Being a parent who also happens to be a cannabis consumer can be tricky or even risky in some places. Although 30 states allow some form of legal cannabis, there is still a great deal of misinformation and stigma associated with the plant, especially for parents. We know that many people already use it as a medicine. In fact, the FDA just approved the first cannabis-based medication designed to treat two rare and severe types of epilepsy. And although a 2017 Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans support federal legalization, we are often up against the deadbeat “stoner” stereotype. As a parent, how do you tackle this conversation with your children? As an adult child, how do you help educate your parents and grandparents, some of whom came up in the era of “Reefer Madness”?
Honest Candor is one of our core values at Shadowbox Farms, and it’s the first step in starting those healthy conversations with your loved ones. Now that more Americans are able to safely access cannabis, consumers are starting to share their stories. That is helping ignite a national conversation where people feel more free to ask questions without fear or judgment. Speaking the same language is also important in having meaningful discourse so one party does not feel left out of the loop. Do your homework. Be prepared to answer questions, and back them up with information from trustworthy sources.
Candor is not only about transparency; it’s also about connection. In order have a meaningful discussion, it’s important to assume positive intent and show the person you care. How you go about it may look differently when you are having an age-appropriate conversation with your child or when talking to your elders. Making an effort to understand their fears and address their concerns will make them feel heard, and it will help you identify where education is needed.
Lost in Translation
There’s no shortage of nicknames for cannabis—weed, pot, ganja, marijuana—but those come with stigma and political baggage. Overcoming black market stereotypes is crucial to the success of cannabis as a regulated product, but sometimes even the slang associated with it can be a barrier to the conversation. Pair that with new research on the different components of cannabis—THC, CBD, terpenes—and the new ways to access it—vape, dab, edibles, tinctures—and it can be overwhelming. Before we can make strides in normalization, we first have to speak the same language and create a judgment-free zone where people can ask, “What the heck is CBD?”. And although the common name “marijuana” is still widely used, we should strive to reclaim its latin name, “cannabis,” as part of this cultural shift. That keeps the conversation in the realm of facts and helps remove clandestine associations. Having a common language is key to education and effective communication with family and friends.
Safety in Numbers
Sharing stories is a huge part of normalization, and thankfully there are smart people doing just that on websites such as Splimm, a “pot and parenting newsletter.” It’s equal parts education, community and lifestyle advice. Having some sort of support network is crucial for parents as we navigate raising kids in the post-prohibition era. For example, many of us see no difference in the experience of having a glass of wine to relax at the end the day versus consuming a cannabis edible or vaping. And yet, many parents still feel the need to hide their consumption from their children. I get that. I’ve been there. Having a forum to talk through those fears with other parents helped me tackle the conversation with my own family, and it was a game-changer. Need more practical tips? Check out this very thoughtful blog from Habu Health.
As pioneers in the relatively new industry of regulated cannabis, it’s so important we get this right. The more we talk about it, the more we chip away at the mystery and taboo associated with it. The more we share our individual experiences, the more we strengthen our collective voice. And the way we get there is through openness, community and education.