By Lauren Gibbs, Women Grow Founding Member

My mom, Jean Gibbs, has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders, but I was still nervous to talk to her about my own cannabis consumption and my career choice to focus my business (Rise Above Social Strategies) on the industry. Despite being a long-time cannabis consumer, we only had “the talk” a little over a year ago. Since then, she has since become an outspoken cannabis advocate among retired ladies in suburban Philly. She is proud of me for taking control of my health, and for turning my passion into a successful business. My fears were unfounded, but understandable since I was charting the course in the dark. Together, my mom and I came up with eight strategies to help young women talk to their own moms about cannabis.

1) Accept that the conversation may be uncomfortable.

My mom has told me that my own passion and commitment to cannabis as a wellness tool helped her open her mind. Jean’s advice to other young women? “Be confident about your own use, but accept that your mom has be indoctrinated with the misinformation of a drug war that has spanned her entire life.” That disconnect may be apparent in the conversation, but accepting it’s existence will help create ease in the dialogue. As Jean said to me: “Having to talk to your daughter about cannabis is a little like having a mother-daughter conversation about birth control. Both sides may feel uncomfortable. Accepting that it will be uncomfortable is key to getting over the hurdle. Maybe your daughter is having severe cramps or just wants to be responsible. Don’t assume the worst.”

2) Educate your mom with sources she already trusts.

There are plenty of cannabis publications that write about the benefits of the plant.  Your mom probably needs to hear the case from a source she already trusts. Look for articles to share from mainstream publications. You don’t need to send her a trove of required reading, but pass along trickle of educational articles from time to time. Here are a few great ones to start with:

Cosmopolitan: How Marijuana Makes Me A Better Mom

The Washington Post: Nearly 60% of Americans Want Legal Marijuana

Sanjay Gupta: Why I Changed My Mind About Marijuana

Newsweek: In States With Medical Marijuana, Painkiller Overdoses Down By 25%

National Geographic: Science Seeks to Unlock Marijuana’s Secrets

3) Point to power figures your mom admires.

Help your mom see that cannabis is about more than Woodstock and “lazy stoners.” Talk about other high profile successful people that use cannabis. President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, and Whoopi Goldberg are just a few high profile people that have admitted to lighting up. Surely there is a celebrity that your mom admires that is also a cannabis consumer.

4) Tell your personal story.

Your personal story has to be your own, but here are a few that worked with my mom:

You know how I get nervous walking into a party when I don’t know anyone? A few puffs on a vape pen beforehand keeps me from walking in with sweaty hands and a racing heart.

You’ve seen how a migraine can level me for days, right? Well, I have a few strains that can stop a migraine in it’s tracks, allowing me to go back to work and get on with my life within an hour.

5) Tell your mom about your own health and wellness goals.

Most adults self medicate with alcohol to cope with the normal stresses of life. I did too. But I would put myself in potentially risky or regrettable situations and wake up with a hangover. Now I can kick back in the evening, continue to use good judgment, and wake up ready to exercise in the morning. All parents want their children to be healthy. Help your mom see how it helps you.

Use additional examples that your mom may have seen on TV. My mom has been moved to see how much cannabis tinctures can help children with epilepsy. This caused Jean to say to herself, “If it helps those kids so dramatically, maybe it is good for my daughter too.”

6) Talk about what legalization means to your own safety.

A regulated environment means you know what you are putting in your body. We have been hearing a lot of news about pesticide use, but you are kidding yourself it you think the black market was organic. Now regulators are working hard to create safe standards for plant pest control on combustible substances.

It is true that a lot of modern cannabis is stronger than what was on the market in the 70s. The cannabis purchased in legal shops in Colorado all has potency data right there on the label—and that puts the consumer back in control. Again, in the black market, consumers are rolling the dice on potency.

In states with legal cannabis, drunk driving and opiate overdoses are both down. “Those are proven statistics that are hard to argue with,” says Jean.

7) Show your mom healthier smoke-free ways to consume.

For women of my mom’s generation, joints and bowls seemed like the only way to consume cannabis. To help her see it as a wellness product, I have showed my mom the wide variety of smoke-free delivery methods in my arsenal: including vape pens, portable flower vaporizers, pills, patches, edibles, and topical creams.

8) Help your mom to try topicals!

If your mom is canna-curious but apprehensive about “getting high,” pick up a topical cannabis cream or salve for her to try. These products produce no psychoactive effects, but they are a great anti-inflammatory for back pain, stiff joints, arthritis, and can sooth many types of skin conditions like psoriasis. This is a safe place to encourage her to experience the medicinal effects.

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