Thanksgiving is in a mere few days and we all know what that means: spending time with your family and friends for a national holiday centered around love and gratitude. For many, Thanksgiving just means stress—mostly due to being inundated with questions from well-meaning family members. Questions about your personal life, questions about your career– not to mention the added stress that comes with celebrating a major holiday of questionable origin so quickly after an election.
Is it any wonder that so many of us choose to medicate with some sweet ganja before (and during) Thanksgiving?
The benefits of toking up during the holidays are numerous, even if, by some cosmic grace, you have no family drama. And with changing laws and more and more information about cannabis being reported, your family might even want to talk about it. Hell, maybe you’re feeling particularly confident this year and want to bring it up first. If you’re trying to be this Thanksgiving’s best conversationalist and official Family Authority on All Things Cannabis, we have some advice for you:
1. Broaching the Subject with Skeptics
Every family has this character. The one who always has an argument against the latest research, who refuses to actually read that research, and whose catchphrase might as well be “all of the “evidence is fake; the research was funded by Big (fill in the blank yourself).”
This person may have argued with you in the past about a plethora of issues ranging from vaccinations to same-sex marriage. Back then, you probably gave up on trying to change their mind. But this year? This year, you’re going to accomplish the impossible: you’re going to make the family skeptic see the light.
Casually bring up cannabis and gauge the their reaction. If they seem even remotely interested, grab that chance and proceed full force. Be prepared for every “what about” and “let’s see the proof”. Make sure you’re well-versed in the documented benefits of CBD and stats about criminalization and the racism that drives it. Don’t be afraid to think outside the border—bring up the success in public health that Portugal has had since decriminalizing all drugs.
If they’re not receptive, then they’re not receptive. At the end of the day, some people just refuse to adapt their views when presented with new information. It’s not your fault. Just enjoy your buzz and change the topic to something slightly less loaded—like Jeff Sessions being fired and how his replacement might impact the Mueller investigation.
2. Talking About Treatment Options with the Ailing and the Elderly
Not all family drama is political. Pretty much every family has someone who has battled or is currently fighting an illness. If one of your family members has been diagnosed with cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, or any other disease, they may benefit from adding cannabis to their roster of meds. They may also benefit from cannabis if they’re coping with a mental illness or addiction. By talking about substances like cannabis and disorders like mental illness, HIV, and addiction, we can work towards destigmatizing them and, in turn, encourage more people to seek help and support.
But maybe your family is currently healthy and the only ailment among the lot is the typical side effects of aging. Your elder family members could also find cannabis useful! When you hear Grandma complain about joint pain, you might want to recommend that she tries a topical, or maybe even some edibles.
And don’t forget to tell your Blue Mercury-loyal aunties that cannabis-infused skincare is something to look into.
3. Kids are Present—What Now?
Thanksgiving usually brings out the entire family—including children. Anyone who has ever been around kids knows that they tend to hear everything, ask tons of questions, and repeat what they hear. So you might as well make sure they have the right information.
If you’re showing off your new Pax to your cuz and their kiddo pops up asking what a vape is, honesty is the best policy. Explain, with your cousin’s blessing of course, what cannabis is in the most kid-friendly way you can. Here’s a pro-tip: just keep it simple. Tell them that cannabis is just a plant that some people use to help them feel better. You don’t need to go into the finer points, like terpenes and cannabinoids and stash-saving consumption methods.
But what if your teenaged, or even preteen, family member asks you about weed? First, be flattered that they like and trust you enough to approach you about such a topic. And then, understand that you have an enormous responsibility to give them accurate information. When you educate someone about taboo subjects, such as drugs or sex, you encourage them to think critically and make better choices, leading to harm reduction. It could be the difference between life and death.
And if that teenager asks you to smoke them out? Come on, guys, the answer to that is obviously no.
4. Tactfully Talking Legalization
It was only two weeks ago that three states passed monumental marijuana legislation. If you’re from one of these states, you better believe it’s going to be a topic of conversation. Even if your family has no ties to these states at all, chances are, you’re in one of the 30 states with a medical marijuana program or maybe even one of the 10 states with adult-use weed. Whatever your situation, if your family is even the tiniest bit political, the new laws will probably come up at some point in the evening.
As with every family discussion about current events, we recommend that you bring tact to the table. The perception of cannabis is changing, but some people in your family may be a bit reluctant to see it as anything other than the “gateway drug.” Whether you try to change their minds or not, the most important thing to remember is that all of your contributions to the conversation will be better heard and more respected if you present your arguments calmly and avoid getting heated—even in the face of the family skeptic sniping you down at every point.
You might help your relatives see the light. You might not. Either way, if you have cohesive and well-researched points, it’ll plant the seed for even your more stubborn kin to look more into cannabis.
5. Bring Samples!
What’s the best way to talk about cannabis with your family this Thanksgiving? By using visual aides! If you’re able to, bring some topicals, some CBD, or even a vape to the party this year. Invite your of-age relatives to try out some products and see for themselves the benefits of using cannabis.
If nothing else, you’ll forever stake your claim as “the cool cousin.”