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"If the words "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."
- Terence McKenna
While this article is not focused on the recreational use of cannabis, Terence McKenna's quote speaks directly to a sacred right, increasingly being legislated against in our society, namely, the ability to choose and use substances that grow freely on this Earth as our medicine.
In a day and age where possession of an herb like cannabis is an offense punishable by incarceration, it is important for us to reflect on how we arrived at this dark point in time.
Herbs, after all, were put here by God. If you prefer the word Nature, the point is the same, and it was put best by Bob Marley when he said: "you can't tell God it [cannabis] is illegal."
And yet authorities are telling God, and you and me, that is is illegal, despite a growing body of scientific evidence that it has profound potential as a medicine. Does this not in some way call into question the very legitimacy and authority of those who would lay claim to the right to decide what a human can or can not use a natural substance to improve their health, or enliven their spirit? As long as no harm is being done to others in the act of choosing what is best for oneself, who can rightfully take issue with the freedom to choose one's own "medicine"?
Were it not for the fact that the human body is hard-wired to respond to cannabis through the endocannabinoid system (ES), claims for its medicinal value would have much less weight. The ES, in fact, encompasses a wide range of physiological processes, including appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory. So fundamental are these processes to what motivates and defines human behavior, it is no wonder that a plant with the power to directly affect these functions would be the subject of such profound controversy, as well as brutal, socioeconomic and politically-mediated criminalization.
Indeed, the endocannabinoid system mediates the psychoactive effects of cannabis associated with its "highs" and sometimes "lows." Any plant with the power to alleviate pain or illness and which grows freely in the wild represents a significant threat to a conventional medical establishment whose monopoly is founded on the coining of medicines from patented and proprietary chemicals.
Cannabis, however, is not a Johnny-come-lately to the fierce debate over whether traditional herbal medicines have proven safety and efficacy within the "evidence-based" model of medicine. In fact, few plants can lay claim to as much scientific, and particularly human clinical data supporting its right to exist alongside other prescribed medicines as a viable treatment option. Indeed, the GreenMedInfo.com project has uncovered 129 distinct disease categories that may benefit from this remarkable plant thus far, and new studies are being added on a weekly basis.
Given the glut of research establishing the likelihood of a legitimate medicinal role for the plant in human disease prevention and treatment, the tides are beginning to turn against the miseducation of the public about this valuable herb. The fate of the practice of traditional herbalism itself, and our health freedom as a whole, hinges, in many respects, on whether the pharmaceutically-driven medical establishment, and the drug conviction-dependent privatized-prison industrial complex succeeds in maintaining the media-articulated stranglehold on mainstream opinion. We hope the positive cannabis science will arm those advocating for health freedom with the truth, and ask that you distribute it widely to those who are receptive to rational, science-based discourse on this herb's benefits.
Possessing and using any herb, but especially one that has such a high level of safety, should be the choice of that free adult, and not grounds for the termination of their constitutional and human rights associated with arrest and imprisonment, which in this day and age is equivalent to enslavement and torture.