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Cannabis Patient’s Holiday Survival Guide

The holidays can be a joyous time just as much as they can be a trying time. Let’s face it, when you get a group of family members together once or twice a year, interesting things may happen. Now keep those family members together for eight solid hours (or even up to several days) and things can go a little sideways. Hopefully this cannabis patient’s holiday survival guide will help you get through the season unscathed.

DysFUNctional Families

First of all, let’s all agree that no family is “normal.” A good friend once told me that “normal is just a setting on the dryer,” and you know what? She was right. All families are a bit dysfunctional (that’s what makes a family dynamic a family dynamic), but if your family truly puts the “fun” in dysFUNctional, we have a few tips to get you through this holiday season, and maybe even throughout the new year.

I can imagine this scenario… It’s Christmas Day, presents are being opened, and the house smells of turkey and pumpkin pie. The whole family sits down to dinner. And then it happens:

Uncle Bill: I really do believe that Donald Trump is making America great again.
Cousin Andy: Are you serious? He’s a national disgrace!
You: Did I mention that I started taking medical cannabis?
(a lone fork clanks against a plate, then… crickets.)

Of course, this might not be the most opportune time to announce that you are using cannabis as medicine, but is could surely diffuse that uncomfortable situation. Or maybe not. Either way, the cat is out of the bag.

Although, perhaps I got a little ahead of myself. Let’s backtrack to before the holiday dinner.

Preparing for the holidays can always be stressful whether you are entertaining at home or travelling to be with loved ones. So what can you do to ensure that this holiday season goes as smoothly as possible?

CANNABIS AND TRAVEL

CBD

Since cannabis is still federally illegal, how does that impact your medication schedule and travelling plans? If you are travelling in-state, there is nothing to worry about. Make sure that you have your medical cannabis card with you and keep any medication securely stored. However, if you are travelling out-of-state, it can get a little complicated.

First of all, if you are on a non-dispensary CBD product (purchased over-the-counter or online) and it has less than .3% THC, you can carry is across state lines via car or airplane – just make sure that you obey TSA rules for liquids in carry-ons or pack it in your suitcase if it is a larger bottle.

Cannabis

If you have a medical cannabis card and are currently using THC products, you MAY NOT cross state lines with the product even if the state you are going to is either medically or recreationally legal.

But what if you cannot go for an extended period of time without you medication? What do you do then? That is strictly up to you. If you can go a few days or a week without medication and still function, then that is your best option. However, some people may not have that option (if someone is taking medical cannabis for a seizure disorder, a few days without medication can be life changing, and not in a good way). There is also the fact that it may take some time to re-acclimate to the medication if you don’t use it consistently. I will never tell anyone to travel over state lines with a THC product, but it is your decision if you want to take the risk.

As a sidenote… be aware that the dogs at the airports are usually sniffing for large quantities of money or bombs, not THC products.

If you are travelling to a legal state, check for reciprocity of your medical cannabis card. There are a few places like Nevada and Washington D.C. that allow for reciprocity. If it is a recreationally state, it may be easier (and safer) to purchase cannabis at your destination.

CANNABIS AND ENTERTAINING

If you are not travelling this holiday season and are having family come into town, you still need to be conscious about your medical cannabis. If there will be children present, make sure that you keep your cannabis products out of their reach. It is also a good idea to make sure that everything is clearly marked and labelled (as in the case of homemade edibles). What looks like medicine to you may look like candy to a youngster.

Sometimes things can happen… If a child (or Great-Aunt Edna) does mistakenly consumes a cannabis product, don’t freak out! It may make them high, but it is NOT life threatening. Make sure you have ordinary CBD handy to counteract any psychoactive effects and keep them calm. A trip to the doctor is usually not necessary. Again, we don’t ever anticipate these kinds of things happening, but they can happen and it is best to be prepared just in case.

LET’S TALK ABOUT CANNABIS

You may decide to be a little more subtle about discussing your cannabis use than my previous Uncle Bill/Cousin Andy example. In fact, you may choose to be very discreet about it and not let anyone know (it’s your own personal decision). But if you do decide to speak freely, keep a few things in mind:

Q&A

While some family members or friends may be knowledgeable about cannabis, many are not. So if you bring up the topic of medical cannabis, be prepared to answer a few, if not many, questions. This is a great opportunity to educate others about the benefits of the plant and how it has helped you. If they have seen a marked change in your pain levels, mobility, mood, or even lessened prescription consumption, they may be eager to hear how cannabis helped.

Naysayers

Some people just won’t change their minds about cannabis. They truly think it’s the Devil’s Lettuce. Even if you tell them how it’s helped and they can see how it has helped, it doesn’t mean they will always be supportive. Don’t think that a one hour conversation with Grandpa Joe can change 70 years of learned misinformation and propaganda. Sometimes you just have to walk away from that conversation. But always leave the door open for a conversation at a later date and if Grandpa is ever ready.

SHARING IS CARING… SOMETIMES

If you are a medical cannabis patient you know that it is illegal to share your medication with others. After all, if Aunt Martha suffers from hypertension, you probably would not offer her Lisinopril. The same goes for cannabis. Even though it may help them immensely, it is still not legal to give cannabis to others if they are not medical patients as well.

If you live in a recreational state, you are allowed to share… BUT, keep in mind that if the person never used cannabis or hasn’t used it in a long time, it won’t take much at all. Start low and go slow is always the best bet.

GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING

So what can you share with family and friends? Whether you are a cannabis patient or not, you can still introduce the plant to others. How can you do that? Here are a few gift suggestions that could help change someone’s life.

Knowledge ($)

First, you can share knowledge and education. As stated earlier, you may encounter those who wish to know more about your cannabis journey. Share insights, your personal experiences, and trials and tribulations. If they want to know more about cannabis in general, consider giving them a membership to Revive Magazine so they can educate themselves at their leisure after the holidays. If they are really interested, you can always purchase a subscription to the magazine as a gift. The gift of knowledge is eternal.

CBD Gifts ($$$)

What do you give someone who already has everything? Consider giving them the gift of better health. CBD is a great introduction to medical cannabis and can make a friend or loved one feel better almost immediately. A 500mg or 1,000mg bottle of CBD could be the change that they want and need. If you want to be their favorite gift-giver this year, grab several CBD products including an oil/tincture, a topical product, and a few gummy bears. This will give them a variety of options to start their cannabis journey.

CBD Stocking Stuffers ($$)

If you are just looking for a little something to give someone, take a look at some of the less expensive CBD-infused products on the market. These can be anything from bath bombs, to honey sticks, to trial sizes of oil/tincture. These items are a great way to introduce someone to CBD without going overboard.

Homemade CBD Treats ($$)

Occasionally I like to bring something a little different to a holiday dinner or party. There are already so many other pies and goodies, so how do you become the hit of the party? Try whipping up a quick batch of CBD-infused brownies… it’s not as hard as you think. Simply swap out one ounce of oil in the the recipe (boxed or homemade) for your CBD-infused oil and use it as you would regular oil. To figure out the dosing of each brownie, simply divide the total milligrams by the number of brownies you cut. For instance, if you use a 500mg bottle of CBD oil and you cut the brownies into 20 pieces, each piece would have approximately 25mg of CBD. Even though CBD won’t make you high, make sure you properly label your goodies with “Contains CBD” so everyone knows exactly what they are eating.

We all know the holidays can be stressful, but hopefully these tips can make the season a little easier for everyone involved. From knowledge to CBD products, you have the opportunity to make this holiday one that your loved ones will never forget. Be kind and be well.

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