Marijuana can come in many forms, but is most often found as green plant material.

Marijuana can come in many forms, but is most often found as green plant material.

With the recent influx of states passing the legalization of marijuana it is critical that we, not only as citizens, but also as parents, educate ourselves on the substance. Although marijuana use is a complex topic, the general debate comes down to whether the medical value of marijuana is greater than the adverse health of effects of regular marijuana use.

The use of recreational marijuana is NOT supported, as research during the past 10 years that suggests regular use of cannabis during adolescence and into adulthood can have adverse effects. Studies have linked cannabis use to specific adverse outcomes. The most probable adverse effects include addiction, increased risk of motor vehicle crashes, impaired respiratory function, cardiovascular disease, and adverse effects of regular use on adolescent psycho-social development and mental health.

With all of these harmful health effects, the debate continues because research also shows that components of marijuana are promising for medical treatment. However, there are still a need for more research such as specific ailments and how marijuana is consumed (example: smoking is not an approved method.)

All of this contradicting information is overwhelming as a parent. So . . . what do we do? EDUCATE. We must educate ourselves constantly as well as educate our kids. We don’t always have all of the answers, nor do we need to. We do, however, need to try to understand the trends of this drug and how it can impact our lives and our children’s lives. (Be sure to find reliable resources when doing any research on the internet.)

Your next step is to continue the conversation. Let your child be open and honest about their opinion on marijuana. Be open and honest with them in return about the rules of the house. It is still an illegal substance. Help them understand that even in states where it is legal, the legal age to consume is 21 and over.

So, go on, educate and discuss! Make a commitment to no longer ignore those difficult conversations. Strive for a healthier and better tomorrow by starting in your own home!

RESOURCES:

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Marijuana Resource Center: State Laws Related to Marijuana. (n.d.). Retrieved January 1, 2014.

Nebraska Revised Statute 28-416.

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