How to talk with the seniors in your life about cannabis.
Almost all of us have senior citizens in our lives who could potentially benefit from medical cannabis. Parents, grandparents, extended family or friends.
I know seniors who have been using cannabis for 50 years and are thriving today. And there are others, people like New York Times best-selling author Gay Hendricks (as seen in the video above), who experimented with pot back in their youth and have only come back to it recently.
And there’s yet another group of seniors for whom cannabis is still a big taboo. The stigma is so strong for them that they would be reluctant to even give the herb a try.
Whatever the situation, we want and need to be able to talk about cannabis, to have honest, open dialogues about it with the people we care about most.
The good thing here is that we CAN have these dialogues now. Marijuana is without a doubt one of the hottest topics in the U.S. to the point where presidential candidates are talking about it on national television – albeit with uninformed attitudes.
In fact, all of the misinformation about pot that continues to circulate is another major incentive to keep talking about it.
#1 How to ignite the conversation.
With some people, particularly loved ones we love and respect, talking about cannabis can still be an intimidating notion. Maybe we assume they’re totally against the plant, and we’re afraid how they’ll react if we bring it up.
The problem with this kind of fear is that it doesn’t really allow for any progress in our lives. When my grandmother is telling me about how much pain she has in her knee or about the constant bouts of anxiety, I’m not doing anybody any favors by holding my tongue on the subject of cannabis (except maybe the prohibitionists).
So, if you’re concerned about negative reactions, there are certain methods you can use to approach the topic in a neutral way.
a.) Anticipate questions or misconceptions.
If you truly want to change people’s minds about this plant, you’ve got to really do your homework. Know the facts and all the latest information out there on the many aspects of cannabis.
Exciting, scientific findings are turning up all the time, groundbreaking research that effectively defuses a lot of misconceptions about pot.
Before you can educate anybody about this plant, you’ve got to educate yourself first.
b.) Show them recent cannabis articles.
Don’t just talk about the latest research, actually show it to them. You can easily invite anybody to look at an exciting article you’ve found. Tell them you’d like to get their opinion – and BAM! – you’ve got a pot dialogue going.
You can do this kind of thing through email or social media if necessary, but it’s even better if you can get together and share this stuff in person.
c.) Watch cannabis videos together.
You can find a lot of cool, informative videos about cannabis on YouTube, but be mindful about the videos you choose. A shorter video on personal use will have a different effect than a full-blown documentary about cannabis prohibition or the war on drugs.
I suggest shorter, playful videos at first, just to get the other person thinking about medical marijuana in a different way.
You could start by showing them the Gay Hendricks #comingoutgreen video above, a video that was specifically designed by Green Flower Media to reduce stigma and to promote deeper conversations.
d.) Talk about your own cannabis use.
You don’t necessarily have to do this, but once the person begins to open their mind about the possibilities of cannabis, it’s a lot easier.
If you can give your own testimony about how marijuana has added value to your life, you’ll create a tremendous impact on the other person’s mindset.
Coming out of the cannabis closet to anybody can be scary, but by the time you’ve begun to open the other person’s mind, you really don’t have anything to fear.
Your own personal use may not be the best thing to lead the conversation with, or maybe it will. You have to use your best judgment for the situation at hand.
#2 Experimenting with pot:
So you’ve had the talk, maybe even several of them, and your elderly friend or family member is ready to give medical marijuana a try. Great!
a.) How will you ingest?
By now you’ll have gone over the different modes of ingestion:
The easiest introduction would be topical cannabis, simply because it has zero psychoactive effects and yet offers therapeutic qualities including analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
In fact, if you have a cannabis cream on hand, don’t be surprised if the person you’re talking to starts to apply it immediately after learning of its benefits.
For some people, the topicals may be enough. For others, further experimenting with additional types of cannabis is definitely worth a try.
b.) Start slowly.
Whatever method of ingestion you choose, be sure to start slowly. Try a little bit at a time, wait, and if another helping is desired, go for it.
If you’re smoking or vaping, this window of self-titration is a lot faster. With edibles, as you might know, it can take a longer to decide if the dosage is adequate or not. Sometimes as long as a few hours.
In any of these cases, it’s much better to consume too little marijuana than too much. Remember that the other person will have zero tolerance to THC. And some physicians even suggest that less is more with cannabis anyway.
c.) Be careful.
When elderly patients use cannabis, extra caution is advised simply because THC can cause disorientation and dizziness for some. This is where CBD-rich cannabis strains can be valuable, but availability may be an issue for a lot of people.
So we have to be extra careful to avoid any nasty falls. The last thing we want is a broken hip or worse.
And even though this is an important issue with cannabis, keep in mind that it’s also a side effect for a lot of pharmaceutical drugs as well.
d.) Keep experimenting.
A lot of people give up on cannabis after the first try. They may be uncomfortable with it for a number of reasons. Maybe they took too much, or maybe it’s not the right strain for them, or they feel strange simply because of the stigma.
The important thing here is to go into this knowing that finding an ideal cannabis regimen often takes a bit of trial and error.
With all of the possibilities between strained varietals, methods of ingestion, and level of dosage – we’re talking about thousands of medicinal combinations, and everybody has a different nervous system.
#3 Don’t have access?
A lot of people in the states and throughout the rest of the world still do not have the appropriate access to medical marijuana and all of its formats.
Maybe you live in a place where good herb is hard to find, let alone having a choice between different strains. A lot of us are still subject to this mysterious bag of whatever the dealer brings us.
If you are not satisfied with the cannabis regulation where you live, this gives you even further motivation to have these types of conversations with not only seniors but everybody in your life.
Talking about it, educating ourselves and the people around us in a positive way – if you want to speed up the process of marijuana legalization, this is the way to do it. By talking to those who need it most.
If you agree that people should be able to talk about medical cannabis openly and freely, share this article with everybody you know. Let’s keep the conversation going.