Is it OK to Use Cannabis? A Parent's Guide

With recreational marijuana legalized in nine states and medical marijuana legal in more states than not, the subject of whether or not to use it as a parent or how to talk about it with your children may have come up. As a parent, you want to be informed – because who wants to sound like they don’t have a clue in front of their teenager? But you want to be informed correctly so you can prepare your teen.

We have the information that you need to discuss this sensitive topic with your child. Read on.

Should I Talk to My Child About Cannabis?

Of course! Unless you want your children getting their information from their school, friends, or worse, the internet, then you should definitely talk to your children about cannabis. How and at what age is completely up to you, though you and they should learn about all of the new laws.

Cannabis Rumors

  1. The Gateway Drug Myth – We’ve all heard this one. It’s a favorite of the anti-drug crowd. Cannabis leads to harder drugs. While it is statistically true that teens who use marijuana are more likely to use other drugs, correlation does not equal causation. There is literally no evidence linking the use of marijuana as a cause for the use of other drugs.
  2. The Addiction Myth – Compared to heroin, where 24% of users become addicted and cocaine, where 15% of users become dependent, marijuana has a very small percentage – just 9% of heavy users become dependent.
  3. The Prohibition Myth – Prohibition hasn’t been effective in preventing kids from using cannabis. But the other side of that coin is that even in states where marijuana is legal, kids are not using the drug any more than in states where it is still illegal.

Can Teenagers or Children Consume Medical Cannabis?

Laws vary from state to state, but it is possible for a physician to recommend to a parent that their child or teenager use medical marijuana. In some states, the parent must obtain the recommendation on behalf of a child and control the administration of the cannabis. In other states, a parent must obtain the recommendation of two physicians for medical marijuana for a child. If a physician has recommended cannabis for your child, one of the most efficient ways of administering the dose is via a desktop vaporizer, which can be inhaled from a bag or it can be used in a small room, imparting the cannabis into the air.

Can Medical Marijuana Harm My Child or Teenager?

Study after study has proven that alcohol is about as twice as harmful as cannabis to the cannabis users. To others around the user, alcohol was five times more harmful than cannabis.

Types of Cannabis

Here is where things get confusing. There are many different kinds of strains of marijuana and they have a lot of nicknames. There are three main forms of cannabis:

Dabs – these can also be called wax or shatter or butter. This is either concentrated THC or CBD and is typically consumed using a dab rig or a nail or a wax pen vaporizer or vaporizer mod.

Dry Herb – dried marijuana flowers. This is generally broken apart or ground using a special grinder and put into a vaporizer, a bowl, a bong, a pipe, or rolled in a joint and then smoked.

Edibles – this is food infused with marijuana. It can also be cannabis-infused drinks.

Therapeutic Use of Cannabis

Cannabis has been used therapeutically for millennia. It has shown promise as a pain reliever, antidepressant, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, and in the treatment of epilepsy. Talking to your children about the different uses of marijuana can be a useful gateway to talking about health issues, politics, American history, and much more.

If they don’t learn about it from you, they’re likely going to learn about it through experimentation or from their peers. If you have cannabis experience and you have a child in a legal state, talk to them about it like you would talk to them about using tobacco or alcohol. Then they can make an informed choice when they are of age.

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Comment by Grinning Cat on May 5, 2018 at 12:59pm

Joan, I can see how telling the truth also inspires respect, when the boys know they're not getting sugarcoated pablum or manipulative scare tactics.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 5, 2018 at 3:18am

We used research based information about marijuana and taught the boys the truth about the myths. We saw no benefit in misleading them or using fear to manage them. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 5, 2018 at 2:20am

I worked as a social worker for a boys' ranch, a facility where judges sent boys who had convictions of shoplifting, out of control anger, habitual absence from school, or with signs of mental illness. We ran some tests. Each boy had the task of doing a timed test with spelling and arithmetic cards. We kept a daily chart of time it took to complete a stack of cards and ratios of correct answers to incorrect ones. We used age and skill level cards appropriate to each boys' development. We found that boys who performed increasingly better on both spelling and arithmetic, had a sharp decline if they used marijuana. They had difficulty improving in speed and accuracy and appeared to have no interest in the tasks when they continued to use the substance. One can legitimately say the boys were asked to do tedious, boring tasks and therefore had no interest. However, if the boy stopped using pot, his skill levels began to rise and continued to rise over time. 

We also found that agitated boys using pot were mellower when they were under the influence of the chemical in M.J. Parents of agitated boys tended to introduce pot to their sons intending to get the calming effect. Our task was to help the boys learn how to control their agitation.

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