Legalizing marijuana has been widely discussed as the medical benefits have been shown to be helpful in some studies. Unfortunately, the agenda may be sending the wrong message to teens, whose minds are not fully developed. The message they are hearing is that if weed is legal, or if it can be used as medicine, it must be safe. In reality, even in states where it is legalized, it is only for adults 21 and over. Discussing narcotic use with your child is the best way to find out what their feelings and what their perceptions may be. This open dialogue will also give you the opportunity to provide them with information they may not know. Facts, statistics, and studies can support parents in discussing the adverse effects with their child. Education is key in changing perceptions.
If you need help finding ways to talk to your teen, Zion’s Educational Systems’ educational materials can offer help. Recreational drug use can lead to much more serious issues. Family Advocates are available anytime at 866-471-8579.
Because the overall perception of marijuana as being harmful has diminished with legalization in some states, teens are more likely to use the it. Unknowingly, they believe it is not addictive nor does it have harmful side effects since it is referred to as “medicinal”. The truth is, many studies show that marijuana can have long term effects on people under the age of 21. The brain is adversely affected in many ways including lessening cognitive abilities, memory, and social skills. In rare cases, it can be related to strokes and suicide. Once adolescents begin to use, it is easier for them to experiment with other narcotics. They may also be more likely to use alcohol.
Perception is a cloak that hides the harsh realities of using. Education can lift the cloak and expose the truth. Although most children make choices based on their perceptions, they are more likely to make better choices when they are educated about the effects.