Why I Want To Grow Pot
I’ve never been much of a weed smoker. Sure I dabbled in my twenties. But never enough to become a proficient joint roller, so in my mind that makes my efforts rather half baked.
And then I just stopped. Everytime someone passed me a joint, the results were more white knuckled paranoia than loose limbed bliss. I just couldn’t see the point anymore of wrestling with yet more inner demons after taking a toke, so I just stopped.
But a year ago that all changed.
Somewhere at the back of my psyche lurked some vague knowledge of the medicinal properties of cannabis, although I can’t say it’s something I’d ever taken too seriously. But when a close friend’s mother was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, I found myself uttering the words, ‘What about cannabis?’
By this stage, a cannabis cancer miracle cure was out of the question, but what the plant could offer was a gentle, palliative alternative to the heavy morphine doses that had left the 80 year old confused and still suffering from excruciating pain.
And so, thanks to a forward thinking doctor, she started with few drops of medical cannabis oil which did just what everyone had hoped and more — allowed her to die with dignity, in minimal pain, and with total lucidity.
Hearing my friend’s gratitude to the cannabis plant for giving their family more precious time with their mother gladdened my heart. However, I was also enraged.
Enraged that around the world millions of people were being denied access to medical cannabis and with it, the right to die with dignity. And the more I dug, the more I realised that we are also being denied the right to be well, as not only can cannabis be used palliatively in cancer, but studies show compounds in the plant can reduce seizures, improve symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases, and even protect us from future illness.
And so a year on, I’m a medical cannabis writer and advocate.
At school I was useless at science, my eyes glazing over when we got to the periodic table. But now I’m a PubMed abstract reading demon. I’m also obsessed with the endocannabinoid system (ECS)— a vast network of receptors and cannabis-like chemicals that work tirelessly to bring balance to our bodies and minds.
No one outside of the cannabis world, give or take the odd neuroscientist, has heard of the endocannabinoid system. Yet some say it’s one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last 30 years. And guess what, the endocannabinoid system is stimulated and strengthened by compounds found in the cannabis plant.
Theory goes that our endocannabinoid system is suffering under the stresses and strains of modern life. In almost every instance of disease, some dysregulation of the ECS can be noted. Everything from depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, obesity, IBS and fibromyalgia all share an out of whack endocannabinoid system.
It’s thought that prior to the widespread cannabis lock down rolled out in the 1930’s, most of our diets would have contained cannabis in some shape or form, as hemp (cannabis without THC) was widely grown for its nutritious oil, seeds, and fiber.
This is why I want to grow pot.
For the last 80 years we’ve been misrepresenting and underutilizing the cannabis plant. Yes, it’s fun to get stoned, but what we’ve been ignoring is that cannabis is a superfood offering us everything from the perfect balance of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, flavonoids, and health promoting cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
And in the same way that someone might grow other superfoods like kale or spinach in their veg patch, I want to grow cannabis. It’s as simple as that.
Of course there are some small stumbling blocks. Cannabis is a Schedule 1 controlled substance and in most countries growing it, even if it’s to treat a serious illness, will be met with a visit from the police and a trip to the local courthouse. In the last half century, there have been countless cases of home cultivators being carted off to jail for growing cannabis plants to treat their own serious health conditions.
But I am lucky enough to live in Spain, where for personal use it is permitted to grow cannabis, as long as it is not visible from the street.
I should add though that so far my cultivation expertise only stretches to a couple of aloe vera plants and some geraniums on a sun soaked Andalucian balcony. I’ve never even grown a tomato plant or a lettuce.
But, I shall not be deterred and between now and next spring I will turn my home grow fantasy into a well researched reality.
So what will I do with my imaginary pot crop?
Probably the last thing I will do is get stoned, as I will mostly be juicing the raw leaves and flowers — freshly picked cannabis doesn’t get you high, but it does have anti-inflammatory and antitumoral properties. You never know, I might also whip up the odd tincture or cannabis oil; the world is my medical cannabis oyster.
But I am excited about the prospect of bringing some of these health giving plants to life, to nurturing them so that they may in turn nurture me. Nature has given us this botanical gift, and I fully intend to enjoy her healing bounty.
(Originally published on Medium)