For many of our parents, cannabis has been repeatedly described as a “gateway drug.” Oftentimes, they’re convinced cannabis is a dangerous substance, reserved for drug addicts and hooligans. And, really, it is not their fault. For generations, cannabis has been portrayed in a negative (and false) light. Many people have been indoctrinated into believing that cannabis is unsafe. This has been reflected in the prohibition of cannabis, as well as its current Schedule 1 federal status.
Yet, as many of us now understand — after scientific studies and countless experiences — cannabis may be utilized in a positive and beneficial way. It has helped children manage severe seizures. It has given countless individuals their life back after coping with chronic pain for years. It is prescribed by physicians for cancer, arthritis, nausea and other serious conditions. For many of us, cannabis is as normal as it is for some people to use other medications. Yet, openly talking about our cannabis use, particularly with our parents, can end awkwardly, and in the worse cases, in arguments and misunderstanding. This is a brief guide on how to talk to your parents about cannabis, help them understand plant medicine better, and how to still maintain a healthy relationship.
1. Try to understand where Mom and Dad are coming from and encourage them to understand where you’re coming from.
The first step, on both sides, is embracing a compassionate and empathetic viewpoint. 2017 is very different from 1987 (or 1977 for that matter). The times have changed, but that doesn’t mean that everyone’s viewpoints have changed as well. A good place to start would be to emphasize how much research has been done in the last decade. Point out that states have legalized cannabis for very valid and important reasons. Don’t dismiss your parents as foolish for not immediately accepting cannabis as a medicine, but encourage them to explore the progress cannabis legalization has made, and the impetus behind legalization. Then, if you feel comfortable, explain a little why you have decided to use cannabis as medicine. Honesty is key. Your parents, hopefully, want you to be healthy and happy; help them understand how cannabis contributes to your health and happiness.
2. Point the ‘rents in the direction of valid cannabis studies.
Sometimes your parents need to be convinced of cannabis’ benefit through research. This is absolutely understandable, and luckily, there are plenty of studies out that have been done and may help them understand its role as medicine. We recommend checking out this post to find some research to present. It could be helpful to show them our very own Patient Success Stories as well — the patients we feature come from all walks of life and are from all age ranges.
3. Oftentimes, our parents’ biggest concerns surround legality.
Sometimes, our parents aren’t as concerned about cannabis itself, but if you’re going to get in trouble. If you can, take them into a dispensary lobby (like at HMH). Anyone working would be happy to explain the laws around cannabis to your parents, or direct them to resources to learn more about it. Through doing this, they will be able to see that dispensary lobbies often look like a normal doctors’ office lobby. They will be able to see that all kinds of people stop into the dispensary on a day to day basis. It’s not as scary as what they might be imagining and the concept of buying cannabis legally will become increasingly normalized in their minds.
4. Ask yourself what the ultimate goal of this conversation is.
Before jumping into this discussion, consider what the ideal outcome of the conversation is. Do you need more support regarding your health? Are they encouraging you to explore more conventional options? Are they worried about you? Some of us are lucky to have parents who are willing to openly discuss cannabis. Others are lucky to have simple, unsaid acceptance. In the end, your healthcare choices are incredibly personal and important to have control of. Whatever it is you’re seeking in this conversation, being honest with our parents can be a wonderful experience and will hopefully end in a stronger bond. Your parents might have been curious about cannabis all along, but were too embarrassed or shy to explore. All they needed was for you to reach out.