8 Rules for Using Marijuana with an Aging Parent

Baby boomers are getting older, and some are getting sick. Luckily, marijuana is becoming a legit treatment for… well, almost anything. Having legally bought and “vaped” marijuana with my older, ailing father, I wanted to provide some helpful tips for those of you yet to navigate these green waters.

1. Be sure to have all  paperwork in order. If your parent is anything like my dad, getting turned away from a dispensary due to “bureaucratic bullshit” will spiral him into a fit of rage. He might tell the dispensary manager that he violated his civil rights; to “watch himself” because he still knows people in the ACLU; that he almost went to Woodstock, and was a friend of Abbie Hoffman. All you can do in this situation is try not to laugh.

2. This is not about you. Growing up during a time when head shops were the closest we could get to a weed store, entering the pearly gates of a dispensary can trigger your adrenaline. You’ll want to test out the hemp lotions, gawk at the plant nursery, style your hair with some THC gel. While it’s fine to do a quick browsing, don’t leave your elderly parent behind. He might end up buying a $200 vaporizer and decide he wants an iguana to hang out with.

3. Beware of edibles. Be it brownies, gummies, hard candy, gumballs, spicy peanuts, espresso beans, eating marijuana is way different than smoking it. You must have patience and wait for the effects to kick in. You may convince yourself to eat more, or smoke a little because you think the edible isn’t working—that urge must be squashed. This is especially true if your sick father has a penchant for sugary snacks. Tip: Have some Xanax handy in case of edible overload.

4. Prepare the Scene. Get everything you will need while high before getting high. Choose a movie from Netflix, or simply resign to watching the Food Network. But make this choice in advance. It’s impossible to make while high. Also, be sure you have “Wasabi Pork Chews” on hand because no one should drive across town to the Chinese Grocery while high on pot.

5. “Vaping” requires instruction. I suggest that you use a vaporizer. This is easier on the lungs than smoking but gives you the immediate feedback you’re used to. Be sure to watch instructional videos on YouTube from people like “The Vapeman” “Vape420” and so on. They will show you how to “get the chamber heated up and stuff.”


6. Be careful This is NOT 1990s weed. I can’t stress this enough. The act of ingesting modern marijuana is not social. There is no “passing around a joint.” Take one small inhale from the vaporizer and wait five minutes. The last thing you want is to have a panic attack while your sick father gazes upon you with morbid curiosity and disappointment.

7. Don’t expect your other parent to be enthusiastic. Understand that you mother (or father) probably won’t partake in the marijuana fun. She might just sit with you in her nightgown obsessively liking Facebook posts and updating you on everyone who’s moved to Boca (essentially pretending like you aren’t across the room getting high with your father).

8. Have fun and take notes. You’ll want to remember this and trust me, if you don’t take notes, you won’t remember it.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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