The last 20 years have seen a virtual revolution in the public image of cannabis. After decades of being branded as a gateway drug and demonized by the “Establishment,” changing societal attitudes and new research have challenged many of the misconceptions about flower. However, lingering cannabis stigma still keeps some people from accepting cannabis use, and worse, from taking advantage of the benefits that could greatly improve their quality of life.
Opening up to family — especially mom and dad — about your use of cannabis can be daunting, but it’s doable. Whether you simply want to stop hiding the fact that you indulge in a little bud to help you relax or think they’d benefit from trying cannabis to help manage their own health, these tips can help you have a productive conversation.
Choose Your Time and Place
Difficult conversations are always a little easier if you set the stage for better communication. Choose a time when everyone is relaxed and not stressed by outside influences — after a comfortable dinner, for example.
Know Your Audience
Obviously, the conversation with your parents is going to be very different from the conversation with your children, and that conversation will probably be different from the one with your brother, your significant other or your friend from work. They’ll have different concerns, different questions and different levels of knowledge. Leafly’s
Bruce Barcott, for example, said his dad mostly wants to know where and how to invest in cannabis companies, but that he’s shocked at the inaccuracies of the information his teenage kids were bringing home from school.
Do Some Prep Work
Prepare yourself in advance by doing a little research — the better your command of facts, the more comfortable and convincing you’ll be. Be prepared to answer questions, dispel myths and listen to others’ concerns. You’ll find lots of information about
how cannabis works in your body and its benefits for
pain on our blog.
Be Open about Your Experience
One of the most effective things you can do is explain why you choose to use cannabis and what it does for you. While you may be tempted to lead off with facts about research and the history of marijuana, explaining your reasoning can start the conversation on a positive foot and help allay some of your loved ones’ worries that you’re about to become an unmotivated stoner. Explaining that a gummy before bed helps relax you so you can get a good night’s sleep without the side effects of prescription or OTC sleep aids, for example, helps steer the conversation toward how cannabis benefits you, and dispels the stereotypical image of a person who smokes pot.
Talking about how cannabis helps you manage your life and wellness — whether it’s relaxing with an infused beverage after work with your partner or dosing with a vape to reduce chronic pain — helps destigmatize cannabis use in general, and typically makes listeners more open to expressing their concerns and hearing more about the benefits of weed.
Listen to and Address Their Concerns
The general public has been subjected to decades of propaganda about marijuana being a dangerous drug, so it would be surprising if they don’t harbor some of the misconceptions that we’ve all internalized. Listen respectfully, acknowledge their concerns and be prepared to calmly respond to them with facts. These are a few common misconceptions you may hear from them.
- The only reason to use pot is to get high.
In fact, there’s a growing body of research confirming many of the medical and wellness benefits of cannabis, and most cannabinoids actually don’t get you high at all.
- Marijuana is addictive.
This one is a little trickier. Most scientists agree that cannabis — specifically THC — can be addictive, though research suggests that it’s far less addictive than, for example, alcohol, which is a socially acceptable indulgence. The
danger of addiction appears to be highest for teens, a point that may be valuable if you’re talking to your kids about marijuana.
- Today’s cannabis is much stronger than it was in my day.
Growers have certainly genetically engineered strains of cannabis to maximize certain cannabinoids, especially THC, so to some extent, today’s bud can be more potent than it was in the ’70s. On the other hand, there are also cannabis products on the market with little to no THC in them. Best of all, when you buy from a reputable dispensary or grower, you’ll know the THC content of the flower, oil or other product you’re buying so you can tailor your use for the effects you want.
- You can overdose on cannabis. It’s practically impossible to overdose on bud. In fact, the risk of overdosing on alcohol is about
100 times higher than the risk of consuming a toxic amount of cannabis.
- Smoking is bad for you. You don’t have to smoke bud. There are many
different ways to consume cannabis.
Talk about Current Cannabis Research
Thanks to decades of prohibition, there’s a distinct lack of definitive research on cannabis, and much of it was done in the field of substance abuse. As the restrictions on cannabis have loosened, however, more and more research points to its possible benefits in helping to manage a wide variety of medical conditions. This is just a sampling of some of the most recent findings in cannabis research.
2016 study in the Journal Of Pain found that medical cannabis use among people with chronic pain was associated with a 64 percent reduction in the use of opioids for pain.
- In another
study, researchers found a significant reduction in prescriptions for pain medication among Medicare Part D recipients in states that allow medical marijuana.
- In a 2018 survey, medical cannabis users reported a 50 percent reduction in depression and a 64 percent reduction in stress and anxiety.
- Numerous studies suggest that
inhaled cannabis relieves neuropathic pain common in diabetes, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.
Avoid Overselling the Benefits
Do be realistic when talking about the benefits of cannabis. Acknowledge the limitations of the research: A lot of it is promising, but very little is definitive. Cannabis is not a panacea for everything that ails you, though some marketers have tried to sell it that way. If you sound like a cannavangelist, you’ll actually sound less convincing. Your goal is to encourage others to accept that cannabis helps you and relieve their worries concerning your use of it.
If you need more help or information, please
reach out to our experienced staff at Garden Remedies. They’re always happy to talk about the pros and cons of all of our cannabis products, and help you make the best choices for your wellness and adult-use needs.
Deb Powers is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer who has been writing about cannabis and other wellness topics for nearly 20 years. Her work has appeared in Civlized.Life and numerous industry publications.