I’ve Lost People Because I Chose Cannabis Medicine

Matt Weeks July 9, 2019 0 comments

Rejected because of your choice of medicine? You are in good company here.

Many people lose friends and family when they refuse to seek help for a disorder. Cannabis consumers, however, often get rejected for taking their medicine — and RxLeaf readers are no exception. After one reader posted the question, “Has anyone lost any friends or worse, family members because you use cannabis?” comments poured in. 

What we learned from this is, despite the spate of evidence that cannabis helps treat everything from headaches to cancer, the social stigma of cannabis clearly hasn’t worn off completely. And while public support for medical cannabis rises every year, some cannabis consumers continue to experience rejection. 

Here are a few stories readers shared.

Family Ties

Several readers wrote in to tell us their stories of losing the love and support of their parents, siblings, and other relatives due to cannabis. While some were kicked out of their homes, others were tormented until they started hiding their cannabis treatments from their families. Many more wrote about the strained and challenging relationships that had emerged with their kin.

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It has made it difficult to be myself around [my family] and not have anxiety every time we get together,” one reader wrote. “I am worried they will make a comment about it that hurts. They can’t accept the benefits that cannabis offers and believe it’s just another way to waste money and time.”

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A reader, named Linda, endured years of abusive comments — until her anti-cannabis relative sought her cannabis expertise.

I have a relative who never missed an opportunity to disparage me over my use, until his daughter gave him some of my salve I make,” she wrote. “Guess who called me to ask for some more salve for his aching back? [It] just takes time for some people to see the benefits of this healing plant….”

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Losing Kids

Getting rejected by a social circle of acquaintances or co-workers is one thing; losing the support and love of your parents is another. But perhaps there is no more soul-destroying loss than the state taking away your kids — for taking cannabis. 

Yet a number of RxLeaf readers experienced just that. 

One mother wrote in to say CPS took her children when they discovered pot in her home. Social workers told her to go to a doctor for pain medication, so she did. And so began an eight-year battle with opioids that left her stoned out of her mind, unable to drive properly, and mentally cloudy. 

After nearly a decade as a spaced-out mom with a growing pill addiction, she quit opioids cold turkey and went back to cannabis. This time, however, she made sure to keep her consumption quiet. 

Susan, another reader, was barred from seeing her grandchildren after her son learned about her cannabis consumption. A survivor of brain cancer, she is adamant that cannabis was key to her beating the disease. But her beer-brewing son can’t see past the stigma

“It’s hurtful,” Susan wrote. “One baby is 2-months old. The other I’ve only held in my arms three times and she’s 3 now.”

Like many readers, Susan had to choose between her own health and maintaining a relationship with her closest family members. 

Losing Faith

One common theme that emerged from the comments was hypocrisy. Many readers said the alcoholics in their lives were particularly prone to judging pot use. Others faced shock when opioid addicts rejected their friendship. 

A reader named Daniel said that even followers of an all-accepting Christian doctrine weren’t immune to shaming cannabis consumers. When he shared his medical cannabis journey with members of his Bible study group, they barred him from future worship activities. Casting aside scripture that implores followers to “judge not,” his fellow Christians rejected him for his use of a God-given plant.

Out of the House – Literally

Another recurring story was eviction. Connie’s landlord evicted her from her low-income for consuming cannabis, despite having a medical cannabis card. The landlord found a loophole the law and threw her out. But the question is: why does this loophole exist?

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Rejected from Rehab

One reader, Tiffany, shared a story about her time in recovery. She felt rejected — by fellow former addicts — for her consumption of medical cannabis. 

“It’s controversial in that community, but it’s the only medicine that helps me with my anxiety and sleep issues,” she posted. 

A little bit of understanding is, apparently, hard to find. Many recovering addicts draw a hard line on any substance that is psychoactive. Shall we point out that this category includes many, many pharmaceuticals that we deem acceptable? 

The Turnaround

While so many people have faced ostracization for their cannabis consumption, many others wrote in about positive experiences. 

Some found new friends when their old ones left. Some discovered more-accepting communities. And many were able to convert judgmental anti-cannabis crusaders into happier, healthier cannabis consumers with a just a little bit of demonstration.

“I have a sister who knew I smoked, but wasn’t really too HAPPY about it,” a reader named Peggy wrote. “But I respected that and would not smoke around her. Now, she is talking to me about CBD oils, gummies, drops and other stuff. She now finally understands that it really did help me with my rheumatoid arthritis!”

Maybe there’s hope after all. 

Author avatar

Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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