Historically, the most accessible pop cultural entry point for depictions of cannabis cultivation and use in the modern United States has always been the stoner comedy. From genre pioneers Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong to iconic mainstream stereotypes like Fast Times’ burnout Jeff Spicoli, the double-edged sword of the lovable clown archetype is that it’s still difficult to be taken seriously as a cannabis industry professional. With multi-billion dollar annual profits on the line, the industry is looking to shed any traces of cliché.
The Chicago Tribune’s report on the phenomenon cites branding consultant Robert Miner’s suggestion that the medical cannabis and recreational marijuana industries ought to use film and television narratives and characters to shift negative public perception of cannabis users. Journalist Michelle Janikian revealed to the Tribune that when she tells someone she reports on marijuana for a living, she then “act[s] friendly and mainstream” so she doesn’t “seem stoned.”
The mission of the University of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Research Fund is to facilitate biomedical cannabis-based research that is ineligible for research grants from conventional governmental entities. UNM Newsroom reports on the results of two such medical cannabis studies: UNM Psychology Department Associate Professor Jacob Miguel Vigil’s “Patient-Reported Symptom Relief Following Medical Cannabis Consumption,” and UNM Economics Department Assistant Professor Sarah See Stith’s “Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia Under Naturalistic Conditions.” Both studies analyzed data that was collected by the Releaf App, presently the largest dedicated repository of cannabis consumption and effects self-reporting.
In Vigil’s study, cannabis users reported an average symptom reduction of 4.5 points (on a 1-10 scale) after consumption of cannabis in forms ranging from topical salves to tinctures. These results persisted in subjects suffering from 27 discrete health conditions ranging from a seizure disorder to depression and beyond. Stith’s study found that consumption of cannabis flower was meaningfully associated with significant improvements in insomnia; the study’s differential effectiveness and side effect profiles were dependent on cannabis product characteristics.