How can I get my mom to start smoking pot?
December 25, 2004 9:36 AM   Subscribe

How can I get my mom to start smoking pot?

A few years ago my mother was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic and very painful disease. I've thought a number of times that marijuana would be able to help soothe her muscle pain. After researching it, I found a lot of people with fibro do smoke and it helps tremendously. She's rather religious and not really open to new ideas. She's very into herbal solutions, but I know she'd turn down this particular herbal solution because of the hype of anti-drug commercials and its legal status in the US. Is there any way I can approach the subject which may convince her to at least try it? I want my mom to feel somewhat normal again and I believe this may be able to positively change her life.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
If she's in lots of pain, at some point she will be open to it, when she gets to the stage where she'll try anything that helps. I wouldn't try to hide pot in brownies without telling her or tell her that her views are antiquated or wrong. Try to convince her why it might be a good idea to try in the same way you came the conclusion.

Show her all the research you did on fibro people using pot. Print out 2 dozen happy accounts of people living free from pain. Then ask her if she would like to test it out, and try it.
posted by mathowie at 9:51 AM on December 25, 2004

And if you could get someone who uses it to email or offer to talk to her about it, that may help.

Maybe you could also frame it as a light-hearted experiment, or as a lark? Have it be like a hippy-themed thing, and give her a tie-dyed shirt, etc? The truth is that she has nothing to lose by trying it, and the whole idea really is funny, given the cultural connotations she must have about it.
posted by amberglow at 10:00 AM on December 25, 2004

I'd tell her (something like) THC is already prescribed legally as Marinol as a medical treatment for nausea and for appetite (and is no doubt being prescribed for other things under that auspice - chronic pain, Parkinson's, etc.). That alone proves its efficacy as a medical treatment. Even if she chooses to buy into the ads, the dark image they cast upon pot is more toward teenagers who use it very heavily, get psychologically addicted, drive while stoned, etc.

Yes, it's illegal, but we have a discretionary legal system, which is to say that while jaywalking is a crime, even a cop will cross the street outside of a crosswalk on a back street at night. Her case is also not relevent to the law, and the reasons pot is condemned by the government are not the reasons she's using it. There's two reasons to avoid doing something illegal - one is actual fear of getting caught, and the other is to not feel like you're ignoring the rules society has set out for you as an upright citizen.

So the pitch I'd use is this: it's exceedingly unlikely she'd get caught toking up with the blinds down, and there's actually an implicit endorsement by the medical community of pot for medical purposes, so where's the problem?
posted by abcde at 10:13 AM on December 25, 2004

Might she be more comortable eating it than smoking it?
posted by TimeFactor at 10:30 AM on December 25, 2004

Is she following her doctor's recommendations? My wife also has fibro, and since adapting her daily routine a bit (to add a morning workout and some medication), her quality of life has improved dramatically.
posted by Doohickie at 10:42 AM on December 25, 2004

For starters, my attitude towards MMj certainly isn't the most positive of this group, so take what I say with a grain (or pinch or shaker) of salt.

That being said, my mom suffers from fibro and doesn't have the religious/closed-to-new-ideas, but still wouldn't be open to smoking pot to treat her pain, for the same reason that she wasn't very open to the use of narcotics for pain management. Her main goal in treatment was to return to a normal life, and being stoned just isn't part of that normal life, I imagine it could be very similar for your mom.

Over the long run, the pain associated with fibro does decrease when treated with exercise and physical therapy, pain management training, and psychological treatment to help with the depression and feelings of helplessness. Through treatment, my mom has gone from a couple good days a month to a couple of bad days a month, so there is hope.

With that in mind, if you still think pot is the way to go, I'd try to focus on its use as an alternative to narcotics for severe episodic pain. And I agree with everyone else above that she would probably be more comfortable eating it.
posted by cosmonaught at 11:06 AM on December 25, 2004

I've heard good things about Cannabrex which is a kit to take the pot from burnable plant matter to pills. The high is suppose to last strong and high for four hours.

You might also keep in mind that according to the FDA and most of the respected establishment, you don't get as much of the euphoric/stoned effects when you're using it for medical treatment. That thinking is why people with cancer can take a lot of Oxycontin and a good majority don't get addicted or even feel high. Personal experience I've had with opiates is that when taken for pain they made me sleepy but I really didn't feel high. I also have taken pot when I have real bad flus and I swear I could smoke like a fireplace and not get "high". It seems if your body is in pain and a substance is alleviating that pain the substance doesn't have enough left-over to give you the negative (or positive depending on your view) side effects of the drug. There must be a more medical way of saying that, but you might explain to her that she won't turn in to Cheech by taking it medicinally.
posted by geoff. at 11:43 AM on December 25, 2004

Has your mother ever smoked? If she was not a cigarette smoker, she may have antipathy to smoking anything. If she is a reformed cigarette smoker, she may fear re-addiction, impaired breathing, and the smelly house and clothing that accompany smoking.
A nice clean Rx bottle of pills may seem less squalid and safer than "that hippie stuff". She may also feel that she has enough problems without being urged to try something not prescribed by her doctor. Gentle hint?
posted by Cranberry at 12:38 PM on December 25, 2004

Send her to Overgrow Medical Forums and let her browse.

I think she'll find the people who are taking medical marijuana are level-headed people actively researching methods of safely ingesting marijuana/thc without the undesired side-effects of "stonedness." There is also a wealth of information, from scientific to anecdotal, about the use of marijuana/thc as a medicine.

When she is well-informed, she will make a decision that is right for her. I suggest that you not force the issue, beyond strongly encouraging her to do the research.

(You might also check out Erowid, which is also both research- and experience-oriented.)
posted by five fresh fish at 12:42 PM on December 25, 2004

I am currently planning to use the herb in question for my fibromyalgia symptoms. (I'd have done it already, but I loathe smoking in any form and my diet is very restricted; took me a little while to settle on a recipe). I've talked to several people who use it regularly for this purpose and, either because they use a smaller "dose" or because their body reacts differently, they're not vegetating on the sofa and watching Cheech N Chong movies all day. Now, obviously, we're talking about anecdotal evidence here and believe me, I'm acutely aware that there are some risks that come with this drug, that reactions vary greatly (partially because the amount of thc found in any MJ sample varies, but for other reasons as well), and that habituation is possible.

But there's something you have to understand about fibromyalgia here. Or at least, about my fibromyalgia. See, I can't relax. I mean this quite literally. The muscles in my neck and shoulders remain clenched 24/7; when I lie down and get very comfy and things start to loosen up, my head and arms jerk violently. Imagine 'restless leg syndrome' but above the waistline. In addition, I feel constant anxiety and tension; it's like being on amphetamines but with all the fun parts deleted. This may not be the case for every person who has fibromyalgia, but you will notice that sufferers do tend to have anxiety and insomnia and just be kind of cranky in general.

To top it all off, there's a treatment that, in my experience, actually reverses the disorder. It's highly controversial and I'm not interested in trying to talk anyone into agreeing with me; people with fibromyalgia get plenty of that as it is. My point is just that it takes years of this treatment to do the job and while you're on it, your symptoms actually get a lot worse. I was on it for a year; I felt horrible and once I was off it, I was considerably better than I had been at the outset. I should have continued for another year or so at least but, ultimately, I just couldn't take being so incredibly tense and anxious all the time. There was an enormous temptation to just take some pain killers or valium and forget life for a day or seven. I refuse to go down that road. And so, that's how I ended up deciding on MJ. Of all the treatments that might realistically reduce my anxiety and tension enough to allow me to stay on the treatment, MJ is probably the best combination of safe, non-addictive, and effective. For the record, I'm also considering various other herbal and prescription treatments. We'll just have to see what works and what doesn't.

Quick note: I highly recommend magnesium for fibromyalgia pain. I get mine intravenously. Read up on it; it's the shit.
posted by Clay201 at 1:41 PM on December 25, 2004 [1 favorite]

For the record, I wish our government would do more with pot for medical purposes. But as a "religious" person myself I doubt your mom will be open to trying it without compromising her convictions.

I know people at my fitness center with fibro and they keep talking about guafenesin (sp?) which I think is what the above poster was talking about. She may want to investigate that.
posted by konolia at 3:57 PM on December 25, 2004

Enlist the help of your mom's doctor. If it's medically approved, regardless of the law where you live, she's more likely to try it.
posted by theora55 at 3:57 PM on December 25, 2004

Does your mom have a computer? If so throw some useful and relevant links. If not, buy her one.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:11 PM on December 25, 2004

wow, weird! isn't guafenesin the stuff they put in cough syrup as an expectorant, usually in addition to dextromethorphan? that's a really cool innovation.

as for the medical marijuana, maybe a vaporizer would make it seem less like illicit smoking? i mean, while i can see having problems with smoking out of a bong with a skull on it, maybe the vaporizer would seem more ... medical? not to mention less harmful (or at least painful)l to her lungs.
posted by pikachulolita at 4:31 PM on December 25, 2004

I would also say don't smoke it, make brownies, cookies, whatever. Or if you don't want the sugar intake, yeah, the vapourizer is the way to go.
posted by kavasa at 8:54 PM on December 25, 2004

"The truth is that she has nothing to lose by trying it..."

Well, except perhaps a run-in with the law. Have to weigh the potential benefits against the potential legal ramifications.
posted by davidmsc at 9:53 PM on December 25, 2004

Regarding guaifenisin: Yeah, that's the treatment I was talking about. But be warned; it damn sure won't reduce your pain. Not in the near future, anyway. And if anyone wants to discuss this topic further, I'm certainly game, but I ask that we do so in another thread or in a private email exchange, if you please.

Regarding eating pot and sugar intake: I've recently received a crash course in this subject. Supposedly, the only rule with regards to cooking MJ is that it needs to be cooked in an oil or fat of some kind. This is because THC is fat soluble but not water soluble. The usual solution, I've learned, is to boil the substance with butter, making "cannabutter" and then to use the cannabutter in a recipe of your choosing. It doesn't have to involve sugar; the cannabutter could be spread on a bagel, drizzled on mashed potatoes, whatever. I'm guessing, though, that sugary dishes such as brownies do a better job of masking whatever unpleasant flavor the hemp might bring to the dish.
posted by Clay201 at 10:28 PM on December 25, 2004

The usual solution, I've learned, is to boil the substance with butter, making "cannabutter" and then to use the cannabutter in a recipe of your choosing.

There is a problem that hasn't been stated here yet about the "food" method of MJ intake. Dosage is notoriously hard to regulate when making brownies/cookies/what have you with pot-butter. For instance, from personal experience making pot brownies, I have had ones that made me mildly buzzed and let me go about my evening normally, and I've had experiences that rivaled the intensity of some of my more harrowing hallucinogenic experiences. Giving your mother one of the latter items might be exactly the wrong way to go about easing her into MMJ use.

I therefore (strongly) recommend the vaporizer as the best solution for your mother, due to the lack of smoke (nothing is burned, you get nice clean THC gas) and controllable dosage (roughly equivalent to smoked marijuana, with a slightly different high that I find to be more enjoyable and clear-headed).
posted by rooftop secrets at 2:26 AM on December 26, 2004

minor bit of pedantry: You don't get THC gas, you get THC-infused water vapor.
posted by u.n. owen at 7:45 AM on December 26, 2004

You don't get THC-infused water vapour. Properly-cured marijuana has little water content. You are inhaling vapourized plant oils and other high-volatility compounds, including THC.

I'll argue that vapourization is less-controllable than cooking.

When you make a batch of cannabutter, you end up with a large amount of unknown-strength butter. You make your brownies and eat a small one, take note of the effect, and adjust dosage up or down as required. For as long as your cannabutter supply lasts, you now know how much brownie is right.

With vape &c, though, you are dealing with a very small amount, and you don't have batch-to-batch continuity, because the strength will vary between buds and even within a single bud.

Mismeasure the cannabutter by 5% and you've got 5% extra of a relatively dilute THC mixture. Mismeasure the joint by 5% and you've got 5% extra of relatively concentrated THC. Big difference in outcome.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:22 AM on December 26, 2004

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