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How to talk to your parents or grandparents about medicinal cannabis

by | Jan 12, 2021

If you think medicinal cannabis could help your parents or grandparents experience a better quality of life, what’s the best way to talk to them about it? Maybe your parents or grandparents are open to new ideas and willing to try something new that might improve their health.

But there is a generation gap when it comes to cannabis and it’s not uncommon for older people to be more resistant to it than younger people. Your parents and grandparents probably grew up during a time when cannabis was an illicit substance that people used solely to get high.

It’s only recently that cannabis has re-emerged as a mainstream medicine that’s showing a lot of potential for a wide range of health conditions and symptoms. As your parents and grandparents get older, it’s likely that they’ll develop more health issues that require visits to the doctor and prescription medications.

If you’ve discovered that medicinal cannabis could potentially help your loved one, it’s a good idea to talk to them about it. Maybe you’re not exactly sure how to go about that, or you’re worried about how they might react.

That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide for how to speak with your parents or grandparents about the potential benefits of medical cannabis.


Respect the resistance

It’s possible that your parents and grandparents will have some resistance to medicinal cannabis. They came of age during the infamous “war on drugs”, a decades-long campaign to vilify cannabis. The stigma around cannabis still remains today.

It may be difficult for some people to understand the difference between medicinal and recreational cannabis. If you’re wanting to talk to your loved ones about using medicinal cannabis, it’s important to respect where they’re coming from. Approach the subject sensitively, understand the generation gap, and proceed respectfully.


Take it slow

If you’ve just started learning about the potential health benefits of cannabis, you might be tempted to shout it from the rooftops.

Maybe you’ve started using a medicinal cannabis product and you’re seeing positive results, or you’ve read some research about how it might help your parents or grandparents with their health condition.

It’s fine to be excited, but you might want to dial it down when you talk to your loved ones. Coming across as an enthusiastic evangelist can be off-putting and it makes the conversation about you, rather than them. It’s advisable to take the conversation slowly and introduce the subject of medicinal cannabis naturally.

As an example, a conversation could flow like this:

  • Ask your loved one how their health is/how they’ve been feeling
  • Ask about the medication/s they’re currently taking. Are they helping?
  • Mention that you’ve been reading about the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis OR that you’ve been using medicinal cannabis yourself
  • Would they be open to learning more about it OR potentially talking to their doctor about getting a prescription?

There are many different ways to bring the subject up in conversation, but the key is to do it without making it feel like an intervention.

Remember you’re not trying to convince them or “win” them over to your side, you simply want to gently invite them to consider cannabis as an option.


It’s nothing new

Explaining that cannabis is not a new medicine might help your loved ones to think about it differently. Cannabis has been used medicinally since the dawn of recorded history. It was even prescribed by doctors in New Zealand well into the 1950s.

In the grand scheme of things, cannabis has only been labelled an illicit substance for a tiny blot of time. What might be new to older people is the fact that medicinal cannabis is not limited to the dry plant that’s smoked or inhaled to get “high”.

Medicinal cannabis comes in many different forms, including tinctures, oils, capsules, balms, creams, sprays, and tablets. They can be specially formulated with different blends of therapeutic compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes), many of which don’t produce the “high” feeling that cannabis is known for.

It’s even possible to get blends that are created to help with specific health conditions and symptoms.

Medicinal cannabis feels very new right now because it’s suddenly getting a lot of attention from the scientific community. But really, it’s an ancient medicine that’s experiencing a modern resurgence.


Plant-based vs. pharmaceutical

If your parents or grandparents are into natural health products and remedies, that could be a good avenue through which to introduce medicinal cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis is a natural, plant-based product. However, unlike illicit cannabis, medicinal cannabis must be produced to a pharmaceutical standard for quality and safety purposes.

It’s possible that your loved one’s taking a cocktail of different pharmaceutical medications for their health conditions, especially if they’re elderly. Many of these can have unpleasant side effects. Some of them may not be helpful at all.

That’s not to say medicinal cannabis will be helpful, but it may be worth looking into as a natural alternative to industrial pharmaceuticals.


Explore the research

You might find that the conversation about medicinal cannabis stretches across days, weeks, months, or even years. That’s totally fine. This isn’t a race.

If you find that your parent or grandparent is genuinely interested in exploring the potential of medicinal cannabis, it’s a good idea to explore the scientific research together.

If you want help with that, you could check out our guide to doing your own scientific research or register for Ora Support, our educational resource for patients and caregivers.

If the research seems promising, it might be time to make an appointment with the doctor to see what they think about prescribing medicinal cannabis.


Be honest

It can be easy to get caught up in the hype around medicinal cannabis at the moment. Several countries around the world have legalised both recreational and medicinal cannabis and it’s become something of a healthcare trend.

While it’s reasonable to be excited about the medicinal potential of cannabis, it’s important to be honest about the healthcare claims that are doing the rounds online.

Cannabis is not a miracle drug or silver bullet for every healthcare condition. Research and clinical trials are helping to determine cannabis’ medical applications and guidelines for how to use it safely and effectively.

And there’s more research being done every day. So before making any promises to your parents or grandparents, make sure they’re supported by robust research.


An invitation to better health

How to talk to your parents or grandparents about medicinal cannabis

We all want our loved ones to enjoy good health well into their golden years.

Medicinal cannabis may be able to help some people with managing pain, arthritis, sleep disorders, and many other health conditions and symptoms that are common among older people.

If you think your parents or grandparents could benefit from medicinal cannabis, it’s up to you to have a conversation with them about it. At best, that conversation could lead to a much better quality of life for your loved one. At worst, it could result in a minor disagreement.

That sounds like a dice worth rolling, don’t you think?

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