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Natural Awakenings SW PA, Greater Pittsburgh

The Rise of Plant Medicine

Nov 02, 2021 01:22AM ● By Michelle Dalnoky

The Rise of Plant Medicine


I have always been interested in and advocated for plant medicine. Herbalism really is the original medicine and the precursor of pharmaceuticals. Its use predates recorded human history and plants are still being analyzed to find and develop new medicines on a large scale. We use plants as food, drink, nutrition and supplementation, including cannabis, a wonderful plant with many beneficial properties.


In 2014, while visiting my sister in Colorado, I found a three-day conference called “Marijuana for Medical Professionals”. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the lineup of speakers was impressive. It included Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist and professor of medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was actually the scientist that isolated and identified THC in cannabis in the 70’s. Also there was Dr. Lester Grinspoon, an American psychiatrist and long-standing associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, best known for his groundbreaking works on the science and social policy of cannabis.


There were many other doctors, pharmacists, nurses and healthcare practitioners speaking about their experience with cannabis and educating attendees on what was known about the medicinal use of cannabis. As a nurse who has always leaned toward a natural approach to medicine, I was impressed with the myriad beneficial uses of this particular plant. It is effective for seizures, Parkinson’s, anxiety and depression, insomnia, pain and more. It is so much safer than narcotics, and I soon became an advocate for its use recreationally. Again it is so much safer and although I had taken care of many people suffering from and even dying from liver failure due to alcohol overuse as a hospital nurse, I had never had a patient suffering from or dying from cannabis overuse.


People continue to die from narcotics, but not from cannabis. I personally don’t use recreational substances, and I don’t use alcohol, either. I have just never liked that feeling, but I think this plant is a much less harmful option for people who do use recreational substances. There are tens of thousands of references to cannabis and marijuana on and research continues, but there are references to the use of cannabis going back thousands of years in recorded history, as well. It does have a risk of overuse for some, but that is true for all mind-altering substances. Even so, the adverse effects of overuse in even in the worst-case scenario very rarely ends in death.


I can’t forget to mention this plant’s benefits for the planet. Studies show that hemp, which is cannabis, can regenerate toxic soil. It can be used as hempcrete for use as a building material, as fabric, rope, shoes, paper, bioplastic, insulation, biofuel and more. There didn’t used to be any restriction on growing this plant and there shouldn’t be any restriction on growing it now. It is not a dangerous plant on any level. In my opinion, it should be freely available.

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