When you’re a cannabis consuming parent who keeps cannabis in the house it’s important to learn how to talk to kids about cannabis. You can start educating kids as young as possible from the time they are forming words and understanding concepts and instruction. Make it age appropriate with the focus on safety, and expand as they’re capable of more understanding.
Talking to Toddlers and Preschoolers About Cannabis
Toddlers are great at understanding basic safety concepts like naming and identifying cannabis products, and to find a trusted adult when they come across them.
The word you want your kids to use for cannabis may vary depending on their age and where you live. We use “adult medicine” because it’s straightforward and easy for them to understand what cannabis is. As they’ve started to understand more we began using the word “cannabis”. If you’re concerned about the legality of where you live “hemp” may be a safer, less triggering word for them to use while out in public and may ease some of your worries.
Edibles are a big concern for this and the next age group. They look like normal food and it’s easy to overconsume and eat an entire package – not something any responsible parent wants a child to experience. This can be mitigated by safely storing your edibles and cannabis products in a locked container, however, that will only help under ideal situations. This is why it’s still important to educate your kids on how to identify these products so they can remain safe even if they happen to come across a package that isn’t locked away.
Legally purchased cannabis products have specific labels based on where you live. Kids can learn to identify these labels and know that the contents of these packages are for adults, and to tell a trusted adult when they see them.
As you continue to have conversations with your preschooler about cannabis you can begin to tell them why you use it. Some parents are unsure about referring cannabis as medicine for fear that their children will think they’re sick and worry. This can be overcome by teaching kids about all different kinds of medications and vitamins. Some are used to treat a specific short term illness or injury, while others are taken on an ongoing basis to maintain good health or help with ongoing issues.
Talking to School Aged Children About Cannabis
As kids get into their elementary school years they generally start to ask more questions. You can have discussions around the science behind cannabis, how it’s a plant that helps people, and its benefits and risks. If you’re unsure of where to start, the Mom’s Cannabis Guide can be a great reference tool for fact based information.
Books and videos can also be helpful learning tools. If you’re unsure of where to start you can start by thinking about these conversations to be similar to those you would have around alcohol, medicine, or even coffee or household cleaners. For more resources check out the links below.
Talking to Teens About Cannabis
When kids enter their teen years there should be a bigger focus on providing them the tools to navigate situations where they’re offered cannabis and how to make safe choices. As much as we would only like cannabis to be used by adults, some teens will choose to use cannabis. We could take an abstinence point of view when talking to our teens, but I think it’s important to educate them so they feel equipped when confronted with the opportunity to try cannabis, and how they can feel empowered to make their own safe decisions.
This can include going over scripts of what to say if cannabis is offered to them and may include using you (the parent) as an easy out to remove themselves from the situation. For example, “wow it’s already getting late, my mom said I have to be home by x, y, z”.
If they do choose to partake in cannabis use it’s important they know how to get safe cannabis from a trusted source, what to do if they green out, and how to ask for help if they don’t feel safe. All of these topics are covered in the book, Weed Mom, linked below.
Resource Links for How to Talk to Kids About Cannabis
It’s Just a Plant – A children’s story about marijuana – Ricardo Cortez
This is a fantastic book that teaches kid’s about cannabis.
Weed Mom – The Canna-Curious Woman’s Guide to Healthier Relaxation, Happier Parenting, and Chilling TF Out – Danielle Simone Brand
Danielle did a fantastic job researching and writing this book. She has a more thorough chapter all about talking to kids about cannabis with an age by age breakdown. I highly recommend this book for any canna-curious mom.
How to Talk to Your Children About Cannabis – Sweet Jane Mag
This post is written from a cannabis consuming parents point of view and has some great resources for books, videos, and scripts for talking with older kids.
How to tell your kids you smoke weed – Today’s Parent
This post offers a modern and realistic point of view for talking to your kids and educating them about the science and safety around cannabis as well as provides some other helpful links.
Cannabis Talk Kit – Know How to Talk With Your Teen – Drug Free Kids Canada
Although this has a very war on drugs/reefer madness point of view, I think it offers some good scripts and things to keep in mind when talking to your Teen about cannabis or drugs in general.