I’m a Medical Marijuana Patient – Should I Tell My Kids in Ohio?
Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states and Washington, DC. As more and more parents or caretakers choose to use MMJ to treat their medical 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 Ohio medical marijuana doctors about discussing this topic with the children in your life. To find out if you pre-qualify to become an Ohio MMJ patient, take our 5-minute eligibility survey.
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug according to the Controlled Substances Act 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 complaints. As parents, we should not leave it to the school system to educate our children about marijuana, but take it on ourselves to give them an unbiased view of the plant, including its benefits as well as drawbacks.
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 things they were afraid to ask you about.
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. Open, honest communication with your children about medical marijuana will foster trust and an environment where they don’t feel like you’re judging them or their friends. It also shows them you are willing to listen without condemnation or criticism. Let them know you’re available if they have any questions come up in the future; make this more than a one-time discussion. As time goes on and they grow, bring up the subject again. 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.
Kids 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 counter this misinformation with facts, teaching your children a balanced view of medical marijuana that includes its benefits for a variety of health concerns as well as potential negative effects. Knowing how to educate our children about medical marijuana can help them have a more balanced, informed opinion than they will achieve if they rely solely on their teachers and peers for their information.