Cannabis Complexity

I have spoken at length on my Wednesday Night Live show (which you can sign up for for free at, prior episodes archived on YouTube) about cannabis. In Episode 17, I spoke about the endocannabinoid system and specifically how to activate it to improve your health WITHOUT cannabis. In Episode 51, I spoke at length about what I feel are some very negative societal messages and trends regarding marijuana as a recreational drug, yet still recognizing some of the benefits of cannabis in regards to medical use especially with in light of our continued, horrific, opioid crisis.

As many of you know, I am not a fan of the criminalization of cannabis even though I am very vocal in a social critic kind of way, about the trendy nature of pop cultures embrace and promotion of recreational cannabis. I’ve always shared the view of comedian Steve Harvey who when asked why he doesn’t and has never smoked marijuana, responded something to the effect that he never wanted to do anything that would take away from his God given gifts. While people on marijuana sometimes think that loosening themselves up opens them up to more creative thoughts, I can assure you being one of the few non-high people at some parties in my life, that I know why they used to call it “dope” šŸ™‚

When you understand those who supported and continue to support this criminalization, you start to grasp why it’s more complex than it seems. On the one hand, you have stoner celebrities who think cannabis is the cure all for mankind. I, once, had a patient clearly high, who was in the cannabis industry who truly felt it would usher in some sort of utopia. I couldn’t get him to stop chatting about šŸ™‚ Neither of these type of folks do much to convince me of anything. But who else supported/supports this criminalization? Privatized prison corporations, alcohol and beer companies, drug rehabilitation centers who get federal funding from court appointed rehabilitation sentences and of course, prescription drug companies like those who make opioids. (L Fang The Nation, 2014)

These industries through their very expensive lobbying efforts don’t benefit society as a whole. So while I am not in favor of some sort of push for legalization as that enlists a whole host of counter supporters and wasted money, it also in an unhealthful fashion allows the folks above, the utopians and the stoner celebrities to push for it like it is some kind of health food which it most certainly is not!

So, decriminalization, removing the penalties, takes pressure off the police, prevents people from being sent to jail for possession, silences the unhealthful pro’s and con’s of the argument and allows people to make their own decisions. I think this is the most healthful, immediate step, it allows for more rational discussion of the pro’s and con’s without allowing some of the big money to come in a muck things up. The trend is clear, it will eventually become legal, I just don’t think society has a mature understanding of it yet for full legalization, decriminalization makes the most sense to me right off the bat. In both of the episodes above, I address all of the health issues, so if you want to learn more about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, seek out those 2 episodes as they are archived on my youtube channel.

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Jonathan Carp, MD

Dermatologist, health food entrepreneur, beach addict, and health teacher.