BY RUTH HILL R.N.
With COVID occupying our thoughts and time in 2022, there is barely a moment to think about anything else. Family and friend relationships were put on hold or dissolved altogether. Lost jobs due to the economy or from forced inoculation of an experimental drug found anxiety, depression, and suicides increase exponentially.
Pathirathna, M.L. et.al. researched over 1052 studies and published his analysis in BMC Psychiatry. Eighteen of the studies showed 12,746 suicidal attempts and 33,345 suicidal deaths. The mental health impact of social distancing, COVID-19 quarantine, and financial crises due to loss of employment was associated with risk factors for suicide and/or suicidal attempts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Six common thematic recommendations for preventing suicidal deaths and suicidal attempts were identified.
As a consequence of these behavior problems, it is no surprise the pandemic created a new set of cannabis stoners. The Covid-19 nightmare sparked a number of shake-ups to the social order – a burgeoning anti-work movement, a sharp economic swoon, and tiresome new polarities in the culture war.
According to the data analytics firm Headset, legal marijuana sales increased by 120% in 2020, and 61% in 2021, and Fortune reported that Americans bought $18bn worth of cannabis in our first coronavirus year, $7bn more compared with 2019 transactional figures. An increasing number of people are abstaining from alcohol, which is a rebound effect from early pandemic debauchery.
As we come out of this COVID nightmare I wonder what is in store for cannabis in 2023.
The year started with the promise by a Democratic Congress and a Democratic Whitehouse to pass the MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement), H.R. 3884. This act would make cannabis consumers, marijuana convicts, and the ever-expanding gay-market industry, no longer a crime. The Senate did not take up the mantle. So, the MORE Act went nowhere. The strategy of tacking a cannabis bill at the end of spending bills proved to be a failure.
What did happen however is Congress passed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, a stand-alone bill introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to expand research into marijuana-derived medications. The medical community agrees that we need more research to learn about marijuana’s potential health benefits, but our federal laws today are standing in the way of us finding those answers.
This bill will remove excessive barriers that make it difficult for researchers to study the effectiveness and safety of marijuana, and hopefully, give patients more treatment options. The strategy of a stand-alone cannabis bill proved successful.
As we end 2022, I am reminded of a famous physician, Dr. Robert Malone, who publishes his thoughts daily on the pandemic. I look forward to his words of wisdom in my email every day. He summarizes the arc of this most disappointing of years. “The cognitive dissonance is almost overwhelming, and yet we must somehow come to terms with the profound widespread loss of integrity which has become a defining characteristic of both US and global governance (not to mention corporate media).”
He invites us to exercise compassion for our friends and family that have endured the brunt of being called crazy or conspiracy theorists. Consider the stress of being told relentlessly on TV, social media, or print media that the COVID restrictions will mitigate the spread of this deadly virus, and yet we see our athletes dropping dead on the playing field. Our continence is frozen in place.
Let us embrace our relationships with renewed hope regardless of the other person’s views pro or con regarding vaccines. I do pray that 2023 is a year of healing and renewal. Let us dissent without anger, discuss without ridicule, and forgive our transgressions on one another in the spirit of the baby Jesus’ birth.
My lectures on Marijuana Without the High will occur in a new timeframe. Join me on the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month from 6 PM to 9 PM at the Vault Dispensary Lounge. Call 760-866-9660 or send comments to email@example.com