Medical Marijuana: A 21st Century Family Rite of Passage

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Medical marijuana a family rite of passageA man in his early 20s walks into a medical marijuana doctor’s office with his mother. They have come because he has given her some of his marijuana to help relieve the rather discomforting menopause his mother is experiencing. Amazed at the almost immediate relief it brings, she now wants to get her own medical marijuana recommendation and her son comes with her. In California, it’s a 21st century rite of passage.

This is not an uncommon occurrence. In the doctor’s office I worked at, hardly a clinic day went by without one or more “kids” coming in with one of their parents (or grandparents) to obtain their medical marijuana recommendation. Sometimes they bring both. Whether it is for pain relief, a good night’s sleep or alcohol substitution, many of you probably recognize how cannabis would be of enormous benefit to the health of your parents or grandparents.

Although some parents have never used marijuana, most probably tried marijuana 20 or more years ago and consequently are not totally unfamiliar with the effects. Polls show that the vast majority of Americans support the medicinal use of marijuana so they know it has medicinal properties. If they are indeed experiencing pain or any of the myriad ailments that cannabis so effectively and safely treats, it might not take much cajoling to get them to give it a try.

talk to your parents about medical marijuanaMedical Marijuana: A Family Affair

Once they get their recommendations, then using cannabis becomes a family affair. When visiting your parents or when they are visiting you, sharing a pipe or a joint becomes as common place as cracking open a can of beer—hopefully more common. In fact, it would be best if it replaced opening a can of beer altogether.

From there it can grow into a true family experience especially if the family decides to cultivate together. Talk about family bonding—what could be a more joyous and uniting experience then a family’s own cannabis garden? From the initial planning of what strains should be planted, to preparing the soil, sowing the seeds or clones and then working as a family unit to water, weed, spray and then harvest, cure and trim—it’s Little House on the Prairie.

Cannabis use by families is truly an inter-generational activity—so don’t just turn on your parents—if your grandparents are not using cannabis, they would probably benefit even more than your parents.

Now I fully recognize that there is an age appropriate threshold here, but there is no rigid line of demarcation for the appropriate age. Certainly 18 is age-appropriate, but when you start discussing use by a family member under 18, all hell breaks loose.

Many young people find cannabis to be beneficial in the same way as adults do. A 2009 study entitled “Relief-Oriented Use of Marijuana by Teens” published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy, the authors reported that 20 out of 63 youth who used marijuana “self-identified as using marijuana to relieve or manage health problems.”

What About the Children?

While not as common as a son or daughter bringing their parents to a doctor’s office, many parents recognize the health benefits and bring their under-18 offspring to a doctor’s office to obtain a medical marijuana recommendation.

Because of legal issues—not any issues related to medical marijuana use (marijuana is NOT like alcohol or pharmaceuticals with their life-threatening and health debilitating consequences)—it becomes problematic for the family unit if marijuana use occurs. If you intend to cultivate and have children under 18, consult an attorney. Child protection services have removed children from families solely because of their parents’ marijuana use, let alone suspicion that there may any cultivation or sharing of cannabis.

Due to these legal quagmires, it is safest for parents, their under-18 children and marijuana not to mix. If you are 18 or over, then it is safe and desirable for you and your parents to enjoy and benefit from the communal use of this ancient medicinal herb.

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About Author

Lanny Swerdlow, RN is host of the Internet radio show Marijuana Compassion & Common Sense and founder of the Marijuana Anti Prohibition Project and the Brownie Mary Democratic Club. Contact him at lanny@marijuananews.org.

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