Whether you’ve used cannabis for a while or new to the game, chances are you know and have dealt with weed stigma. It might have come from a family member, friend, boss or even just the public in general. It can be frustrating to deal with judgment from those around you when you know the effects of this natural plant. In order to really understand the harsh reality of and how to specifically eliminate weed stigma, we first need to understand the word, “stigma,” or more fitting in this case, “social stigma.”
What is Social Stigma?
Social stigma is defined as “the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of society.” In order to eliminate weed stigma, society’s perceived opinion of weed has to change. But the question is: how does that happen?
Eliminate Weed Stigma
While this list isn’t all-inclusive, there are several things you can do to help eliminate weed stigma.
Start the Discussion
Someone has to start the discussion. If you are a cannabis business owner, user, or involved in the industry in another way – then that discussion should start with you. Most people who choose to speak badly about a topic or a product do so because they don’t understand it. They might not understand it’s uses or the benefits it can provide. The easiest way to eliminate weed stigma is to do so in an area where weed is legal. The majority of your potential clients or customers will have a more open mind relating to weed if they live in a place where weed isn’t considered contraband.
Share Your Experiences Related to the Benefits
Next, it is best to share all of the incredible health benefits of cannabis. The most popular benefits are reducing pain, relieving anxiety and stimulating appetite, but did you know cannabis can also aide in sleep, treat fungal infection and promotes bone growth? Many people are unaware of the extensive health benefits of weed. Have a personal story? Even better. People enjoy hearing personal testimonies about products that work for others. It might not change their minds immediately, but it’ll leave them thinking.
Talk about the “Bad” Effects
Part of the negative stigma that comes with weed is that people think you can die from consuming it. That is a complete myth. Would you like to guess the total amount of people that have died from cannabis overdose? None. Nada. Zip. Can you say that about any other negatively perceived drug on the market? I don’t think so. The common misconception around a deadly high has its roots in experiencing a ‘bad high.’
What does exist is a bad high. Because weed is a foreign substance to your body, it can react negatively. It’s still not going to kill you.
A bad high might happen if a customer receives an incorrect strain of weed and experiences a high they were not expecting. For example, there are two general strains of weed that produce different highs. Indica highs are more of a body high, which equates to a more relaxed high, pain relief and appetite stimulant. On the other hand, a Sativa strain is more of a head high. A head high is characterized as being more alert, creative and experiencing increased energy. Ensuring your client’s knowledge of which strain produces which high will help to increase the positive benefits of weed and eliminate weed stigma.
Increase Legalization Efforts
A final way to help eliminate weed stigma is to increase the areas where positive weed usage is practiced. Right now, weed isn’t legal in all 50 states (or federally) which means that, until it is, the “illegal” stigma will stick with it. Legalization creates safer use because people are able to seek out education from professionals as to how to implement it into their daily lifestyles and for the management of physical and mental ailments. Additionally, testing becomes mandatory and consumers can be ensured they are purchasing safe and effective products.
Interested in learning more about how to eliminate weed stigma? If so, you won’t want to miss a CannaCon event in your area. Grab your tickets now and join us to network with cannabis professionals and industry experts. We look forward to seeing you!