My cousin chose to medicate his terminal cancer with cannabis. In response, his mother chose to call the police. Despite medical cannabis not yet having been enacted in New York at the time, the officers left soon after they arrived without taking any further action. They had observed the critical nature of his condition and made the compassionate choice.
What would convince someone like my aunt to think that consuming cannabis is a dangerous activity at worst or misguided at best?
More importantly, how can you persuade someone who has such misconceptions about cannabis to reconsider their perspective?
In the United States, cannabis has been misunderstood for decades. This disconnect between the reality of cannabis’ therapeutic properties and the misinformation propagated about cannabis has led many people to reject a treatment that could prove extremely beneficial.
People like your parents. People like your grandparents. Your aunts and uncles, too.
It doesn’t have to be that way, but their change starts with you. You can initiate the process of educating your relatives and anyone else you care about who has misgivings about cannabis. You can help lead them towards a non-invasive treatment that has been proven to have significant therapeutic effects on a variety of medical ailments.
But how do you change their mind?
It begins with a conversation and there’s no better time than now, especially if they’re already facing medical symptoms.
According to the Pew Research Center, 67 percent of Americans support legalization. Three decades ago, that number was only a paltry 16 percent. Across political ideology, race, gender, and education level, a solid majority of Americans are now in favor of legalizing cannabis.
What actions can you take to get the people you care about on board with the overwhelming majority? Here are three of our favorite strategies:
Take A Personalized Approach
When it comes to persuading others on issues related to the topic of cannabis, there is not one single approach that will work best for all individuals. Instead, you’ll want to draw upon your best understanding of their thought process, conversational style, medical needs, and life experiences to meet them where they are.
Key Point: No one responds well to an approach that isn’t personalized.
Don’t Belittle Their Experiences
We at Goldleaf are proud that our brand is supported by highly informed cannabis patients, growers, and enthusiasts. You very well might be able to discuss the finer points of the endocannabinoid system, microdosing, or terpenes in great detail; however, your loved ones are likely to be relying on an entirely different base of information to (mis)understand cannabis. It is essential that you respect their experiences, and when correcting and persuading to avoid using a disrespectful or otherwise arrogant tone.
Key Point: Don’t view your loved ones as opponents to steamroll.
Educate Them On The History and Medical Benefits of Cannabis
Cannabis has a long tradition of medical use in the United States. Cannabis-infused preparations were common as a method to treat a whole assortment of symptoms in our nation’s past.
Unfortunately, the situation began to rapidly change in the 20th century when the ugly tinge of xenophobia and racism were used to demonize cannabis. Shortly thereafter, cannabis was made illegal for any purpose.
Yet now, even as cannabis remains federally illegal, more and more states continue to legalize cannabis for medicinal, and sometimes recreational use. Studies have shown that cannabis is not only effective in reducing challenges associated with common ailments like nausea, chronic pain, and migraines, but also that it is a beneficial treatment for numerous critical conditions, including multiple sclerosis, ALS, spinal cord injuries, epilepsy, and glaucoma.
Key Point: Inform your loved ones of the scientific evidence for cannabis’ efficacy.
Ten years ago, my cousin had the police called on him by his own mother for smoking cannabis to self-medicate his cancer. She didn’t do so out of malice, but out of misunderstanding. Cannabis does not harm; it heals or mollifies many symptoms.
If your loved ones are still unaware of the benefits of cannabis, then why not start a conversation with them? Remember, change begins one person at a time. You can help facilitate that change right now. Good luck!