5 things to keep in mind when discussing cannabis, especially with teens
Parents often wonder how they can steer their kids clear of drugs. Talking about tobacco causing cancer and alcohol causing severe damage to the body and death in some cases is simple enough. When it comes to cannabis though, parents are having to rethink their strategies.
There’s been a lot of new information that has come out about marijuana. Some of it debunks faulty science which has perpetuated misconceptions about the non-toxic plant while others have proven its effectiveness against the symptoms of various diseases.
We see people writing in to doctors and advice columnists on how to approach talking to their kids about it, and what they should tell them. Some advice is good, others faulty or even outright inaccurate.
As a cannabis activist concerned with underage use of drugs, it’s important to help better inform everyone of the information surrounding cannabis and its usage. An informed society will lead to better choices and less kids consuming drugs.
Here are five things to keep in mind when discussing the subject of cannabis with children and people in general.
You Can’t Die from Consuming Marijuana
There has never been a death linked to cannabis use, even though recently people have tried to do so. It seems many opponents of cannabis legalization and the media in general are chomping at the bits to link cannabis use to death or any other negative they can find. The facts prove that it’s not possible to die from consuming marijuana alone.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years, it’s non-toxic, and has taken the place of many other dangerous medicines. It is the safest of all drugs.
Another common concern is that cannabis use increases blood pressure for a short time. While this should be noted and discussed with a doctor for those who have heart or blood pressure problems, this has not proven to be dangerous to the average consumer.
You Can Overdose from Consuming Marijuana
When people think of someone overdosing on a drug, they usually envision a near death experience, that a person was in true danger.
The dictionary defines an overdose as simply “an excessive dose.”
While cannabis cannot kill you, it can make you severely ill if too much is consumed at once. The same goes for water and many other things. Moderation is key, and for first time consumers, preferably those who are not minors, they should be aware of how much they are ingesting. Otherwise, the end result will be extremely unpleasant.
Smoking Cannabis is Bad for You
Studies have gone back and forth trying to determine just how much damage smoking cannabis does to a person’s lungs. Some have claimed that one joint is equal to three cigarettes, which has proven to be completely baseless. Other studies have shown minimal damage to casual consumers.
Smoke is an irritant. Smoking anything is bad for you, especially if done to excess. It will cause coughing and mucus buildup, which will put a strain on the throat and lungs. Smoking cannabis has not been linked to cancer, unlike tobacco.
The good news is that there are other forms of ingesting cannabis which are much healthier such as vaporizing, cooking, and tinctures.
The Jury is Still Out on Brain Development
A standard argument is that cannabis use leads to brain damage, however that study has been thoroughly debunked because it deprived test subjects (monkeys) of oxygen, which causes brain damage.
It can cause short term memory loss and does effect motor functions. Anyone operating heavy equipment should not consume cannabis while doing so.
There is one study which links teen use to a slight drop in IQ points, however more studies need to be conducted on this matter. Some have called into question the methods used and say that it does not control for factors such as poverty and emotional distress, two factors that can lead people to consume drugs. It’s a chicken or the egg scenario.
While we are not certain of the impact on developing brains, children should be aware of the possibility that cannabis consumption could negatively impact the development of their brains and should not consume marijuana.
Cannabis has proven to be an extremely effective medicine for children with various ailments, especially seizures. When compared to possible negative effects on the developing brain, the positives far outweigh any potential negatives.
As for concerns about consumption increasing the risks of developing schizophrenia and psychosis, along with developing anxiety and depression, those claims have not be substantiated and in some cases the opposite has been found to be true where doctors have prescribed cannabis for depression and anxiety. The important thing to remember is that the plant affects everyone differently, and the strain being consumed is a huge factor in the effects felt.
Getting Caught by the Police has a Major Negative Impact
Even as we now have two states fully legalized, you still must be 21 or older to consume cannabis in those states. Getting caught with cannabis either underage or in a non-legal state can have a tremendous negative impact on your life. A night in jail, attorney and court fees, probation, counseling, possibly even jail time are all likely to figure in. This also impacts education and employment opportunities.
If you are going to consume it, do so in a safe manner in privacy in order to help avoid legal consequences.
When it comes to talking to someone about cannabis, above all, be honest and seek out the correct information.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com
Listen to our podcast at txcann.podomatic.com