• Jennifer Betz

"Well Bless Your Heart" How to Get Past Stigma and Talk to Family About Medical Marijuana


How To Talk To Your Family & Friends about Marijuana Use

Everyone who has a Virginia marijuana card should be able to manage their health with confidence!


When Virginians can’t think of a polite way to talk about something, we usually just say, “Well, bless your heart!” This kind of personal restraint might be why we’re known for our welcoming kindness, but it can make communicating with friends and family about tough subjects difficult.


If you’re thinking about getting a Virginia marijuana card, but possibly hesitating because you are unsure how Memaw Patty will take the news, we are here to help! We think that everyone who chooses to use medical marijuana to treat their qualifying conditions and symptoms should be able to hold their heads high, making their decisions with dignity and confidence.


Keep reading for some advice on how to help friends and family members who might be stuck on stigmas of the past to understand the benefits of medical marijuana today.


Cannabis is in a Sort of Purgatory Right Now

American attitudes about cannabis have changed dramatically over the last decade or so. Most Americans now think marijuana should be legalized in some way, but there is still a bit of a disconnect between public opinion and how people think about cannabis users. Even among cannabis users themselves.


We might laugh at propaganda pieces like Reefer Madness, but we have internalized the ideas about who uses marijuana from our understanding of the counterculture movements of the 1960s—an incredibly different time in American history.


So we have this strange incongruence between, “Yes! Cannabis should be legal!” and, “People who use cannabis are just lazy, dirty hippies!”


Many people think that medical marijuana is just a way to justify getting high all the time and make it legal to do so. Some simply do not understand that the reason states have embraced a medical marijuana program in the first place is that cannabis is becoming recognized everywhere as a legitimate, natural medicine that treats conditions on a multi-systemic level.


Why Does it Matter That Your Friends and Family Know About Your Medical Marijuana Use?

Your health choices are protected by HIPAA, and no one has a right to your health information unless you authorize access. But it’s nice to have support when you need it.


Additionally, it may be nearly impossible to hide your medical marijuana use from the people you live with, unless you are entirely sticking to edibles and tinctures.


Even if you can keep your use discreet, though, it may be a challenge to hide when you shop for cannabis. Right now, there are four licensed dispensaries in Virginia, and they are dispersed around the border of the state. So, if you live in Lynchburg, you’ll have to drive a couple of hours in order to get your cannabis.


Fortunately, three out of four dispensaries offer home delivery to most residents in Virginia, but then you have to deal with receiving a package full of medical marijuana at home.


But no one wants to feel like their medicine is taboo or unacceptable among friends and family. Especially when it’s perfectly legal. Besides, Memaw could probably benefit from getting herself a marijuana card to take care of that arthritic hip!


The most awkward conversations about medical marijuana take place with three different types of people: The Eyebrow Raisers, the Fan Flappers, and the Potheads (not all cannabis use is the same).


Talking About Medical Marijuana With the Eyebrow Raisers

The Eyebrow Raisers are probably the easiest people to talk to when it comes to your medical marijuana use. They aren’t here to tell you what to do. They just want to make sure you aren’t hurting yourself, and they aren’t sold on this newfangled “plant medicine” craze.

1. Know Your Stuff

You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, but convincing a skeptic that medical marijuana is a healthy choice for you might require a little preparation. Virginia Marijuana Card’s blog is an excellent starting point, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information is a storehouse for scientific studies of all kinds. Depending on the condition you are trying to treat, you may be able to find numerous publications supporting your choices.


2. Get Outside Support

You know how your cousin Cindy can do no wrong in Memaw’s eyes? Memaw might not know that Cousin Cindy uses medical marijuana for her anxiety (how else is anyone supposed to maintain the level of perfection that she has achieved?), but what if she did know. We aren’t suggesting you start outing family members, but maybe you and another respected family member could help the more skeptical side of the family see things differently.


3. Remind Them You Have a Doctor’s Note

The Eyebrow Raiser in your life just wants what’s best for you, and they might be concerned that using cannabis for your condition could be damaging. Getting a Virginia marijuana card means you have to get the recommendation of a doctor. When they know that a medical professional has given you the all-clear and may be supervising your treatment, your Eyebrow Raiser may breathe a sigh of relief.


Convincing the Fan Flapper Medical Marijuana is Right for You

The Fan Flapper in your life may be a little harder to convince that medical marijuana is right for you. You know who we’re talking about. The judgy people in your life who fix their hair and look around to see who else is watching when anything embarrassing happens. Never touched a drink in their lives, and you using the Devil’s Lettuce just means you have one foot in Hell’s doorway.

1. Focus on You

When you let a Fan Flapper in your life know that you want and need their love and support, and that you are not asking for their approval, that alone may be enough to disarm them fairly quickly. Make sure they know that you have researched your options, and that the choice you made is because you think it’s the best decision for you.


2. “I Still Love You”: Four Words That Melt Away Tension

Often, people who spend a lot of time judging others are reflecting their own insecurities. And one of the roots of all insecurity is that we will be unloved when another person makes a decision that doesn’t align with our values. Make sure the Fan Flapper in your life knows that your choice to use medical marijuana is about you not them.


3. Remind Them That You’re a Responsible Adult

Unfortunately, the image of cannabis-users being irresponsible and lazy is persistent in our culture even today. Make sure the Fan Flapper in your life knows that there are plenty of ways to use cannabis responsibly, and that it is recognized as a legitimate medicine recommended by a doctor.


How to Talk About Your Medical Marijuana With the Potheads in Your Life

We included this category of friends and family because of the awkward conversation that may come when your stoner friend or cousin starts asking you if you can hook them up. Or if you want to party with them. They might think that your choice to use medical marijuana is just another extension of your coolness.


We aren’t saying that good times are off limits with medical marijuana (or that you are not already totally cool). Frankly, the fact that medical marijuana is enjoyable to use is one of our favorite parts!


But it may be challenging for friends who have traditionally used illicit marijuana for recreational purposes to understand that this is a choice you’ve made for your health.


1. Keep it About Your Wellness

It may be challenging to get people to understand that enjoyment is a fortunate side effect of using medical marijuana. But the fact that medical marijuana is recognized as a legitimate medicine in most states is proof that cannabis isn’t just for fun. Make sure the Pothead in your life understands that medical marijuana is an important part of your treatment plan for your personal health—and that smiles are just your favorite byproduct.


2. Make Sure They Know You Still Think They are Cool

If you want to keep your relationship with the Pothead in your life light and breezy after explaining to them that you are only using your product for medicinal purposes, then you might need to let them know that you are not judging their non-medical use.


Dennis Peron, known for co-authoring California’s medical marijuana bill, was against “recreational” marijuana legalization, because he believed that every instance of cannabis use is medicinal, whether it’s intentional or not.


3. Make Sure They Understand the Consequences of Sharing Your Medical Marijuana Illegally

Virginia dispensaries have a wide variety of cannabis products available that may be challenging to obtain through the illicit market. But sharing your haul could get you into serious trouble. Make sure the Pothead in your life understands that asking you to “hook them up” could result in hefty fines and possibly even jail time.


Talking to Friends and Family About Medical Marijuana May Have Surprising Results!

The people who are closest to you are in your life for a reason. Usually, your most important relationships are founded on some level of mutual care and respect. Even if they struggle to understand differences, friends and family are usually there for you when it’s important.


Talking to your loved ones about medical marijuana may feel awkward at first, but you could be surprised by the support you get! With medical marijuana becoming more accepted in the US, people are starting to get curious.


You may even be able to convince Memaw Patty to get her Virginia marijuana card and give cannabis a try for her aching hip!



Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.


Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!


Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!


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