Cannabis Use and Youth: A Parent’s Guide

As a parent, it can be a struggle to hear about what a lot of people (and there are a lot!) has to say about cannabis use and especially when it comes to discussing it with your kids if you are even open to discussing it at all. In this article, we are going to journey through tough questions to clarify them and make a helpful and informed guide for you and your kids.

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Why Do Children and Teens Use Cannabis?

Let’s begin with curiosity. Children and teens often end up using cannabis for an experience. They probably have heard from others or read online that cannabis can make them feel better, make them more sociable, or more relaxed. 

In moderation or with proper guidance, cannabis can aid in reducing anxiety or depressive episodes. There are also cases indeed where specific cannabis strains can help people focus and be more productive. 

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What Does Cannabis Legalization Mean for the Youth?

This simply means that there should be more open and factual conversations between you and your child so that you are informed and aware of both the risks but also the benefits of cannabis.

There are various age restrictions across different states and countries to access cannabis, with restrictions ranging from recreational to medical use. In Florida cannabis is legal for medical use for adults with a specific diagnosis of illness and with some exceptions for children below 18.

Due to research and studies proving that there are indeed cases of improvement due to medical marijuana, restrictions can range from requiring two medical professionals for minors with diagnosed illnesses.

What Are the Signs My Child May Have a Problem with Cannabis?

Being an attentive parent pays a great deal in helping your child avoid substance abuse. There are various observable behavior that can help you check if your child is just either on cannabis or is already regularly taking the substance:

  • Physical & Psychological Signs Of Marijuana Use

If currently under the effects of marijuana use, common signs can include bloodshot eyes, difficulty recalling things that are currently happening or things that have just happened, lightheadedness, giggling for no reason, and/or seeming a lack of coordination.

  • Behavioral Signs Of Marijuana Use

Marijuana use can become risky once a person becomes dependent on the substance. Often, symptoms of dependency are also observable through behavior. 

This can include the odor of marijuana on clothes or in your child’s room or belongings, attempts to mask the odor through perfume or deodorizers, and/or increased use of eye drops to relieve the heaviness of bloodshot eyes, among others.

The worse cases would include possessing paraphernalia and stealing money or valuables to be able to purchase cannabis.

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How to Talk About Marijuana with Your Son or Daughter

There is no single answer to address this lingering question for parents living in places where marijuana is legal. However, this shouldn’t be a problem, but rather, one that can be approached through different parenting styles and openness to your children’s disposition towards cannabis:

  • Stay connected

The fact that you found yourself here means that you are not alone in this new aspect of parenting. Make use of the connections you can build with fellow parents to help keep conversations informative and open.

  • Talk about it.

Even if it might seem difficult to find a way to naturally course your conversations with your children about cannabis, the best way for you to gauge it is to treat it the way you talk about caffeine, sugar, and proper medicine.

  • Be positive.

The biggest help you can do for your kids is to properly inform them about the medical benefits of marijuana, as much as people would usually discuss risks. By creating a holistic view for them about it, their curiosity will be led to informed decisions instead of letting them explore the world blindly on their own.

  • Focus on safety and well-being.

Medical marijuana only gains a negative perspective due to taboos that take it out of context. If you end up finding out your child has taken marijuana, veer away from overreacting or reacting in anger and instead be open to conversing about how they ended up with the substance and why they feel the need to take it.

  • Be informed.

Doing your own research that goes for both benefits and risks of marijuana use can aid you in rearing your child to make informed decisions for themselves as well. By being objective, you will be able to make your child feel that you are a safe person to discuss things with and that you can actually answer questions that piqued their curiosity.

  • Be supportive.

When your child has made an effort to say no to marijuana, be proactive in encouraging them for their decision. If your child needs to take marijuana for medical purposes, be their source of encouragement that takes the taboo out of the substance.

  • Be an example

You can’t expect your kids to make informed, objective decisions if they don’t see that you are a credible reference person. If you’ve managed to find yourself in a worse situation where your child has already grown dependent on a substance, be the person to seek help first to be an example that asking for help doesn’t make anyone weak but rather, is the first step to a better, healthier life.

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