Why talk to minors about cannabis?
Non-medical cannabis is one of the most talked-about subjects in the news, on social media, and even in schools. The team at Drug Free Kids Canada suggests that parents who offer their children balanced information about the short- and long-term effects associated with cannabis use may be able to help them make informed decisions.
After alcohol, cannabis is the most commonly used psychoactive substance (a compound that affects your mind and body) in Canada. As responsible adult role models, it’s therefore important for parents to protect their children’s health, safety, and development by speaking to them early, often, and in an open and positive manner.
One of the reasons the use of non-medical cannabis is restricted to adults is because it may negatively affect important parts of the adolescent brain that do not fully mature until around the age of 25. These parts of the brain control physical coordination, emotions, motivation, reasoning, and impulses.
Minors are likely hearing misinformation about cannabis from their peers, the media, or adults, or they may be concerned about the use of cannabis by someone they know. It’s important that you can answer their questions with accurate information while actively listening, too. The sooner and more regularly you speak with your children about cannabis, the greater their understanding of the consequences of early use will be.
Facts about cannabis
Cannabis is a plant, but a powerful and complex one, and its use carries potential risks.
Cannabis may make people feel relaxed and happy, but it can also:
- harm the ability to think and make decisions
- harm the ability to concentrate and remember
- slow reaction time
- affect the ability to drive
- impair performance in sports and at school
Impairment may last for more than 24 hours after consumption, well after other effects have passed. With long-term, frequent and heavy use some of these and other effects may continue even after cannabis use is stopped and may not be reversible.
If cannabis is used frequently and at a young age, the health risks related to cannabis consumption are higher.
How do I talk with minors about cannabis?
It’s sometimes a challenge to talk with minors, and discussing sensitive subjects such as drugs and alcohol might be even more difficult. You can download a free Cannabis Talk Kit from Drug Free Kids Canada that shares valuable insight including tips to talk to minors such as how to:
- keep an open mind
- put yourself in your children's shoes
- be clear about your goals
- be calm and relaxed
- be positive
- avoid lecturing
- find a comfortable setting
- be aware of body language
Source: Health Canada
Source: Drug Free Kids Canada