How to overcome the stigma around cannabis and CBD

Overcoming the stigma around CBD

How did the people around you react when you first told them that you’re using CBD or cannabis? 

We hope that most responded positively. However, some people might have been shocked and proceeded to instantly judge and pigeonhole you as just another “stoner”. That’s the sad reality for many CBD and cannabis users and the reason why many decide to keep it a secret.  

The thing is, you can’t even blame people. Several generations have been fed with misinformation about cannabis. Their views are heavily influenced by their parents’ and grandparents’ stance that it is an evil drug. Many still hold on to the old attitude that using cannabis is all about getting high and lazing around all day. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Nowadays, a growing number of patients use medical cannabis and CBD to treat serious medical conditions, with success. In addition to their physical pain, they often have to go through an emotional rollercoaster when having to hide or cover up their cannabis usage. The constant need to justify themselves can be extremely frustrating and emotionally draining. 

We believe it’s time to overcome the stigma around cannabis and CBD once and for all, so anybody can be open about their usage without the fear of repercussions. You are not alone in this. We are here to support you when you have the talk with your loved ones. In this article, we want to do away with the stereotypes, and show you how you can bust the false assumptions about cannabis and CBD. 


Where does the stigma come from

To better combat the stigma, we first need to understand where it originated. Fact is, cannabis has been around for over 2,000 years and was used as a natural medicine in China and India.

Unfortunately, in the late 19th century, the criminalisation of cannabis began to spread over the concerns of its effects. Australia prohibited its use in the 1920s following the example of the United Kingdom and other western countries. The ‘Reefer Madness’ anti-marijuana propaganda campaigns that ran in the 1930s in the U.S. helped to further fuel hysteria about the drug. This swapped over to Australia and cannabis was outlawed as a result.  

For decades, the information that was spread about cannabis exaggerated the negative side-effects while selectively ignoring the benefits. As cannabis was effectively banned, critical research into its effects slowed down, resulting in opinions being formed on hearsay rather than facts. As a result, several generations inherited a deadlocked viewpoint on cannabis.

As the research into cannabis is now restarting, and more and more people become educated through real facts, instead of old attitudes, the stigma around cannabis is slowly but surely decreasing. But there is still more work to do.


What stereotypes are sticking around 

The stereotype of the typical cannabis user or “stoner” has been established over decades and was fueled by more than just a few Hollywood movies, which depict them as lazy folks who get high and do nothing all day. 

The stereotypical stoners also shirk responsibilities and make excuses for not getting things done “because they got high”. They are constantly paranoid and always assume that the cops are onto them. All they do is eat because they are a slave to the “munchies”. And maybe the worst of all prejudices is that if someone is using cannabis, they must be doing other drugs too.

You can immediately sense that this common image is mostly related to the recreational use of marijuana. Unfortunately, it bleeds over into the medical use, too. It is disheartening to see that patients who rely on cannabis and CBD for treating their symptoms have to deal with this type of prejudices. This seems even more absurd when you compare cannabis to alcohol. 

When you think of it, it is strange that alcohol is legal and fully accepted in our society while cannabis is not. People think it is perfectly normal to get yourself a glass of wine or a bottle of beer at the end of a hectic day to wind down and relax. But if you were to smoke marijuana to get the same relaxing effect, you would likely get some condescending looks. 

While alcohol is sometimes even seen as a requirement in social situations, it has way more adverse health effects than cannabis. But this is how our current society functions. 


How to overcome the stigma

Knowledge is a powerful tool for change. The best thing you can do is continually educate others about the realities of cannabis and CBD use. At first, it can be intimidating to speak open and honest about it. But this will gradually help to replace the stoner stigma with personal success stories. Each person you’re educating is a catalyst that can help change the entire society over time.

Our advice is to start talking to someone who you know you can trust. Find a friend or family member who can keep an open mind and speak to them about your interest in and use of cannabis and CBD. Not feeling isolated can make a huge difference. Share why you turned to it and how it is changing your life for the positive. 

We know that these conversations can be tough and that you might be bombarded with a ton of questions. People are quick to jump to conclusions and may make assumptions that you can easily debunk. That’s why we want to show you exactly how you can talk to others about the various aspects of medical cannabis and CBD usage. 

Assumption #1: When you use cannabis and CBD, even for medical reasons, you just get high.

Reality #1: CBD won’t get you high because it doesn’t contain the psychoactive component THC. Patients who use CBD oil or cannabis to treat chronic pain or other symptoms typically get relief from it, not a high.

Assumption #2: You could just use conventional pharmaceutical drugs to treat your symptoms.

Reality #2: Not everyone reacts well to pharmaceutical drugs, and some might even result in adverse effects. Cannabis and CBD are safe alternatives. By using them, patients can often reduce or eliminate prescription drugs altogether. An additional benefit is that CBD and cannabis come from a naturally grown plant with no chemicals or anything synthetic in it.

Assumption #3: When you use CBD and cannabis, you’ll get addicted.

Reality #3: People who rely on CBD and cannabis to treat serious illnesses depend on it to maintain a certain quality of life. They won’t crave it any more than they’d crave a pharmaceutical drug.

Assumption #4: CBD and cannabis are dangerous drugs.

Reality #4: There has not been a single confirmed death that can be traced to a cannabis overdose. Remember how many people die because of the harmful effects of alcohol. As with any medication, there are side effects, so patients always need to stick with the right dosage.

Assumption #5: Cannabis users act and smell like stoners.

Reality #5: It’s important to know that cannabis doesn’t have to be smoked. People could consume it as oil, tincture, topical, patch, capsule, edible, or vaporise it. CBD oil can be simply ingested. Ask: “Do I act stoned?” Likely they’ll respond “Of course not!” So, where is the problem?

Assumption #6: Cannabis is a gateway drug that will make you want to try harder drugs.

Reality #6: Cannabis is medicine. If you take a painkiller for a headache, are you, therefore, more likely to take other medication as well, even if you don’t need it? Definitely not. This prejudice comes from the background that users who have to obtain cannabis on the black market typically receive access to other drugs there, too.


It’s worth fighting the stigma 

If you still get strange looks and negative reactions, it’s time to go into the offensive. Ask your counterpart straight up what they would do if they got inflicted with a painful condition. Would they avoid this safe medication due to the scare tactics out there about it? Likely not. 

Some people might respond to different arguments than others. But whenever you can educate someone about cannabis and CBD, you pave the way for change. By sharing your journey, you encourage others to do the same. And soon, the stigma around cannabis and CBD will finally dissipate.   

Share this post with anybody who can need help in their cannabis and CBD journey. 


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