7 Myths About Marijuana Every Parent Needs to Clarify With Their Kids

Teens at a party
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Talking to teens about drugs is an essential component to prevention. Talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol often and take steps to build credibility. Doing so will increase the likelihood that your teen will value your opinion. 

Teens tend to have a lot of misconceptions about marijuana that stems from overhearing misinformation from peers and reading inaccurate statements online. Take time to explain the truth about marijuana and debunk these seven commonly held myths:

1. Marijuana is Medicine

With many parts of the country legalizing medical marijuana, many teens have started to believe that marijuana is medicine. They’ve likely overheard adults referring to it as an “herbal remedy” or perhaps even a “miracle cure.” As a result, some young people mistakenly believe marijuana could help them, even if they don’t have any diagnosable conditions.

No matter what your personal stance is on medical marijuana, explain to your teen that marijuana doesn’t possess any magical qualities. Make it clear that in the absence of debilitating conditions, there’s no need for medical marijuana. Just like blood pressure medication doesn’t make people without hypertension feel better, using marijuana without a “medical purpose” isn’t likely to provide health benefits.

2. Everyone Smokes Marijuana

While teens may insist that all their peers are smoking, that’s just not true. The vast majority of young people don’t smoke marijuana.

Point out to your child that plenty of teens are involved with a variety of activities and not all of them spend their spare time using drugs.

3. Pot is a Good Way to Chill Out

Although many people claim to smoke marijuana because it helps them relax, research indicates marijuana can have a lot of negative mental health effects.

It can lead to paranoia and even psychosis.

People who smoke marijuana tend to lose motivation to do their work. Instead of simply “chilling out,” marijuana could cause your teen to become completely apathetic. Marijuana use has been linked to decreased academic and occupational performance.

4. Smoking Marijuana is Healthier than Smoking Cigarettes

Teens often try to justify their marijuana use by saying, “It’s not like I’m smoking cigarettes!” But the truth is, marijuana smokers experience many of the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers. People who smoke marijuana develop coughs, respiratory problems, and lung infections. There is conflicting evidence about whether marijuana use contributes to lung cancer.

5. It’s Safe to Drive While High

Frighteningly, many teens believe driving while high is safe. Marijuana interferes with concentration and coordination and drivers under the influence experience a reduced reaction time and difficulty making sound judgments.

Marijuana also stays in the system longer than alcohol.

A teen who gets high the previous evening, may still be impaired the next day. Marijuana use is among the 12 biggest dangers to teen drivers and it’s associated with an increased risk of being involved in a fatal crash.

6. Marijuana is Basically Harmless

Teens are bombarded with false messages about drugs and alcohol every day. They are easily influenced by pro-marijuana messages and they often believe that what they’re hearing is true. Clarify the physical and psychological risks that marijuana can have on a teen’s developing brain and body.

Discuss the legal risks associated with possessing and selling drugs, as well.  A teen who continues to insist marijuana poses no health risks may be deterred by the potential social, academic, and legal ramifications.

7. You Can’t Get Addicted to Pot

Teens often say they’re using marijuana because they can’t get addicted it. But the truth is, people can experience a physical and psychological dependence to marijuana. Young people are especially at risk of developing an addiction to marijuana.

Like other substance abuse problems, people who abuse marijuana struggle to stop. It’s also possible to experience withdrawal symptoms. Heavy marijuana users often experience irritability, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and cravings when they try to quit. 

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