If your doctor has certified you as a medical marijuana patient, you have taken an important step towards improving the quality of your life. However, the societal stigma around cannabis use is still lingering, albeit among a lesser percentage of the population, and isn’t accepted as a legitimate medical treatment in the eyes of certain individuals. Even though medical marijuana (MMJ) is legal in more than half of U.S. states, it remains illegal at the federal level, which can cause apprehension to those who are misinformed or uneducated about state laws and the medicinal values of marijuana. For some new medical marijuana patients, it may be a difficult transition in a lot of respects, but especially for those who have family members that are steadfastly against cannabis use altogether. These patients, in particular, will want to avoid a potentially bothersome situation with their loved ones by addressing it accordingly and maturely. Family members who may not agree with your cannabis use for your medical condition simply may not be educated enough about it to accept it. This is why it’s important to provide accurate MMJ education to loved ones in order for them to be comfortable and supportive of your medical treatments.
Medical marijuana education of family members such as your parents or adult siblings should be addressed differently than explaining it to your children. Different family members will likely have various views on medical marijuana use depending on their own past personal exposure to marijuana, as well as their political and even religious views.
The first thing to emphasize to your parents or adult siblings is that you have a prescription just like any other drug. It is a perfectly legal and acceptable treatment for your condition. Make sure they realize it is legitimately prescribed to you because it is known to aid in treating or curing your particular ailment. For those suffering from detrimental effects of cancer and rigorous chemotherapy treatments, convincing loved ones of the validity of your prescription may not be too difficult. However, for those with slightly less debilitating conditions, you may need to provide further evidence of the benefits of MMJ in order for them to become comfortable with your cannabis use. Mention the different THC to CBD compound ratios that pinpoint your unique symptoms and how cannabis is a much safer alternative to other potentially harmful pharmaceutical medications.
Remind the adult loved ones in your life that the U.S. government has approved marijuana research for medicinal purposes (including a marijuana growing operation!) A federally approved marijuana growing/research facility has been in operation at the University of Mississippi since 1968. And with MMJ education spreading widely in more and more states, it is inevitable that additional facilities will be created and federally approved in the near future.
This requires a slightly different approach. At first, you may be tempted to hide your cannabis use from your kids altogether. But all children are curious and they will probably find out about it one way or another. You want to be the one to control the initial communication with your children so that they are not misinformed or left to assumptions. Of course, this is all relative based on the age of your children. You may very well be able to conceal your cannabis use from kids that are 5 years old or younger, and they probably don’t fall into the “need to know” category anyway. However, adolescents and young adults are more likely to become aware when and if you are consuming your medication, so it is best to address this matter before they become suspicious. Otherwise, you run the risk of your children thinking you are a parent that just likes to get high. Treat them with respect and start with the basics. Don’t assume they are knowledgeable about medical marijuana, but instead, inform them correctly.
Your attitude is key when it’s time to introduce your family to the fact of your MMJ use. It’s best to be straightforward, non-defensive and unembarrassed about it. Enter the conversation with solid scientific evidence to back you up for any questions they may have. They must know that it is not just a ploy to get “stoned”, but a way for you live a higher quality of life. Provide comfort by explaining that you consume your medication responsibly and that no red and blue sirens will blare from you possessing or using cannabis. The biggest hurdle for them towards a better understanding may be distinguishing your prescription from recreational marijuana use. To help with this confusion, exemplify instances in which you consume your medication, explain why you are doing so, and exactly how it triggers and treats the symptoms that affect you the most.
It should go without saying that regardless of their age or your relation to a certain family member, your medical marijuana must ALWAYS be hidden and out of reach from others. When the topic arises, be definitive to all about how your cannabis is intended for you and ONLY you. This should instill how serious you are about its main purpose as a medical treatment and that it’s not a license to use as a recreational substance by you or anyone else.
MMJ education starts with your willingness to have an open, respectful, and informative dialogue. Only then will it be more likely that your family won’t only accept this treatment option, but they may even encourage it in support of you living a happier, healthier life. Involve those closest to you in your treatment and recovery processes, because nothing is more encouraging than a strong foundation of family support. Be a part of permanently erasing the stigma around medical marijuana through proper education, and remember, there’s nothing to be ashamed of!
Join our email list and stay informed about information and breaking news regarding your MMJ certification and cannabis legislation locally and nationwide. Click here to join our list.