How to Tell Your Family You Smoke Pot


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Dear Mother,

I want to subtly “come out” as green to my family, because I believe it’s important to be honest about what’s cured my depression to my family. Should I say something about it in terms of my depression, or just bring my PAX2 to Thanksgiving and see what happens?

— Happy Holidaze

Dear HH,

Revealing to family that you’re a cannabis aficionado can be nerve-racking, especially if your parents once laid down the law hard when it came to smoking pot when under their roof. Hopefully I can offer a bit of advice by sharing a story of my own.

A couple of years ago, I got very sick—so much so that I lost a great deal of weight within a short amount of time. In addition to feeling sick, I looked incredibly sick. My parents, who live nearby, were concerned and scared for me while we sorted my health out with my providers. So, they understood just how sick I was when I turned toward medical cannabis as a possible remedy. At that point, they just wanted to see my feel better and 100 percent healthy.

Mind you, these are parents that definitely pushed the “say no to drugs” motto when I was a teen, grounded me for smoking cigarettes, etc. Yet they were able to see just how incredibly effective medical cannabis was for me during a time when I was ill. They had a lot of questions, sure, but I was open and honest with them and happy to answer each one they asked. I even had no qualms about showing my mother how my vape worked while taking my dog for a walk one day! I’m sure it made my parents feel more comfortable that my health care providers were all on board with my treatment.

Now, my mom will toss in a joke about me “bringing some medicine home” when I come to visit—WHAT?!—which is something I never would have imagined. But what I truly feel is that most parents, when it comes down to it (and I say this as both a daughter and a mother), want to see their children happy and healthy.

If your family already knows about your depression, that’s one less thing you need to explain. Perhaps start by reminding them how your depression impacts your day-to-day life. Then let them know that you’ve started using a medication that has alleviated a lot of those aspects of depression. Hopefully they will be so relieved that you’ve found something to help with your depression that everything will go smoothly (although, if your family is anything like mine, expect a few gentle jokes at your expense). But I definitely recommend a bit of an ease-in versus just sparking up during dessert!

A lot of parents might still connect cannabis to stoner stereotypes and wonder if you break out the bong every night. Take this opportunity to fill them in on all the advancements that have occurred, from vaping and edibles to CBD oil and more. My mother, for instance, was concerned about how it might affect my lungs and breathing until I explained vaping to her. She was also amazed that certain strains of cannabis didn’t give me the munchies!

At the same time, you should also prepare yourself for an unwelcome response. Hopefully that won’t happen, but just in case it does, you should have a plan for how you will deal with it—anything from offering up studies and research to having a safe place to stay if things get really heated. I’m hoping that by the casual way you mention just taking out your vape, your folks will be A-OK with your big reveal. Good luck!

— Mother

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