Important Topic to Address with Your Kids
What To Teach Kids About Cannabis
I have a whole list of facts to teach your kids about cannabis. But before we delve into the details, let’s address another very important topic.
Please discuss your family history of mental illness with your children. Here’s why –
Adolescents More At Risk Becuase of Undeveloped Brains
Legal marijuana is safe for most adults, BUT, adolescents have more risks because their brains are immature and undeveloped.
Research indicates that there is a small section of the population that needs to exercise more caution with cannabis.
Schizophrenia & Psychosis – Kids Need to Know Their Family History
Mental illness and cannabis are two difficult topics to discuss. Mental illness is often hidden by families because of the stigma associated with it. (as is cannabis)
But children NEED to know their family’s psychiatric history in order to make safe & responsible decisions about cannabis use (both in adolescence and adulthood).
Individuals with a strong family history of schizophrenia, who choose to utilize medical marijuana, should be guided and monitored by a licensed professional.
If your child has a family history of schizophrenia (or other illness associated with psychosis), PLEASE make sure they are aware of the association between cannabis and psychosis.
READ: Cannabis may trigger the onset of psychosis
We Need to Talk About Weed with Our Kids
Whether you have a family history of mental illness or not, please discuss cannabis with your kids.
But before you revert to the DARE education of your youth – remember the facts have changed drastically.
Unfortunately, when it comes to cannabis education in schools, what most children are being taught is distressingly inaccurate.
Kids are still taught propaganda. The “facts” listed in textbooks about marijuana are dangerously out of date.
This continued spreading of misinformation is doing our children a disservice. Please teach the real facts at home.
Sigh… this week is #propaganda week for fourth graders. A week that brings me an enormous amount of frustration. I’m grateful my son is well educated about #cannabis but that doesn’t protect the millions of other children being fed false information. Teach kids the REAL dangers and risks, not made up nonsense. Please teach about #marijuana the way you teach about opiates ? Don’t believe anything written in old textbooks about marijuana! Hop on pubmed and read the REAL research instead.
How to Explain Misinformation to Children
It’s confusing for kids to be taught one thing at home and another thing at school. I wrote this article for Ravishly and it explains what I tell my son about cannabis.
Why You Should Be Stingy with the Term “Drugs”
The term “drugs” is powerful. It should be. Drugs like cocaine, meth, and heroin are dangerously addictive and potentially deadly.
A casual approach to these dangerous drugs can lead to life-destruction. The warnings about these drugs need to be powerful.
Social attitudes toward marijuana are rapidly changing; drug education must follow suit.
Fear of Marijuana is Faltering
Humans require legitimate fear to survive. It keeps us safe.
Don’t dilute the word “drugs”-with non-lethal cannabis.
Children hear about drug addiction and overdoses in the media. My family has lost loved ones to addiction and overdose. It’s a powerful experience that instills fear – It’s an important and necessary fear.
I want my kids to be afraid of drugs. I do not want them to see successful people, using “dangerous drugs”, and living normal happy lives.
Most marijuana users live normal happy lives.
For most people – legal cannabis use is safer than alcohol. Cannabis is not the dangerous drug DARE told us it was. Kids NEED to understand this distinction.
Death by Pot?
Here are they ways pot can kill you. Someone can hit you in the head with a cast iron pot. Someone can use a pot to cook up some poison…
Compare that to 18,893 deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses
Or 29,001 alcohol related deaths from alcohol poisoning in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
No one has ever died from ingesting marijuana.
Real Risks of Marijuana
Is Marijuana Addictive?
- Marijuana IS addictive.
- Approximately 9% of users may become addicted to marijuana. A statistic similar to how many male drinkers become alcoholics.
- Cannabis withdrawal is not deadly like alcohol.
- Marijuana withdrawal for adults is like giving up coffee.
- Addiction to anything can be devastating to adolescents
Ban the term “gateway” from your vocabulary.
Marijuana use does not cause people to use other drugs.
Addiction can start from huffing a paint can. Most marijuana users live normal lives.
The idea that cannabis causes someone to use other drugs is propaganda.
Still worried about the gateway myth? This Times Article is an excellent read that dispels this fallacy.
Marijuana Fact Sheet
Cannabis is a Controlled Substance.
- In some states, marijuana is a medication prescribed by a doctor.
- In other states, marijuana is a regulated, like alcohol & tobacco – allowed for adults only.
- In some states, marijuana is completely illegal.
- Know your state’s legal status. State Marijuana Laws
The Real Dangers of Marijuana
All substances have dangers. Here are some of the dangers of cannabis.
- Marijuana alters your perception users may be unable to recognize dangerous situations.
- It very easy to use too much which can make you feel like you’re dying.
- It can negatively affect short-term memory and learning.
- Some users experience panic attacks and anxiety.
- Different people react differently, to varying amounts and strains.
- Marijuana alters brain chemistry and may damage the adolescent brain.
- Cannabis can trigger the onset of psychosis – this is very rare but very real. Read: Cannabis may trigger the onset of psychosis.
- Illegal marijuana can be laced with other damaging drugs & chemicals.
- Smoking any substance, including marijuana, can cause respiratory issues – it’s the smoke, not the marijuana.
- There’s little research on cannabis which means there’s a lot we don’t know about the health effects of using this substance.
It’s Illegal for Kids to Use Cannabis
Recreational marijuana use by adolescents is illegal across the United States. Breaking laws has consequences:
- Loss of Drivers’ Licenses
- Jail time
- Elimination from sports teams, clubs, and activities
Share your beliefs
- Teach your values when it comes to alcohol, sex, gambling, and marijuana.
- Be honest, tell them how you feel.
- Be realistic – the current social attitude is changing rapidly.
Why This Conversation Can’t Wait
In the past 50 years, social acceptance of marijuana has dramatically increased. A 1969 Gallup survey found only 12% of respondents thought marijuana should be legalized; by 2015 that number increased to 58% overall, and 68% of millennials, in favor of legalization. I don’t expect those statistics to alter your sentiment about marijuana, but I hope the widespread acceptance spurs you into action. With nearly half the country accessing medical marijuana, it’s more important than ever to talk to your kids about weed.