DEC 23, 2017 7:39 PM PST

How to Talk to Your Loved Ones about Medical Cannabis

WRITTEN BY: Loren DeVito

In the last months of the years, dozens of holidays are celebrated across cultures, which means lots of food and quality time spent with family and friends. And while the holiday season can be a joyous one, it can also be quite stressful for many. Family members and friends may ask about your work, your personal life, and, often, your health. And it may be easier to discuss these matters with people you are close with but it can be difficult when catching up with someone you haven’t seen in a while – or someone who has differing opinions or beliefs, someone perhaps who opposes use of cannabis, even for medicinal uses.

If you are a new medical cannabis patient, this situation may represent unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. And even if you choose to keep your cannabis use to yourself, it may be worth considering alternative ways to approach this conversation. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions aimed at de-stressing these holiday situations below:

Share Your Personal Journey to Cannabis. How did you first become interested in medical cannabis? Did your state recently legalize its use? Had you heard anecdotal stories about its success for your condition? Did you read up on the research? Your loved one may better understand your situation if you are honest in explaining how you decided medical cannabis would be right for you.

Dispel Some Common Myths about Cannabis. If your loved one is from a generation in which cannabis use was portrayed as “evil” or believes it makes you lazy or a burden to society, try to patiently dispel some of these myths. And that cannabis has proven medical benefits. It wouldn’t hurt to mention that a few cannabis-based products are actually FDA-approved and that additional therapies are closer than ever to getting onto pharmacy shelves.

Explain the Legal Cannabis Industry. Those who are not familiar with the legalized cannabis industry may still think of marijuana that is sold in baggies on the street. And they may not know that there are different types of strains and phytocannabinoids that produce a wide range of effects. For example, explaining the difference between psychoactive THC and non-psychoactive CBD may be very helpful in dispelling the common myths of the “high.”

Describe the Different Methods of Cannabis Consumption. A loved one who may be concerned about smoking (perhaps an ex-smoker) may try to point out that using cannabis can be harmful to your lungs (whether this is actually the case or not is probably not worth arguing). Even if you choose to consume cannabis through smoking, it might be helpful to explain that there are so many other ways to consume cannabis – topicals, tinctures, edibles, vaping, and the list goes on. If your loved one is interested in using medical cannabis, this may be very important for them to consider.

Show Them the Research on Cannabis. For some people, you can talk until your blue in the face and they still won’t let up with the questioning. In these cases, it may be the most helpful to show them the research studies on medical cannabis. It will probably be best to summarize the results from clinical studies and mention supporting data from pre-clinical (animal model) work. It that still doesn’t satisfy their curiosity, point them to PubMed or so they can do some research of their own.

We hope these tips may be helpful for you. Watch this video for some additional advice and check out these free resources available from Americans for Safe Access:


About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Academically trained neuroscientist with extensive experience in science and medical writing across a wide range of therapeutic areas.
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