How to Talk to Your Parents (or Grandparents) About Medical Marijuana

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talk to your parents about medical marijuanaMedical marijuana is tailor-made for the ailments of advancing years. Chronic pain, insomnia, arthritis, glaucoma, depression, appetite loss and so many other debilitating ailments of the elderly are effectively and safely treated by cannabis. Do you have parents (or grandparents) who exhibit one or more of these symptoms of advancing years? Do they use cannabis?

If the answer is, “No, they do not,” you need to speak with them about using medical marijuana. The idea of speaking with your parents about using marijuana, especially those whose parents followed the DARE manual, may seem quixotic at best, but for their health and especially for their quality of life, you owe it to them to at least make the attempt.

If you are not sure how to do it, here are some suggestions that I, as a Registered Nurse working in a cannabis clinic, have found to be effective:

First Fess Up, Then Educate

First off, if you use marijuana, you are going to have to fess up. If you don’t, they might reasonably question why you would urge them to use something that you won’t use—like it really is a deadly drug and you want to knock them off so as to claim your inheritance sooner.

After fessing up, give them concrete examples of how the use of marijuana has improved your life. Discuss how it reduces your pain, relieves your depression or helps you get a good night’s sleep. Point out that marijuana has safely mitigated these problems and at the same time enabled you to reduce your reliance on prescription pharmaceuticals like Vicodin, Zoloft or Ambien.

If you know of family members or friends who use marijuana (provided they would not mind being outed), urge your parents to talk with them about their use.

If, like most people, you use marijuana for stress relief, anxiety control, or as an alcohol substitute, say so. Explain the relaxation, comfort and warmth you experience when you smoke marijuana. Help them understand that using marijuana will be a pleasant and enjoyable experience while it works to mitigate whatever ailments are destroying the quality of their life.

Calm their nerves by providing them with the names of famous people who have used marijuana like Carl Sagan, Louis Armstrong, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Queen Victoria, Jackie Gleason, Rodney Dangerfield, Barack “I inhaled frequently” Obama to name a miniscule few.

Whether they suffer from pain, insomnia, depression or alcoholism, provide scholarly articles that they hopefully will read but still look impressive even if they don’t. An excellent booklet, Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids, can be read online or ordered in print form at

Medical Marijuana for the First Time

Now for the tricky-sticky part: getting them to try medical marijuana.

The first time they try medical marijuana, it is especially important your parents feel safe and comfortable. Doing it at their home would be ideal as it is not a good idea for them to drive home after having consumed cannabis for the first time.  Make a date to come over for an early evening dessert party. Along with their favorite dessert, bring your favorite marijuana. The question then becomes the best way for your parents to consume marijuana.

I do not believe edibles are a good idea for first-time consumption. The major problem is dosage. If it is too little, you won’t know for about an hour and then they need to eat more and wait another hour.  You have to be careful, as you certainly don’t them want to overdose on their first time. Granted overdosing is not going to hurt them, but it is not comfortable and will make their first time use unpleasant, and could make them unwilling to try medical marijuana again.

Inhaling is generally the best method as the effects come on fairly quickly and your parents will easily be able to titrate the dose needed to achieve the therapeutic relief they desire. If they recoil at the idea of smoking, then get a vaporizer. If you don’t have a vaporizer, then get or borrow one—your parents are worth it.

Having shared a joint, pipe or vaporizer with your parents, bring out the desserts, put on their favorite tunes, sit back, relax and enjoy a sublime and memorable evening!

About the author 

Lanny Swerdlow

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

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