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How To Talk To Your Kids About Your Medical Marijuana Use

By Danyal Swan September 25, 2021

Up until the late ‘80s it was legal to smoke on airplanes. Looking back, it’s easy to wonder how that was possible. Now, you can’t even get a bottle of water through security, let alone light up at 35,000 ft. It’s easy to forget about the sometimes slow swings of social norms. Depending on where you live, there’s likely another smoking centric shift happening right now as it relates to medical marijuana that’s sparking interesting conversations in households. Mine is one of them. 

Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states plus the district of Columbia. State-specific laws vary, so if you’re planning a family road trip and you plan on bringing your medicine, be careful before you start smoking at random rest stops. If you do use medical marijuana, you are aware of the gray area that surrounds using or smoking it. The gray or perhaps green area goes beyond social circles into family dynamics.

My wife and I both have our medical marijuana card in Florida, where it’s only legal for medical use. We are both very proud supporters of the different uses of cannabis, but we’re also children of the 80’s. Ronald Reagan’s very public war on drugs was sewed into our schooling - we had D.A.R.E. shirts, and not because they were ironic. 

“I had used cannabis earlier in life, but the ease and comfort level of having my medical marijuana card has been life-changing,” said Shaina Swan. 

The average number of cannabis products we have in our home is usually at least five. We are brand loyalists to one local producer (any guesses who?). The different delivery methods definitely show the plant’s abilities and how much time, money, and technology is in the industry. However, it also makes it more of a challenge to decide how and when we talk to our daughter about marijuana.

Cannabis for Common Ailments

Vape pen, cigars and marijuana in a jar on a counter near a window. Smoking marijuana, smoking CBD oil vape juice. Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC.

I have a terminal disease called ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that causes nerve cells to break down, which in turn reduces the functionality of muscles - that includes the muscles that allow you to walk, talk, and even breathe. Despite this, I have decided that I will not let the disease win. I was diagnosed in 2012 and have already doubled the life expectancy of the average patient. I’m completely paralyzed with the exception of my eyes and, thanks to eye gaze technology, I can still communicate with the world. 

My condition is obviously very unique, but the reasons why I use medical marijuana products are extremely common. 

  • Anxiety - I used to pop Xanax like TicTacs but now I wear a transdermal Patch that microdose of equal parts THC and CBD that lasts for three days. I usually put the patch on the inside of my arm and tend to forget it’s even there. It is such a subtle difference-maker that I usually notice if I don’t have one on my body. 
  • Sleep - Like most adults, my ability to sleep through the night slowly started to diminish as I aged. That is until I started taking pure, medical-grade CBD. I was a huge skeptic of CBD as it seemed to be the new acai berry. However, after one medicine dropper full of this stuff, I sleep like a log. Like a baby. Like a baby log. 
  • Aches and pains - As I turn the new 30 (the real 40), I tend to get sore from time to time, despite never lifting a finger. I don’t know what type of magic THC is in the Sports Gel I use, but works within minutes.
  • Stress Relief - This is just what it sounds like - to get high, baked, stoned, etc. For this, I just use a discrete THC Oral Spray. A few squirts of this stuff and I am sitting pretty. Well, technically, I’m always sitting because I’m in a wheelchair, but you get the idea.

All of the delivery methods that I use are quite discreet. My wife and I could probably avoid telling our daughter that we are big advocates for medical marijuana. But my wife uses cannabis in more traditional ways. She smokes or vapes, neither of which is inconspicuous. 

My wife uses medical marijuana for a few different reasons. It is mostly for anxiety and depression. Whereas I pop an antidepressant every morning, she finds cannabis to be more effective. I am in awe of how much more productive she can be after smoking. If I took a few puffs, I would want some Funyuns and a nap. She, on the other hand, can build a new room addition all while watching our daughter and ensuring I’m comfortable (and no, she does not smoke sativas!).

Tips for Talking To Your Kids About Your Medical Marijuana Use

Before we began the “talk” with our daughter, who’s only three years old, it took some tough cannabis conversations for us to get on a united front. We came to the table with very different backstories and life experiences with cannabis. Despite that difference, as advocates, we have educated friends and family about the benefits of medical marijuana to try and change the narrative. We decided together that if we were doing the work outside the home, we need to do it at home, too. 

After a few long talks and a lot of listening on my part, we found our common ground. We both remember the dramatic public service announcements of our youth and how much purposeful shame was used. That will be our method or mission when it comes to talking to our daughter.

We have created what we’re calling the European Approach. Its origin lies in the drastic difference we Americans address and consume alcohol versus Europeans. In the US, we don’t let individuals drink until they are 21 years of age, three years after the age to vote or join the military. In Europe, beer and wine are often a part of dinner. Many children grow up with it sewed into their life. It never carries the unnecessary weight of being taboo. 

The real deciding factor in the use of the European Approach came down to one of my favorite things: booze. We talked about the kids from high school that had really strict and conservative parents when it came to alcohol. The families that put a huge emphasis on not drinking or the kids that lived in a dry home, seemed to make the life of the party. 

That sealed the deal. Our daughter has entered the overly inquisitive stage of toddler life. She has asked, “what are you doing,” before when my wife goes outside to smoke. Fortunately, she’s accepted “mommy needs to take her medicine” so far. 

We plan to be very open and honest with our daughter as she gets older. That doesn’t mean that we’ll support doing bong rips at her bat mitzvah. After all, we all remember the kids’ whose parents bought the booze for the kids to host parties. They were the “cool” parents. But let’s be honest, that laissez-faire attitude was far from “cool.”

That is why we call it the European Approach and not the French Approach.

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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