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Business & Profession Legislation & policy, COVID-19

How to Change Your Mind

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

Many of us shake our heads at a political climate that has become so polarized that even a global pandemic is an opportunity for point-scoring. “We’re scientists,” we say. “We want facts and figures, not propaganda or doom-mongering.” But science (and cannabis science in particular) can be partisan too; studies exploring adverse effects and medicinal uses alike are often filtered through the political lens of legalization versus criminalization.

Humans are programmed to form “tribes” – and the more adversity or opposition they face, the stronger their allegiance. With years of prohibition followed by a dramatic swing to legalization, it’s no wonder that an “us and them” mentality has evolved around cannabis. The key? To recognize your bias and consciously seek out opposing evidence (or, at least, don’t reject it out of hand) – something that is easier said than done, of course.

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Changing our minds (without changing our core values) is a skill we are likely to need a great deal of in the weeks and months to come. A case in point: I have repeatedly (and somewhat wearily) stated over the past few weeks: “No, I don’t believe vaping cannabis/taking CBD oil/gargling warm water will fight off COVID-19.” And I will always stand by my belief that it is wrong for companies or individuals to take advantage of people’s terror by promoting unproven therapies (a view shared by the FDA). But it appears that research at several universities is examining the use of cannabis constituents as antivirals against SARS-CoV-2. If they ultimately prove effective in clinical trials? I will be positively delighted to change my mind about whether cannabis can cure COVID-19 after all!

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About the Author
Charlotte Barker

Associate Content Director

After studying biology at Imperial College London, I got my start in biomedical publishing as a commissioning editor for healthcare journals, and I’ve spent my career covering everything from early-stage research to clinical medicine. Attracted by the creativity, talent and passion of the team, I joined Texere Publishing in 2014, where I’m now Associate Content Director and Editor of The Cannabis Scientist.

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