Since retail marijuana is now legal in Colorado, we need to be having discussions about it with our children. It is right up there in importance with having that other important talk and I personally think they should both be had at an early age. There should be nothing embarrassing or awkward about providing education to your kids. Frankly, my recommendation is to have those conversations early enough to where they don’t even realize the “awkwardness” of it! It is so much easier because as they become older, having those conversations is just a part of how they’ve grown up.
If you need help having this conversation about marijuana with your kids, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has just launched new resources full of great information to help you on the Good to Know Colorado website. There is a ton of information on how to talk to kids, slang terms, the negative health effects (impaired judgments, addiction, and coordination), the legal consequences (MIP charges) and so much more. Do you have a student or athlete? If they use marijuana they are risking financial aid and the sport they love!
Know what dabbing is? Educate yourself.
What we do know is that brain development isn’t complete until the age of 25 and that marijuana along with other substances can impact brain development. We do not know for sure exactly how harmful marijuana is for young people; we just know that it can be.
Because brain development isn’t complete until age 25, you need to be aware of these harmful effects! So, please, please spend some time reading through the resources that Good to Know Colorado has for you and then have a conversation about the risks!
No matter the age, our kids want to feel respected so give them the tools to make an educated decision. It really isn’t a matter of “if” your kid(s) will be exposed to marijuana, but WHEN.
We can’t stop it. We can’t lock them up in their room because we’re afraid. We can’t not allow them to hang out with friends. We just can’t be driven by fear. But we can be educated and we can educate our youth! We just need them to be prepared in the event that they are exposed.
I had this conversation with my older two boys several years ago before marijuana was even legal for medical purposes. And it was easier then because there weren’t shops on the corner and it wasn’t readily available in so many forms (like edibles) like it is today.
Having this conversation with my youngest, now that marijuana is legal, was a whole different ball-game. With my older two it was easy to say “it’s illegal” and needs to stay out of your body because exposure was far less likely. With my 12 year old, it is now legal for adults 21+ (in Colorado and a handful of other states), it is available in many different forms (edibles, vape, oil and even lotion).
He’s a smart one, my 12 year old. And he absolutely loves school. I’m not sure how long I can cherish the fact that he loves school because each year I wait for the gavel to fall on his love, but I knock on wood, cross my fingers and do all of the good luck things because I want his love continue to grow. Having this conversation with him, while different, was an easy one.
I explained to him that some of the harmful effects of marijuana on kids is that they may have a harder time learning and memory problems. Coordination is effected so their ability to play video games and sports at their fullest potential are at risk.
Kids who use marijuana regularly may have lower math and reading scores. That right there – the scores part – was enough to make him tune in to me. His math and reading levels basically define him (in his eyes) right now. He won’t risk it. He’s also not willing to risk his competitive soccer.
I get it. Not all kids love school. Not all kids care about their scores. I know that he’s rare and I know that I’m lucky. But having this conversation with your child is not any less important. Good to Know Colorado has made it super easy to educate yourself so that you can have this conversation and feel confident in having it.
Please have a conversation about the negative effects of marijuana on youth with your kids.
This post is sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. I am so glad to be working with them and encouraging education of the negative effects that marijuana has on our children.