STUDENT VOICE: Cannabis panel helped reduce stigma

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By Terrell Atkins, UM sophomore

I never thought that my path in college would somehow lead me to a panel centered around cannabis.

I walked into the panel having a perception on medical maurijanna already in my head. I always thought that it was just a way for people to find a way to smoke weed legally. Part of me thought that nobody even used medical marijuana. I had never heard of it really being useful for anyone before the panel.

Angie Calhoun, the president of the Mississippi Cannabis Patients Alliance, shed light on how much medical maurijanna can be beneficial to others while sharing a personal retelling of how cannabis has helped her family. 

Calhounā€™s son suffered major health problems after being bitten by a tick with lyme disease when he was 17, causing him to lose 40 pounds and only attend two weeks of his senior year of high school. 

She spoke about how she wanted a natural substance that could help her son instead of all of the medications he had to take on a regular basis. She made the choice to get legal medical cannabis from Colorado in the form of a vape for her son, saying that she would rather him lose IQ points than his life.

I believe that her passion really shined throughout the panel as she opened up about why advocacy for medical cannabis is so important to her. 

Calhoun discussed the price of medical cannabis for patients which can range from $30-$50 (which is pretty expensive). She wants this form of medication to be more affordable, but a lot of safety tests need to be done on products (especially vapes), so higher prices for higher quality products makes sense. However, the higher pricing of medical cannabis would be contradictory towards the whole goal they are trying to shoot for.

Calhoun made a statement about there needing to be more research done on medical cannabis so people can see that cannabis can help people. Daniel Edney, a State Health Officer and seemingly-informed man in the realm of medical cannabis, harps on this topic by saying that the main goal is to be able to give the public something that can effectively help pain and suffering.

He seemed to understand that there is a lot of research and discovery concerning THC that still needs to be done for the people including how it affects the IQ and the youth. 

I believe that there is definitely controversy and stigmas around people who consume cannabis. I was one of those people who had a certain perception of cannabis consumption. I believe that if researchers were to find a way to prove the positive effects of cannabis, then it could help normalize its use.