A Message from Bridget: October
Image: Photo by Michael Tallman for CeresMED
Greetings from CeresMED,
Yesterday I listened in on a conversation between best-selling author Michael Pollan and Madison Margolin, the editor of Double Blind Magazine. The topic was the power of storytelling as a tool to advance the safe and effective use of plant-based medicine. Currently, psychedelics are following a similar path as cannabis in that people who use them for health and wellness are bravely beginning to share their stories for the benefit of society as a whole. Through storytelling, or what the science community refers to as “anecdotal evidence,” cannabis was able to break through years of stigma and prohibition to become legal for medical or “recreational” use in states across America and countries around the globe. At CeresMED, we are grateful for the stories that our registered patients share about their use of medical cannabis and the resultant positive effects they have had on our community.
This is not a new phenomenon. Storytelling is historically how humans have made sense of reality and, in particular, how indigenous cultures have handed down knowledge of plant-based medicine from generation to generation. Over time, our contemporary western culture became disconnected from these traditions and this knowledge. Cannabis has played an important role in revitalizing our interest and connection to plant-based medicine, opening the doors to the complete herbal apothecary.
One of the ideas shared by Mr. Pollan in the interview, and a recurring theme in his latest books, is the reciprocal, transformative relationship between plants and people; the importance of the awareness that we change each other. This is true on many levels and is rooted in the fact that we have adapted to each other’s behavior through coevolution. I think it is important for us as humans to continually remind ourselves that we are not always the ones in the driver’s seat. Gardens can be wonderfully supportive places for our egos to receive this information.
Seth Gillim, our Director of Cultivation, spoke to this lesson in our recent Meet Your Medicine Maker webinar: Tips for Preparing to Harvest Your Outdoor Grow. He outlined our cultivation philosophy which is built on four key components:
- Learning-focused: Cultivators are encouraged to share observations and empowered to make decisions
- Patience: What are the plants telling us right now?
- Continuous Improvement: What small things can we do to make this week better than the last?
- Humility: Avoid the “master grower” mentality & recognize this amazing plant always has something to teach us
Cannabis is an exceptional teacher. For many herbalists, it is honored as a “master plant” because of its ability to shift our consciousness. Like psychedelics, it is both revered and feared for this power, depending on the culture. Fear can be diminished through education, a supportive environment and a “low and slow” approach – three things that we advocate for when patients are experimenting with cannabis for symptom relief.
As more and more people experience improved mental health through the use of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, I am encouraged to learn that Michael Pollan is collaborating with UC Berkeley to create the Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Core to the center’s mission will be the exploration of “psychedelics as tools for understanding the brain and mind, enhancing well-being, and deepening spirituality.” The power of stories needs to be supported by science to bring about positive and enduring change in societal belief systems. The establishment of this center is a step in the right direction.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. The Howard Center will be hosting its second annual community-wide recognition of this day throughout October. A free weekly speaker series is just one of the many resources that will be available. We will be promoting these resources on our event calendar and through social media. Please share them with your friends and family. We build community-wide resilience when we are supporting each other’s mental health.
My final pitch is to promote Laughing River Yoga’s extension of their free morning meditation series. The goal of the series is to “jumpstart a daily practice, build community, raise the collective vibration, and maintain an anchor of steadiness as we move into winter.” A great way to start the day!
In Good Health,
CeresMED Director of Brand Experience