My bread and butter is CBD. You could say, short of being a molecular biologist or doctor, I’m about as close to a CBD expert you can get. And yet the other day - when faced with explaining CBD to my 81-year-old mother and why she should take it - I failed abysmally. But mistakes are made for learning from, and here are my 9 top tips for explaining CBD to an elderly relative.
1. Expect Resistance
Unless your parents or grandparents ‘really enjoyed’ the 1960s and 70s, it’s fairly likely they’ve never tried cannabis in their life. And even if they did enjoy the odd reefer, the only success of the misplaced ‘war on drugs’ has been to persuade huge chunks of the world that cannabis is a gateway drug and will lead to ‘reefer madness.’
So you’re going to have a serious cannabis PR job explaining that cannabis for smoking joints and medical cannabis are two different things. Fight the urge to go all ‘cannabis activist’. Your parents probably aren’t interested in big pharma conspiracy theories; they just want to know that CBD is safe and isn’t going make them lose their minds.
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2. Point Out They Can’t Get Stoned on CBD or Addicted
My mum’s biggest worry was that CBD would make her feel high or she’d get hooked. Of course, we all know there are plenty of prescription medications that do far worse, and frankly, what’s so bad about feeling a bit stoned anyway? But anyway, one of CBD’s major selling points is that it is non-psychoactive and completely non-addictive - so be sure to point this out from the start.
Perhaps you could explain that the cannabis plant has different components that do different things - one makes people feel fuzzy-headed and a bit giggly, while another - CBD - can help them feel relaxed and ease aching joints and muscles.
3. Explain Why CBD is Not Illegal
Now that they know about the different bits in the cannabis plant, it will be easier to explain why CBD, derived from hemp, is not illegal.
Perhaps explain how hemp and cannabis are essentially the same plant. You could quote my favourite octogenarian CBD warrior, Phil Schwarz, when she described how hemp is ‘cannabis with the fun bit taken out.’
It’s this ‘fun bit’ that makes cannabis illegal - but because CBD comes from hemp, there’s no risk of the police battering down the door.
4. Tell Them the Story of Charlotte Figi
I know it sounds counterintuitive to mention a small girl who has a severe type of childhood epilepsy, but to anyone new to CBD, I find Charlotte’s case the easiest to illustrate that CBD oil has a demonstrably positive effect on people’s health.
There’s no arguing with a case like Charlotte’s - a child who went from hundreds of seizures a day to almost zero after taking CBD oil. It’s a good way to explain how CBD can bring benefit to people’s health, and gives an opening to introduce other useful effects, such as pain relief, sleep aid and easing anxiety.
5. Talk About the Positive Side Effects
It’s very rare that prescription medication has any positive side effects. In fact, how many times have we seen cases of medication being prescribed to treat the side effects of another drug?
As well as having no noted unwanted side effects, it may well be that CBD also has unexpected positive effects on our health. That’s because scientists are researching the compound’s ability to protect brain cells, believing it may slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. So if your elderly nearest and dearest is taking CBD for pain, they may well get the added bonus of protecting their memory in the process.
6. CBD is Not Weirdy Beardy Mumbo Jumbo, but Based on Scientific Research
There’s a lot of contradictory information out there about our health. One moment red wine is good, next drinking even small amounts every day is one step away from alcoholism. And then there’s the whole world of alternative health, throwing out theories often based on pseudo-scientific extrapolations.
It’s understandable then when we roll up, animatedly sharing how something called CBD oil might ease all the aches and pains and get them off their prescribed meds, our parents look somewhat incredulous.
They need to know in simple terms that scientific research does back up all the amazing anecdotal accounts that are splashed across the headlines.
But be honest. Acknowledge that CBD oil hasn’t yet been through the rigorous 3 stage clinical trials that prescribed medications have. However, you can point out the World Health Organisation has found it to be safe and non-toxic.
7. Explain How Self-dosing is Actually a Good Thing
If you use conventional medicine, you’ll expect to be told by your doctor ‘take X milligrams, X times a day.’ CBD and medical cannabis doesn’t work this way and for anyone trying CBD for the first time, this can be a cause for concern, especially if they are elderly.
Saying, “Mum, you need to try the up-titration method” - is not the way to introduce self-dosing, but, “let’s start low and see how you feel,” is a good way to go. Why not highlight how there’s no better personalised medicine than listening to your own body?
8. Don’t Get too Technical
This is probably not a problem for most people, but for a geek like me, speaking like an ordinary human being when it comes CBD is extremely difficult. In the case of my mum, I thought I’d written the perfect article explaining why CBD would help her health condition. For some reason, I imagined blasting her with information on mechanisms of action and preclinical studies would convince her that CBD was to be trusted. Despite her eyes glazing over, on I ploughed, until half way through she asked, “what are we talking about again?”
So, keep it simple and use analogies they can understand
9. There Really isn’t Anything to Lose
When it comes to CBD and our health, there’s very little to lose and everything to gain. This is a concept that can be hard to grasp for the risk-averse older generation. But waft the possibility of feeling loser limbed, having more energy and taking less medication in front of them, and most will jump at the chance. But to allay any fears, why not suggest they talk to their family doctor about taking CBD.
So there you have it - a grandparent-proof route to explaining CBD. Now it’s just a matter of getting them the highest quality, organically sourced CBD products. And where better to try than Endoca.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Endoca and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure. Endoca CBD products have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).