Talking to Your Kids About Cannabis

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Contributor: Canna Dahlia

Cannabis discussions in my household are a normal everyday thing. My husband is a disabled veteran that uses cannabis to help with his neurological issues that he developed resulting from his time in service. We have been having ongoing cannabis discussions with our girls since 2015 when he started consuming daily to help alleviate his health issues. It would have been nearly impossible to hide that there was cannabis in the house, so we decided that honesty was the best policy with our kiddos.

Talking to your kids about cannabis can feel like a daunting task. Where do you start? What do you say? What terms do I use? However, it really doesn’t need to be difficult to start the conversation. Whether you’ve used cannabis for years or you’re a recent consumer, you need to be prepared to talk to your kids about it.  The best way to start a conversation with your kids about cannabis is by being honest and looking for opportunities to start the conversation.

Here are some tips I’ve found useful in having conversations with my daughters

  • Use the plants proper botanical name, it is cannabis, not weed, pot, marijuana or any of the other harmful propaganda-based terms used as descriptors in the past.
  • Don’t avoid talking to your kids about cannabis – I mean honestly, the earlier the better. If you ever plan on consuming anywhere in or around your home you need to be ready to have discussions.
  • Don’t hide it! Your child (who at some point should be elsewhere…but then surprise they’re home!) will eventually catch you sparking up in the backyard one day and look you dead in the eyes and ask you what you are doing. DO NOT LIE TO THEM. People that consume alcohol to “unwind” or “relax after a stressful day” don’t hide their alcohol consumption and you shouldn’t hide your cannabis consumption. If you’re hiding it you are just continuing to perpetuate the stigma that cannabis is bad if you.
  • Don’t bombard your kids with information all at once, we are the generation setting the new standard for the cannabis conversation with our kids. Believe me they will ask questions on their own if you’re honest with them.
  • Have a good solid understanding of the safety, benefits, uses and even yes, the drawbacks of cannabis use. Be honest about all the aspects of cannabis and how it differs from other drugs, both of legal and illegal variety.
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Be a good role model for cannabis use

Responsible use practices and proper storage practices are so important.  Keep all cannabis products in their properly labeled, child resistant packaging to ensure that not only your child but any other children that come into your home are kept safe. If you have chosen edibles as your cannabis consumable of choice you have a few options here for keeping tiny hands off of your medicated goodies:

  • My first choice and preference for my home is that have a mini-fridge in our bedroom. (It may or may not contain non-cannabis snacks, I can neither confirm nor deny.) Our bedroom door has a lock that requires a key to get into. That may seem a bit over-kill for some, but there are times where we have quite a few kids that aren’t our own in the house and we’d rather just be safe than sorry.
  • If you don’t want to go to quite that level of overkill you can get yourself a locking lunchbox so that you can keep your edibles properly refrigerated. Also, this would be a great time to talk to your kids about how edibles, while medicating for you could make them feel not so well.

Keep in mind that stigmas don’t go away overnight. I never imagined that my generation would have legal cannabis.  I thought maybe my children would have it, but we are the pioneers on how cannabis will be perceived for the next 20-30 years.  With that being said it leads me to my next thought on how to be a good cannabis role-model for your kids:

  • Understand your body, and how much cannabis you can reasonably consume and still function like an adult member of the human race that has tiny human’s dependent upon it.
  • Educate your children (and yourself) about the various forms of cannabis on the market. Edibles, topicals, concentrates…etc. will all have different effects.
  • Consume responsibly, don’t smoke and drive. Remember, we are setting the standard for future generations of cannabis consumers with our actions.

Legalization has given us the ability to have these conversations about cannabis with our children much more openly than ever before.  I personally have been a “closet consumer” since before my children were born.  It is a part of daily life and is so normalized in our household that when I leave the house in the morning the first thing the kids ask is “are you going to the dispensary to pick up medicine for You and Dad?” They have witnessed first-hand how one minute he is having a hard time moving around, and then after he’s smoked, he has an easier time moving around. So, in our house we refer to cannabis as medicine.  They also know that cannabis is the medicine that I have chosen to help me with my anxiety and PTSD. I am a better mother because of cannabis, and I am so thankful that I am able to keep an open and honest dialogue with my children about cannabis use.

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