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Cannabis has become more and more mainstream, and with that, the culture has grown and changed. However, the vintage ‘stoner’ stereotype has yet to change to match the new culture. Professionals, parents and even senior citizens admit to frequent or daily cannabis use for physical, emotional, and mental health benefits. Though this may be true, the stigma remains the same.
Related article: The Tainted Herb – The History of Marijuana Stigma
The majority of the opinion polls display fast-growing support of marijuana legalization in the U.S. as well as all over the world. This is due to the numerous and legitimate scientific researches that have confirmed the wide variety of ways cannabis and its derivatives assist us through PTSD, anxiety, depression and much more!
Despite all that, the stigma against smokers continues to persist. Here are just some of the stigmas that have plagued the cannabis community:
Lazy: This is the most common misconception. When you are an avid smoker, you understand how each flower interacts with your body and you smoke in accordance to your schedule that day. For example, if I know I have a lot of errands to run I’m more likely to smoke Sativa instead of Indica because I know Indica will make me relaxed and Sativa will keep me active.
Financially Irresponsible: The issue with this is assuming what people are doing with their money and judging their values based on the fact that they smoke. I honestly don’t know any smokers who are buying weed and not paying their bills. If they’re buying weed it’s because their bills are already paid and they have the extra funds to do so.
Unsuccessful: Though this stereotype has been debunked time and time again, there are still people who believe that a smoking life is an unsuccessful one. There are many people in all kinds of professional industries that smoke and if more of these people spoke out about how they smoke and are still successful, the stigma against smokers and their success would go down.
The Addiction Stigma: It is commonly perceived that people who smoke are “addicted” to cannabis. I do want to acknowledge that there is some truth to that, however, this is not commonly the case. I think what allows people to perceive smokers this way, is through the constant criminalization against marijuana users. We are often lumped in with alcohol and even opioid addicts when their effects and behaviors of each are not the same at all.
The Hygiene Stigma: People who smoke don’t always prefer the smell of cannabis and take precautions to make sure they don’t smell at all. Smokers also bathe daily. Their hygiene is just as good as non-smokers and can sometimes be better! We have access to so many THC infused bath bombs and other bathroom treats that it is riddiculous to assume our hygiene is poor.
Related Article: 11 Stoner Stereotypes That No Longer Apply.
Because these perceptions are still relevant, it is up to smokers and the community as a whole to ultimately change the image.
In order to set forth this new image, cannabis enthusiasts must ask themselves what are they doing wrong and how can they change their image within society. Here are the best tips to break the stigma:
Advocate! Be proud of your lifestyle! Speak about your personal experiences and how cannabis has benefited you and how it can benefit others as well.
There is a dilemma for some who may live in a state where it is still illegal, however, you are still capable of spreading the word. Just be careful and aware of the laws in your state.
Educate yourself about the effect of marijuana and how it may influence your life or health. There is an endless amount of marijuana strains so make sure you are knowledgeable about what you are smoking and the possible effects it can have on your body. Be mindful about when, where and even why you’re smoking. Getting high is fun, but it's not a competition.
Related article: Smoking Marijuana & Being Productive - 5 Top Tips
There are absolutely no “marijuana is safer than alcohol” excuses for driving while under the influence of cannabis. Here are some Tips to Avoid Distracted driving.
In the state of Washington alone, where recreational Marijuana is legal, the number of stoned drivers involved in fatal car accidents has increased by 21% from from 2000 to 2018. Although cannabis is proven to be safer than alcohol, it still directly affects some of your physical and mental attributes. If you’re questioning yourself whether you are fit to drive, you are probably not.
Related article: 5 Scientific Reasons Weed is Safer than Alcohol
Cannabis should be treated as seriously as alcohol and prescription medications and should be secured out of children and pets' reach. Negligence can put your loved one(s) in the emergency room or a vet hospital for several days with an extremely strong and unwanted psychedelic experience. Although it would not be lethal it can have lingering effects on delicate and developing minds, especially in large doses.
NPR reported "Some studies have shown that even low concentrations of THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — can cause developmental problems for babies whose mothers used marijuana while pregnant. Another research shows that marijuana use in adolescence can impact the developing teenage brain and cause problems with attention, motivation and memory."
Open communication for kids is extremely important. Teaching kids about cannabis is a direct way to address the stigma. Upfront and honest education about marijuana’s benefits and risks is more important than ever. It’s a layer of protection for your kids and allows them to feel safe to come to you in case they decide to try marijuana for themselves. This way parents are able to guide their children to best practices in a safe and open manner. To learn more read 'The Most Important Thing To Tell Your Kids About Cannabis.'
If you’re smoking in public, make sure no one has to unwillingly inhale second-hand smoke. Be discreet. Be considerate. Be responsible..
Don't let smoking weed deplete your motivation to be productive and responsible. Marijuana has no control over your life, as long as you don't allow it to. Have life-goals and fulfill your highest potential in life all while smoking Cannabis.
We are in the day and age that you are capable of creating your own 'stoner' stereotype. So…
Stay toasty my friends!