Recreational access to cannabis is at an all time high. Is it time, then, to get rid of prescriptions and physician involvement in cannabis?
Cannabis is federally legal in Canada, for both recreation and medical. There’s a recreational market in California, Colorado, and points beyond for the United States. Mexico is going to legalize as soon as they can. Before you know it, cannabis prohibition will be dead in North America. Once prohibition falls there, Europe will continue to follow suit and it will spread across the globe. The question becomes: if cannabis is legal on the books, why the need for medical cannabis at all?
Maybe the Medical Market Was a Set up For Recreational?
At least, that’s what some people are asking. OK, let’s assume that medical cannabis was just a way to get recreational cannabis closer to legalization. Once people could see that a medical marketplace was helping people and didn’t cause total moral destruction to the community, they’d be more likely to support a recreational version of the plant. Maybe.
However, this sideswipes the fact that cannabis IS a medicine. The initial question, ‘do we still need medical cannabis?’ is flawed in its framing. The knowledge that cannabis is a medicine immediately flattens the question.
Recreational and Medical Are Definitely Different Markets
The recreational marketplaces aren’t always aimed at treating problems per say, other than boredom or the need for relaxation. But, every consumer industry has that aspect to it. The most notable difference is that recreational products encourage people to consume as much as they can, more than they need, and as much as they can buy, all with the highest amount of THC they can find.
This isn’t how medicine works, though.
Cannabis is an Individual Medicine
Cannabis is highly individualistic medicine. It’s able to be tailored to condition and tolerance using different ratios of cannabinoids with deference to terpene content.
So, when people ask why we need medical markets when cannabis is recreationally available, here’s why:
- Cannabis patients need specialists trained in their care.
- Cannabis patients need different types of products than what is available on the recreational market.
Limits on Recreational Markets Can Reduce Patient Access to Diverse Products
For a patient suffering from a debilitating chronic illness, their state’s recreational market policies may not allow purchase of appropriate products, such as suppositories and edibles. Recreational limits on grow can also leave a patient without an adequate quantity of medicine. Medical cannabis markets allow for individual patients to be independently assessed for grow limits.
Still, All Cannabis is Medicinal
Cannabis is a very healing plant; it gives people what they need. Some need pain relief from a 20-year-old back injury, others need a softening of the sadness that dips into depression from time to time. Some look for anxiety relief and Some just need a good night’s sleep.
In each case, cannabis helps improves someone’s life.
I would argue that there will always be a need for a medical market because it’s the only one that legitimizes cannabis in terms of meeting the needs of people invested in healing. Because, in the end, all cannabis is medicinal, regardless of the intent behind consumption. Everything else is just marketing.