For a long time, much of society regarded cannabis and its users in a negative light. They treated it like a dangerous drug that needed to be controlled. To many, it had no benefits, and all it did was destroy lives. This was nothing but misinformation and fear-mongering spread by anti-cannabis supporters, often with nefarious ulterior motives. And while over the years science has proven that cannabis has many medicinal values; unfortunately, a great deal of damage had already been done. Entire communities were destroyed by the senseless war on drugs. The negative propaganda surrounding it only increased society’s fear of the plant and put a negative stigma on people using it. This made honesty about cannabis use in most families very difficult to find.
Even now, as society is far more accepting of cannabis and its use has become more mainstream; a lot of people still don’t understand the full potential of its benefits and many uses. They don’t understand the relief it can offer people, without also seeing it as a drug, comparable to alcohol or something equally dangerous. Separating the plant from the drug requires admitting that we may have been wrong, and we as humans are not always the best at that
Talking to Family
As we discussed in our blog Coming Out as a Stoner there are many reasons why families may be against cannabis use. Whether it be religious, cultural, medical or a combination of the three, some people cannot shake their old perceptions of pot and its users. In some cases, it may simply boil down to a negative experience that a family member had. In their mind, they are actually protecting you. Whatever your family’s reasons for not accepting cannabis, know that it is most likely not based out of any malice or ill-intent, but rather because they love you and are trying to look out for you. Show them the same love and respect by being honest and explaining the reality of cannabis and how it fits in your life.
Things to Consider Before Talking to Them
Society’s mistrust on cannabis is deeply ingrained, all thanks to decades of propaganda.
I don’t say this to upset anyone, though I’m sure it will; people with more conservative values can sometimes be more difficult to convince to change their views. It’s kind of in the nature of being conservative. With that said, this doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to the conservatives in your life or that they won’t listen to you. Before you talk to them, however, it’s best that you prepare yourself and what you want to say. If you’re anything like me and the discussion starts to get heated, your arguments will leave your head and you’ll sound like your seconds from crying with every word you speak. It’s not a good look and does little to help your cause. Be prepared for whatever they might come.
You also need to accept that the talk is probably going to be awkward no matter what, and your admission to using weed may raise some eyebrows and protests, maybe even anger. So when talking to them, do your best to stay calm and be patient, even if their stubbornness makes you feel like screaming. The only way you can get through the talk and educate them at the same time is to be rational and calm.
More often than not, their fear of cannabis stems from misinformation. So when talking to your family, arm yourself with facts and studies that can help dispel some of their fears. This data can help you to correct any misinformation they may have heard about cannabis in the past.
If they think that cannabis is a gateway drug, correct them. There are multiple studies that reveal how alcohol is a far more dangerous gateway drug. If they say cannabis has no medicinal value, show them the studies done by scientists and the many stories of epileptic children helped by cannabis. If they say weed can cause an overdose, then let them know that it’s going to take 1,500 pounds of weed consumed in 15 minutes for it to be lethal. Educate them about the endocannabinoid system and how it has evolved alongside cannabis for centuries.
Reference successful cannabis users. Famous people like Barrack Obama, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Colbert, Sanjay Gupta, and Bill Gates are good role models that many people admire. They have also all used cannabis and have been honest about their use in the past. It is essential that public figures be open about cannabis use, as they have a lot of power to change public perception. For many, the example of a successful cannabis user goes a long way in proving that it does not inhibit your ability to succeed in life.
Finally, talk about your story. Let them know why you’re using cannabis in the first place. If it’s for recreational purposes, let them understand that it’s not really as dangerous as people would have them believe. There are far worse drugs, even prescription medications, on the market, and cannabis is safer than most of them. Explain how you’ve never had a hangover, gotten violent, blacked out or poisoned yourself with cannabis. It is far more difficult to say the same about alcohol. Tell them how cannabis makes you feel.
It may even help to explain to them that they have interacted with you after using cannabis. Ask them if they noticed anything different? Did anything seem strange? When I asked my parents this they said: “yes, you seem calmer.” When they realize that cannabis does not make you into a bad or different person it can allow them to consider it more openly.
If it’s for medical purposes, then let them know how medical cannabis has improved your quality of life and how it helps control your symptoms. Let them know its effects on your body and how you felt before and after using medical cannabis. More than that, let them know how negatively it would impact your condition to not be able to use cannabis for it. Explain how much relief you found with it.
The most important thing in correcting misinformation about cannabis is to ease their worries with facts calmly and rationally.
Help Them If They Want to Try Cannabis, Too
If things go well after your talk, then congratulations! For many people, talking about their cannabis use to family can be pretty nerve-wracking and stressful. So it’s going to be a huge relief to finally get it out in the open and be understood by your family.
If at the end of your talk they feel curious and a bit encouraged to try cannabis, too, then help them. Since they’re new to cannabis, explain to them the value of micro-dosing. How it’s more beneficial to start at the lowest dose possible and then gradually increase the dose as needed. If it’s for recreational use, then let them know of the different low-THC, high-CBD strains that they can start with. They’ll still get a little high from these strains, but not too stoned that it’s going to make them feel very uncomfortable and ruin their experience. Charlottes Web is a great strain to start out on as it gives the user an idea of what to expect, without too much THC.
For many; family is the most important thing in life. And we get the chance to celebrate our love and close bond with them this Family Day. To honor and strengthen this bond, there should always be honesty and respect among all family members.
If you want to discuss your cannabis use this Family Day, go ahead. There should be no fear and shame in using recreational or medical cannabis. The stigma placed on cannabis users is slowly fading as people become more knowledgeable of cannabis’ benefits and accepting of its many uses. Help do your part by changing people’s perceptions and showing them what a successful cannabis user looks like. For many; that journey starting at home.