So, you smoke cannabis. Welcome to the club. This is, of course, a non-exclusive club that consists of millions of people in the U.S. alone. Smoking cannabis, despite what propaganda may lead some to believe, is entirely normal and safe.
However, you may have friends or loved ones who don’t understand this, and may even look down upon it. In some cases, depending on your living situation, they may even forbid it.
This is an incredibly challenging situation, and one that isn’t easy to tackle. Many of us want to maintain the respect of the ones we care for, and don’t want the conflict that could ensue by telling them. But at the same time, just because someone decides to consume a nonlethal herb, that doesn’t mean they should be treated negatively or have to hide it, especially in the modern era of energy drinks, glorified alcohol use and rampant pharmaceuticals, all of which are much more dangerous.
Maybe you’ve decided that you’ve had enough, and no longer want to hide your consumption, but you’re not sure how to approach it. Although we obviously can’t tell you how whoever you’re speaking to will respond, we can give you some information and pointers to use if you are coming out of the cannabis closet, to make sure you’re as prepared as possible to defend your stance.
Here we go:
1. Come at it from an angle that what you’re doing isn’t wrong and is safe.
- Point out the hypocrisy of prohibition, and make note of how propaganda is the sole cause for all of the ridiculous laws surrounding the plant. Prohibition began before we had any scientific understanding of the plant, and during a time when cannabis was cracked down on because of its prominence in minority cultures (we took a quick look at some of the racist fueled propaganda that led to cannabis prohibition in a previous article). If looked at from a subjective lens, it’s hard to justify cannabis prohibition and the stigma attached to its use.
2. Make it clear that cannabis has no lethal dose, meaning that it’s impossible to overdose from it. Cannabis is a safe substance. Stick with the facts, and don’t be afraid to cite some sources:
- In a 1997 study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 87 No. 4, it was found that no degree of marijuana use had any effect on mortality, continuing with the known fact that cannabis is responsible for 0 deaths annually. Remember: There’s no such thing as a marijuana overdose.
- One of the biggest concerns that may be brought forth is the effect it can have on your lungs. Make note of a study published last year in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, and published online by the National Institute of Health, found that consuming at least one joint a day for 20 years has no negative effect on a person’s lung health. In 2006 the University of California conducted the largest study of its kind and concluded there is no link between even heavy cannabis use and lung cancer, and found that smokers may actually be less prone to it than non-smokers.
- All in all, the most important thing to note is that cannabis has never been scientifically proven to cause any amount of serious long-term harm to the brain or body, and has never been properly linked to any form of cancer or brain damage. You can find a list of hundreds of cannabis-related articles we’ve written about over the past few years (all from respected scientific journals) that show its vast medical and therapeutic diversity by clicking here (all of the articles hyperlink to the original study).
3. Be ready to combat the lies. Depending on who you’re talking with, you may find them digging deep into the propaganda handbag.
- For example, many will claim cannabis kills brain cells, but that’s simply untrue. Not only is it not true, but studies have shown that cannabis and its compounds can actually help grow brain cells.
- Don’t let them hit you with the “but it’ll make you stupid” argument, either: An American Journal of Epidemiology study published in 1999 reported “no significant differences in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users, and nonusers of cannabis” over a 15-year period. A much more recent study from earlier this year found that cannabis use is not associated with lower IQ or poorer educational performance once adjustments are made for potential confounders, specifically cigarette smoking; the study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
- If the issue of how it effects the brain comes up, make sure to throw in the fact that not only may it provide a treatment for brain-related ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, it may help to prevent them.
4. Don’t be afraid to revel in your accomplishments.
- The fact that you might have to “prove” you can function while being a cannabis consumer is absurd, but the mind of those unfamiliar with or against cannabis use will often be thinking along these lines; that it will negatively effect everything you do. If you’re still holding a steady job, still volunteering in the community, still going to school and getting good grades, still a normal person that can make their own choices…..make it known! Remember that you have no reason to be ashamed of your decision to use cannabis!
- If cannabis use isn’t negatively impacting your life, but instead is improving it, once again, make it known. Make it clear that you are happy with your choice to use cannabis, and that you find it to be beneficial. If it’s said that you could become addicted to it, point out the it’s far more likely for someone to get addicted to their morning cup of coffee (which has a lethal dose, unlike cannabis), their glass of wine with dinner or their ice cream for dessert (not to mention their phone, laptop, etc.).
- If they bring up the fact that it’s illegal (if you’re not lucky enough to live in a state where it’s been legalized), remember this Martin Luther King Jr. quote; “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
For a list of cannabis-related studies to cite, click here.
About Anthony Martinelli
Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.