Opinion: How to Talk to Your Teens About Cannabis

Be honest with your teen about your own experience with weed.

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You have had the "Birds and the Bees" talk with your teenager. Long ago in elementary school you had the talk with your child during their schools "Too Good for Drugs" week about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse. Now that cannabis is legal in many states a new conversation across the nation is taking place between parents and teenagers. 

Cannabis or medical marijuana is different than smoking pot and your teen needs to know this. Smoking pot is hazardous to your health and illegal in many places in addition to causing poor judgement. Cannabis is used for pain due to severe injury or sicknesses like cancer and chemotherapy. They need to understand that cannabis will not get you the same high as marijuana will.

Explain that many teens purchase cannabis thinking it will give the same feeling as marijuana but legal. Also just because it is legal doesn't mean it is good for a healthy teen. The purpose of doctors prescribe cannabis for pain management and control.

They need to be aware that many companies from all over the world are now importing cannabis products. They are advertising these products as natural or organic trying to make someone believe that they are safe and maybe even good for you. Point out that in the 1950's advertisers had the general public believe that smoking cigarettes was actually beneficial to your health. Make it clear that just because something is put in a chocolate brownie or candy it is not safe or good for a normal healthy person.

Also, let them know that cannabis has a medical purpose. That for people who were in a factory accident, or other accident like a fall 40 feet from a deer hunting tree blind causing severe back injury, cannabis can give pain relief and allow for mobility that other prescriptions may not help as effectively.

Explain that a lot of people suffering from cancer and going through chemo benefit from doctor-recommended cannabis for extreme sickness and pain. That for these people it is OK, and they should not be made to feel bad for obtaining something that allows them to manage pain.

Be honest with your teen about your own experience or lack of experience with marijuana or cannabis. Don't discourage them from doing their own research on the internet. Do let them know that cannabis is supposed to have a doctor recommendation. That neither product in any form is meant for a healthy teen.

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