My 80-year-old mom was so opposed to cannabis until she was in so much pain with Arthritis that she finally agreed to try it to help with her pain. Cannabis has brought us closer because I can openly talk about it with her….we go to the dispensary together, and she has become an advocate along my side. It is one more thing that we can talk about together. And I love seeing the positive effects it has had for her.
I have also seen my relationship grow a little stronger with my nephew now that we have cannabis in common. We talk more about our experiences with different products. He was the first to tell me about the recent news with the MLB and cannabis. All in all, our conversations always start or end with some sort of cannabis experience.
From then on, I was Diana's cannabis guide--helping her shop, purchasing for her, and listening to her feedback on her experiences. She had used pot when she was younger but, like many of her generation, was rediscovering the brave new world of cannabis in California. She has yet to graduate from 'the sleepy one' to 'indica,' but she has tried enough things to have a preference for vaporizers, topicals, and occasionally flower.
Likely she would be on the edibles band-wagon if it were not for an unfortunate incident involving a 70mg Cheeba Chew and her assumptions about serving sizes. Shopping for her became easier as I learned her preferences, but grew tiresome as we would run out at different rates, resulting in me bugging my friend more often.
Eventually, got our medical cards together. We went straight from the doctor's office to a dispensary, and we were blown away by the variety of products. I doubt she would have taken to in-person shopping so quickly if I had not accompanied her that first time, but shopping is something of a hobby for her. She took to it quickly, often informing me of new products recommended to her by her favorite budtender.
While we haven’t smoked together, we often compare our individual experiences, and occasionally I am still able to give her a good recommendation to help tailor her regimen to better reach her desired benefits. Introducing her to cannabis topicals, for example, helped her tremendously with her newly budding Arthritis, and tinctures have become part of her nightly ritual for better sleep.
I have enjoyed helping her along her cannabis journey, and for a time, it was our little secret among the family. Today I feel our bonding over this previously off-limits topic has elevated the maturity of our relationship, helping both of us see each other as equal, individual adults rather than through a generational, family power dynamic.
For better or worse, the holidays are the time to spend with family. As legalization sweeps the country, more families are incorporating cannabis into their festivities--or at the very least, getting a tad more comfortable talking about it. We asked our Flowertown team to share about a time when cannabis brought them closer to a loved one or facilitated a conversation they wouldn’t have otherwise had. The stories they shared illustrate how cannabis can unite a dinner table in an increasingly divided world. Click on a staff member's photo to check our their story below.
My folks had an amazing balance of being responsibly open-minded. Being products of the 60s, they embraced the "love your neighbor" and activism for your fellow man vibes but broke the "lazy hippy" stereotypes. My Dad works as a respiratory therapist full-time at the hospital in town while my mom runs and owns the local coffee shop, all the while using cannabis nearly their entire lives!
Growing up hearing their psychedelic stories made me respect the nostalgia while also still head caution of those "we were young and dumb" moments. Yet they never revealed their daily cannabis use to me until that summer. I was none the wiser. Aspiring to be a musician and singer, I avoided smoking and drug use at all costs, especially cigarettes. Although my parents never taught me that cannabis was a drug or that it was "bad," they instead provided me an open-minded aspect of moderation with common sense. "If you ever want to try it, try it with us first." Well, that is exactly what ended up happening.
Coming home from my first year of college, I had still never smoked anything or done any recreational drugs except for alcohol. Catching up on the back porch with some friends of mine and my folks, my southern raised Momma interrupts my lengthy rambling and says, "Do you want to smoke a bowl with us, son?" I was speechless. My only response was honest "Sure!... Okay!" At that time, we hear my Pops say, "Alright! Bout time!" as he jumps off the couch in the living room and stumbles outside to join in on rotation. They taught me how to corner my bowl to save the green part of the flower for the next persons hit, how to use the glassware properly, and even how to budget and plan out my stash all that night and it was such a blast! After that, when I would be home for summers, we would have morning rituals of "coffee and bongs" or "bedtime bongs" at night, all bonding together in the living room. It eventually became part of our daily lives, where it made yard work fun, music more profound, and brought us closer as a family.
Last visit home, I had a conversation with my sibling and his wife about how there is a lot more scientific research going into the medicinal benefits surrounding cannabis. About ten years ago, his wife was diagnosed with a rare inner-ear disease called Meniere's disease. Without going into great detail, when one has Meniere's, they are often plagued with horrible dizzy spells and hearing loss. I've seen first-hand how this condition can worsen over the years.
We have never really talked in depth of my career and interest in cannabis. Perhaps due to the long term stigma attached to the plant. However, in recent months we've started talking about how cannabis could be a possibility in helping relieve some of her symptoms. Historically, they fall on the ultra-conservative side of most things, including cannabis. However, as more research comes out, and after our conversations, they are both opening up the idea of obtaining a medical card and consulting with budtenders in their area. For me, it's important to offer up helpful cannabis resources to friends and family, and by doing so, it's opened up the door for more communication and ultimately, relationship growth.
I always thought of my dad as a pretty perfect person and it made me think about how I can live up to that and/or surpass that and make him acknowledge my achievements. After this talk, I realized he has messed up a lot in his life as well and he’s not the perfect being I thought he was and it’s okay to not be.
Sparty made a surprise appearance into our lives when my godmother, who was a second mother to me, died suddenly of pancreatic cancer. He was a beacon of light when everything fell apart. He made the darkest time feel a little lighter.
But his was a seemingly overnight deterioration from an affectionate little being to an incapacitated cat we hardly knew. Taking him to the vet, his prognosis was “persistent arthritis” attacking most of his joints, from nose to tail. The vet could operate, but it’s a recurring condition, so it was futile digging a hole just to have it filled again.
An impained Sparty quickly degenerated, his plaintive meows permeating every waking moment, even through his sleep.
My family and I furiously searched for antidotes for his pain. One solution was high-dose morphine adjacent pain medicine. It was difficult to tell if this helped Sparty, since the potent medicine left him in an impenetrable daze, making him even more sedentary than before.
There was talk of end of life planning for him. There were arguments. There were tears. I couldn’t fathom losing him after only eight years.
My recommendation was CBD. My parents were split on this solution, but what they did agree on was that in his condition, Spartapuss had zero quality of life.
We administered the CBD oil to Sparty every day, which was met with great resistance from him. After my mom tasted the CBD and found it to be bitter and generally revolting, we found a nearly flavorless variety that was met with far less contention.
Within a week, Sparty experienced great progress. In two weeks, there was extreme progress, and at the three-week mark, the vet noticed the arthritis actually receding! Today, Sparty has been taking CBD oil every day for two years, and is back to the same cat he was before his diagnosis. We’re so glad to have our little furball still in the family.
I went into the conversation expecting eye rolls and judgmental soundbites. What I got instead was my parents confessing how my father ran an illegal cannabis grow in a Long Beach warehouse in the '80s. It turns out his aerospace company was hit hard by the recession, and his love for engineering turned into a passion for growing cannabis to save our house from being foreclosed. He operated it for several years before his aerospace business was able to turn things around. Instead, I spent the evening helping my father find a box of blueprints documenting his grow and learning how he hooked up motion detectors to shut off the power to the grow operation if the police came by to check the electricity meters on the outside of the building. It was nothing but happiness and encouragement, leading to a wonderful openness on all things cannabis throughout my entire family.
But as we grew older, things changed. As years passed, they proved better suited for the structure and expectations of academic life. While I may have been a model student at one point, by high school I was burnt out-- more interested in personal creative pursuits and social engagements.
One of my brothers went to Stanford, the other was making full salaries at summer programming internships before I'd even graduated college myself. We'd talk, but I'd realized long ago they didn't need my advice anymore. I felt pride; that all these people saw the same intelligence and drive in them that I did. But also a little sad that my brothers would never need my advice like they once had, again.
So it was a heartwarming surprise when they both came to me, independently of each other, about advice and information when it came to cannabis. They knew I had more experience and when they began to experiment, they felt safest coming to me. I was glad to offer what I'd learned about harm reduction and how to avoid some rookie pitfalls but mostly, I was just glad that even after all they've accomplished, they still sought their big brother out for guidance.
We don't get to partake together often because we're geographically separated. Winter holidays with the family are our only opportunity and there's nothing I look forward to more than sharing stories, maybe some edibles, and just feeling like kids again.
But when weed is involved with the small circle of us in the family who partake, I know what to expect. It’s a small circle of aunts and uncles who have rediscovered cannabis in their older age. One aunt even has a farm in Michigan, complete with extraction equipment. In those small moments when we sneak away to smoke on a back porch or outside a wedding venue, I’ve gotten some insights into my family history that I may have never known without these little asides with my cannabis-friendly relatives. We talk about how everything was different when they were growing up, and how that translated to my upbringing. I can ask questions about our family that may be uncomfortable for my parents to answer. They ask me how I intend to save the world and change perspectives, and we brainstorm options together. These are the things I’ve come to expect in these moments in these circles.
At a recent wedding I attended in Colorado, my aunt pulled me aside and offered up a pre-roll. Coming from a mid-western family, everyone my age is getting married and having children. It was a weekend filled with questions about my future, but not a future I wanted. Distant relatives asked, “so when are we coming to your wedding?” It was stressful and frustrating because I’ve chosen a different path that doesn’t involve those traditional pillars of success. As we enjoyed the joint on a lawn by the venue, my aunt admitted to me she was a bit envious of her daughter and me. She pined to be young at this time in history and have more options than “get married.”
From afar, she always had a very happy marriage and I still believe that is the case. But in this small moment over a pre-roll, she shared some regret about marrying so young and committing to someone else without knowing who she was first. She explained how even the happiest of marriages can feel stifling at times. It was an unexpected respite from the probing questions that lay ahead of me that weekend.
She gave me the reassurance that I was on the right path for me, and the courage to take a road less traveled when it came to family expectations. As we finished the pre-roll, she concluded her long-winded speech by saying, “I hope you know everyone in this family is behind you, even if they don’t show it. Even if they aren’t alive anymore. Know that they are with you and they support you.” She didn’t know it, and neither did I until she said it out loud--but I needed to hear that. For me, that moment was a true testament to the remarkable healing that can occur with this small but significant plant.