Third in a Series
Read Time: 4:00 Mins.
Living in Southern California surrounded by seemingly boundless cannabis culture and acceptance, it’s easy to forget this is not the reality in many parts of our country. Most adults, but not all are on board with medicinal cannabis, let alone adult-use. What happens when you use cannabis but your spouse or significant other harbors doubts, negative perceptions, or outright hostility about it? If you’re not on the same wavelength, this can be a sensitive and outright prickly dilemma. How then can you possibly broach the subject?
This is our third article in our Cannabis Conversations series. Our first story featured a fictional conversation, and the second explored talking with your parents about it. This article provides some guidance for discussing cannabis with a non-consuming partner in your life. For purposes of this article, we’re starting with the premise that your significant other is unaware of your intent.
Begin at the Beginning: Why Adults Use Cannabis
Do you have a clear, simple reason for your personal cannabis use? Many adults use cannabis for a medical condition, and it’s a straightforward answer. If you’re suffering from pain, stress, anxiety, sleep issues, or other ailments for which cannabis may help, this is the perfect starting point for any discussion. There is a distinct difference in needing medicine to better enjoy daily life versus recreational use on the weekends. Both have their place, but using cannabis for a medical issue may be a softer, more empathetic discussion than using cannabis for adult-use purposes. Plan accordingly.
Rough Seas or Calm Waters Ahead?
Before engaging in this discussion we recommend taking stock of your relationship. Even if you’re literally a card-carrying member of the medical cannabis club and have an absolutely valid medical condition, do you have any idea how your significant other will react to your news? Will this come as a complete surprise to him or her? Do you at least have an inkling of their views about cannabis even if the subject has never come up? Could this be a topic that might negatively affect your relationship? Timing is also important, so consider what’s happening in other facets of your partner’s life. Are things, in general, OK or are other stressors occurring? You should also factor in your partner’s personality type. Do they take things in stride or is a volcanic eruption a possibility? The last thing you want to do is upset the proverbial apple cart with a wheel barrel of cannabis. Before undertaking any potentially volatile discussion, proceed with caution, and we highly recommend consulting relationship experts such as counselors, therapists, or other mental health experts.
Set the Stage for a Cannabis Discussion
Again, consider when and where to have this chat. Is it best at home in the evening? On a weekend? Is a neutral, public place a better option such as a quiet park or a bustling cafe? It’s completely your call but it’s important to consider the setting’s dynamics, and where your loved one feels most comfortable.
My friend Angelo engaged stealth for his initial cannabis experiment. Ongoing pressures at work ratcheted up his anxiety which also led to restless sleep. His research led him to LucidMood Relax, a discrete, disposable vape pen that he began using every evening in the garage. After a month, he took his wife Brittany on their favorite hike in the Santa Monica mountains. The summit is peaceful, with panoramic views of both the Pacific Ocean and the San Fernando Valley. Sitting cross-legged on boulders warmed by the sun, he began by asking her if she had noticed anything different about him over the last month. She replied that he seemed happier and more relaxed. Angelo took the tiny vape pen out of his pocket, and slowly recounted the process leading to this moment. He then asked her how she felt, knowing she had no cannabis experience whatsoever. Brittany picked up the pen thinking it looked harmless, even kind of cute. She set it down, looked him in the eye, and said she wanted to learn more. “If it makes you a happier, healthier person, then we need to explore it.”
Theresa, on the other hand, told me how she learned of her girlfriend’s $400 monthly adult-use cannabis spending sprees. Their relationship was already rocky and they found themselves in a dingy hotel room after a long, frustrating day of TSA lines and canceled flights. “Riley” didn’t prepare well or set the stage for Theresa who had occasionally smoked cannabis during her college days. After flopping down on the queen size bed, she blurted out her recent monthly party routine and finished by saying “This is who I am now, so take it or leave it.” Theresa chose the latter, picked up her still unpacked suitcase, and Ubered back to the airport. A word of advice; don’t be Riley.
Having an Adult Conversation About Cannabis
Honesty. Trust. Respect. Empathy. These are words to live by when discussing cannabis with your partner. First, be honest about your reasons for consuming cannabis, or, if you’re contemplating using it. Lay all your cards on the table and use facts to support your reasons, especially if you’re dealing with pain or another medical issue. Explain how cannabis helps you and others who suffer from your particular condition. Chances are that many other people do as well, so do your homework on your condition and others as well as the number of people across America who benefit from medicinal cannabis. If you’re an adult-use person who responsibly consumes cannabis, tell your partner about the positive effects it provides in your life. Second, trust your partner who loves and supports you. Give them reasons to be positive and on your side, and most definitely, try to avoid acrimony while talking about it. Ask for their trust if needed. You must respect their opinion and empathize with their position. If they react negatively, explore common ground that may make it more relatable to them. Do not be judgmental, and give them the time and space they need. If this is potentially fraught with danger, contemplate CBD-only products that do not include THC, the cannabinoid that produces the high.
Also, consider whether you both may benefit from sharing cannabis together. This may be a completely foreign concept to your significant other but possibly worth exploring. Again, a CBD-only product is worth a look, then moving gradually to traditional cannabis. Remember, it’s completely plausible that some people may have no interest whatsoever so respect that position. On the other hand, it could lead to a new chapter together, including the mutual benefits of amorous cannabis. Talk it over.
Have you had a cannabis conversation with your non-consuming husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend? How did it go over? Start a conversation on our social channels, we’d love to hear about it!
Philip Rebentisch is a writer and Content Editor for Three Wells.