With adult-use cannabis now legal, many parents are figuring out ways to talk about it with their kids. Of course, this is a necessary conversation. But sometimes the dialog needs to flow in the opposite direction.
Grown children may feel the need to talk to their parents about cannabis, because they think it could be of some help with a medical condition. They want to have a moment like Rolling Stone writer Amanda Chicago Lewis, who after many years finally convinced her father to use a cannabis salve for his arthritis.
Some may think their baby boomer parents, who grew up in the 1960s in the era of free love and experimentation, may be old hands at cannabis consumption. But this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, statistics show that folks over 65 were the most likely to have opposed the legalization of marijuana.
Parental objections can run the gamut from fear of the effects of smoking cannabis to worrying about social stigma. Here are five things you can say to mom and dad to try turning reluctance to acceptance and perhaps even constructive use.
1. Cannabis Can Be Good for You
Many people believe that talking about marijuana’s medical benefits is lip service and a transparent excuse to justify enjoying marijuana’s psychoactive effects. But the truth is, medical marijuana is a thing, a good thing, with research to back up its effectiveness in many instances.
Cannabis can help improve, among other things:
Still need convincing? Amanda suggests pointing your parents to Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed”. In her words, it’s “a very persuasive 2013 documentary about how CNN’s chief medical correspondent came to change his mind about the therapeutic use of cannabis.”
2. Marijuana Is Safe to Use
Mom and dad may not be afraid to engage in “wine o’clock,” but they may be worried about the health effects of using cannabis. You can tell them they don’t need to be.
Studies show that cannabis is less addictive than other drugs are, such as alcohol, nicotine and heroin—and less harmful.
Of all of these substances, cannabis was the only one classed as low risk.
3. You Don’t Have to Get High on Cannabis
Parents may be wary of marijuana’s association with stoner culture, or may be afraid of the loss of control that may come with consuming it.
This is the moment to have the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vs. cannabidiol (CBD) discussion. These are the two most common chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, in cannabis. THC is the psychoactive element of the plant that produces a euphoric feeling, while CBD provides therapeutic effects without making consumers feel high like THC does.
CBD has a range of proven health benefits such as:
And with a variety of products on the market that are entirely or mostly contain CBD, tell your parents it’s absolutely possible to get all of marijuana’s benefits without the high.
If they do want to consume THC for its health benefits, but still aren’t on board with getting high, you can introduce them to the concept of microdosing marijuana. This is where the consumer takes the smallest amount possible of cannabis to reach the desired effects. Generally, a microdose of THC is between 2–5 mg and can be lower if need be.
Taking such a small amount of THC means that your parents can tightly control the amount of cannabis they ingest. This also means that the negative effects that some people experience with THC, like paranoia, are less likely to happen and will be short-lived if they do.
4. You Don’t Have to Smoke Marijuana
Again, your parents may not like the thought of smoking cannabis, associating it with a certain kind of recreational user. Or they may be health conscious and not want to smoke marijuana for the same reasons they avoid tobacco.
Well, of course, the answer is they don’t have to smoke it. They can consume cannabis edibles or take a marijuana sublingual—a cannabis oil you mix into coffee or tea, or place under your tongue. If your parents do vape as a safer way to consume tobacco, they can do this currently with cannabis flower and hopefully in the near future with legal marijuana concentrates.
The sales of edibles and concentrates aren’t yet approved in Canada. Presumably those approvals are coming down the road as government plays catch-up with booming demand for legal marijuana.
But for now it’s easy to find recipes to make your own cannabis edibles at home.
5. Cannabis Is Not a Big Deal
Probably the single biggest obstacle to your parents’ accepting and consuming marijuana is the stigma. Leaders like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ex-U.S. President Barak Obama have pointed out that consuming cannabis is no different than drinking alcohol is.
While true, it doesn’t stop many people young and old from being reluctant to talk about their use and enjoyment of marijuana. But they should know they’re not alone. Statistics Canada projects Canadians could spend more than $1 billion on legal cannabis between October and December this year.
As we head into the holiday season, you can ask your parents what’s better to consume at a social occasion—alcohol, which is addictive and known to cause irrational and dangerous behavior, and can even lead to death. Or cannabis, which is safer, has actual health benefits and hasn’t caused one death by overdose to date. Hopefully the ensuing conversation will be enlightening, respectful and productive for all sides.
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