Lucy, do I talk to my parents about cannabis?
Dear Gen X: Have you started to notice your parents feeling the stress of almost a year of living in a pandemic? Maybe they’re snapping a little on the family Zoom calls. Have their weekly texts become nothing more than weekly gripes? Has your dad stopped sending you weather updates for your location? If he’s anything like my dad, that last one is definitely a sign of trouble.
Let me be the first to say it Gen X: Yes, it is time to talk to your parents about cannabis.
Sure, maybe some of us in Gen X have already had a rather uncomfortable conversation about “the evils of weed” with our parents, so we aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to jump back in it. But I have some news for you Gen X that might cheer you up (oh and we see you too, Gen Y and Gen Z; feel free to take notes).
No matter how uncomfortable it was to have that conversation with your parents 20-30 years ago, I promise you this Gen X: the stress that Mom & Pop feel when CBD comes up in the news, on the radio, and sometimes (gasp!) from their doctors is ten times worse than that time your mom found your roach clip while cleaning out your car and then left it in the ashtray (wait, was that just me?)
Look, they know they yelled at you back in the day about “using the pots” because they were there, too! That’s why Gen X needs to take the lead on this and break the ice.
Confessions of a Gen X Stoner:
When I first started talking openly about my medical cannabis use to my parents and their friends, I expected the conversations to be similar to the ones I had with my mother in 2002 where I explained a roach clip is definitely, unequivocally NOT the same as a crack pipe. Basically, I prepared myself for conversations filled with a lot of judgement and with a lot of misinformation.
I was wrong. The Boomers are just lost.
I started receiving emails and texts from my parents’ friends asking if I wouldn’t mind talking to them about cannabis because they didn’t know anyone else that could help them. And it didn’t stop there. When I left my job in environmental policy I was very direct about what I wanted to do next, which I thought for sure would shock the Boomers in my office. I figured they would just blame my Gen X tendencies, but instead of raised eyebrows they raised question after question. Many had come from a “Reefer Madness” mindset, but what they are learning in the news today directly contradicts that (Thank you, Dr. Sanjay Gupta). They are confused, lost, and have so many questions that they consider embarrassing, even though 9 out of 10 times it’s a question about something as simple (albeit painful) as arthritis. I say it is simple because a good CBD or THC/CBD topical will often do the trick, which generally surprises folks.
Older generations don’t quite understand how cannabis can help them because they picture a giant, smoky joint from a Cheech and Chong movie and can’t connect how that same plant is going to help reduce their pain. Some worriedly ask about hemp-based products on the grocery shelves because they just don’t know what to make of it. I still chuckle when I think of the person convinced they might get high and “lose all control” if they added hemp seeds to their smoothie. I assured them while there were ways to make a “fun” smoothie, hemp seeds was not one of them.
Reassure them they won’t get high (even though you really wish they would.)
The first time I managed to convince my mom to try a cannabis topical was after she had broken two bones in her leg and a complicated shoulder surgery. She had white-knuckled her way through both injuries, being extra careful to not get addicted to the painkillers. I noticed she would watch the clock like a hawk. Mindful to not take a dose sooner than the recommended amount of time, she wasn’t getting addicted but she was also periodically in pain throughout the day.
While we were in the kitchen one day, she let a sudden cry of pain while reaching up to grab a plate. I had not heard her scream like that before and I realized just how little those pills were helping her and just how much pain she was hiding on a regular basis. I dropped what I was doing, grabbed my purse and fished out some THC/CBD balm that I had. I shoved it in her hand and said, “Please try this. You always say no, but you are still in pain because those pills don’t work. Please try this.”
My mom looked at me worried and hurting so much that she was ready to give up on her convictions. “Will I get high?”
I quietly laughed, “No, but I wish you would!” I started to gently rub the salve on her shoulder as she winced in pain. I honestly don’t know how she had been muscling through it all. I put away the salve and she adjusted her shirt. Within minutes she turned to me moving her arm and her shoulder in wide-eyed amazement. “Lucy! WOW! I haven’t had this much range of motion since the first surgery!” “Yes, Mama. I know.” Tears swelled up in my eyes as I watched my mom flap her arm like a chicken and laugh–not because she was high, but because she was no longer in pain.
Clearing up Cannabis Confusion.
I still get chills when I think of that day when my mom trusted me enough to overcome years of misinformation, stigma, and dare I say, acknowledge she might have been wrong. It was quite a moment for both of us. Mom found pain relief for the first time in two years and I found my new favorite thing: talking about cannabis. I found myself having conversations like the one in that kitchen more often and then suddenly six years had passed. I had moved on from kitchens to working at a medical dispensary. I realized that talking to people about cannabis and CBD and introducing them to the other parts of the plant gave me so much joy. It really gives me a high when people come back to me to say, “You know, I had my doubts at first, but wow, this really works!”
I feel their hope and their peace transfer over me. I love it.
That’s great Lucy, but it’s still awkward.
It’s ok Gen X. Having this conversation with your parents is not for everyone. Some find it all too awkward to do, even when they know their parents would benefit enormously from something like a CBD topical instead of a narcotic.
Sadly, you’re not alone and so many people continue to battle opiate addiction. It’s the people that could benefit the most that often let this stigma stand in the way of health and happiness.
That’s why I created the Learning with Lucy packages to be a cannabis coach for people just like your parents. The Q&A calls are perfect for any loved ones that might still have their doubts about the plant and what it could do for them. If you think your parents could benefit from a little bird on their shoulder as their guide, book a Free 10-minute Cannabis Clarity Call for them. It has been an honor and a privilege to open this door of opportunity for so many. I would love to open that door for your loved ones, too.