Today, 2/20/2021, has been declared a day to celebrate the growth of the movement recognizing the importance and power of sacred earth medicines. I take issue with the term “plant medicine” because the intention includes & refers particularly to natural psychedelic and psychoactive substances, but the “plant” label does not include fungi, which is an entirely different kingdom (and one closer to animals than plants, as I’ve learned). Though I find the terminology “plant medicine” to fall short in its hasty exclusion of fungi (a term I prefer is “sacred earth medicine” or simply “earth medicine”), I have tremendous respect for the movement and its current momentum.
I am propelled to write a heartfelt and well-researched response to someone who wrote, in essence, that he was skeptical of the “plant medicine” label because, though he’d tried and appreciated plant medicines and psychedelics, he expressed, “However I can’t escape the notion that most medicines come from plants anyway and that medicines from plants typically work better after being refined into a drug, aspirin from salicylic acid being a key example.” I think this is a naive, if well-intentioned point that is precisely part of why the hashtag and movement #ThankYouPlantMedicine has come to fruition. Ricki Lake, among others, discussed regarding the documentary she co-produced, Weed the People (available on Netflix), that it was not so much about cannabis as it was about people’s ability to heal themselves.
As many other cannabis advocates have also expressed, Ricki Lake has also elucidated why she sees it as important to refer to the plant as cannabis and not “marijuana,” which serves in helping to further stigmatize/“other” the plant and obscure humanity’s deep connection to the plant. The pharmaceutical industry, the government, and the nature of this capitalist, materialist, rationalist, industrialized culture we live in all have culpability in suppressing knowledge about and stigmatizing cannabis and psychoactive mushrooms (and I would argue suppressing knowledge about the medicinal value of all edible mushrooms and the importance of holistic wellness).
So, in the spirit of #ThankYouPlantMedicine, I share my own learnings of the body’s ability to heal. Plants and fungi can help you to heal, on both the spiritual and physiological levels. While cannabis and psychedelics will likely continue to endure controversy and…