Marijuana is commonly considered the lesser of evils when it comes to experimentation with mind altering substances among adolescents and teens. Though marijuana cannot cause a fatal overdose, it can cause long term complications in cognitive development and cognitive function when it is used regularly in adolescence. Parents are learning that marijuana can in many ways be a gateway drug specifically because of the way it impairs the brain in decision making, learning, reasoning, and more. Talking about marijuana with adolescents and teens doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience. More often than not, kids are learning more than we think they are at school. Having a conversation about marijuana is helpful in putting everyone on the same page– you know what they know and they know how you feel about it. Remain open-minded to your kid’s perspective, curious about their stance and beliefs, but be informative about the damaging effect marijuana is proven to have on adolescent minds.
Talk about the legality of marijuana
Marijuana legalization is spreading, but slowly. Though many states are legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and/or the medical use of marijuana, marijuana still remains a Schedule I drug federally. That means, in the eyes of the federal government, marijuana is still illegal, both recreationally and medically. Kids can be quick to draw comparisons as fuel for an argument. If marijuana is legal in some places, they might argue, it should be legal everywhere, and it cannot be harmful. Many things which are legal nationwide, like alcohol, cigarettes, and most notably, prescription opioid drugs, are harmful, even life-threatening.
Talk about the science of marijuana use in adolescents
Science has proven that there are benefits to using marijuana medicinally. For teenagers, on the other hand, science has consistently proven that marijuana is damaging to the developing cortex, impairing cognitive function. Young brains are still developing and the cannabis inhibits the development long term. Academic performance has also been proven to be negatively affected by marijuana use in youth. Some studies indicate that young kids who regularly use marijuana have a lower intelligence and cannot think as quickly or as well as peers who do not use marijuana regularly.
Talk about personal beliefs regarding marijuana
Do you know what your kids actually know or how they actually feel about marijuana? Have they been approached by friends to use marijuana? Are friends using marijuana already? Would your kids know what it looks like or how it is used if they were approached with marijuana? While you don’t want to inspire kids to use marijuana, it is important for kids to be informed in order to be prepared to make a smart decision for themselves when they are presented with temptation.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center wants to open the conversation about substance abuse and recovery in adolescents and teens. Our residential treatment programs inspire healing in mind, body, and spirit, challenging adolescents and teens to change the conversation through their sobriety. For information, call us today: 662-598-4214