A Crazy Necessity
The medical marijuana system as it currently stands is a crazy necessity. It’s crazy because few of the regulations and laws that govern its practice would stand the scrutiny that any other discipline would give it. It’s a necessity because there are many people who have a genuine need for cannabis as medicine and the benefits it can offer.
What makes this issue so crazy? Prescribing practices. What would you think if a doctor were able to give a patient a generic prescription for an entire class of drugs, and then that patient could go down to the pharmacy to pick and choose whatever s/he liked best in whatever quantities s/he felt like?
The Track Record So Far
Are medical doctors really the best gatekeepers for writing prescriptions for medical marijuana? What is it in their education, licensing and practice that give them a strong understanding and ability in the medical uses of cannabis?
The track record so far shows that the medical doctors have been doing a lousy job at discriminating who could best be served by medical marijuana.
Are there any healthcare professionals that the state empowers to use herbal substances as medicine? Are there other healthcare workers who might be more qualified to understand, utilize and prescribe marijuana as medicine, be able to discern when to use and when not to use this therapy in a responsible way and have the ability to respond to the changes that these patients go through when they undergo medical marijuana therapy?
There are two groups of healthcare professionals in this category. The primary one is acupuncturists. The second, to a lesser degree, is naturopaths.
Acupuncturists have extensive herbal training and a formidable array of both diagnostic and therapeutic tools that are perfectly suited for medical marijuana patients.
Naturopaths have a different and much less sensitive and extensive set of tools that are based on a western medical model, but are used in flexible and creative ways.
Since I’m an acupuncturist, I would like to address the acupuncture side of this issue here, and invite naturopaths to submit parallel articles for our consideration.
Acupuncturists are the Original Gatekeepers for Medical Marijuana
Here are seven good reasons why acupuncturists would be better gatekeepers for medical marijuana than the current ones:
1) Marijuana is an herb. The state already empowers acupuncturists to practice traditional Asian herbalism legally.
2) Acupuncturists have extensive training and understanding of herbalism in general.
3) The short and long-term effects of marijuana have been described in the annals of Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Cannabis is a well-known element to the acupuncture community and we have a track record that is equally long in understanding and regulating marijuana’s use.
4) Acupuncturists already have all the conceptual and clinical tools necessary to understand, utilize and catalyze the vast and intricate effects of cannabis on a medical basis.
5) Acupuncturists already have all the diagnostic tools necessary to establish and maintain meaningful feedback and response with patients who use medical cannabis.
6) Acupuncturists have the ability to modify and optimize the effects of medical cannabis according to each patient’s individual needs.
7) Acupuncturists have access to and utilize a prodigious array of alternative herbal substances and techniques. Marijuana’s classical qualifications as an herb place it as a very low consideration among literally thousands of options. Acupuncturists would therefore tend to be much more conservative in prescribing medical marijuana than other medical practitioners who are armed with far fewer alternatives.
A Logical Choice
The level of subtlety that is required to navigate the territory of medical marijuana goes well beyond the sensitivities, understanding and diagnostic capabilities of most modern medical doctors. It would be a much more logical and safe choice for the state to empower acupuncturists as the gatekeepers for this medicine.
For extensive details on how to balance and optimize the effects of cannabis using Traditional Chinese Medicine, please refer to