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Former gateway drug turns medicinal: An introduction to cannabis use

Mind KEY / Health  / Former gateway drug turns medicinal: An introduction to cannabis use
This month, Mind Key will be discussing the multifarious cannabis uses currently in practice, while trying to understand the many facets of use, misuse and abuse, laws, and the history of this drug.
This former “gateway drug” has a new definition: healthy alternative. But is it really?

Former gateway drug turns medicinal: An introduction to cannabis use

By Danielle Rose

Once considered the “gateway drug,” cannabis has now taken on a new definition of health and wellness, and Mind Key is excited to discuss the multifarious cannabis uses currently in practice. We will delve into many questions regarding its uses and history. For example, is cannabis’ evolving definition accurate? If so, what has become of the multitude of claims that marijuana is dangerous? What are the benefits of cannabis? The downfalls? Is it really any better than other medicinal options out there?

To clarify, cannabis is the Latin or scientific name for the plant commonly known as marijuana. Marijuana generally refers to the flowers or buds—the part of the plant that contains the psychoactive component, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Hemp is the fibrous part of the cannabis plant. It has been used for centuries to make exceptionally durable cloth, rope and the like. There are no known medicinal or psychotropic aspects of the fibrous parts. However, hemp is a great addition to your diet.  

Confused yet? Don’t worry, we’ll explain all of this in detail throughout the issue.


Lots of information, so little understanding

There is definitely information overload when it comes to cannabis. We found that some of the available information came from reliable sources. Yet, most of it was parroted across a variety of publications without any indication of where the information originated. We did our best to support the articles in this issue with studies and statements from doctors and other professionals, research and statistics, and laws and government policy, rather than from news articles or briefs, websites that don’t cite their sources or name their authors, or “experts” with limited to no background or experience in the field to which they’re speaking.

As with anything, studies and research are never absolute…and so we also did our best—especially with medical claims—to not state anything alarming or sensational for the sake of hits. Instead, we tried to cite examples of findings that are widely and comparatively reproduced elsewhere. We encourage you to do your own research on any topic that doesn’t sit right. Then, let us know if you disagree with, or want to add to, any of our findings.

Doing the research was one of the most challenging aspects of putting this controversial issue together. There’s no way we were able to be the comprehensive compendium of knowledge that we know should exist, but we have tried to offer a taste of that information in the way we know it should be presented.

Hopefully, you’ll agree.



Why an issue on cannabis?

Despite it being incredibly controversial, I decided that completely avoiding the topic of cannabis would be a gross oversight for a publication dedicated to health, happiness and success.

At one point I realized, like it or not, cannabis is something that all of us will have to address one day. I am reminded of a friend who lives in Colorado.

Shortly after the state legalized the drug for recreational use, she went to an outdoor concert with her children to find that everywhere she looked someone was smoking it. This made me realize, no matter my stance on cannabis, one day soon I would have to have to discuss it with my children. Whether or not I thought they were ready, the drug talk would have to occur. I knew very little about marijuana other than information that had been fed to me. Throughout my life, I’d absorbed information about this drug, via anti-drug campaigns and word-of-mouth—all of which was either one-sided, unsubstantiated or out-of-date. So, I needed to educate myself.

This made me want to know as much about cannabis as possible. I wanted to understand and intelligently share that information as the states I lived in and lived near legalized the drug for medical and recreational use.


Multifarious cannabis uses: recreational, medicinal and everything in between

As a health and wellness writer for publications other than The Daily Key, I knew I needed to be on top of the current research and legal understanding of the plant. I needed to do this so my editors and their readers could get the most pertinent information available, too. Even if I never touched cannabis once in my life, my family life and my career were being affected by it. Not having real information on hand could do nothing but hurt me.

There are many other ways that cannabis is affecting the world we live in. It’s not just used recreationally, or to improve or provide relief for health conditions. It is becoming a vehicle for career growth and expansion. It’s bringing together people from different walks of life. It’s also providing additional sources of income for states who have approved its use and sale.

One of our consultants for this issue said the industry is “Unlike anything I’ve ever seen…. [In one day] I was talking with a fund manager from a very large bank and a 22-year-old who was a pot dealer since middle school.”

Different demographics indeed. And yet, the fact that they are meeting together to bring their experience, understanding and knowledge to the table shows this is a booming industry, indeed. According to a 2018 report by CNN, marijuana revenue hit $9 million in 2017—higher than diaper sales or the snack bar industry—and is projected to grow exponentially, reaching $21 billion by 2021.


How we’re addressing the topic

In a periodical publication such as The Daily Key, it would be impossible to address all of the issues surrounding this one plant in one monthly issue.  However, as cannabis becomes a new (and legal) way to seek health, happiness and success in a changing world, we wanted to do our best to offer an overview—with real information and tangible sources—that might open your mind to discovering more.

Our goal is to spotlight things you may not have realized. We will also review resources for understanding how the plant works. Lastly, we wanted to provide information on how to discover and work within your legal rights—whether as a user or as a curious bystander. You yourself might be considering its uses. Maybe you even know someone who could benefit from its use. Or perhaps you are simply trying to understand what’s happening around you in regard to the use of cannabis. Whatever your concerns or questions, we hope this issue will offer a compendium of information and resources to start you on your journey of discovery.

We want you to make your own choices and decisions about this ancient and controversial plant. We certainly don’t want you to feel like I did—like you’re in the dark while the world around you shifts.


What to expect in this issue

As always, we had hoped to touch on a broader range of topics than we were able to cover. I’m thrilled to see our writers open discussions in regards to the chemistry of cannabis; how it works in the body; the history of the plant and its use throughout civilization; cannabis and addiction; understanding your rights; and resources for learning more. We also included a couple of personal accounts. This was done to show that we are real people, and we have needs and concerns about cannabis, too.

I’m so incredibly proud of our CANNABIS writers. Many declined to contribute because they didn’t want to be seen as taking a stance. Yet, some of our writers were excited to take a stance. Still, I made them step back and write from an unbiased perspective, much to their dismay, I’m sure. They encountered edit after edit with the comment: “opinion,” “too leading” or “needs source.” I worked with each and every one of them to recheck facts, find better research, and rework their pieces. They worked hard, and I hope that you, our readers, find the time reading these articles worthy of the time invested in writing them.

We look forward to hearing from you. We also hope you are looking forward to this issue as much as we look forward to presenting it throughout the month of July.


In this issue

Former gateway drug turns medicinal: An introduction to cannabis use


July Astrological report: The slow burn of a summer month


America’s soil: A brief history of cannabis production in the US


Understanding the endocannabinoid system


The chemistry behind cannabis: An overview


Overcome addiction with cannabis?


Moderation is key: Enjoying marijuana without overdoing it


Athletic lifestyle: How cannabis can benefit your training


Medicinal cannabis users: Know your rights


Healing with Compassion: A caregiver’s experience


Cannabis and Creativity: Using your whole brain


Your rights as a recreational cannabis user


Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts on these stories in the comments. We love your feedback. Perhaps you have an idea for a cannabis story you’d like to write or a perspective we didn’t cover. We are considering compiling these articles, along with some new ones, in a print publication, too. If you have any thoughts, questions or feedback you may also feel free email us directly at
Danielle Rose
Founder, Mind Key

I help people follow their dreams! As the founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at Mind Key, Danielle has the skills and abilities to help you grow in your chosen career, or to launch the business of your dreams to the next level.

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