Cannabis Stigma: Tips for Bridging the Generational Divide

For several decades of the 20th century, cannabis was the target of massive anti-drug campaigns. Federal acts restricted, then prohibited its use. Propaganda painted people who used it as lazy or deviant. 

It wasn’t until more recent years that things began to change. Over time, numerous studies have shown that cannabis may provide significant physical and mental health benefits. However, long-held negative opinions persist, particularly in older generations. 

What Is the Generational Divide?

The generational divide refers to the difference in opinions that older and younger people have regarding cannabis. While younger adults tend to be more open and accepting of its use, older adults grew up hearing nothing but negatives about it. Many of them remember campaigns that painted weed as a terrible drug that would only lead to bad things. That can make accepting what we know now more difficult. Talking about cannabis can help.  

5 Tips for Bridging the Gap 

While it might not always be easy, one of the best ways to help end the cannabis stigma is to have conversations about it. Here are a few tips on how to talk to parents about weed for more productive discussions:

1. Reflect on Your Reasons for Cannabis Use

It’s not uncommon for older generations to think the only reason people use weed is to get high. You may enjoy the sensation yourself, but you probably have one or more other significant reasons for using cannabis.  

2. Educate Yourself

Your experiences alone likely won’t be enough to change the long-held beliefs of older individuals. Take some time to research studies that demonstrate the many benefits of cannabis and its legalization and familiarize yourself with state and local cannabis laws. Print out information or save it to your phone or computer for easy access during your discussion.

3. Have Open, Calm Discussions

Most people won’t change their opinions immediately, even if you present them with plenty of solid facts. Some may be adamant in their stances and challenge what you have to say. 

Avoid getting defensive or argumentative. You might not change minds right away, but calm, rational discussions can sometimes be enough to get others at least thinking about cannabis in a different light. 

4. Listen to Concerns

A conversation requires at least one other participant. Give the person you’re speaking with (whether your parent or another older adult) a chance to talk, too. Although you might disagree with them, listen to their concerns and reasoning just as you would expect them to do for you. 

5. Address Myths and Misconceptions

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about cannabis and its use. Some of the most common include:

  • Weed is a gateway drug and will turn you into a criminal.
  • Weed is highly addictive and leads to dependence.
  • All weed users are lazy stoners. 

Many people heard these (and other) statements all their lives, so it’s understandable why they might not see cannabis use as anything but negative. Address any myths you hear during the conversation and back your statements up with facts. 

Start Conversations to End Cannabis Stigma

Ending the cannabis stigma requires talking. It may take more than one conversation with some people, and that’s OK. The point is that you’re getting the discussion started. 

What happens when you do spark interest? You can further trust by offering recommendations to licensed dispensaries like Harbor House Collective. Visit us online or in-store to learn more about what we do and see all that we offer.

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