Our Apparel Shop is space-themed to reflect our view that cannabis represents an exciting frontier in medicine. We are honored to support and be a part of moving the medical cannabis frontier forward. The potential for cannabis to improve quality of life is evidenced by the wide range of physical and mental health conditions for which people are eligible to obtain medical cannabis in Maryland – MMCC Qualifying Conditions – much of the US, and around the world. Indeed, our patients’ experiences bear witness to the life-altering benefits of this extraordinary plant.
Cannabis Prohibition: Political Pretext and Societal Costs
Viewing cannabis as a “frontier” may seem strange given that cannabis cultivation, use and regulation for medicinal, as well as recreational, purposes has a long history in the US. However, during the 20th century, numerous federal and state laws imposed restrictions on cannabis use, culminating with its inclusion in the “war on drugs” and classification as a Schedule 1 drug. As we now know, including cannabis in the “war on drugs” was a political expedient with racist roots and targeted at anti-war and African American activists.
As a result of cannabis prohibition, many lives have been severely disrupted by arrest, incarceration, and difficulty finding work thereafter. Meanwhile, prohibition has substantially limited research in medical cannabis, with only one federally-approved facility in the US.
Cannabis in Maryland
As recently as 2010, cannabis arrests in Maryland represented nearly 50% of all drug possession arrests. People of color were overwhelmingly more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis possession.
Fortunately, change has come, as least for medical cannabis, however slowly:
- 2003: Maximum fine of $100 for people using marijuana for pain relief
- 2013: Medical cannabis program initiated; distribution restricted to academic medical centers
- 2014-2017: Creation of medical cannabis infrastructure, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC); awarding of licenses to grow and process cannabis; first sales of medical cannabis
As a result of prohibition, much of what is known about the therapeutic potential of cannabis is derived from a small body of research and anecdotal reports from cannabis consumers.
As a dispensary agent at Peake ReLeaf, I have had the privilege of hearing from many patients and caregivers about how cannabis has improved lives – in some cases dramatically.
One patient, in particular, has been very generous in sharing her journey with cannabis. Since childhood, she has valiantly struggled with a complicated combination of physical and mental health conditions. Cannabis has enabled, indeed empowered, her to regain some control over her life. This medicine has helped her manage chronic pain and nausea, wean herself off opioids, while also helping to stabilize her mood. Furthermore, she gives cannabis 100% credit for her ability to work and to power through some days that previously would have left her in bed or on a couch.
Reports from caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease are similarly memorable. One spouse shared that but for medical cannabis she would not be able to care for her husband at home. Cannabis helped address the aggression, agitation and irritability that her husband sometimes experienced and also helped him sleep through the night. A caregiver son reported similar benefits for his mother. From the perspective of these caregivers, medical cannabis was essential to their loved ones’ well-being.
Patients have also discussed using cannabis for a variety of other issues, including:
- As an aid in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction
- As an alternative to opioids following injury, surgery, or chronic pain
- In conjunction with prescription medications for depression and anxiety, or as an alternative to these drugs which sometimes have undesirable side effects
- For pain and nausea related to cancer and treatments
Peake ReLeaf Apparel: On a Mission Towards Health, Well-Being and Joy
So, cannabis truly poses a frontier in medicine, with a need for research exploring therapeutic and clinical purposes. Hopefully, more and more barriers to research and funding will fall.
The space theme of our Apparel Shop reflects this frontier and promotes the use of cannabis for elevating health, well-being and joy – and, of course, some fun. As we can all relate, life is about striving towards being our best selves, whatever hardships and obstacles arise. The message of “Going Up” in our apparel reflects that medical cannabis can be – and for many people is – an integral part of that journey. Cannabis helps patients rise from their baseline of various forms of suffering to achieve balance. The imagery of an astronaut sitting in Zen meditation is about becoming aligned with one’s inner self, freed from the shackles of medical conditions that can be overwhelming, sabotage relationships and ambitions, and impede the ability to experience joy.
Join us in the exploration of this medical frontier and the promising future of cannabis. Go to our Apparel Shop; find something you’ll love and help spread the message! Namaste.