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How to Talk to Your Kids About Legal Cannabis

 It’s important to talk to your child about cannabis in a recreationally legal state because even though it may be legal for adults over the age of 21, cannabis use can still have potential risks and negative consequences, particularly for children.

Here are some reasons why it’s important to talk to your child about cannabis use, even in a state where it is legal:

Potential for misuse: Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe or appropriate for everyone to use. For children, cannabis use can have negative effects on brain development, memory, and learning ability. It can also increase the risk of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, and may lead to addiction.

Social pressure: With cannabis being legal, there may be more social pressure for children to use it, which can lead to experimentation and potential harm. It’s important to discuss the pressure children may feel to fit in or experiment with drugs and alcohol, and to provide them with the knowledge and tools to make responsible choices.

Understanding the law: It’s important for children to understand the legal status of cannabis use in their state, and the potential consequences of breaking the law. Even though cannabis use may be legal for adults, it is still illegal for those under 21. Understanding the law can help children make informed decisions and avoid legal trouble.

Safety concerns: Cannabis use can impair judgment and reaction time, which can increase the risk of accidents and injuries. It’s important for children to understand the potential risks associated with cannabis use and to make safe choices to avoid harm to themselves or others.

Open communication: By talking to your child about cannabis use, you are creating an open and honest communication channel that can help build trust and strengthen your relationship. If your child has questions or concerns, they know they can come to you for guidance and support.

Overall, it’s important to have ongoing conversations with your child about cannabis use, particularly in a recreationally legal state. By providing accurate information and emphasizing responsible decision-making, you can help your child avoid potential harm and make informed choices about drug and substance use.

Talking to your children about legal cannabis can be a challenging, but important, conversation. As the era of legal cannabis ages, more and more parents are finding the need to discuss cannabis with their ever curious offspring. 

(Photo Robina Weermeijer Unsplash)

How can cannabis affect young brain development?

One of the goals in talking to your children about cannabis is to help them understand why it’s inappropriate for children to consume. The active ingredient in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can have significant effects on a child’s developing brain. Children who use cannabis can experience negative effects on their memory, attention, and learning, and may also experience long-term impacts on their mental health, such as an increased risk of depression, and anxiety. In addition, children who use cannabis are more likely to experience negative effects on their overall health and wellbeing, including respiratory problems, impaired motor skills, and decreased appetite. This is why talking to your children about cannabis at a young age can give them the best approach if and when they decide to use cannabis as an adult.

(Photo Toa Heftiba Unsplash)

When is the best age to discuss cannabis with my children?

When it comes to cannabis specifically, many experts suggest waiting until children are at least in their pre-child or early child years, around the ages of 12-14, to have more in-depth conversations about it. By this age, children may have already been exposed to information or images about cannabis, so it’s important to provide them with accurate information and to address any misconceptions they may have.

Here are a few tips for having this conversation with your child:

Start with open and honest communication: Begin the conversation by letting your child know that you want to talk about legal cannabis in Oregon, and that you’re open to discussing any questions or concerns they may have. Let them know that you’re not here to judge them, but rather to provide them with accurate information and guidance.

Understand the legal context: Before you begin the conversation, make sure you’re familiar with the legal status of cannabis in Oregon. It’s important to know that while recreational cannabis use is legal for adults aged 21 and older in Oregon, it is still illegal for minors.

Address potential risks: Discuss the potential risks associated with cannabis use, such as impaired judgment, memory, and learning ability. Talk about the negative effects of long-term use and how it can affect a child’s health, mental health, and academic performance.

Discuss responsible use: It’s important to emphasize that if your child chooses to use cannabis when they are of legal age, it should be done responsibly. This includes following state laws, consuming in moderation, and avoiding driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence.

Answer questions: Encourage your child to ask any questions they may have about cannabis use and answer them as accurately and honestly as possible. Be sure to explain any terms or concepts they may be unfamiliar with, and provide examples or scenarios to help them understand the potential consequences of cannabis use.

Establish open communication: Let your child know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns about cannabis use or other substances. Encourage them to talk to you before making any decisions related to cannabis or substance use, and assure them that you are always there to support them.

Remember, it’s important to have ongoing conversations about cannabis use, as well as other substances, to help ensure your child understands the potential risks and consequences and can make informed decisions.

(Photo R+R Medicinals Unsplash)

How can I explain my medicinal cannabis use to my children in a legal state?

Explaining medicinal cannabis to children in a legal state can be challenging, but it’s important to approach the conversation in a way that is age-appropriate and easy to understand. Here are some steps you can take to explain medicinal cannabis to children:

Start with the basics: Begin by explaining what medicine is and how it helps people when they are sick or in pain. Use simple language and examples that your child can relate to.

Discuss illness and pain: Talk to your child about different types of illnesses and conditions that can cause pain, and explain how medicine can help people feel better. You can use examples of common childhood illnesses, like a headache or stomach ache, to help illustrate your point.

Introduce cannabis: Explain that there is a type of medicine made from a plant called cannabis, which some people use to help them feel better. Emphasize that this type of medicine is only available with a doctor’s prescription, and it is only used to help people who are sick or in pain.

Address potential confusion: Depending on your child’s age and experience, they may have heard about cannabis in a different context, such as recreational use. If your child is confused, take the time to explain that while cannabis can be used for different purposes, the type of cannabis used as medicine is very different from the type used recreationally.

Answer questions: Encourage your child to ask questions and provide honest and accurate answers. Use age-appropriate language and avoid overwhelming your child with too much information at once.

Reinforce the importance of following rules: It’s important to emphasize that medicinal cannabis is only used by people who are sick or in pain, and it is only available with a doctor’s prescription. Emphasize the importance of following rules and not sharing medication with others.

Remember, explaining medicinal cannabis to a young child can be a challenging conversation, but it’s important to provide accurate information in a way that your child can understand. By approaching the conversation with honesty and openness, you can help your child better understand the role of medicine in helping people feel better.

There are a few books available that explain medicinal cannabis to children. Here are some options:

“The Gloops and the Special Plant” by J.R. Fox – The Gloops and the Special Plant is a teaching tool for starting the conversation on what cannabis is, and what the end of its prohibition means. It tells a parallel story to our own, while teaching about human rights and respect. “Where the Gloops live, there grows a very special plant. This plant has not always been understood. In fact, once upon a time, the Old Kings wanted the plant gone forever. Inside this little book is a BIG story about Molly, her family, and all of the Gloops who stood up for what they believed in, and won! The world of the Gloops is not so very different from ours… So, maybe by learning about them, we can learn about us too!”

“Cannabis and CBD for Health and Wellness” by Aliza Sherman and Dr. Junella Chin – This book is geared toward teenagers and provides an in-depth look at cannabis and CBD as medicine, including their uses, benefits, and potential risks.

“The ABCs of CBD: The Essential Guide for Parents (and regular folks too)” by Shira Adler – This book is geared toward parents and provides an overview of CBD and its potential benefits for children with various medical conditions.

“Stinky Steve Explains Medical Marijuana: An Educational Children’s Book About Cannabis” by Maggie Volpo – Millions of people use cannabis, also called marijuana, for a wide range of medical reasons. However, because there is still social stigma attached to cannabis use, many people who care for children hide or lie about their medication. Stinky Steve is here to help adults discuss responsible medical cannabis use with the children in their lives. Let Stinky Steve facilitate a conversation about cannabis use and safety in your home!

Remember, it’s important to preview these books before sharing them with your child to ensure they align with your personal beliefs and values. Additionally, it’s important to have open and honest conversations with your child about the use of medicinal cannabis and answer any questions they may have.

(Photo Jeremy McKnight Unsplash)

What should I do if my child is already using cannabis?

If you discover that your child is using cannabis in a legal state, it’s important to handle the situation with care and address it in a calm and non-judgmental way. Here are some steps you can take to address the issue:

Talk to your child: Schedule a time to sit down with your child and have an open and honest conversation about their cannabis use. Be sure to approach the conversation in a non-judgmental way, and try to understand their reasons for using cannabis. Listen to their perspective and provide them with accurate information about the risks and consequences of cannabis use, particularly for young people.

Set clear boundaries: Even though cannabis use may be legal for adults in your state, it is still illegal for minors. Make it clear to your child that using cannabis is against the law and that you do not condone it. Set clear expectations for your child’s behavior and consequences if they continue to use cannabis.

Seek professional help: If your child is struggling with cannabis use or addiction, it may be necessary to seek professional help. This can include talking to your child’s doctor, a substance abuse counselor, or a mental health professional who specializes in addiction.

Monitor your child’s behavior: Keep an eye on your child’s behavior and look for signs of ongoing cannabis use or other substance abuse. If you suspect that your child is continuing to use cannabis, it may be necessary to seek further professional help or support.

Keep communication open: It’s important to maintain open communication with your child and let them know that you are always there to support them, even if you don’t condone their behavior. Let them know that you are willing to help them find resources or support to overcome any issues they may be facing.

Remember, discovering that your child is using cannabis can be a challenging and difficult situation, but it’s important to handle it with care and to prioritize your child’s health and well-being. By taking a proactive and supportive approach, you can help your child make positive changes and avoid potential harm.

In conclusion, talking to your kids about legal cannabis is an important step in helping them make informed and safe choices. By being honest, using age-appropriate language, addressing their concerns, and setting clear boundaries, you can help your kids understand the risks and responsibilities involved in using cannabis. 

Raising kids can be hard! It’s a good thing cannabis is legal here in Oregon. When you’re ready to (responsibly) unwind, check out our fantastic selection at any of our stores.


More Reading:

Cannabis Cultivation Grow Styles: Indoor, Outdoor or Greenhouse?

Cannabis Genetics: Exploring the Past and Shaping the Future

Make Your Own Cannabis Edibles: Cooking Tips and Recipe Ideas

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