"Mom, Dad, I'm Not a Stoner...Really."
Have you thought about discussing your cannabis use with your parents? Cannabis consumption can be a contentious issue between generations due to the stigma attached to it. It can be hard to break parental perceptions regarding cannabis, because many of our parents grew up at the peak of reefer madness and marijuana propaganda..
If you remember anything about drug education surrounding marijuana back in your own school, you can imagine the horror stories your parents were told about cannabis use (or abuse) when they were kids. But, here we sit in the age of legalization and despite what your parents may think today, perceptions of cannabis have changed greatly in recent years. Plus, the majority of Americans agree with legalization, so you have that going for you.
Maybe now is the time to chat with Mom and Dad about your own marijuana consumption.
Parents: My Brain is Not an Egg in a Frying Pan
Many people lived a large part of their life during the peak of the War on Drugs. Drugs became the scapegoat of all the issues that the country was facing, especially during the 1980s when First Lady Nancy Reagan made it her mission to have every child say “Just Say No.” to drugs, which focused the lens on cannabis. The billions of dollars spent on the War on Drugs since that time resulted in a dismal failure, but the stigma against marijuana remains.
The War on Drugs delivered images like this to your parents.
Fast forward to now, and it can be hard to convince your parents that a drug they were once told could turn you into a crazy, lazy, crime-creator could actually help ease their arthritis pain, quell anxiety or even make you a happier person. Yet, an open dialogue is the only way to break down the barrier between misrepresentation and the truth about cannabis.
RELATED: CANNABIS 101: THC VS CBD
1. Help Educate Your Parents
As a mid twenties millennial, the way I approached cannabis with my parents was at first extremely matter-of-fact. Though it may seem that an emotional appeal of other peoples’ success with marijuana-as-medicine may be the best way to change perceptions, I found that a science-first approach works best.
There are a numerous well documented scientific studies on cannabis that show its efficacy on a variety of medical conditions and how cannabis itself interacts with the body. To understand how cannabis can be a viable medication, it's best to tell your parents how it does not always produce psychoactive side effects. Instead, I told my parents how cannabis is full of cannabinoids other than THC, like CBD, which provides amazing medicinal benefits, all without even getting me high.
Cannabis is also full of terpenes which are non psychoactive and extremely beneficial to our health. Terpenes create the aromas and flavors within different strains and also deliver medicinal benefits to consumers. A terpene such as limonene can act as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and has even been purported to contain anti-cancer properties. Terpenes are good for us!
There are a variety of resources you can look to for scientific, peer-reviewed journal articles on the benefits of cannabis. Google Scholar can be one of your best friends by providing you access to many journal articles for free with a single click.
These studies, which come out of extremely reputable universities, can give your parents an insight into the success of cannabis in a purely scientific form. HelloMD also provides you with a searchable platform were you can look at a variety of articles on many different medical conditions. These articles are also full of links to peer reviewed studies that show all of the good that cannabis can do in a condensed platform.
After you have educated your parents on the scientific studies behind cannabis, then personal appeals will become that much more impactful. Focusing on scientific studies first when introducing cannabis to my parents gave them the context to look at peoples’ personal successes as a medical triumph. HelloMD has a full range of interviews, in written and video form, which show how people have greatly benefited from cannabis. These types of personal appeals put scientific information into an even more real and understandable form.
2. Mom, Dad, It's Just a Plant
Cannabis has been demonized for generations now, but in the end, it is just a plant. Cannabis as a healing and spiritual herb has been closely tied with human history for thousands of years, being featured in ancient Chinese and Indian history. Cannabis is also the same plant as hemp, just with different amounts of various cannabinoids that draw the line between a medical product and a food stuff.
I found that a great way to change my parents perception of cannabis was to have them look at hemp itself. Hemp can now be found in almost any grocery store with a health foods section. Hemp seeds are full of essential fatty acids and important minerals, as well lots of protein. Hemp oil features many of the same important dietary qualities of hemp seeds and is filled with good-for-you fats that keep you full and energized. It’s is a great addition to anyone's diet and it doesn't have any of the negatives that are associated with cannabis. Using hemp can be a great bridge between the many misconceptions of cannabis and can show that the basic parts of the plant can have health benefits, even without large amounts of cannabinoids.
3. Tell Your Parents that Bongs are Retro
Cannabis quality has changed greatly, even just in the last ten years. Cannabis is no longer only rolled up in a joint and smoked and a bong, it almost seems retro. Cannabis comes in many different forms, strengths, and with a variety of different administration methods. I have found that cannabis stigma increases when the consumption method is smoking, especially if you talk to your parents about smoking a spliff or a bong. Try talking to your parents about the multitude of ways it can be consumed discreetly and effectively.
To many people, the idea of smoking flower evokes thoughts of a specific smell, and conjures the old stoner image. Let's be honest too, specifically, your parents are probably afraid you will be the stoner they hoped you would not be. Yet, the forms of cannabis today, are most likely completely unrecognizable to your parents and also outside of the realm of the taboo. From topical products, to edibles to tinctures, cannabis can be taken in a variety of ways that do not involve smoking at all, and they need to be made aware of this.
Many cannabis products today, are specifically curated and bred to target a particular condition or symptom. CBD is all the rage today, and is an anti inflammatory, an analgesic and an anti anxiety. CBD specific strains are known to help children who struggle with seizures live a more normal life and the intensely autistic calm violent tendencies.
You Can Change Perceptions
The bottom line is that marijuana is not a demon drug it has been made out to be and your influence and knowledge can help change the perceptions of those around you, even with your parents. With some science to back you up and some anecdotal evidence of medical success stories, even the most conservative of parents may have a change of heart (well maybe not the most conservative).
Stay positive, be who you are and feel empowered to educate your parents on the positive aspects of cannabis, of which there are many. Who knows, maybe one day you will even catch your Mom on the couch enjoying an edible to take the edge off after a stressful day at work. Anything is possible.