With the passage of Amendment 3 last month, parents in Missouri now have a new conversation to navigate: adult cannabis use (marijuana).
As someone who works in the field of alcohol and drug education, I have seen firsthand the effects of substance use disorder in our communities, especially on young people.
Talking about drugs and alcohol with your kids is never fun, but it really is one of the most important conversations you can have. As we head into a new reality in Missouri – one where adult recreational cannabis will become part of the fabric of our society – it’s time for you to develop your family’s narrative about cannabis.
I hope to prepare families for what’s to come: lots of flashy ads about cannabis scattered around town, endless news stories, the development of dispensaries in our neighborhoods and more and more young people trying to get access to cannabis.
Parents: It’s up to you to provide your child with the knowledge they need to make informed, healthy decisions and stay safe. Having these conversations early and often sets the stage for helping your child understand the risks and dangers of cannabis use.
- Talking about cannabis does not mean your child will use it. Many parents I know worry that having the conversation will make their kids more curious about cannabis — and want to try it. However, pretending that there is no cannabis will only create secrets. Open and honest conversations about cannabis will give them the tools and knowledge to make informed and confident decisions. In fact, research shows that having conversations with your kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol actually reduces their chances of future abuse. in half.
- Be honest and friendly. Talk to your child or teen about the new rationing laws and what the future holds for Missouri. You don’t need to have a serious formal family meeting to discuss cannabis – you can simply share details about recreational cannabis use and potential risks when it appears in your daily routine. Maybe it’s a TV show where a character smokes in a rude voice or a song that indicates being high. Use these moments as an opportunity to start the conversation with your child in an organic way, encouraging them to share what they know and answer any questions they may have.
- Share information about entertainment risks hemp. Depending on your child’s age, you can share more details about why cannabis poses so many risks to young people. Provide information about the development and maturation of the brain and perhaps share some details about how cannabis negatively affects adolescents, such as Memory and learning problems, difficulty paying attention, and challenges at school.
- Create an exit plan together. With the legalization of recreational marijuana in Missouri, more young people in our communities will find opportunities to access weed, and it will likely become more prevalent at high school parties and social gatherings. Talk to your teen about an exit plan in case he is introduced to marijuana. Preparing them for this scenario is a great way to set clear boundaries and set rules for your own expectations of their behaviour.
- Remind your child that it is just for fun Cannabis is legal does not mean it is safe. Studies show that many teens Risk minimization associated with cannabis use. Talk to your child about the risks inherent in youthful marijuana use and be clear that using cannabis as a child or teen can permanently alter the brain.
- Discuss cannabis advertising. As dispensaries start to open in Missouri, we’ll start to see a lot of advertising. When you come across marijuana billboards or advertisements, use it as an opportunity to talk with your child about how marketing can influence a person’s opinion. One study found that More cannabis ads a teen seesThe more likely they are to take a positive view of cannabis and its experience. Introduce your child to the facts and dangers of cannabis use and encourage him to do his own research if he’s curious.
For help navigating these difficult conversations, visit Missouri talked about For age-specific talk groups when the topic is brought up.
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