Talking with your Children about Marijuana

Since the Michigan marijuana law was passed that allows marijuana use for medical purposes, parents may find themselves at a loss as to what to tell their teens about marijuana. If they themselves are using or they have a relative or friend who is using for medical reasons this conversation becomes even more complicated. An honest conversation initiated by the parents or a guardian is necessary. Parents need to remind their children that marijuana is still an illegal, mind-altering drug. It is classified as a Schedule I drug which means it is in a category considered to have the most potential for harm with the least amount of medical benefits.

Marijuana interferes with parts of the brain that are critical for learning and memory. This substance makes it difficult to pay attention and organize and store information so poor school performance and compromised learning is not uncommon with users. Heavy use of marijuana dulls the teenage brain and the loss of IQ points may last a lifetime. Marijuana decreases coordination and concentration so it has been linked to many accidents as well as poor performance in sports. Some marijuana is laced with other substances such as cocaine, PCP or formaldehyde and you cannot tell by looking at a joint what is in it.

When is comes to health effects the problems include damage to the heart, lungs and brain. Studies have shown that pot smokers inhale three times more tar and absorb three times more carbon monoxide that cigarette smokers. Coughing, wheezing, asthma, and lung diseases are common. Marijuana smokers have an increased risk of developing head, neck, bladder and kidney cancers. Smoking marijuana as a teenager could raise the risk of developing a mental illness such as schizophrenia, paranoia, psychosis or depression. It has also been linked to a lack of motivation in teenagers as well as adults. Passing a drug test is highly unlikely since it stays in the body at least 30 days.

It is time for parents or caregivers to step in and have that hard conversation. Tell your teenage the negative effects marijuana could have on his or her developing brain and body.