The Stigma Surrounding Medical Cannabis

Fact #1: Medical cannabis has been approved for medical use in 34 states (including the District of Columbia).

Fact #2: Medical cannabis is used to effectively treat debilitating symptoms associated with diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s, as well as chronic pain and mental health issues.

Fact #3: Public approval of medical marijuana is high, remaining above 77% since 2011, and most patients say it’s likely they would recommend medical cannabis to friends or family for treatment.

The BIG question: Even with all this information at hand, why is there still such a stigma surrounding medical cannabis?


A lot comes down to outdated and unsubstantiated stereotypes.

For example, some studies have shown that medicinal cannabis users were frequently labeled as irresponsible and unreliable by a variety of people including employers, colleagues, and even healthcare providers.

Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as a wide variety of patients with health issues (both mental and physical), including professionals, laborers, seniors, parents, children, and military veterans, are using cannabis on a regular basis.

In fact, many veterans turn to cannabis after other prescription drugs fail or lead to intolerable side effects, not to mention their potential for addiction, abuse, and overdose.

But even with this positive track record amongst users, there’s still judgement from society, which leads to potential problems for medical cannabis patients — even in states where it’s legalized.

“In a lot of situations, the laws might be in place, but people can still get in trouble,” explains Nicole Brown, RN, owner and founder of Sage Decoded. “Even if you have your registered marijuana card and are certified, you could still face fines, legal consequences, or have issues at your place of employment.”

Why? Medical cannabis is still federally illegal, so many people are weary of inquiring about or using it as medication.

At Sage Decoded, we aim to stop the fear and remedy this problem through education and advocacy for both patients and healthcare professionals.

If you have questions about medical cannabis or the rules surrounding its use, reach out. It’s only through conversations and shared knowledge that we’ll start to destigmatize this treatment and improve people’s lives along the way.

Would you like to start a project with us?

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Nicole S. Brown, RN, BSN is a registered nurse with more than 14 years of experience in various healthcare settings. She is the founder of Sage Decoded and is committed to educating and advocating for patients and providers as they learn to safely treat a host of conditions with medical cannabis.

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