Throughout these blogs; the importance that cannabis played in various cultures over time has been repeatedly discussed. This is because the impact that cannabis had on these cultures and in turn, the world, cannot be understated. In later years, it became stigmatized through prejudiced and misguided motives.
During the decades of cannabis prohibition, many around the world forgot about the powerful medicinal effects of cannabis.
Thanks to our tireless scientists, researchers, and social media cannabis influencers; we are now, once again, getting to know cannabis for what it is – a plant with the potential to help countless people.
The term influencer is tossed around a lot these days. Thanks to social media apps like Instagram; there are people whose jobs are literally working as ‘Influencers’. By promoting products and associating the use of them with their seemingly attractive and appealing lifestyle, they earn more customers for the company that owns the product and, in turn, get paid large sums to do so.
That is not the only type of influencer, however. The literal definition is “a person or thing that influences another” which after reading I felt pretty dumb for having to google, but I wanted to be sure. While many people may associate the term with the more modern interpretation, an influencer in today’s society is really anybody that has enough of an audience and authority to impact and, that’s right, influence a large group of people.
When looking at cannabis influencers, it’s important to look not only at celebrity cannabis users but the pioneers who influenced the industry, whether people knew it or not.
Without these cannabis influencers, fewer people would know about the healing properties of cannabis, and far fewer patients would have benefited from it.
So, who should we thank for cannabis’s popularity not only as a medicine but as a recreational substance? Who were/ are the most powerful cannabis influencers?
The Top Scientists and Researchers as Cannabis Influencers
As discussed, cannabis had an important role in ancient medicine. It only lost its place in modern medicine when prohibition began, despite the better interests of the people.
However, thanks to countless scientists and researchers, we now have a better understanding of how cannabis works in the body, how it benefits us, and why it’s safe to use as a medicine.
That said, there is still so much to be uncovered about the potential of the plant and the ways it can interact with our bodies.
Below are two cannabis influencers when it comes to the health benefits of cannabis.
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam
“We went ahead looking for compounds, and this receptor was found in all these places such as the basal ganglia that have to do with movement control, coordination and cognitive function – all of these things that people know are affected by THC. This receptor was obviously important and central. As a result, we started looking for the compounds that we (or animals) make that activate and parallel the activities of THC.” – Dr. Raphael Mechoulam
We owe this great man a lot. Recognized as the Father of Cannabis, he pioneered cannabis research, and his studies paved the way for future cannabis research.
In 1992, Dr. Mechoulam, together with his team, discovered that our cells also produce a cannabis-like substance and that this substance binds to a special receptor. Not long after his discovery, the second receptor and second endogenous cannabis-like substance were found. They named this system the endocannabinoid system. Their studies also revealed how important this system is to our physical and mental health.
The relationship between our endocannabinoid system and cannabis is now a central focus of cannabis research.
Dr. Ethan Russo
“Cannabis is the single most versatile herbal remedy, and the most useful plant on Earth. No other single plant contains as wide a range of medically active herbal constituents.” – Dr. Ethan Russo
Another more contemporary pioneer in cannabis research, Dr. Russo has conducted his own studies on the medicinal properties of cannabis. Fighting for the right to study cannabis since the early 1990s for the treatment of migraines, Dr. Russo is as active as ever in the research field. In fact, it was Dr. Russo and his team who first coined the term “Entourage Effect.” They discovered that the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in the plant interact with each other, as well as work synergistically together in controlling symptoms. Their combined effects boost the healing properties of the compounds and, at the same time, limit the negative side effects.
Dr. Russo has also been a leading force in the discussion of using cannabis to treat and end the opiate epidemic.
These two are just some of the top cannabis research pioneers. Their studies have helped change the way society looks at cannabis and significantly shaped cannabis as a form of medicine. Now, more and more countries are legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. The popularity of medical cannabis has also prompted the growth of cannabis manufacturers, creating products that can benefit us health-wise. Some governments have even legalized cannabis for recreational use, opening the door for a new wave of influencers.
Top Celebrity Influencers
Society is slowly changing its views on cannabis as an ever-increasing number of people are embracing it as both a medicine and a recreational substance and are therefore clamoring for its legalization. What we used to consider as a dangerous drug is now becoming an integral part of so many people’s lives. Not only those who suffer from chronic health problems, but also healthy everyday professional living productive lives. This is in stark contrast to the image of cannabis users that had been promoted for so long in the media.
We may look more kindly on cannabis and its users these days, but there are still big hurdles that prevent many people from benefiting from it. For example, strict restrictions have been placed on advertising cannabis products, both online and offline. This is understandable, of course, since we need to protect minors from cannabis use. Unfortunately, however, these restrictions also prevent people from understanding that cannabis can help them deal with their symptoms or finding the right product for themselves.
Today, social media cannabis influencers are a big help when it comes to educating people. They spread awareness as well as help teach people about the health benefits of cannabis and the various products out there on the market.
Below are some of the top cannabis influencers:
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
“[Marijuana] doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works… [I]t is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve marijuana. We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.” ~ Sanjay Gupta
A neurosurgeon, CNN’s chief medical reporter, and Emmy Award winner, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was, at first, not a cannabis advocate. He said as much in an article he wrote for the TIME Magazine in 2009.
However, upon doing further research, talking with medical cannabis patients, and seeing how cannabis changed so many lives, he had a complete change of heart. Today, Dr. Gupta is one of the most steadfast supporters of cannabis. He also advocates CBD as a healthy and legitimate medicine.
“Smoke weed everyday” -Dr. Dre (Friend of Snoop Doggs / Not an actual doctor)
Whether you love him, hate him or are unsure what moniker he’s currently identifiyng as, the cannabis industry would not be what it is without Snoop Dogg’s influence. A popular rapper, Snoop Dogg is probably the most recognizable face still active in the cannabis industry.
His music helped bring cannabis to the mainstream and helped shape cannabis culture. His pro-cannabis stance has also pushed widespread acceptance of cannabis. Today, Snoop Dogg is not only a big influencer in the music industry but also a cannabis investor and entrepreneur, having launched his own cannabis brand called Leafs.
Snoop is not without controversy, with many looking for a new cannabis figurehead in music. Snoop became a Rastafarian in 2012, which was covered in a documentary called ‘Reincarnated’ to promote an album of the same name. Prominent Rastafarians, including Bunny Wailer of Bob Marley and the Wailers, expressed their concerns that this move was superficial and based more out of a desire to sell albums, than out of a real connection with the ideologies behind it. After the film and album were released, in an interview with TMZ, Wailer discusses Snoop’s “outright fraudulent use of the Rastafari community’s personalities and symbolism.” Snoop did not take kindly to the criticism saying “In the Nineties, he could have never tried that because I’d have slapped the dog shit out of his old ass. How dare you? After all I’ve done for you? How dare you? You wasn’t the shit in the Wailers. You was just one of them: Bob, Peter Tosh, then you.” Spoken like a true preacher of good vibes and positive energy.
Look. Snoop Dogg’s love of all things weed is undeniable. That said, there are many who wish to separate or at the very least distance themselves from the more traditional weed culture promoted by people like Snoop, which is often hyper-masculine and associates the use of cannabis with some sort of criminal or gangster lifestyle. A lot of people do not want to have a spokesperson for cannabis who proudly discusses pimping out women. And they are completely justified in that sentiment.
Still, there are many who listen to Snoops music and inherent message, despite its hypocrisy, and therefore his influence cannot be denied.
“There’s [an] ironic, almost tragic phenomenon, which is that seniors, who are one of the groups who can most benefit from use of cannabis, are the single group which remains most opposed to reforming cannabis laws.” – Steven DeAngelo
Nicknamed as the “Father of the Cannabis Industry,” Steve DeAngelo is one of the staunchest cannabis advocates in cannabis today. He is well known for being a leader in the cannabis industry, educating people about the medicinal benefits of cannabis as well as inspiring millions of people through his talks.
DeAngelo has co-founded several cannabis companies, including Harborside, Steep Hill Labs, and Arc View Group. In addition to this, he’s also a famous leading consultant to international legislators as well as regulators when it comes to cannabis industry practices.
Jessica Catalano was born in New York state but moved to the future cannabis-friendly state Colorado. After using medical cannabis when she younger, Jessica went on to become one of, if not the most recognized name in cannabis cuisine.
Jessica’s focus is creating strain specific meals and goods, in order to get the most of the terpene and cannabinoid profiles. Catalano’s work has helped cannabis cuisine become more accepted in the mainstream and opened up the possibilities for how cannabis can be infused with food. Instead of only offering brownie recipes, Catalano finds the unique traits of each strain and pairs a meal that compliments the best of both ingredients. An example of her bold and delicious recipes is her Kush-Infused Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps. As she explains “The complex pungency of any strain claiming the Kush lineage should combine beautifully with just about any mushroom flavor profile, and the portabella is no exception.”
If you wish to try the recipe yourself we recommend the following delicious Kush strains:
This strain has a strong aroma characteristic with kush strains that includes a spicy herbal scent tinged with jet fuel.
For many, influencers like Jessica are the much welcomed new wave of voices in cannabis. Promoting a healthy lifestyle, without attaching any stereotypes that work to set back the progress in how society views cannabis users.
“I work a ton, probably much more than anyone would like to think I do. But I do also smoke weed, which I don’t think stops me from working a lot.” – Seth Rogen
Famous for his roles in stoner comedies, comedian Seth Rogen has built a large social media following where he educates people about the benefits of cannabis. His passion for the plant and advocacies on its legalization prompted him to launch his own cannabis company in Canada. Together with his friend and business partner, Evan Goldberg, they have created Houseplant, a high-end cannabis company.
Rogen will be the first to tell you how productive he manages to be while using cannabis throughout the day. Through his honesty, people can see that productivity in conjunction with cannabis is possible.
More than just a cannabis activist and entrepreneur though, Rogen also advocates for the expungement of cannabis convictions.
In addition to educating people and advocating for cannabis legalization, many social media 420 influencers also help cannabis entrepreneurs market their products. Social media 420 influencers like Megan Elizabeth, Rachael of CBD Woman, and Sydni usually collaborate with cannabis and CBD brands. These 420 influencers craft contents that introduce the product but don’t violate the strict advertising restrictions. Through their social media accounts, they help spread awareness, teach people about cannabis’ benefits, and promote cannabis products.
The Future is Female
You may have noticed that the list lacked a lot of female representation. Unfortunately, despite many people’s best efforts, it is still a male-dominated industry. As Ellen Warner, a cultivator based out of the Kootenays explains, “The cannabis industry is very male-centric,” she says. “If you took any magazine, like High Times, you see nude girls, etc. I’m not that market. It’s the ‘bro culture’ and it doesn’t appeal to me.”
We will discuss this issue in a future blog covering “Gender Inequality in Cannabis”. That said, there are many women that are earning their place as leaders and pioneers in the industry. As it continues to grow, the old guard will likely be pushed out and replaced by a new crop of influencers, with a large percentage of them being women.
It is not a question of if there will be powerful women having their fair influence the industry, but of question of when.
Cannabis has been demonized for many years. But through the efforts of these wonderful people, we are now learning more about this beautiful plant, especially its medicinal benefits. We now have a better understanding of how it interacts with our cells and its therapeutic effects on chronic illnesses and diseases.
Many people and lawmakers may still be against its use as a medicine, but our collective voices telling the world of its health benefits will never be silenced.