Nursing Stories – The Ripple Effect of Cannabis Clichés

‘’Will my colleagues be able to tell?’’ as she anxiously asked. ‘’I’m sorry?’’ I replied with doubt if she’s alluding to the cannabis oil or her gastro-intestinal passing. We were discussing having beans for lunch that day. ‘’They cannot know about this! They’ll think I am a stoner.’’ 

I often get patients wondering in the same manner. There is still much reprehension about cannabis. Our society is unceasingly finding fault with it, no matter how its status has evolved. The public has yet to fully and intuitively confirm its moral direction. Cannabis perception is changing at a very slow pace. 

Even the method of administration is very much compatible to its malignant opinion. ‘’ I don’t want to smoke cannabis. I’m not a druggy.’’ one of our patients did say. The current terminology, slangs precisely, is still and probably throwing people off. Many of our patients do not want to be taking weed or puffing on a spliff. Our treatment plans are based on scientific data, and accordingly we make sure to use the appropriate terms to the purpose. 

Our esteemed doctors do not prescribe marijuana. They recommend inhaling dried cannabis for breakthrough pain. I would gently remind a patient when he or she uses such words as “pot” or “ganja”. The old proverbial ‘’to-may-to/to-mah-to’’ would ring out. So, what is the difference? Really? 

I believe words and how we understand them are very consequential moving forward. I remember back in the 1990’s, the semantics affecting the scope of the term ‘’death tax’’ eventually became the ‘’estate or inheritance tax’’ in the US? Basically, politicians and advocates tried to kill the bill by putting stress on how it harmed family farms and small businesses. They knowingly coined the term ‘’death tax’’ to get the public to consider their cause. Dying has more impact and meaning in the collective conscience. 

I think the transition toward a proper nomenclature in medical cannabis practice must be imposed, applied and supported by all parties involved. Indica dried cannabis, THC-rich, 3-4 inhalations at bedtime or as needed does serves as better example of a positive and trustworthy interpretation than 3-4 puffs of weed before going to bed. 

– Pheng Lim, LPN 

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