An Integral Frame for MMJ Organizations- Regina Nelson
An Integral Framefor MedicalCannabisLeadershipRegina Nelsonrknelson63@gmail.comCannabis Patients Union
Missing / Central Argument If ALL human beings have an endocannabinoidsystem, an important physiological system critical to homeostasis, known to react favorably to cannabinoids, shouldn‟t We ALL be aware of this system AND our medical professional have a comprehensive understanding of it?
Leadership StudiesConnection“Telling the biography is an importantleadership behavior.”Sharing one‟s personal story is then an act ofleadership within itself.Shamir, B., Dayan-Horesh, H., & Adler, D. (2005). Leading by biography: Towards a life-story approach tothe study of leadership. Leadership. London: Sage Publications.
Stigmatization(Why it‟s important to consider these issues) Cannabis Patients are in a “liminal phase” Patients find themselves, “between andbetwixt” living an experience in which they do notbelong to the society they were previously a part of;and one in which cannabis use has been acceptedand normalized. Victor TurnerThinking of one‟s self as normal, means “incorporatingstandards from wider society and meeting others‟expectations about what we ought to be. The conceptof stigma is therein a device that ensures the reliability ofthe interaction order by punishing people who do notconform to moral standards (Hathaway et al., 2011, p.455).”
Intro to Integral Theory &WilberKen Wilber (2007) elucidates, “No matterhow high-minded, idealistic, or altruistic acause might appear—from ecology tocultural diversity to world peace—the simplemouthing of intense support for that cause isnot enough to determine why, in fact, thatcause is being embraced (p. 24).” Wilber, K. (2007). The Integral vision. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
In a movement driven by cannabis activists, most ofwhom are patients and experienced with its use andsymptom relief, where the majority consensus among medical practitioners is that advocacy is a poor substitute for the dispassionate analysis of evidence-based medicine (EBM), and media portrays cannabis users as those who „just want to get high,‟ cannabis patients have yet to be recognized as knowledgebearers and leadership, who have much to contribute to this debate.
The social status of marijuana is much as Hathaway, etal. find, “that [cannabis] users might alternatively beviewed on a normative continuum that has shownsigns of shifting in the theorized direction of greatersociocultural acceptance (or indifference) of thepractice, while retaining vestiges of social disapprovalthat contribute to maintaining a „culture of control,‟”as espoused by Goffman (Hathaway, 2011, 453).
Integral FramesFew scholars discuss the use of thisframework in developing an organizationalmodel focused on cultivating leadershippotential from within a marginalizedmembership and for the organization to becentered on the needs of the collectivemembership using an Integral approach
AQAL—Four Quadrant Frame Table 1: AQAL Overview UL UR Interior Individual Exterior Individual Consciousness Behavioral Subjective Learning Objectified Learning LL LR Interior Collective Exterior Collective Cultural Social Intersubjective Learning Interobjectified Learning
Integral leadershipconsiders the needs ofothers, knowing thatknowledge and change Empowermentare co-created inlearning situations Be positively influenced by community UL Interior Individual Consciousness Subjective Learning Come to Enhanced coping understand with Health Compassion one‟s own OR Stigmatization story Self-Reflection
Physical Health Reassess cultural valuesBehaviors and norms• Concealment Achieve cultural• Revelation acceptance UR Exterior Individual Behavioral Objectified Learning Clinical training that highlights the patient Improved Physician- experience Patient Relationships
Patient Support Build Community GroupsCommunity Gardens Patient Alliances LL Interior Collective Cultural Intersubjective Learning Rescript the dominant narrative About what it means to be a Cannabis Patient Local and National Educational Program
Public education andIncreased increased generalcannabis knowledge about cannabisresearch/cli use/usersnical trials LR Exterior Collective Social Interobjectified LearningExpansion with other affinity groups:cancer support, industrial hemp, et al
Leadership OpportunitiesAQAL Table 1: AQAL Overview UL UR Interior Individual Exterior Individual Consciousness Behavioral Subjective Learning Objectified Learning LL LR Interior Collective Exterior Collective Cultural Social Intersubjective Learning Interobjectified Learning
Integral MedicineIntegrative medicine asserts a person‟sinterior states (i.e. emotions, psychologicalstate, imagery, and intentions) play a crucialrole in both the cause and the care ofphysical illness, as well as the cure.
“How a culture (LL) views a particular illness—withcare and compassion or derision and scorn—canhave a profound impact on how an individual copes(UL) with that illness, which can directly affect thecourse of the physical illness itself (UR) (p. 91).”Arguably, cannabis patients are marginalized not justby how society views (LL) their illness (chronic pain,PTSD, AIDS, among others), but also by how societyviews the use of an illegal drug as treatment.It is an act of leadership to stand against socialconventions challenging healthcare providers withone‟s own embodied experience—an experienceoften sought in desperation when conventionalmethods failed to provide relief.
Integral OrganizationsWhen organizations are developed usingIntegral frames provide a space for themarginalized to share their stories, first witheach other and then with others who maybenefit from their knowledge.
Integral Organizations(only a few examples) W.A.M.M. (Santa Cruz, CA) Harborside Health Center (Oakland & San Jose, CA) New Mexicann (Santa Fe, NM) Tumbleweeds Health Care (Tucson, AZ) World Famous Cannabis Café (Portland, OR) The Human Solution (Perris, CA) New Mexico Cannabis Patients Alliance (Albuquerque, NM) Among many others
Conclusion Using an Integral model and design for developing a patient-centered organization supports (individually and collectively) anavenue for knowledge exchange, the potential to develop a sense of community, and offers leadership opportunities. As patients become empowered leadership, there becomes a tremendous capacity to reach beyond the cannabis community with a message of care and compassion that is worldcentric.
Regina Nelson Mark PedersenCannabis Patients Union 303-505-0591