When Should Children Be Educated About Cannabis?

By Emily Poster

I was recently having a conversation with my 9-year-old granddaughter about what she had learned in school that day. It turns out she had learned about alcohol, and the dangers associated with drinking. With legalization having come and gone I decided to take the opportunity to speak to her about cannabis, which she said she had never heard of.

The Talk

“I want to have an adult conversation with you kiddo”, I said. “Uh-oh, now I’m nervous”, she responded. I stated that she had nothing to be nervous about and that we were going to discuss something called cannabis. I explained to her that cannabis had recently been legalized in Canada and I wanted her to be educated on the matter so that she could make smart decisions down the road. She nodded.

I explained that cannabis was something that is typically smoked, like a cigarette, although it can also be eaten, and that the age to consume cannabis is 19. I further educated her on the medicinal benefits of cannabis: anxiety relief, pain management and inflammation reduction. She thought it was pretty neat that a plant can do all of those things.

She asked if you get “drunk” on cannabis like you do with alcohol, so I informed her that the two substances were quite different. I explained that alcohol can make you sick or out of control if you consume it to excess, but that cannabis would make you sleepy and relaxed. She understood.

Questions

After our chat I asked if she had any questions to which she stated “well no, I don’t really understand these things because I’ve never tried them”. She was so right and her statement made complete sense to me! I then asked if she thought she would try alcohol, tobacco or cannabis and she stated “probably alcohol and maybe cannabis, but not until I am 19”. I love this kid.

When and How to Educate

Each child is going to be different, so there is no correct answer as to the best time to provide cannabis education to children. My granddaughter is mature, smart and well socialized, I figured she was ready to handle the conversation.  

Our conversation was very frank and based on hard facts, not propaganda or an abstinence attitude (I even offered to consume cannabis with her on her 19th birthday). She will most likely try cannabis at some point and when she does I want her to be educated and smart with her decisions.

Children are often smarter than we give them credit for. If cannabis is a part of your life perhaps you should consider providing proper education on the subject. I am glad I had “the talk” with my granddaughter and I feel she is better prepared for what life may throw at her down the road.

More Resources

For more resources on education children and teens about cannabis, check out these awesome links:

Talking to Your Kids About Cannabis in the Days of Legalization by Canndora: https://canndora.com/blogs/news/talking-to-your-kids-about-cannabis-in-the-days-of-legalization

What To Do If Your Teen Is Using Cannabis by Oov Lifestyle: https://oov.life/find-teen-using-cannabis/