A COMMON ARGUMENT put forth by cannabis prohibitionists is that medical marijuana programs are simply a gateway to recreational use—in other words, using cannabis just to get high. (Though one could justifiably argue that's a way for people to feel better, which is a goal of medical use.)
Over dinner with friends, I was recounting some recent backstage bud-tending work I was doing with bands during three major music festivals this summer in Oregon. And how no one ever discusses the fact that recreational use can lead to medical use.
As shocking as this will be, many bands like weed. The vast majority of the bands I visited with were beyond thrilled to receive free gift bags of cannabis provided by local growers, and planned to smoke/vape it with the express purpose of recreating. But spend a few minutes talking with a group and their crew, and you start getting questions about back pain, chronic GI issues, and insomnia. These people consume regularly, and when they do, it's in a social setting—like at a festival, where at any given time people wearing drawstring pants and overusing the word "blessings" are dying to show you their sick new glass piece.
These folks don't always just want to get high; they also want to feel better. Removing the high would even be their preference, often times, so as to fully function without any psychoactive effects. Thanks to advances that have been made over the past few years in Oregon and other states with medical/recreational marijuana programs, that's now achievable. I've given away palm balm, massage oil, pain patches, high CBD honey sticks, CBD vape cartridges, precisely measured low-dose hard candies and ice cream, high CBD/low THC tinctures, and personal lubricants (silicone and non-silicone based... because that's how Oregon rolls when designing our THC-infused sex lubes).
A hip-hop artist gleefully noted the "window breaking" properties of some bud, relating to its size and density, then entered into a long discussion with me about his grandmother's arthritis and topical options for her. Another musician was delighted by THC-infused ice cream, then related a desperate search for Rick Simpson Oil for their cancer treatment program. After a post-show joint was shared with a band, an increasingly common story was shared about a friend's child with epilepsy—who, by using high-CBD tinctures, was able to reduce their daily seizures by 90 percent.
We often hear about the dire, biblical-like plagues that are going to befall us with recreational use. But it's good to remember that for a number of our neighbors and friends, it was through using cannabis for fun that they discovered they could address legitimate health issues as well.