Weed is becoming increasingly accepted across generations. Among Baby Boomers, for instance, cannabis use has grown by 71 percent. The medical benefits of cannabis, including non-psychotropic CBD options, are attractive to those who would otherwise opt for pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the variety of ways to consume cannabis, with products like capsules, tinctures, and salves, is a far cry from passing the peace pipe in your father’s college dorm room.
However, whether your parents or grandparents have never been exposed to cannabis or used to smoke weed and stopped when they got older, it can be a challenge to reintroduce it to them to the plant and show them how you yourself use it nowadays. They might think weed is a drug like all other illicit substances, or just may not be hip to new technologies like dabbing and vaping. Here are some ways you can broach the conversation with them — whether to be open about your own use, or to suggest that they use it, too.
Frame cannabis as a wellness product
Whereas once cannabis was seen only as a recreational drug or medicine for the terminally ill, it’s now come to hold space somewhere in the middle. Medical marijuana patients and adult use consumers, alike, are using products like salves, tinctures, bath balms, and microdoseable edibles to manage pain, reduce anxiety, sleep better, and relax. Framing cannabis as way to manage and enhance general wellness makes it feel more accessible, without having to fit into to any one demographic, such a seriously ill patient or a “stoner.”
Tell your parents about the countless studies coming out of places like Israel (where medical cannabis research is legal) that look at cannabis for tumor reduction, epilepsy, PTSD, glaucoma, and more. Assuming they don’t try to fight with science, you can easily convince them of the cannabis plant’s medicinal benefits without making it seem like a “drug.”
Eight states have legalized adult use cannabis and 29 have legalized medical marijuana. CBD is available in nearly every state in the nation. Citizens and politicians have begun to see merit in this plant, either as a medicine, wellness product, or more generally, as an industry. With so much money, excitement, and policy behind it, cannabis is gaining legitimacy and mainstream appeal. With more than 60 percent of the nation in favor of legalization, your cannabis enthusiasm might seem less rebellious than your parents or grandparents might think.
In the early 20th century, reefer madness was used to demonize the cannabis plant and its perceived users — mainly African Americans and Latin Americans. Prohibition was due in large part to institutional racism. Then in the 1960s, Nixon used prohibition to criminalize his to major political enemies: African Americans and peaceniks: “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Nixon’s domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman said in 1994. “We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” Today, blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana, despite equal rates of use. Once your family understands this, they’ll better understand the reasons marijuana is illegal — not because the plant is a dangerous drug, but because of politics and racism.
The combination of these talking points might help your parents or grandparents think differently about the way people use cannabis, what society thinks of it, and why it’s illegal in the first place. Then they may even consider using it for themselves if they need to relax or treat a condition.