are many guidelines that fall into GMP protocol. One of them is consistency. For example, a Tylenol made in Florida should be the same as a Tylenol manufactured in California.

Medical Cannabis Isn’t Treated Like Medicine

It’s called medical cannabis but treated far from it. Don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of places that go those extra steps to treat medical cannabis as medicine, but you don’t run across those every day. All too often, when you go into a dispensary, cannabis is handled very poorly. A lot of people touch cannabis with their bare hands, open the jars letting other people smell them, and sell clones stored and displayed in an open-air public environment.

Very few use the special containers made with a magnifying glass built-in and air holes for aroma. It’s cheaper to just throw it in a big jar, and if people want it, they want it. If not, they can go elsewhere, I guess. The containers mentioned above allow people to see the quality of the medicine as well as get a scent of what they’re considering purchasing. Sadly a strain of cannabis in one place is nothing like a strain of cannabis and another 99% of the time. This means the effective medicine you have found might not work the same if you buy it somewhere else or even from the same place the next time, for that matter.

Growing Your Own Medicine

If you’re a medical patient, the best advice is to learn to grow your own medicine. This is a guaranteed way for you to know exactly what’s going into your medicine and for you to produce quality remedies in a controlled environment. There definitely is some learning when it comes to growing cannabis, but it can be done relatively easily and inexpensively. However, many states do not allow patients this option.

More people are starting to complain about this issue and feel the pain of others dismissing it. If we’re going to call it medical cannabis, then it is time that we start treating it like a medicine. Gloves should be used at all times when handling cannabis. It is a good idea to employ the use of tongs when weighing out a patient’s product. Utilizing the special see-through containers that have magnifying glasses to view trichomes and air holes in order to take in the aroma of the buds inside is a great way to help keep your in-store product contaminant-free.

Personally, as a medical cannabis patient, I would love for the quality of medical cannabis to be raised to a higher standard by growers. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone out and purchased a quarter or half an ounce of bud that cost me $80 to $150, only to be disappointed with the quality. By disappointed, I mean what is supposed to be medicine is absolute garbage. The taste profile, the resin production, and the overall quality are all too often junk. I live in Oklahoma, where we only have a medical cannabis market. There is not a recreational market, though I believe it should all be treated the same.

The Industry Needs to Institute Quality Control Standards

Times have changed, and growers don’t have to grow underground hiding anymore. This means we shouldn’t have to worry about issues such as plants infested with mildew, molds, pests, or genetics that are just subpar. I grow medical cannabis at home. I know the cost that goes into growing it, and I know the quality that I get in return. On a larger scale, this price should start to go down. What shouldn’t go down is quality. If you are a medical cannabis patient, get to know your dispensary. There is more to being a medical cannabis provider than just throwing a bunch of weed, concentrates, and edibles on a shelf and calling yourself a medical cannabis dispensary.

I’ve seen people transporting medical cannabis in random cardboard boxes and turkey bags still. This is sad. Even dealers who operate on the illegal market use a vacuum seal package to make airtight pillows of cannabis. They are most often transported in Tupperware containers with lids. Watching people transport medical cannabis such as pounds of weed in turkey bags or clones inside of random boxes that were delivered to their house or business establishments is highly concerning to me. I don’t personally believe this is a way a medical business should operate.

As a whole, the industry needs to support implementing universal quality control standards such as keeping a clean, sterile environment or cannabis won’t ever be considered medicine. A clean environment doesn’t mean using old personal cardboard boxes or ones that you have found behind a store to transport medicine. Medicine needs to be treated as medicine. In Oklahoma, they are selling medical cannabis at medical prices. Quality medical cannabis in the state runs an average of $12 to $16 a gram. The ounce price comes down a little bit at around $300 to $350 an ounce. Almost everything below this is substandard and sometimes worse.

If Cannabis is Medicine, We Need to Tidy Up the Industry

Cannabis is taxed in every way, shape, and form. More so than any other industry. The practices currently displayed throughout the majority of the medical cannabis community would not apply in any other field of medicine. Perhaps it’s time that we stop referring to cannabis as a medicine and start calling it a nutritional necessity. Every human body has an endocannabinoid system that requires cannabinoids in order to help the body achieve and maintain homeostasis. In essence, this makes cannabinoids an essential part of our nutrition vs. medicine. But hey, we are calling it medicine, with no universal definitions in an unreliable and inconsistent market; what could go wrong? Even at that, the majority of nutraceuticals are also manufactured in clean environments per GMP protocols, so let’s clean up the cannabis space and start giving this plant medicine the respect it deserves as well as patients.

Cannabis legalization is a wild new frontier. It has ups and downs. It has pros and a lot of cons. If you are a medical cannabis patient, make sure that you are very vigilant about the medical cannabis you purchase. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice your concerns. People who handle your medicine should welcome suggestions for improvement.

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