Cannabis and Youth : Why? What? Who? #AphriaEducates

granddad, talking to your kids about weedAt our recent annual health check up for the kids, the nurse was going through the usual check list.

  • Can she dress herself unassisted?
  • Does she play well with others?
  • Does she wear a helmet when she rides her bike?
  • Have you talked to her about cannabis?

….wait

what?… no! She’s only going to turn 8!! Why would I?

Apparently it’s another one of those parenting talks we need to have with our children because, now that cannabis is legal, it’s more accessible and while kids should definitely not be using it, they do need to be aware of it. Just like looking both ways before they cross the street. The World Health Organization compared past-30-day cannabis use among youth aged 15 across 40 countries and found that use by Canadian youth was the second highest of the countries surveyed (13%) and this was before it was legal!! This is one of the reasons I recently accepted the invitation to attend the first Aphria Educates event, which kicked off its first event in conjunction with Drug Free Kids Canada. The Aphria Educates program is mandated to educate Canadian adults on responsible and safe use of all cannabis products legally available now and in the future. Along with The Rebel Mama and The Hunny Pot , they discussed the topic of talking to our youth about cannabis

 

Disclosure : This post is in partnership with Aphria Inc but, as always, opinions are TOTALLY ours!

 

Our kids know about beer and wine and they even call Pepsi “Naan’s beer”! They are aware that there are certain things kids should not consume and they are completely fine with it. My challenge in speaking to our kids about cannabis/pot/weed/marijuana is that it can be found in all shapes and forms theses days and I didn’t even know where to begin and so I thought I’d share some of the things I learned during the panel and having done further research since then.

 

talking to children about cannabis

Why Should We Speak to Our Kids About Cannabis?

We all know that things float around school and the older kids on the bus have been passing all sorts of “wisdom” down. I know I personally would prefer that I lead the conversations and ensure that my children learn about most sensitive topics from Chris or I. It’s one reason we took the lead on the race conversation with our kids.

We want our kids to know how to react when they’re presented with any types of drugs. They know to say no to beer and cigarette (or “smokers” as Baby Boy calls them) and I want them to say no to cannabis at this young age. My biggest worry is with the edibles category and what will happen when it’s legal. Will it “accidentally” turn up in their friend’s lunchbox and shared with them? What if they go to someone’s home and finds a random “lost” gummy on the floor? If accidents happen, it would be best if our kids were able to identify what was happening with their body and immediately ask for help. The more they know, the better prepared we all are if accidents happen.

Our kids are young but they’ll be tweens and teens soon. When that time comes I want to have more mature discussions and so, just like with the skin colour talk, we’ll prep them with simple facts so that we’re able to have those sophisticated talks as they get older and the chances of them coming across cannabis gets higher. According to Drug Free Kids Canada, 20% of students between grades 7 and 11 have tried cannabis. If our kids know about the effects of cannabis on their teen brain and body, it may help them make the right decision during those occasions.

 

 

 

 

how to talk to kids about cannabis

 

What to Keep in Mind When Discussing Cannabis With Your Kids

  • It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or awkward. It can be a causal conversation
  • Talk WITH your kids, not TO your kids
  • Ensure you make them understand the effects of Cannabis on their brain and body
  • Teach them what to do in case of consumption (especially about the time it takes to feel the effects-do not get behind the wheel, call an adult etc)
  • Continue to have the conversations. It’s not a one and done situation

 

 

Who Can Help? Cannabis Education Resources For Parents

Now that it is legal, there are many resources but Drug Free Kids Canada can be your best start. They have many resources, including a tool kit that takes you through various situations. They also have some great Facebook Lives with real teens so you can see the various directions the conversation can head towards.

The big take away for me was that we are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves when it comes to discussing this topic. Yes it’s legal now and we must chat to our kids about it, but honestly, we should be chatting to them about it even if it weren’t legal because teens have been experimenting with cannabis since the golden ages!  For now we’ll tell about the word Cannabis and what it can look like, along with telling that it’s for adults only. More research will be conducted now that cannabis is legal and this will help all of us understand this subject better so that Chris and I can have more informed conversations WITH our kids when they enter the tween phase. For that I’m grateful!

 

Have you had THE discussion in your home? What tips do you have to share with us?

 

 

how to talk to kids about cannabis parenting