Holism, health, and cannabis

Holism is about the big picture; it is related to the theory that nothing happens in a vacuum. In seeking answers to a problem, holism emphasizes the “whole” rather than the parts.

Oxford English dictionaries define holism:

The theory that the parts of a whole are in intimate interconnection, so that they cannot exist independently of the whole, or cannot be understood without reference to the whole, which is thus considered as greater than the sum of its parts.

And when holism is about health:

Treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of an illness.

Another way of thinking about holism is by using the analogy of both natural and artificial systems (i.e., an ecosystem, a health system, a family system, a solar system, etc.).

A system is a complex ‘whole’ with a clear boundary; There is an exterior and an interior. Content within a system (eg, climate, animals, and plants) is composed of interrelated and interdependent parts that directly reflect the general context within which they exist (eg, an ecosystem).

Whenever everything produces a greater result than any of its parts could achieve, individually, we call that synergy (for example an electrical storm, the music of an orchestra).

The opposite of holism, reductionism, on the other hand, analyzes something by its components.

Holistic health: treating the whole person

The traditional approach to the medical system has taught us to recognize health from a reductionist perspective. We go to the doctor to repair a specific part of our body because it has stopped working well and maybe Cannabis with COVID-19.

Millions of people obtain positive results using the medical model. The only problem is that this model considers, almost exclusively, only the health of the body. And when it comes to mental health, the typical solution is to prescribe antidepressant medications.

Why is this a problem? Humans are complex beings. We have minds, emotions and a soul, the personal and intangible relationship with a macro reality beyond ourselves. What is more, who we are, is constantly influenced within the contexts of family, community, country and world.

A holistic approach to health and wellness addresses the reality of these multiple interrelated and interdependent parts that make us who we are. The discomfort of any of them can directly (and negatively) affect the health of other parts of our lives.

For this reason alone, the first approach to comprehensive care is the person and not the problem or illness. Stress, anxiety and depression, for example, often end up translating into a physical symptom. Everything is connected.

According to the national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in September 2017, the American Psychiatric Association reported that antidepressant use had gone from 1 in 50 people 30 years ago to 1 in 9 between the years 2011 and 2014, and now in 2018

This is clear evidence of the increase in mood disorders in Americans.

Why the greater use? As mentioned, nothing happens in a vacuum and therefore evaluating one’s lifestyle with respect to home, relationships, finances, work, etc. it becomes a critical task to determine its impact. The bottom line is to find the root cause (s) and establish a restorative plan.