As more and more parents or caretakers choose to use medical marijuana to treat their conditions, there are concerns about how to approach this topic with the children in their lives. You may choose to approach this topic on your own, or your child may observe you using marijuana and ask you what it is or why you’re using it; being prepared can help you give them solid facts and answer many of their questions about marijuana as medicine. You can talk to one of our Florida medical marijuana doctors about discussing this topic with the children in your life. To find out if you pre-qualify to become a Florida MMJ patient, please take our 5-minute online eligibility survey.
Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states and Washington, DC. However, it is still classified as a Schedule I drug according to the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970 under President Richard Nixon; this means the federal government holds the opinion that it is highly addictive with no medical value. It shares this classification with heroin, LSD, peyote, GHB, Ecstasy, Khat, and MDMA, among other drugs. In spite of this, over half of US states have recognized marijuana’s benefit to patients with a wide variety of medical issues, and legalized it for medical use. This is bound to create conflict when children are taught at school that marijuana is bad, but a parent or other caretaker is using MMJ for their own health issues. As parents, we should not just leave it to the school system to educate our children about marijuana, but take it on ourselves to give them a more comprehensive view of the plant, including its benefits as well as drawbacks.
Our children are being taught at school about the dangers of marijuana, and unfortunately many of them are being provided with negatively-biased information that has been proven false or misleading. As a well-prepared parent you can provide the necessary materials to counter this misinformation with facts. Knowing how to educate our children about medical marijuana can help them have a more balanced, informed opinion than they will get if they rely solely on their teachers and peers for information.
Teaching children about the benefits of medical marijuana should be tailored to their age and ability to understand.
- Young kids may be satisfied with a simple explanation that this is Mom or Dad’s medicine and it helps them feel better.
- Older children can benefit from being presented with more information including facts about the plant and its medicinal properties.
- If your adolescents or teenagers tell you they’ve already learned all about marijuana, it’s best to ask them what they know. What they learn from school or peer groups can lead them to false assumptions or wrong information. This is a good chance to clear up misunderstandings and clarify things they may be uncertain about.
When talking to your child about medical marijuana, questions may come up that you don’t have answers to. It’s perfectly fine to tell them you don’t know, but you can find out. Researching together or having them look things up and sharing their results with you can be beneficial to parents and children alike. They also may learn answers to questions they were hesitant to ask you.
Be honest about your marijuana use, especially if your child asks you a direct question about it. It helps remove the stigma surrounding MMJ, teaches them there are alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs, and opens the door for further discussion. This is a good time to teach them about the difference between recreational and medical use and how to be a responsible consumer. Being open with your children will encourage them to share their experiences with you as well. It will give you the chance to share your feelings about underage marijuana use, any concerns you might have about its effect on them, and how to be an informed consumer. Like alcohol consumption or sexual activity, some kids are going to experiment with marijuana whether you want them to or not. It is better to have them be well-educated on the benefits as well as potential side effects of marijuana than for them to rely on their peers or school anti-drug programs for their information. As time goes on and they grow, bring up the subject again. Let them know you’re available any time if they have any questions come up; make this more than a one-time discussion. Continue to educate them and explore the topic together so they can be educated consumers if they choose to use marijuana in the future. While you may not approve of them using marijuana while under your care, it is far better for them to know what they are doing if they decide to experiment. Open, honest communication with your children about medical marijuana, without showing condemnation or criticism, will foster trust and an environment where they don’t feel like you’re judging them or their friends. How effectively and positively you interact with your children may also make them more willing to contact you if they try marijuana, something unexpected happens, and they need your help.