Look out cause here comes some free advice. Before COVID-19 hit, our team at HLG had been preparing for the launch of a podcast. As the impact of the pandemic began to reshape our everyday lives, we decided to use this new platform to promulgate insight from global leaders across the cannabis space. We did this to address the uncertainty we were all feeling. Over the past two months, we’ve had many inspiring conversations on The Hoban Minute, but I’d like to share one with you that touched my heart.

Dr. Uma Dhanabalan is an occupational and environmental medicine physician. In the early 2000s, she worked as a regional medical director for Kimberly Clarks during the outbreak of avian flu in Thailand. This is a novel time, a time that frankly most people thought they’d never live through. However, that’s not true for Dr. Uma. She shared a perspective that is truly broader and more profound than what I’ve heard from the media or politicians in the wake of COVID’s impact on our world.

Everybody, everywhere has been affected by this in some way, shape, or form. And we are all left asking, when we will begin to regain a sense of normalcy?

For Dr. Uma, and for myself, normality begins today. There is no waiting for tomorrow. Capture the moment, take care of yourself, and do the very best that you can. For better or for worse, life always  goes on.

Pandemics and Patterns

There’s a pattern, a long history of pandemics. As novel as this all seems, this has happened in 1720, 1820, and 1920. What changes is the flavor of the virus and at the end of the day, each one of us has an opportunity to make some choices about how we perceive ourselves and our world, not only as a consumer, but as a responsible global citizen. It is critically important for us all to to walk away from this with an added perspective. We rely on other people to take care of our health and to tell us what to do, but it is becoming our responsibility.

Dr. Uma spoke to the importance of awareness and personal accountability. There are factors that make people predisposed to coming down with something like this virus. Those who are nutritionally unstable, those who are not well hydrated, those who don’t have access to hand-washing. How do we start getting people healthy? How do we assess the environment we live in? Can we sustain this environment?

Cannabis Has a Role To Play

This pandemic has given us the opportunity, globally, to redesign some of these elements, and if you ask me, and I know Dr. Uma would agree, cannabis has perhaps, one of the largest roles to play in this.

This is a wake-up call.

Look at food, at medicine, at building materials, at fuels, at plastics. This plant can feed us, it can clothe us, it can power our cars, it can be turned into biodegradable plastic, it can be used for therapeutic treatments, and so, so much more. Think about it like this. How many of the environmental problems that we face today – our thinning ozone layer, our plastic-contaminated water systems, our acidifying oceans – can be addressed by shifting to a plant-based economy?

Cannabis is the solution to a global situation.

What about our immune systems? How can you maintain your health so you can be prepared for fighting off infections?

Dr. Uma noted the importance of having an understanding of something that most health care providers refuse to acknowledge – the Endocannabinoid System. She has multiple medical degrees and yet, was never taught about this system. Dr. Uma has spent 11 years educating health care professionals about the Endocannabinoid System around the world. And she, like many of us throughout the industry, takes it upon herself to fight back against the stigma related to cannabis.

The Endocannabinoid System

As Dr. Uma put it, the endocannabinoid system helps us to be at ease. And if we’re not at ease, we are at dis-ease. She described the endocannabinoid system in one word – life.

Which brings me to this. How do you prevent a pandemic?

You change. Every single person makes a difference. The isolation measures left some of us with a little bit of fear. But, we’re going to survive through this. The sun will rise tomorrow. While we all have a desire for this to end, we may still be at the beginning. And while we stay home, and curb the spread of this illness to not overwhelm our healthcare systems, let’s take the time to change our perceptions. Let’s take this opportunity as a global community to put a new lens on how we value things. The little things. The big things. Because if we can’t do it now, then I ask you this – what will it take?