Despite the fact that marijuana has been used medically for literally thousands of years, only in recent years has western medicine started to (slowly) embrace this botanical remedy as a legitimate medicine. Worse, cannabis has long been demonized.
So, unsurprisingly, discussing cannabis with family can be a difficult topic.
To this day, for many people cannabis continues to evoke an emotionally-driven, non-scientific response. For many, stereotypes of cannabis users being stoners (or potheads) persist. Likewise, many people still believe cannabis isn’t “real” medicine. (Countless studies prove otherwise.)
When you broach the topic with loved ones or family, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Make sure you’ve done your research on clinical cannabis so that you can speak authoritatively on why cannabis is medicine. The United States National Institutes of Health maintains a website -- PubMed -- that archives virtually every peer-reviewed study ever conducted. If you do a search on “cannabis,” you’ll find more than 16,000 peer-reviewed studies. Do a search on “marijuana,” and more than 25,000 studies will come up. You can also visit Zana HealthLab’s research library to find many of the most important condition-specific studies.
A few of the conditions cannabis can treat -- with numerous studies demonstrating the medicinal benefits of cannabis -- include:
Nausea caused by chemotherapy treatments for cancer
Muscles spasms associated with multiple sclerosis
Weight loss caused by HIV or other chronic illness
Few people know that our body's most important physiological system is the endocannabinoid system (eCS). Remarkably, the eCS is our very own cannabinoid system that produces mimetic twins of many of the same chemicals found in cannabis -- including THC and CBD. Cannabinoids found in cannabis can work with our eCS therapeutically to treat numerous conditions and symptoms. In fact, our eCS is responsible for homeostasis (maintaining a healthy equilibrium), while regulating appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory.
The hardest part about talking about clinical cannabis is often simply starting the conversation.
Once you know the facts -- and you’ve successfully used clinical cannabis -- you’ll feel much more confident discussing the topic with family. The hardest part is usually just starting the conversation. But, having an honest, open dialogue, based on facts can change people’s perceptions of cannabis and put them at ease. And, they’ll be much less likely to judge you unfairly.
Nonetheless, if you do feel judged, don’t get defensive. Bring the conversation to a personal level. Share your experiences about your condition, and how cannabis has helped you. You’ve likely tried other medications, but perhaps they didn’t work or the side effects were too harsh. Again, be open and honest.
Remember, people often get entrenched in long held political or moral views. So don’t be surprised or disappointed if ones close to you don’t immediately accept your decision. Sometimes it takes a little time. But, ultimately, it’s your life, your health. And, with rare exception, you’ll find most family will support your decision.