Despite the widespread popularity of cannabis use in North America, there are many people who would still prefer it did not exist. It can be tough to navigate social settings when you are a cannabis user, especially if you are the odd-man (or woman!) out in your social circle. When it comes to using cannabis, there is still a lot of work to be done to get the general public to accept and understand it in a way that doesn’t leave users on the fringe of society. Even though prominent personalities have stated that they use it, the average Joe is often still intimidating by the judging eyes of society, and those closest to them. Here’s how people can avoid the stigma of being a cannabis user.
Own it Loud and Proud… or Quietly and Contented
So you are either on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to being a cannabis user. You either don’t care who knows that you dabble in recreational cannabis, or you care so much that you don’t tell anyone. If you are part of the second group, it’s likely that nobody in your immediate circle knows you are a cannabis user. This might be because it is for medical reasons, or because you are experimenting on your own. If you are in the first group, you might have run up against some stigma in the past and decided that you don’t care what people think. The good news is that both approaches are 100% correct because while the conversation about cannabis use has turned into a public debate, it remains a very personal thing to engage in regularly and people are allowed to approach it however they see fit. So the first step in avoiding stigma is to decide which side of the fence you are on and own it, whatever that looks like.
What to Say When Confronted About Your Cannabis Use
As long as you aren’t using cannabis at or before you go to work, drive a car, or engage in any other important activity, what you do in the privacy of your own home is your business. If someone confronts you about your cannabis use at work, well, unfortunately, it is their business if you are high or under the influence. But if they are giving you a hard time about your cannabis use at home, you can simply thank them for their concern and walk away. There are very few situations in which you would owe someone an explanation for something you do at home. Again, as long as it is not impacting your work or the work of another person, there’s no need to justify badgering from other people. Now, if your coworker found a dab rig on your desk, that might be a different story.
How to Bring it Up When People Ask
Many topics cross the table in social settings and one topic that remains on the tip of everyone’s tongues these days is cannabis legalization and use. If you find yourself in the midst of one of these discussions, you can choose to engage or not. It is totally up to you. Be aware that when you speak from a place of personal experience, you add credibility to the conversation and provide context for those who might not fully understand the benefits or risks of cannabis use. By speaking about your experience, you may be able to help someone else understand it a bit more and provide clarity for them so they won’t judge others who choose to use it. The best way to fight against stigma is to speak about your experiences with those who might not understand otherwise. Providing insight helps everyone to learn together and keeps you in the clear from whispers behind your back. Consider being the voice in your group for cannabis use, education and information and people won’t doubt that you know what you are talking about, thus reducing the stigma that might exist.
There’s No Right or Wrong
It’s important to keep in mind that the cannabis users aren’t right or wrong and the naysayers aren’t right or wrong. While it feels like one side is most certainly right or wrong, it can be hard to differentiate the two and providing context for generalization of either group is vital to the integrity of the conversation. As someone who uses cannabis, you can be the voice of reasons for those who might now know better, or those who will unwittingly throw their hands in the air and pretend not to care. Offer friendly advice or insight and soon you’ll break down the walls that separate those two sides of the argument. Because let’s face it, whether you agree with it or not, people are going to continue to cannabis. They always have and they always will. So you might as well become someone who can handle the criticism by having your own version of what is really going on in the cannabis-using community.