For many years, the use of hemp has been stigmatized and its potential healing properties discredited, subsequently marginalizing and stereotyping those who produce, consume, or formulate it. As a result, people who could benefit from its use, whether recreationally or medicinally, have also had to carry the social stigma that it represents. Disapproval, discrimination, shame, and guilt have all been consequences.
This stigma around hemp has resulted in two main issues. The first being the lack of support for quality scientific research to better understand the potential benefits of developing and using pharmaceuticals containing cannabinoids. Existing research suggests, but cannot yet confirm, that certain cannabinoids derived from hemp may have vast potential in treating, managing and improving the quality of life of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer's, HIV/AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and even benefit the wellbeing of patient's caregivers.
The second is the limitation that these patients and their caregivers have in accessing such therapeutic alternatives. Although countries such as Canada and the United States (in certain states such as Puerto Rico) give licenses so that certain patients can have access to this type of treatment, they are limited and it is often difficult to convince doctors to approve them.
Unfortunately, this creates a vicious cycle as without scientific evidence, many doctors are reluctant to promote the use of medicinal cannabis. But with the restrictions on its use and the low number of patients who can access this treatment, it’s difficult to carry out the research necessary to provide the scientific evidence desired.
Creating a change in the attitude towards and destigmatizing medicinal hemp extract will be essential in enabling research on its therapeutic ability and potential to improve the health, well-being, and to mitigate the suffering of people with Alzheimer's and other diseases.
Everyone deserves to live a healthy life and to receive the best, most effective, care available to them. It is our responsibility as a society (state, health professionals, and individuals) to support promising solutions to major public health issues and ensure that anyone can access available treatments that could improve their health and quality of life.