It’s going to be an awkward conversation at some Thanksgiving tables, but don’t despair, there’s a helpful substance that’s more popular than either Presidential nominee… cannabis!
Winning a better percentage of states than either party, cannabis (and the consumers thereof) are the true winners from this election. Regulated adult access to cannabis will soon be available in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine. Medical access will be available in Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Missouri. The population of Americans with access to legal cannabis jumped from 10 million to over 60 million!
So when you sit down with your family, consider sharing a little bit about your cannabis use. Your family has the most context for your use, assuming it is responsible use. It’s with them that you’ll get your best chance to make a case—good practice for future employers, etc. It’s also great for eliminating the stigma against cannabis. Most families probably don’t sit down and smoke and joint before dinner, but I’d be surprised if your family didn’t serve wine.
I’m sure most of you know the basic “stoner” talking points about cannabis—it’s natural medicine, non-toxic, you can’t overdose, there have never been any fatalities, it was only banned for racist reasons, JFK used cannabis in The White House, it used to be a common pre-pharmaceutical medicine, among many others. These are all true, but the fact that you won’t OD isn’t necessarily the way to convince your Mom it’s a better choice than a little wine. Ok, maybe some of those are, but the way you present them is important.
Which brings us to context. The reasons above are great but is kind of surface-level. Why not start to educate your Mom about the endocannabinoid system—the body system responsible for helping us “relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect,” as summarized by Italian researcher Vincenzo Di Marzo. Talk to her about Endocannabinoid Defiency Syndrome, an increasingly common condition referred to by it’s primary symptoms—fibromyalgia for pain, IBS for intestinal issues, anxiety or depression for mental health issues. By tying your use of cannabis in with the medical benefits, it helps to explain your use as helpful not destructive (even if you don’t view your own usage as 100% medical).
Depending on your own situation, you could even lead this conversation in the direction of harm reduction and the potential of cannabis to be an exit drug for users of alcohol or other drugs. There is increasingly evidence that cannabis can be effectively used as a replacement for drugs of abuse as well as pharmaceuticals. Whether your story includes an Adderall prescription at age 12 or trouble with alcohol at age 20, being able to say, “Using cannabis helps me not use other more harmful drugs,” is a powerful statement.
Some families do not have enough perspective to be able to accept this last part so please assess your own situation before opening up to your family. You can help “the cause,” but only if it doesn’t hurt your own family relationship. Remaining secretive can create suspicions though, so if you’re in a positive place in your life, consider showing your family what a responsible cannabis consumer looks like.