Do you believe in medical marijuana, but still have trouble talking about it?

Interesting fact. Humans dislike being judged. And that’s precisely why propaganda and disinformation programs can be so successful.

You see, when a ruling body (for example our own Federal Government) draws baseless conclusions about an idea, incident or item, and then convinces the populous that any thought or statement to the contrary is outrageous, dangerous or even “evil,” that disinformation is perpetuated by our own fear of being negatively judged by our peers, should we say anything to the contrary.

Ironically, in order to not be judged by others, we unwittingly judge others ourselves.

“There’s no way she’ll be open minded enough to listen to what I have to say so maybe I shouldn’t even bring it up.” Or “He’s going to be shocked when he hears my point of view so I better not say anything.”

In fact, making assumptions and being fearful of being judged has become so pervasive and routine in our society that we rarely stop to think if these fears are even warranted.

Sometimes our fear of being judged keeps us from questioning things we don’t understand.

Often, our fear of being judged keeps us from standing up for something we believe is right or asking what others think.

But far too often, it’s our fear of being judged, and perhaps our own judgement of others that makes us keep our mouths shut when the topic of medical marijuana comes up.

Sound familiar? Well you’re not alone

Indeed, it happens to the best of us, even those of us who know better. In fact, as a licensed healthcare professional and a seasoned cannabis advocate, it still happens to me.

I recently had a pretty cool experience that was both funny and eye-opening at the same time. And, I want to share it with you because I was guilty of having pre-conceived perceptions and was proven wrong.

I’m an East Coast Jersey girl and was attending a funeral in a small Illinois farm community. I mean, this was Mayberry. Only one place to eat breakfast where patrons sit at the same table (and yes, even the same chair) and the waitress doesn’t need to take your order because she knows what you eat. The farmers have their own table with a computer screen checking the price of corn and beans.

I was at a nearby table with a pastor and a group of locals when someone asked what I did for a living. That is the question that always gives me pause when I don’t know the folks in front of me. I immediately imagined being banished from the place once they knew I was in the cannabis industry.

So I forge ahead (and pull out my little brochures) and say I own an online holistic-focused, cannabis education training program. And, I also tell them I got in the business through my own experience as a breast cancer survivor, nutrition professional, and because health providers have to start addressing this important topic with their patients.

Silence and stares for a moment.

Then, one by one, they pipe up.

• “It’s way better for you than drinking alcohol.”

• “What’s that CBD stuff?”

• “I don’t think it’s a good idea. Every employee I ever had that smoked pot was lazy.” (This gentlemen required some extra loving care from me to sway him from the dark side!)

• “I have a buddy from Vietnam who uses weed to stay off all those pain meds.”

• “My niece has MS. Can I have one of those brochures?”

• “How do you find a doctor who knows about this?”

And so it went for the next hour and a half. We had a really engaging conversation.

So much for preconceived notions and irrational fears

You see, I assumed these small-town folks would be uninformed and cannaphobic. Quite the opposite. They were interested to know more and open to the idea that this ancient plant is truly medicine.

I share this story because it illustrates what I think many of you may be going through – being on board with medical marijuana, but not really proactively talking about.  Like me, it could be out of fear. You don’t want to be judged or you don’t quite have enough of the facts to feel comfortable speaking confidently to others about the topic.

As I listened to the questions they were asking, I realized that they, like so many others, just really wanted the straight scoop. And this was especially so on the topic of CBD, the most commonly known component of the plant – the one that does not get you high. Because CBD is more readily available, outside the confines of the marijuana dispensary, it’s more familiar to people.

Change the conversation

I think the crux of this groundswell is perfectly captured by Martin Lee, Director of Project CBD, and faculty of the Holistic Cannabis Academy module – The Backbone of the Cannabis Plant: Cannabinoids.

“The other thing that was really brought home for the first time on the CNN program was that it was possible to use certain kinds of cannabis, both children could use or adults, that didn’t make them high, that didn’t have a psychoactive effect like THC. These two factors, the idea that CBD had tremendous therapeutic potential that actually could help where no other things could work for someone and that it did so without conferring a euphoria or dysphoria or the high associated with cannabis, that was really a game changer.

That changed the national conversation about cannabis, so it was really no longer a question of whether medical marijuana works. People saw it with their own eyes on television. They hear it in their communities, in their churches, and so forth. It’s really no longer a debate. An overwhelming majority of Americans are pro-choice when it comes to medical marijuana. They feel that people should have access to marijuana to use for therapeutic purposes on the guidance of a physician. That’s no longer a point of contention in our culture. Again, the question is not does it work, but how to use it. In that regard, the CBD is really key because interest in CBD is huge and it’s growing, particularly among patients who don’t want to get high, but want to access the medical benefits of marijuana without the buzz.”

Competency diminishes fear

So how many of you find yourselves still too fearful or embarrassed to proactively talk about the holistic and beneficial uses of cannabis in public? How many of you make assumptions about others and how they might react to a discussion about cannabis? How many of you are on-board with medical marijuana, yet are still not proactively speaking to others about it? But more importantly, what can you do about it?

Lose the fear: Four steps to becoming cannabis-competent

1. You can educate yourself.
The more knowledgeable you become through professional cannabis education programs such as the Holistic Cannabis Academy, the more confidence you’ll have in striking up and facilitating meaningful conversations with your friends, family and clients if you’re a practitioner.

2. You can connect with like-minded individuals.
Start with baby steps. Join cannabis-friendly social media groups, like and follow cannabis-education pages and join the conversation by commenting and asking questions. The more you engage, the more your engagement will become a natural part of who you are.

3. You can be bold, take risks and know you’re doing the right thing.
Will every conversation be met with positivity? Probably not. The trick is to take the risk and respect others opinions while presenting scientific facts. Say your piece and leave it at that. The more educated YOU become, the more you can successfully help to educate those around you.

4. You can help change the world.
Together, we can and will change hearts and minds, for together, we ARE finally beginning to undo decades of damaging propaganda and move the conversation forward. Do you have a story you’d like to share that might help others? Please share it in the comments section below. Visit the Holistic Cannabis Academy and learn more. Let’s do this!