Youth are viewing marijuana more positively and believe marijuana use is not dangerous. Efforts to legalize marijuana decrease youth perceived risk which may result in increased use.
Risks of Marijuana Use:
- Difficulty learning and retaining information
- Lowered IQ scores
- Decreased ability to deal with life stressors
- Poor decision making skills
- Increased risky and impulsive behaviors
- Increased risk of mental health concerns (depression, anxiety, and even
- schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals)
- Chronic cough or bronchitis
What Do I Say?
Parents have an important role in preventing marijuana use. The subject of marijuana can be difficult to talk about due to mixed messages related to legalization and medical use. Parents talking openly and honestly with their children about drugs is one of the most effective ways to prevent substance abuse.
Your child says: ”Weed is safer than drinking alcohol.”What to Say
"Whether it’s smoking pot, cigarettes, drinking or behaving recklessly, I honestly don’t want you doing anything that can harm you. What is going on in your life that makes you feel like you want to use drugs or alcohol?"
Your child states: “Marijuana comes from a plant, so how harmful could it be?”What to Say
"Cocaine and heroin come from plants, and poison ivy is a plant as well, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy or good for you. Using marijuana can affect your judgment and be harmful. Tell me about the activities that you and your friends like to do that don’t involve using drugs."
Your child says, ”Since marijuana is legal in some states, it must be safe.”What to Say
"Just because something is legal and regulated doesn’t make it safe or mean it isn’t harmful. Alcohol use can be harmful by lowering reaction times, decreasing inhibitions, and even can lead to alcohol poisoning. Cigarettes are also legal, even though they are highly addictive and proven to cause birth defects and cancer."
Your child says, “You smoked weed when you were younger and nothing bad happened.”What to Say
If you did smoke weed…
"I did try marijuana but back then, we didn’t have all the research to show how harmful it was. Now we know more about how bad it is and besides marijuana now is different from what it was then…much more potent and dangerous. A family value we have is to keep ourselves safe and that includes not using any substance that could cause harm."
If you did not smoke weed…
"No, I never smoked weed when I was a younger. It didn’t have a place in my life, and would have interfered with the activities I enjoyed. A family value we have is to keep ourselves safe and that includes not using any substance that could cause harm."
Your child says, “I don’t know what to do when my friends ask me to use."What to Say
"Let’s think of some ways that you can turn down that offer that you would be comfortable saying. I’d be happy to brainstorm with you."