Van der Pop

Canna-friend

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Dear Vandy,

I have a friend who I think would benefit from medicinal cannabis. How do I broach the subject with them?

Yours,
Canna-friend

  Photo by Renata Kaveh

Photo by Renata Kaveh

Dear Canna-friend,

It can be difficult to talk about the power of weed in a world that still has its back up about all things cannabis. Still, you believe your friend might benefit from medical flower, and you owe it to them to share your knowledge about this healing herb that has been used by humans for thousands of years.

First, prepare yourself with the facts.

We are entering a new age of cannabis enlightenment. We’re over fake tans, fake news, and fake information about weed. Although we’ve made good progress in recent months, our work is never over, so it’s a good idea to brace yourself against some of the most common misconceptions around cannabis that have resulted from nearly a hundred years of prohibition. The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy is a great resource if you’re looking to debunk the myths around cannabis and addiction, its status as “gateway drug”, its effects on cognitive functioning and mental health, along with other juicy tidbits.

And while you’re at it, read up on your scientific journals, too. Despite what the naysayers say, there is a lot of research out there about the medical properties and health benefits of cannabis. And if you’re not currently a canna-nerd, don’t worry, there’s plenty of information right here that can help you get the facts without also getting schooled in biology.

Keep this info close to your heart, but don’t overwhelm your friend with facts alone. Instead, share your experience alongside these points.

Now that you’ve discovered the incredible healing properties of this wonderful plant, you’re excited to tell the world about it. So, use this to your advantage and spread the word! This helps to reduce the stigma around cannabis consumption – a key deterrent for many when it comes to considering it for any use, medical or recreational – by demonstrating that if an upstanding citizen like yourself is using it, it’s worth consideration.

If you are a patient yourself, talk to your friend about how medical cannabis has changed your life and your understanding of the plant. Talk about how you feel about it, and what facts you find most interesting or surprising…anything that’s true to you and shows your human side in it all.

Saying something like, “I felt so silly after finding out that not all weed will get you high — I didn’t even believe it at first” can be an honest and genuine way to speak about your own experience while also creating space for human error. I mean, we did just spend nearly a hundred years believing many falsehoods, and it can be hard to admit that we were wrong.

That’s why it’s important to be sensitive to others’ world views about weed.

Be aware of ideological beliefs that may influence your friend to think a certain way about cannabis. Prohibition really did a number on society, and it can be hard to move away from the misinformation that we’ve been taught to believe our whole lives. Shifting one’s ideological beliefs takes time, so remember to be patient. It may take more than one conversation for your friend to become open to the idea of considering cannabis as a medical option.

And, as you’re sharing your experience with the non-psychoactive and pain-relieving properties of cannabis, it might also be a good idea to let your friend come to their own conclusions. Saying things like, “I’ve been able to get off all my pain, anxiety and depression medications since I started medical cannabis” is a great way to pique interest without being preachy.

No one likes being told what to do, how to act, or what they should do to make their life better. Health is really a very personal experience and choice, and a sense of agency is an important factor in maintaining overall health. You are a friend, not a doctor. Your job here is to share your experience and knowledge and let your friend decide for themselves.

Highest Regards,
Vandy

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