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Defending Your Cannabis Use

By Amanda Ferron

Have you ever been confronted negatively about your cannabis use? Odds are the answer is yes. Though Cannabis legalization is sweeping the nation, with more states now having some kind of Cannabis legalization than not, “Reefer Madness” is still very much alive and well. And people, most who have no problem with the consumption of Alcohol, also have no problem passing judgment on our community for our Cannabis consumption. 

I firmly believe this is because they are, quite simply, ignorant. Whether that is willful ignorance or not, the best way to combat this kind of judgment is through education. So stay calm, and remember that you have facts on your side. While whoever is confronting you only has fear and unawareness. 

I recently re-watched the 2002 film version of “The Count of Monte Cristo“, and one of my favorite parts is when the Priest, Abbe Faria, is trying to convince Edmond to help him dig a tunnel to escape their imprisonment from the horrendous Chateau D’If. “In return for your help, I offer something priceless…” to which Edmond incorrectly guesses the Priest is talking about his freedom. “No. Freedom can be taken away, as you well know. I offer knowledge, everything I have learned. I will teach you economics, mathematics, philosophy, science…” Because he knew that KNOWLEDGE IS PRICELESS. In every aspect of life. 

When it comes to defending your Cannabis use, knowledge is your greatest defense. It’s especially important to be knowledgeable about things like our bodies’ Endocannabinoid System, legalization status where you live, etc… Being well informed on all of these things will help you formulate a proper defense against anyone trying to make you feel bad for consuming Cannabis.

Legalization Status in Your State

Having the law on your side is ALWAYS helpful. I live in California, where we have both Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis laws. Luckily for me, most of the people in this state are not opposed to Cannabis consumption. 

Make sure you know whether or not your state has some kind of Cannabis legalization. And figure out whether or not getting a medical recommendation is right for you. (Check out your states status with PayRio’s Markets page for info on each state.) I always keep my recommendation current, even though I live in an “adult use” legal state. Basically because I’ve found it is a great way to defend your Cannabis use in court.

Obtaining your medical certification makes you extra legal, even in states where there is legal adult use. I got my first “Medicinal Marijuana Card” after I became a Mother. To be quite honest, I was terrified that someone would try to use my Cannabis Consumption to take my son away from me. And getting that first card was actually a bit sketchy… I drove about 45 minutes to a strip mall in Sacramento CA, and had an appointment with a Doctor who was sitting in a sparse room, slurping down Ramen Noodles during our visit. He was pretty creepy, and also tried to get me to lift my shirt up to show him my stomach. WEIRD! I got my card and RAN out of there! 

Nowadays, it is easy and safe to get your Medical card, and give yourself a little extra protection. I personally use NuggMD‘s online service. You fill out a form, pay the fee, get a call from a not creepy Doctor, and you’re done! Being able to say that Cannabis is my medicine and having my Medical Card definitely helped make my Cannabis use a non-issue in Family Court. Having your med card often gives you extra protections as well… In California, it allows you to have more Cannabis product on you, you can smoke Cannabis in public smoking areas, and you can grow a few more personal plants at home. 

Know About Your Endocannabinoid System

I first started researching about our Endocannabinoid System out of pure curiosity. More and more information is coming out all the time about this amazing system and what it does for us. Basically, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that exist throughout our bodies Central and Peripheral nervous systems. 

To break that down a little further, all over our brains and in our immune tissues, there are tiny molecules on the surface of our cells called “Receptors”. These receptors bind to molecules called “Cannabinoids”. Our bodies naturally produce Endogenous Cannabinoids, or “Endocannabinoids”, and use them to stimulate the proper receptors in the brain and the corresponding areas of the body. Once this communication starts taking place, your ECS starts helping your body function in harmony.

So whether you consume the Cannabis plant or not, your body is producing (Endo)Cannabinoids, and they are vital to proper bodily function. Studies that have been conducted thus far on the Endocannabinoid System seem to show its primary purpose to be helping our body maintain homeostasis. It does this by helping regulate many different functions, such as: 

  • Cardiovascular Function 
  • Sleep 
  • Immune System Response 
  • Anxiety 
  • Pain Tolerance 
  • Hunger
  • Metabolism 
  • And More! 

And guess what else produces Cannabinoids?? Cannabis, of course! These (Exo)Cannabinoids work with your body similarly to your bodies naturally produced (Endo)Cannabinoids. When you consume Cannabis, you are in fact supplementing your Endocannabinoid System. Helping your body function properly. Science is behind you, so make sure you keep up to date on research coming out about our Endocannabinoid System.

The Alcohol Comparison

Though not necessarily my favorite defense, it comes in handy when the people coming at you about your Cannabis consumption are also alcohol drinkers. Because alcohol is something most adults have consumed and can understand. This has actually helped me on multiple occasions. I am what you call “Cali Sober”. Meaning I don’t consume Alcohol, but I do consume Cannabis. And it is always crazy to me how people will straight up GUILT you for NOT consuming alcohol!

Alcohol is generationally destructive, very addictive, and literally breaks your body down over time. Studies show that long-term alcohol consumption can lead to:

  • Multiple Different Cancers
  • Stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Fibrosis

Just to name a few. Yet you are very likely to find that most people have no problem with alcohol. Advertising for it, having it colorfully labeled with cakes and candies openly in the grocery store aisles, and consuming it around their children… No issue whatsoever. (HARD eye roll…) It’s complete and total hypocrisy, and something I point out whenever my alcohol-consuming friends question my Cannabis use.  

The number of deaths related to alcohol consumption, not DUI’s or violent episodes or anything like that, purely drinking alcohol and dying of something related to that consumption, goes up every year. It’s estimated that these deaths numbered well over 50,000 people in 2022. Guess how many people have died of Cannabis consumption? ZERO. EVER. The human body does not have Cannabinoid receptors in the area of the brain that regulate breathing and heart-rate. Alcohol, however, CAN effect breathing and heart-rate. And therefore, consumption of alcohol kills tens of thousands of people every single year. 

Cannabis actually HELPS your body function. There is a quote by the late and great Dennis Peron that says “Every Cannabis user is a medical patient, whether they know it or not.” Because whether you are consuming Cannabis for a medicinal purpose or not, your body’s previously mentioned Endocannabinoid System is receiving therapeutic benefits from the consumption. Cannabis HEALS, Alcohol poisons… Period.

You Can’t Win Them All

When all else fails, remember what Mark Twain said “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience.”

Knowing when to walk away is priceless.

Some people are simply not going to take in any information that doesn’t line up with what they already believe. And while that can be beyond frustrating, it’s best not to get confrontational. Trying to share information about this beautiful plant is one thing, but getting into an annoyed back-and-forth with someone who has no clue what they are talking about is another. And it doesn’t do anyone any good. (No point in arguing with a brick wall, ya know??) 

So know when to peacefully and respectfully walk away.