Your boomer relatives may be more chill than you think.
As weed becomes less taboo, older Americans who grew up in an era of cannabis prohibition are showing more interest in using it; a 2018 study in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal found that since 2006, the number of baby boomers who have used marijuana doubled. In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that 38 percent percent of Republican boomers and 66 percent of Democrat boomers support weed legalization. Another Pew Research Center poll taken this year saw that number jump — 49 percent of Republican boomers and 81 percent of Democrat boomers now favor legalization.
But even if generational approval is on the rise, there’s still stigma associated with cannabis use. Boomers support for legalized weed peaked in the 1970s, the Pew Research Center noted in its 2015 report, but took a nosedive when the federally-led “War On Drugs” ramped up in the ’80s. Decades of anti-weed public service announcements only contributed to the stigma.
Which is why your relatives — or any older person in your life — might be interested in trying cannabis products, but need a well-informed Youth to encourage them to do so. Here’s how to introduce them to the good kush. They’ll probably
dank thank you for it.
Emphasize the medicinal uses for weed
In addition to having a good time, weed is clinically proven to have medical benefits. If your relatives complain about an ailment they’re dealing with, bring up the clinically proven ways marijuana has been used to treat a variety of issues.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine searched through more than 10,000 studies published since 1999 for a more conclusive list of what cannabis can and can’t treat. The 2017 review found “substantial evidence” that weed is effective in alleviating chronic pain, and “conclusive evidence” that it can help treat chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. It also found “moderate evidence” that weed was helpful for improving “short-term sleep outcomes” in people dealing with sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and multiple sclerosis.
That being said, many claims about the benefits of marijuana for people who don’t have the issues listed above are largely anecdotal. All the more reason to get your parents to try it for themselves!
Remind them that the “gateway” effect is total BS
Weed has been lambasted as a “gateway drug” for generations. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that getting cozy with Mary Jane is “likely to precede use of other licit and illicit substances” and lead to the “development of addiction to other substances.”
The review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found “limited” to “moderate” evidence of a correlation between marijuana use and use of other drugs. But like Vox notes, correlation doesn’t mean causation. Weed also tends to be cheaper and more accessible than harder drugs, which is why people prone to drug use might start with it.
Despite Joe Biden’s claims that toking leads to use of harder drugs, the National Drug Institute on Drug Abuse does acknowledge that most people who smoke weed “do not go on to use other ‘harder’ substances.”
Hitting a gravity bong probably won’t end well for a first-time weed user. To gradually introduce someone to the joys of toking, start with more gentle products.
Starting with a balanced ratio of THC to CBD may increase the chances of a better high. For some, the effects of THC, the component in weed responsible for the signature “high” feeling, can be overwhelming on its own. CBD, a non-psychoactive component found in cannabis, may help minimize paranoia and anxiety that come with highs. In a 2012 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, participants who were given a dose of CBD before they were administered a dose of pure THC experienced less cognitive impairment and paranoia than participants who were given just THC. To ward off weed freak outs, try looking for products that incorporate both THC and CBD.
Ratio-wise, it’s always smarter to start small and work your way up. Rather than convincing your uncle to hotbox your childhood bedroom with an absurdly high-THC vape pen, ease him into it with a 1:1 or 2:1 product.
Trying weed may also be more appealing with the right delivery method. A sleek all-in-one vape is less intimidating than a complicated dab rig.
You may also have luck getting your relatives to try weed if you cater to a specific need. Some brands incorporate specific terpenes and THC to CBD ratios to achieve different targets, like pain relief or sleep.
Granted, vaping also poses a risk. An investigation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the respiratory issues and deaths from the ongoing vape crisis stemmed from Vitamin E oil, a cutting agent used in black market vape cartridges to cheapen the product without thinning it. If you do start your family members on vaping, make sure to avoid anything bought off the street and only buy from licensed dispensaries. A number of cannabis companies have assured customers that their products do not contain Vitamin E oil.
Luckily, if you don’t want to risk it, you can try a few other delivery methods.
If inhaling makes your relatives nervous, you can also start them on tinctures.
Dropped and absorbed under the tongue, tinctures tend to be easier to achieve specific doses than vapes. Because it’s directly absorbed into the bloodstream, the cannabis potency does’t change by being processed through the digestive system and liver. And unlike edibles, which do go through the gut and liver, the THC in tinctures won’t be metabolized into a more potent molecule that can make feeling high more unpleasant.
Most tinctures come with droppers so users can take a precise dose. Your boomer relatives might be more comfortable trying cannabis if they feel like they’re in control of how much they’re consuming.
Many weed-infused chocolates and gummies come pre-measured with 5 to 10 mg of THC — which is considered by many states to be a single dose. If your boomer family members do choose to try edibles, remind them to wait for the first dose to kick in before snacking on a second. This can take hours and isn’t the same for everyone.
Taking an edible may feel more natural than vaping or taking tinctures. Your homemade space cakes will probably be too intense for a first-timer, but the dosed edibles sold in dispensaries all over the country are carefully regulated.
Set up a safe environment
Getting baked should feel like a good time.
Everyone remembers their first bad high, and experiencing one can turn someone off from the joys of weed forever. Marijuana won’t send users into Reefer Madness-like mania, but it can make them feel paranoid and anxious. Reduce the risk by making sure everyone’s comfortable, stocking up on snacks, and queueing up a fun stoner movie.
Just like with consuming alcohol, make sure nobody’s planning to drive home until they’re 100 percent sober. Avoid mixing weed with any other substances.
And of course, don’t pressure anyone into trying it or get someone high without their consent.
It’s only a matter of time before it’s socially acceptable to light up a joint at family gatherings the way we down beers and pop champagne. If your older family members are really resistant to trying it, you can always take a classic walk with the cousins and try again next year.