When it comes to educating others about the benefits of cannabis, you seem to be talking down or talking up. You might find yourself explaining the good and bad to your kids or helping your elders appreciate what’s in for them.
How to talk to the teens
You may feel you can’t tell your teens anything that they will listen to or that will change their minds, But, parenting still requires you to have “the talk” about marijuana.
Even regular users understand that teens should wait until they are mature enough to make adult decisions. The fact is that most adolescents do not use cannabis, so the argument that “everybody’s doing it” doesn’t hold. And, the fact that sound science indicates that cannabis use can alter the developing adolescent brain.
There are the practical issues that some teens find valuable and personally applicable:
- Use of recreational cannabis is illegal in most states. Even where recreational and medical marijuana are legal for growing, buying, and carrying, you must be at least 18.
- Cannabis use affects the health of adolescents differently than it does adults.
- Adolescents are more likely to develop a psychological dependency.
- Marijuana use has been linked to poor motivation and performance in school.
- Effect of use can mask other adolescent issues like depression and anxiety.
- Some evidence indicates that marijuana may reduce developing cognition and IQ scores.
- Arrests for marijuana violations may create a criminal record that can affect future employment, scholarship, and college admissions.
You’ll succeed better when you have a conversation with your teen, a dialogue more than a lecture. You’d be smart to consider the environment. It should be comfortable enough for parents and teen to speak naturally.
- Let the teen know what you want to talk about by asking about what they know.
- When they hesitate, as they will likely do, help them understand the conversation is a no fear situation where the teen can talk here or anytime and anywhere.
- Listen more than you talk. Listening pays respect and fills you in.
- Explain your understanding about cannabis, its values, and its side-effects, but be prepared to support your position with facts — not preconceptions, biases, or rumors.
- Build your case on legal and health issues, not on moral issues, and then frame the consequences for behavior.
Now, talking to teens about your use is another matter.
Trying to explain your use of recreational marijuana to a teen will strike the teen as hypocritical, and there’s not much chance of salvaging your good intentions.
It does help if you are honest, deliberate and calculated about your conversation. The relevant facts are still the facts, and you can persuade a patient and self-possessed teen to follow what you say and not what you do.
However, if you are explaining why you use cannabis for medical purposes, you should find it easier to show and tell they positive results. If the teen appreciates what you’ve been through physically or emotionally, they will embrace whatever it takes to make you better.
Talking to your elders about cannabis use
If you fully appreciate the benefits of cannabis, you owe it to your parents and grandparents to explain the benefits that could benefit them:
♦ Fun doesn’t age. Regardless of aging, folks have a right to fun, even uninhibited euphoria. They have the right to enjoy things with or without a medical benefit.
Older people, especially disabled, restricted, or widowed need to laugh and socialize with others. Business Insider reports on Octavia Wellness that provides “wellness consultants, who tour California's senior communities — those geared towards active adults — and host parties that educate residents on the medical uses of cannabis. The startup specializes in non-smokeable materials, like oils and tinctures, that provide relief without the high.”
♦ Cancer fears. Your elders deserve the truth, so you should tread lightly about cannabis and cancer. However, the facts of the matter can offer some comfort, hope, and therapy for seniors.
The fact is that numerous medical studies around the world, including animal and human subjects, show positive effects in the treatment of tumors and in the reduction of metastasis in treating brain tumors, lymphomas, and cancers of the breast, cervix, colon, lung, prostate, thyroid, pancreas, and uterus.
Individual studies have shown cannabis use has prevented the formation of blood vessels that fuel tumor growth, stopped cell reproduction, induced apoptosis or natural death of cancer cells, and differentiated cancer cells from healthy cells.
♦ Pain relief. For many, aging means the accumulation and aggregation of pain from one or more sources.
Seniors find themselves in final stage arthritis, back pain, and more. They find little or no benefit in pain management pharmaceuticals and look for alternative solutions to pain produced from lasting autoimmune and progressing degenerative conditions.
♦ Early-onset Alzheimer’s concerns. No one can avoid news about the threats of Alzheimer’s disease. The attached dementia affects over five million Americans a year. And, there are few things in the way of its spread throughout the aging population.
But, some studies find that cannabis reduces the amyloid plaque that plagues brain corridors and generates new cell growth. Both THC and CBD appear to have direct and indirect influences in reducing the neuroinflammation present in Alzheimer’s patients.
While far from the researched satisfaction in cannabis as a curative therapy, seniors might be encouraged to investigate the cannabis option on their own.
How to Talk to Loved Ones about the Benefits of Cannabis
Talking to young or old loved ones about the benefits of cannabis is easier than it used to be. Cannabis, medical and recreational, is so much a part of the daily national conversation, it’s more natural to initiate a conversation even over dinner or out with friends.
In fact, this is increasingly a discussion you should have sooner than later. If you know what you are talking about, you now have an obligation to share.