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The Stigma of Cannabis and the Challenge to its Medicine

The Stigma of Cannabis and the Challenge to its Medicine

December 11, 2019

For many years, the use of cannabis has been discredited by a part of society, and those who produce, consume or formulate it face labels such as "sick" or "delinquent". As a result, people who benefit from its use, whether recreational or medicinal, have had to carry the social stigma that it represents. Disapproval, discrimination, marginalization, shame and guilt have been the main consequences.      

This situation results in two main problems. The first is the lack of support in quality scientific research through which the benefits of using drugs containing CBD or THC to treat, manage or improve the quality of life and well-being of patients and caregivers can be supported with evidence in diagnoses such as dementias (Alzheimer's, for example), HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, among others. The second is the limitation that these patients and their caregivers have to access this type of therapeutic alternatives. Although countries such as Canada and the United States (in certain states such as Puerto Rico), give licenses so that in certain cases some patients can have access to this type of treatment, the next problem is to convince doctors to grant this type of license. These first two problems are a vicious circle, since, without scientific evidence, many doctors are reluctant to promote its use, but with restrictions on its use and the low number of patients who can access this treatment, it is not possible to carry out research that provides the scientific evidence required.

Therefore, to generate a change in the attitude towards the therapeutic and recreational use of cannabis is one of the most important challenges faced by those interested in improving health, dignity and well-being, as well as in mitigating the suffering of people with diseases that could be treated or managed with derivatives of this plant. Health is a right for which we are all responsible, and that means that everyone (State, health professionals and individuals, for example) should do everything reasonably possible to ensure that anyone can access treatments that can improve their health and quality of life.