Second in a Series
Read Time: 4:30 Mins.
Over the past few months, we’ve posted several stories about societal changes and attitudes regarding cannabis use in America. Most adults now favor cannabis legalization but this does not mean it’s supported in every home. If you have a parent who may benefit from using medicinal cannabis for a medical condition but is resistant to the very idea of cannabis, or, knows nothing about it, how do you broach the subject? Despite what the polls reveal, the reality is that for many older adults, cannabis retains a negative stigma. They trust their regular doctors who may or may not have an open mind about including cannabis in their patients’ health regimens. If their doctor does not inform them about the potential benefits, can we as loving children fill the gap? Watching our parents deal with health issues is never easy. We want to help but may be unsure of how to move forward. This is especially true if they explicitly forbade cannabis use in our younger days. It can be a sensitive subject, so what’s the best way to have an educational conversation with them? For everyone involved, openly discussing cannabis may be a new experience. We suggest having a plan or outline ready to go.
The Cannabis Conversation
Before you have “the talk,” what condition do you hope to improve for your mom, dad, or both? Do they share the same medicinal need? We strongly recommend you perform some research on various medical conditions for which cannabis may help. For example, many older adults suffer from chronic pain and turn to cannabis for help. If you’re an adult using medicinal cannabis this will be an easier assignment as you already have a starting point. If you are new to cannabis use, we recommend you explore the Three Wells site for information as well as other cannabis websites. When you begin the conversation it’s important that you are knowledgable about their condition and the options most beneficial to them. After doing your online homework, consider visiting a few dispensaries and talking with budtenders. Ask questions and look for any commonality in their recommendations and hopefully, they’ll point you in the same direction. Also, be sure to ask if they cater to and welcome older adults at their dispensary.
Address the Elephant in the Room
If you have not discussed cannabis with your parents, do you know how they may feel about it? Our first story in this series, Cannabis Conversations, may be helpful. If your parents are politically conservative, recent polls reveal they may be less open to using cannabis. This is not always the case but it’s an important element to consider. Older adults in conservative communities grew up with the typical mainstream view that weed, pot, grass, marijuana, etc., was a “gateway” drug with no legitimate purpose in which only degenerates took part. It’s OK to raise the historical stigma, but then ask how they feel about it now. What have they heard or read? Do their friends use it or talk about it? Use facts such as the recent polling data where six-in-ten Americans now support it. The main point at this stage is to let your parents know they are not alone among their peers when it comes to cannabis curiosity.
Cannabis Medicine for Mature Adults
Focus the conversation on medicinal cannabis, not adult-use because chances are your parents have legitimate medical needs for which cannabis may help. It also steers the topic away from possible negative “party time” implications. Again, many adults suffering from chronic pain turn to cannabis for relief, but there are myriad of other medical issues for which cannabis may help. Research also shows that many people use cannabis as an alternative to opioids and other prescription medications. You can also inform them that for thousands of years, societies worldwide used cannabis for medicinal purposes. In a way, what is old is new again.
CBD Products for Adults
It’s quite possible your mom or dad may have heard about CBD products that do not contain the psychoactive compound THC, the cannabinoid that produces the euphoric effect or “high.” CBD-only products come from both traditional cannabis and its hemp cousin, and may be helpful in fighting pain, inflammation, anxiety, and improving sleep. Since it’s not closely associated with pot, your parents may feel more open about a hemp-based CBD product. As with traditional cannabis, finding the most suitable products and reputable brands requires research. Be prepared to offer some suggestions.
Ways to Consume Cannabis for Adults
What may be the most appropriate consumption method? For example, if your mom or dad suffers from any type of respiratory issues, smoking raw flower may not be the best recommendation. Smoking may cause coughing or discomfort and may result in an unpleasant experience. Products such as edibles, vaping, topicals, bath soaks, and tinctures are all viable discussion options and may be of tremendous help
Be Their Online Guide
Many older adults spend a considerable amount of time online, often using their smartphones. If they spend time online show them some of the sites you visit (like Three Wells), and talk about them as an educational resource. Bookmark some sites (Three Wells!) to make finding them easier.
Visit a Medical Cannabis Phyisican Together
Discuss finding a cannabis physician together where you can discuss the medical condition, and what cannabis strain may be most appropriate. While medical ID card requirements differ from state to state, they may provide access to more potent medicine in larger quantities than products in states that permit recreational, adult-use.
Cannabis Dispensaries for Mature Adults
Talk about taking your parents to a dispensary. If this is a possibility, visit it beforehand to set the stage and know they will be comfortable, and, that having a security guard is a good thing.
Some dispensaries offer community events to help educate potential customers. Bud & Bloom, a dispensary in Santa Ana, CA, provides free, monthly bus service from Laguna Woods Village, a senior living community. Seniors may attend a group lesson, shop, and leave with products best suited for them.
Talk, Listen, and Learn
As children, watching our parents age and deal with pain or other chronic medical issues can sometimes feel overwhelming. If you believe that cannabis use may play a helpful role in their lives, explore your options, and by all means, sit down and talk with them about it. Ask questions, because their answers may surprise you.
Have you talked to your mom or dad about cannabis? What was the reaction? We’d love to hear about your experience, so start a conversation on our social channels.
Philip Rebentisch is a writer and the Content Editor for Three Wells.