Cannabis Is A Mighty Flower

Cannabis is a ‘Mighty Flower.’ With all of its controversy, there is potent and passionate argument both for and against it. If we decide to understand that the active ingredient of most pharmaceuticals are, at its root, plant derived, then maybe we can open our acceptance to the potential behind rigorous scientific data applied to the cannabis plant. As a cell and developmental biologist, I never categorized cannabis as a medicine, cared to identify its mechanism, or looked to the plant for personal relief. But sometimes, no matter how educated and settled we are on our careers, and no matter how much we think we know, we can’t prepare for life tragedy and circumstances that leave us looking for answers beyond our reach. I experienced this exact feeling with my son.

Helplessness created a desperation to find an alternative to the many neurological medications that my six month old son, who had 38% of his brain removed as a five-week-old baby, was frequently on. There were no answers for his path moving forward and no reliable, previously reported experiences, published pilot or peer reviewed data – exactly what us traditional scientists look for. With my dedication to neuroscience and developmental biology, I had a fascination in the brain’s unique ability to rewire and I wondered if my son could take advantage of this natural phenomenon that we all have the ability to do. Luckily today, he has no developmental deficits. Not one. Thankfully, just a few months after his surgery, I had found cannabis.

Perception can be rather controlling and my perception of cannabis wasn’t negative but the plant was put in a recreational, and even spiritual box. That box was for others and not a part of my life. But, as I read between the lines, researched the known mechanisms, and learned about our Endocannabinoid system, I had nothing to lose. I believed that cannabis, if taken advantage of correctly, could be a major driver in my son’s developing brain. Now, I watch as my child blooms as the 7 year old he is today and I find a destined responsibility to utilize my scientific know-how, my scientific community, and the energy of the millions of cannabis supporters, to advocate for further research in the cannabinoid space. Like the hundreds of active ingredients that are simply compounds from plants of all sorts, cannabis is molecularly rich and can safely reduce inflammation and promote homeostasis. Safely, as no in vitro and/or pre-clinical data has displayed any toxicities.

The immediate call-to-action is not to legalize cannabis or make change within our medical protocols but to rather, allow cannabis to be properly studied and to open the box on how we currently do medicine. More specifically, how do we contribute to the already well researched data and create combinations with current FDA approved traditional medicine, as a replacement or as a supporting or protective reagent. And to define at what use of these compounds and at what amounts are we influencing neuroplasticity; the ability for the brain to rewire, make new connections, and in my son’s case, compensate for areas that are lost. If he’s missing 40% of his brain, how can an autistic child, Parkinson’s patient, or even a person in pain utilize more of their brain to make new connections and naturally heal. My call-to-action is for the lens to be widened on the validity of scientific data and real stories, to see more stories like my son’s.

Besides, cannabis is a gift from the Earth and if cannabis is as Mighty as it is being proven, we should water it and let it bloom.