Why Do You Use Cannabis? A Few Tips To Have 'That Conversation' With The Kids

With new cannabis state markets opening across the U.S. parents are often driven to respond to a few, very important questions regarding the consumption of substances by responsible adults, including: ‘why do you consume cannabis?

But, when is the right time to have this conversation? Although contexts can vary, there is not a definite time and place to talk with your children about cannabis, or linear explanations, civil society organizations like the non-profit Prevent Ed are currently conducting outreach to schools from pre-k through high school to talk to students about substance use and abuse.

Prevent Ed executive director Nichole Dawsey, MPH, joined the podcast St. Louis on the Air to share her advice on when to have “the talk” about substance use, reported NPR.

Regarding when the earliest we should talk to kids about cannabis and where should the conversation happen, Dawsey noted the research suggests around fifth grade.

“...about 10, 11 [years old]. We know that we can teach this in school through the health classes, but then when they go home…if they're going to neighborhoods or families that are not maybe providing the same information, or providing counter information, or — I would argue worse — no information, then that can sort of undo what we just taught in school,” Dawsey said.

Clear Expectations, Keep The Conversation Going, Caring

Dawsey highlighted the importance of guaranteeing a safe environment for conversation and managing expectations carefully.

“You're not saying you're going to hate them forever if they do these things. But you are saying this is my expectation that you will not. Or that you will report it to me. Or you will be open with me or whatever the expectation. My hope is that [they] would not be doing it before 21…But what happens if you violate that expectation? Those conversations can really begin in middle school, saying, ‘What do you think an appropriate consequence would be?” Dawsey explained.

“And thinking about that together…That’s for a girl scout leader or a coach, an aunt, or an uncle. Having those open conversations and involving the kids and the young people in them as well (...) They absolutely want to talk about it,” added the expert in community health.

“There are times in a young person's life where peers are the most important. We also know that adults they value as mentors, who they value as people who are not perfect, but people that genuinely care about them, who want what's best for them. Those are the people that they're seeking out. If we can utilize peers, like maybe juniors and seniors to talk to freshmen and sophomores. That is the chef's kiss. But then if we can have some adults who genuinely just care. You know who's coming from a place of, ‘This is what I'm hoping for you.’ They want to talk and they are open,” Dawsey concluded.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisNewsEducationHealth CarePsychologyMarketsGeneralCannabis Consumptionharms reductionNichole DawseyPrevent EdResponsible Use and Cannabis Education
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