Interview with John Mini M.S.C.M./L.Ac.
on his book
How to Balance and Optimize
the Effects of Cannabis
With Traditional Chinese Medicine
Int: Why did you write Marijuana Syndromes?
JM: I’ve been doing public education on the side effects of marijuana since 2005. This experience has taught me that the most important population to focus marijuana education on right now is health care practitioners.
JM: Because I’ve learned over this time that health care practitioners actually know less about the side effects of marijuana than the rest of the population. The result is that millions of people are getting misdiagnosed and mistreated. I want to completely reverse this trend and send it in a more positive direction.
Int: What would that look like?
JM: It looks like health care professionals in all disciplines learning about the short and long-term effects of marijuana and what to do about them.
Int: What can health care practitioners do about the effects of marijuana in their patients?
JM: It all depends on the area of their practice and degree of specialization. Any branch of medicine has a limited set of tools that it can work with.
Int: What group of health care workers holds the most promise for treating marijuana syndromes?
JM: Acupuncturists and herbalists.
JM: For five main reasons:
The first is that I’m an acupuncturist and herbalist, so I’m totally biased.
Int: Of course.
JM: I have good reasons for this viewpoint that go beyond my personal bias. Acupuncturists and herbalists have the ability to observe directly and understand the effects of marijuana in clinical practice. Marijuana is an herb. It has qualities just like any other herb. Discerning and describing the effects of marijuana falls within the scope of what we already do.
Int: Good point. What are the other reasons?
JM: We get to know our patients in a deeper way than possibly any other form of healing. The nature of the work we do and the time we spend with our patients all add up to close and very personal relationships with our patients. This allows us to do long-term studies that can include levels of quality and dimensionality that go way beyond the type of research that can be done in labs or controlled experiments. This is how I learned about and verified the marijuana syndromes over the years.
Int: That might help you to understand what’s happening with these people, but what about actually helping them?
JM: Underneath it all, acupuncturists and herbalists have an ability to balance and treat the effects of marijuana in ways that no other medicine can. Our understanding of the nature of herbs and their effects both immediately and over time, plus our use of direct and very sensitive diagnostic tools allows us to discern and treat subtle psychophysiological patterns and changes that belong to completely different territories than what other forms of medicine can address or even imagine. Remember, the treatments we use every day treat levels of being that modern medicine doesn’t even believe exist. Our science is their magic.
Int: I get it. TCM has an entirely different set of tools than other medicines do.
JM: Yes, exactly. Our different tools and abilities are what give us so much value to people right now. Our different orientation to health and medicine allows us to go into some areas that other medicines can’t go. Some people in those disciplines are critical of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine because they’re still hung up on trying to understand how it works. Meanwhile the rest of us in the real world have serious issues that we need to address, and TCM can provide solutions right now, whether they understand how it works or not.
Int: Why is it so important for healthcare practitioners to read Marijuana Syndromes?
JM: Traditional Chinese Medicine holds some important keys to a factor that’s beginning to influence our society in a very substantial way. Whether practitioners know it or not, they’re probably treating people who use marijuana. Right now approximately 11% of the population of the United States uses marijuana on a regular basis. This creates two major clinical challenges for healthcare practitioners:
Int: What are they?
JM: First, most patients that use marijuana don’t tell their healthcare practitioners about it. If the practitioner doesn’t know how to spot the effects of marijuana, s/he’ll be missing some very important factors in diagnosis.
The second clinical issue is that marijuana is a very dynamic herb with powerful synergisms and antagonisms. The presence of marijuana in a patient can seriously alter the effects of prescriptions and therapies. It’s essential that the practitioner understands the nature and extent of the complexities of marijuana to amplify both her/his clinical effectiveness and avoid potential disasters.
Int: What’s Marijuana Syndromes about?
JM: It’s about how a practitioner can learn to identify and treat the short and long-term effects of marijuana use with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Int: What about practitioners that don’t know TCM?
JM: There’s a prodigious amount of clinical knowledge in Marijuana Syndromes that relates to diagnosis and the pathophysiology of unbalanced marijuana use.
Int: Who would benefit from reading Marijuana Syndromes?
JM: It’s perfect for acupuncturists and traditional herbalists, but any physician, therapist, body worker or care giver that works with people who take marijuana can benefit from reading it.
- Physicians can gain from learning about marijuana’s physical effects and how strong a factor it can be in many clinical presentations.
- Therapists can benefit in similar ways by learning about marijuana’s many non-physical effects.
- Body workers find the acupuncture section to be amazingly valuable, because the descriptions of the meridians and points and how to use them are very detailed, unique and insightful.
- Care givers benefit from all of the above, and find that the diet section is especially helpful in caring for their patients on a daily basis.
The book has four main sections. An introduction, an orientation to marijuana and its many effects, diagnostics and treatments, which include acupuncture, herbal, dietary and Qi Gong therapies. So there’s plenty of information in there both as a very interesting and timely read as well as reference material for clinical use.
Int: What are the most important issues in marijuana education right now?
JM: Helping health care workers to understand and appreciate that marijuana use can have significant multi-layered impacts on their patients is the first and most important step.
Int: What is the future of marijuana use as you see it?
JM: Hybrids and clones. Marijuana is a very complex substance and it affects each person differently. This complexity has lead to two different arenas of experimentation:
One group is comprised of marijuana farmers who are culling out many different qualities of marijuana high by creating distinctive hybridizations.
The other group is in the laboratory in the realm of genetic engineering. These people have nailed down the genetics of cannabis and are studying the qualities of each component of the plant itself. They’re learning about the effects of these components individually, and are creating genetic clones to completely engineered specifications.
I’m sure that the genetically engineered strains are going to form the substrate for the pharmaceutical side of the cannabis industry in the very near future. Yet there will always be something that gets left out of these genetic clones as they get more clinically precise, because so many of the rich nuances of marijuana, for better and for worse, come from the many interactions that occur in its chemical compounds.
There will always be people who prefer the original, pre-engineered varieties, but these will probably be recreational connoisseurs rather than people who use cannabis for medical reasons. Traditional Chinese Medicine will continue to be these people’s best friend on their journeys, because it has such an incredible array of tools that can balance and optimize marijuana’s effects. It will also continue to be a powerful ally in the medical marijuana arena for a long, long time because of its ability to tune very precisely the effects of cannabis and balance its side effects.
Int: Are you writing any other books?
JM: Yes. Describing the marijuana syndromes and their treatments for healthcare practitioners is only the beginning. My next goal is to teach people how to help themselves when it comes to balancing and optimizing their marijuana experiences. That way they can learn how to harvest the healing qualities of marijuana when they use it, rather than throwing away the opportunity.
Int: What are those books going to be called so we can look for them?
JM: The first is called Marijuana Shaman. It teaches people how to use their marijuana experiences as a tool for self-healing.
The second is called The Marijuana Diet. It teaches people how to use food to balance and optimize the effects of cannabis in their lives.
Int: I’m looking forward to reading them. Thank you.
JM: Thank you.
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