The Problem with Plants Over Pills

November 15, 2018

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I have a bone to pick with the cannabis industry, especially the influencers and educators. As we collectively work together to help end the stigma a lot of cannabis users face, it’s important not to transfer that stigma to other groups of people. Yet, every single day that I log in to my various social networks, I see at least one person touting the “plants over pills” rhetoric.

I’m going to be blunt about this type of message: it’s dangerous, harmful and ignorant.

I’m very happy that there are people out there who have found cannabis as an acceptable replacement for all of their pharmaceuticals, but that’s not going to be the case for a lot of people. There are a lot of cannabis users who will always have to take pills. You exclude them every time you #plantsoverpills.

Beyond possibly hurting someone’s feelings or excluding some, you could be causing serious harm. Let’s just say, you have followers with an illness that they need to take daily medication for. Every day though, they log on to Instagram and see you spouting this nonsense about how cannabis is only medicine one needs. The #plantsoverpills phenomenon could push them to the point of thinking they don’t need those pesky little life-saving pills anymore. We have a responsibility to be kinder and more thoughtful than this.

I get the desire to use a catchy hashtag/phrase like “Plants Over Pills”. It is short and sweet and so succinctly describes your mission. However, we have a responsibility to not miseducate, and it is rare to see a disclaimer reminding folks not to take “Plants Over Pills” literally. Or to consult a doctor before changing ones regular medication routine.

I agree with the underlying principles of the Plants Over Pills movement (if that’s what you want to call it). If one can limit the amount of medication they are taking, and still feel good and healthy both physically and mentally, then that’s a win. However, #plantsoverpills on its own passes the stigma cannabis users have faced onto those who need pills to live. How is that right or fair?

We can all do better than this. We need to do better than this.

How one chooses to care for themselves is up to them. Rather than forwarding the stigma on patients who are also using prescription pills, we should be lifting them up and supporting them; not excluding them. We are all in this together. You can still be an all natural, hippy-dippy, cannabis-using educator, influencer, or brand, without ostracizing the very folks who likely need, and would probably love, your flavor of cannabis education.

Furthermore, as great as cannabis has been for my health and general wellness, there are simply some things that it’s not going to cure. While CBD, and smoking cannabis, has helped me with my anxiety, for others it could do absolutely nothing or worse, exacerbate it.

Cannabis is not a cure-all for everyone. Let’s stop pretending that it is. Otherwise, you’ll start to sound like a snake oil peddler.

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