Dear Mother,

I would love to experience marijuana with my mother-in-law. She has so many aches and pains and I know it could be great for her. What method would you recommend for her first time?

If she is resistant to it, are there any senior stoner support groups that I can point her to?

— Concerned in Colorado  


Dear Concerned,

I love how concerned and proactive you are regarding your mother-in-law's health and well being. If only everyone could have a daughter-in-law like you! I think you're right on the money that medical cannabis might be helpful to your mother-in-law.

And that just might be the way to broach the subject. While some seniors might be well seasoned stoners, others may still hold on to the stigmas and incorrect assumptions pushed out about pot "back in the day."

So, start slow. Perhaps the next time you're talking about her health or she brings up another ache she's experiencing, use that as your invitation to talk about medical cannabis. It certainly helps that you live in a state where it is legal, as that can help ease her into thinking of it as a legitimate option for pain relief. You can remind her that legal marijuana can actually be safer and have less side effects than some of the prescription medication some folks take.

In fact, you can let her know that in Canada, a university is currently researching whether marijuana not only alleviates pain from arthritis but can actually repair the nerves causing joint pain!

While she may not have arthritis, it still looks incredibly promising to see what kind of medical studies are being done on the efficacy of cannabis as a healing agent.

It might also be helpful to break down any myths she might have. Let her know that marijuana is not addictive comparable to other forms of pain relief, and that it won't magically turn her into a "burnout."

In fact, let her know that since she has access to a dispensary, she can actually find marijuana that is specifically grown to provide pain relief without even getting her super high (aka a high CBD, low THC strain).

Many people are shocked to find out that there is actually pot out there that doesn't get you all stoned! And, definitely let her know she isn't alone. In fact, in Arizona, where medical marijuana is legal, reports have shown that 25% of users are between 51 t0 81 years old!

If she's still apprehensive, maybe pick up some cannabis lotion to start her off with. Tell her to rub it on her sore muscles and joints and allow her to see just how helpful and beneficial it can actually be. A lotion or salve will be a more user-friendly experience and can allow her to be more open or willing to try another method.

If she's open to smoking, I would have her try a vaporizer first. It will be much more gentle on her lungs, might seem more refined/dignified than puffing down on a joint, and feels a bit more high tech/fancy. And, once she sees how easy it is to use a vape, she'll be a pro in no time!

While I don't know of any senior stoner support groups off hand, I do know that some doctors and medical dispensaries across the country are holding information sessions about medical marijuana aimed specifically at senior citizens. They may be held at a senior center or community center, or at a local dispensary. Check out the local happenings in your mother-in-law's neighborhood—you never know what you might come across!

And who knows, one of these days Sunday night dinner at the in-laws might just end with you two sitting outside on the porch, enjoying marijuana together!

— Mother