Are People Still Embarrassed To Be Seen At A Dispensary? Would You Feel Judged By Friends Or Family If You Used Cannabis?
And Is The Stigma Behind Cannabis Beginning To Change?
We all know about the stigma behind cannabis, and the reasons why many people look down upon cannabis and cannabis users. But, the truth behind the plant has been emerging more than ever. With legalization taking place in Oklahoma nearly a year ago, we wanted to dive into the current public perception and see if there is still a strong stigma, and why the long time stigma is losing its credibility and relevance.
Is there still a stigma? Yes. There is still a large group of people who will look down on you if you use cannabis. You could be lumped into the same category as the stereotypical “stoner”. But is this fair? Of course not.
But here is what is cool- This is becoming way less common. In fact, after learning a few basic facts, most people that are against cannabis change their attitudes very quickly. And the reason is because you can’t argue against facts. Now what facts am I talking about?
How about a 25% reduction is opioid overdose deaths in states that have a medical cannabis program. Or the medical research showing how cannabis is shown to be clinically effective for pain, seizures, cancer related symptoms, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Much more research is needed, no doubt, but many are unaware of the quality studies that are available.
One of these such studies, conducted by the National Academy Of Sciences, is one of the most well respected and comprehensive studies ever done on cannabis, and it concluded that cannabis is an effective medicine for several conditions, including chronic pain.
Now, even more emotionally powerful than the facts are personal testimonies. Having listened to patient stories firsthand, it’s safe to say that cannabis is changing many people’s lives for the better. I have also witnessed a close family member use cannabis to treat strong pain and neuropathy caused by chemo and radiation. He was able to stop using the heavy pain killers and narcotics, and sleep through the night without the harsh side effects from the prescription medications. Cannabis completely changed his life for the better.
There is another side to the cannabis industry that is slowly starting to change. For so long, cannabis products and dispensaries did a bad job of presenting the industry in a professional light. People’s perception of walking into a dispensary is filled with weird music in the background, posters of girls in bikinis smoking a bong, a heavy stench of weed in the air, and a budtender behind the desk that looks like he just smoked a bowl and belongs in a heavy metal band.
But this perception is no longer accurate. Just take a look at some of the dispensaries in Tulsa like Seed Cannabis Co, or Dr. Z Leaf Dispensary. They are professional, clean, and feel like you’re at any ordinary business. Most people don’t realize how far the industry has come, and the direction that it’s going.
What is the perception in Oklahoma currently?
From what we’ve seen, the majority of people are open to cannabis use, especially as it relates to medical cannabis use. In fact, many people we talk with that we expect to be strictly against cannabis use are open to it. One of the fastest growing cannabis patient demographics is actually baby boomers, who you would expect to be opposed to use.
Now of course, there is a large group of people out there that are completely against cannabis, and there’s a good chance that they will judge cannabis use. But you know what, that’s OK. Not everyone is going to support medical cannabis use. In fact, it will likely take years before the heavy stigma around cannabis is completely gone.
But if it is helping you with your condition, that is all that matters. There is a growing movement of support surrounding medical cannabis that is being fueled by education and research. It won’t be too much longer before cannabis becomes a commonly accepted medicine.
Moving into the future, it’s clear that the attitude and perception of cannabis will only continue to improve. There is groundbreaking research being done every day on cannabis, and the results coming back are impressive.
Cannabis continues to show promising results with fewer side effects compared to dangerous opioids or other harsh pharmaceuticals. Also, today’ society is becoming fed up with the big corporate pharmaceutical companies and corruption that we have witnessed in that industry.
People want natural alternatives, and cannabis is a perfect example of a natural plant-based medicine that’s showing very minimal side effects.
As people become more knowledgeable about the facts behind cannabis and the research continues, it’s clear that the stigma surrounding cannabis will only continue to fade away. People are becoming aware of the political and ideological motivated prohibition that gave cannabis such a bad rap.
The truth is, cannabis has been a well documented and respected medicine around the world for thousands of years. As research continues to progress, so does the respect for cannabis, and the respect for patients who are seeing great outcomes treating with cannabis.
We would love to hear your feedback and perspective on this issue. Please leave a comment on what your experience has been and let us know what your thoughts are regarding the public perception of cannabis.