Parenting and Cannabis: How to Talk to Your Kids About Weed

Episode 244

Show Notes

 Dr. Jessica Knox, Evelyn Eames, Whitney Conroy, Janet Matula, Diana Sanmiguel, Tekisha Harvey

If you were to guess where teen cannabis consumption was higher, would you assume states where weed is legal or illegal? The answer might surprise you! In today’s episode, we tackle the tricky topic of talking to kids about weed. Navigating these conversations can feel overwhelming, but you’re not alone. This episode provides a safe space to explore different perspectives and practical strategies from experts and parents across the country. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and the same goes for talking to your kids about cannabis—we hope you’ll join us as we figure it out together!

“I’m sort of a hard line as a parent when it comes down to that sort of thing. You didn’t leave bleach out. You don’t leave the little pods for your dishwasher or your laundry machine. You put them away. And that’s how I feel about prescription drugs, alcohol, how I feel about cannabis. I think that cannabis is just not that much different.” — Janet Matula

If you enjoyed this episode, we’d recommend Episode 240, Pot for Parenting: Navigating Motherhood With Weed. 

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[00:00:00] Ellen Scanlon: This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.

[00:00:12] Ellen Scanlon: Weed drinks are popping up everywhere. And if you’re looking to drink less alcohol, I really recommend trying one. Cans drinkable, delicious cannabis beverages come in lots of flavors and with THC levels that range from one milligram to 10 milligrams. So you can choose how you want to feel. Use promo code, do the pot for 20 percent off.

[00:00:35] Ellen Scanlon: When you visit drink can. com that’s drink C a N N. Try a can today and have a great time without the hangover. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our show.

[00:00:56] Janet Matula: I’m sort of a hard line as a parent when it comes down to that sort of thing. There’s just certain things that you don’t leave around, you know, you, you put them away. And that’s how I feel about prescription drugs, how I feel about alcohol, how I feel about cannabis. I think that cannabis is just not that much different.

[00:01:18] Ellen Scanlon: Welcome to How to Do the Pot, a podcast helping you feel confident about cannabis. I’m your host, Ellen Skannon.

[00:01:29] Ellen Scanlon: You just heard from Janet Matula, the California based director of compliance and business development for Gelato Canico. I’m tackling a big topic today, how to talk about weed with your kids. Choosing how to parent your children is one of the most personal areas of life. If you’re thinking about starting this conversation, I want to offer perspectives from experts and from parents all across the country.

[00:01:58] Ellen Scanlon: So you have a support system of other moms in your corner. There is no one right way to parent, and the same goes for talking to your kids about cannabis. We’re all figuring this out together. I do think data can be helpful, so let’s start there. The key thing to know is that many studies have shown that cannabis is not good for people under age 25 because your brain is still developing.

[00:02:28] Ellen Scanlon: If you’re curious about this, I can go into more detail in a future episode. One of the biggest fears as states across the U. S. began to legalize was that teen consumption would increase. The good news is that this has not proven to be true. In 2021, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a major report that analyzed federal data from more than 1.

[00:02:55] Ellen Scanlon: 4 million high school students. The researchers found that there was no significant link between legalization and cannabis consumption among high school students. Another study in Washington state, which has had legal weed since 2012, found that since legalization, cannabis consumption has actually decreased in eighth grade by more than 20 percent and decreased in 10th grade by 13%.

[00:03:22] Ellen Scanlon: The worst case scenario fear that teen consumption would skyrocket has not come true. That doesn’t mean these conversations are easy to have. My son is six, so I don’t have a lot of advice yet. The parents we’ll hear from today are putting a lot of thought and a lot of love into how they broach these conversations with their kids.

[00:03:49] Ellen Scanlon: I hope it inspires you as you navigate this complicated topic whenever the time is right with your own children.

[00:04:02] Ellen Scanlon: Before we get into this week’s episode, I want to talk for a second about how to do the POTS newsletter. The newsletter is a twice a month resource that will help you feel confident about cannabis for health, well being, and for fun. The newsletter is also our direct line to you. You can hit the reply button and let me know what topics or guests you’d like to hear on the show.

[00:04:26] Ellen Scanlon: There are already thousands of subscribers reading and responding, and the more, the merrier. We couldn’t do this without you, so please go to DoThePot. com to sign up. Thank you, and I really appreciate your support for the show.

[00:04:47] Ellen Scanlon: California based Dr. Jessica Knox is a Harvard trained physician and co founder of life sciences company Pivotal Holdings. She’s worked with kids and young adults seeking to try medical cannabis. Often parents are very concerned about the potential effects on their kids. This is how Dr. Jess handles those delicate conversations.

[00:05:09] Dr. Jessica Knox: The concern that most parents have is that their child using cannabis is going to harm themselves, right? They’re going to hurt their brain development. They’re going to be lazy, or their IQ is not going to develop. All of those myths, frankly, that have stuck around from the time of cannabis prohibition, we always try to reassure parents, particularly parents who are coming and bringing their children in for medical care.

[00:05:39] Dr. Jessica Knox: Because what we know is that All of these studies that have shown, you know, cannabis reduces IQ points, or cannabis reduces ambition, or whatever it may be, we have to put them in their proper context. Those were studies done to show the harms of cannabis, and they were done on folks who are heavy, long term cannabis users.

[00:06:03] Dr. Jessica Knox: Right, so they’re using very frequently, they’re using really high THC over a long period of time. And those effects, number one, are reversible, but also, that’s not the way people use cannabis. when they’re using it under medical guidance. So when we’re treating children or teenagers for various conditions, you know, we’re giving them medical guidance of how to use it as a medicine, we’re generally not giving them extremely high THC and having them dose so that they’re high, like that’s not what we’re doing.

[00:06:34] Dr. Jessica Knox: There’s no evidence whatsoever that the medical use of cannabis is associated with any of these negative effects on brain development or school performance or anything like that. So for parents of patients, it’s a lot of reassurance.

[00:06:50] Ellen Scanlon: For teenagers who are experimenting with cannabis for fun or with the goal of getting high, Dr.

[00:06:56] Ellen Scanlon: Jess believes that legalization creates an opportunity for a dialogue and a more nuanced conversation between parents and kids.

[00:07:05] Dr. Jessica Knox: You know, for parents of kids who are not patients but might be recreating with cannabis, you know, it’s a good learning opportunity. The brain is doing, obviously, a lot of developmental work until we’re in our early 20s.

[00:07:20] Dr. Jessica Knox: And the endocannabinoid system is very finely tuned throughout our lives, but certainly as our brains are developing. And so, we do want to be careful about introducing. exogenous cannabinoids, especially, you know, THC, which can induce a high with young people who have developing brains. But I think what’s nice about cannabis legalization is that it’s giving us and parents in particular, an opportunity to have reasonable conversations with kids, as opposed to being like, well, that drug’s illegal.

[00:07:55] Dr. Jessica Knox: So just stay away from it or perpetuating whatever those myths are. When a drug is illegal, it really, Prevents us from having deep and productive conversations about it. But now that cannabis is legal and it’s easier to find and there are quote unquote accepted uses for it. All of a sudden we can talk to our kids about, well, you know, cannabis is a medicine and this is how, people use it responsibly.

[00:08:18] Dr. Jessica Knox: It can also be used to have fun, but these are, you know, the concerns we have about it, and maybe this is a way to use it safely and responsibly, and maybe this is a way to not use it, um, as such. So we can start having more intelligent conversations with young people about cannabis. Just in the same way that teaching abstinence isn’t a very good method of, of, you know, sexual education, just straight up, you know, perpetuating the, The narrative of prohibition is not a responsible way to talk to our kids about cannabis either.

[00:08:49] Ellen Scanlon: Evelyn Ames, a California based cannabis nurse, wants to make sure that education comes first with her children.

[00:08:57] Evelyn Eames: I’ve always been a big believer in education first and education being power and knowledge being power. I believe in teaching our kids from the very beginning that this is not mom just getting high.

[00:09:07] Evelyn Eames: This is what mom is using it for and this is why he’s using it right now. We’ll most likely have labels on jars and teaching our kids, you know, this is only for moms. Let’s not touch that, put it in our mouths. It’s going to be really important in the household. As I get older and as I’m more aware to understand, this is what a cannabis label looks like, you need to look at this.

[00:09:26] Evelyn Eames: Even if it looks like candy, you need to look at the label first. You need to ask mom and dad before you can eat anything in the house that looks like candy that you don’t recognize. Keeping them in different spaces. I think it’s all education and intention and just not keeping it from our kids. I mean, it’s something I do that makes me feel better and it helps my health and I’m running a whole business out of it.

[00:09:48] Evelyn Eames: I don’t want to hide that from my children just because they’re young and not reasonable themselves. Diana San Miguel is

[00:10:03] Ellen Scanlon: the Florida based co founder of Cannacurious Mag, an online magazine showcasing the many ways cannabis can enhance a woman’s lifestyle. Talking with her children and her close family members about cannabis recently has helped her think through the questions she feels are important to consider.

[00:10:21] Diana Sanmiguel: They’re still at a young age, they’re seven and ten.

[00:10:24] Diana Sanmiguel: The few interactions we’ve had is like when I’m getting ready for events, so I have a lot of the hemp flower and they’re like, oh, what’s that smell? So I just started introducing that’s just a plant mommy works with. And I think a couple of days ago, daughter goes like, what’s that? And I just said, that’s mommy’s medicine.

[00:10:40] Diana Sanmiguel: What do you mean it’s mommy’s medicine? I’m like, yeah, it’s something that I use when I’m trying to. Either calm myself down or trying to sleep better. But I just called it a medicine. I am very open with them. My sister, she was like, Oh, my daughter came up to me and said like, I want to try. I want to know what it is to get high.

[00:10:58] Diana Sanmiguel: What do you think about it? My first reaction was like, what do you think about it? Are you ready to know that she might like being high? How are you going to approach it? Because I’m an advocate for cannabis in a wellness perspective. I’m not saying that getting high cannot be good. What I’m trying to say is I use it very specifically from trying to relieve pain.

[00:11:21] Diana Sanmiguel: If I’m trying to sleep, I’m feeling anxious. I recently started using it for my PMS. So my question was checking with yourself, how you feel. about your teenager probably starting to consume for getting high and other resource. Other than that, are you okay with that? I think that’s what an important question.

[00:11:43] Diana Sanmiguel: And it made me think, how am I going to approach that with my kids? I think the conversation is very unique based on your, how you’re raising your kids. What’s your family background, just doing the research and really thinking like, am I ready for my kid to go that way? Her specific question is I want to know what it is to get high.

[00:12:02] Diana Sanmiguel: So it’s like almost, I want to know what it is to be drunk. So let’s talk about it, explore it, show her the consequences, show her what can happen, how she might feel.

[00:12:14] Ellen Scanlon: Georgia based Akisha Harvey is the other co founder of Canicurious Mag. Growing up, she didn’t talk about weed with her parents. She knew it was a hard no.

[00:12:25] Ellen Scanlon: Now that she works in the cannabis industry, she’s a resource for her nieces and nephews.

[00:12:31] Tekisha Harvey: Just having the conversation is something that when we were growing up, we didn’t even have these conversations. It was just like, you’re told, no, don’t do it. And so being that, you know, I work in cannabis and I have a magazine that people can see, and I talk about getting people jobs in cannabis.

[00:12:46] Tekisha Harvey: It is created. The conversation to be able to talk about it. Like, what does it mean? And my nephews that are in high school, they’ll talk about, you know, someone getting arrested for selling weed. And I’m like, are you guys using it? And the way I talk to them about it is, and they’ll be like, no, we don’t want that.

[00:13:02] Tekisha Harvey: is okay, well, people are using it. And here’s the reasons why they’re using it. When you’re younger, it may not be the best thing for you that your brain is still developing. Similar to Deanna’s point of like trying to make it more intentional so that it’s not just about getting high. It’s about, there’s a reason why you need to do this.

[00:13:18] Tekisha Harvey: Are you feeling anxious? What is the connection to what is this helping you do? This is one thing I have learned that says, just talk to kids, talk to anyone. Like when people feel like they have a space to talk to without being judged. They can kind of almost process it and get it all out and then make the decision, like, do I need to try it or do I not or do I wait?

[00:13:35] Tekisha Harvey: It’s just being like, okay, I can talk to an adult who has some experience and can provide me some guidance or a place to listen to me without just saying no, which is kind of, you know, again, we grew up in the just say no era.

[00:13:56] Ellen Scanlon: Whitney feels a real double standard about the messages we give to children about alcohol and cannabis. She wants the conversation around cannabis to feel more straightforward, and more like how people are open about having alcohol in their home.

[00:14:11] Whitney Conroy: I think talking to kids about cannabis early is important.

[00:14:15] Whitney Conroy: I think it’s very ironic that there is such a big stigma around cannabis, and yet we have our eight month olds cheersing us. Whenever I see people with cheers in their little kids, I’m like, this is so weird to me because that’s like cheers to alcohol. And I’m like, we’re ingraining that, that into children so young.

[00:14:37] Whitney Conroy: And so I think it is important, not that that’s. A good or bad thing, but I think it’s important to start having a open conversation around cannabis. Some people use it for medicine. It truly does have medicinal benefits. Like that the department of health and human services just came out and they said there are medical benefits to cannabis.

[00:14:56] Whitney Conroy: So it’s like, why wouldn’t we be having that conversation of, even if it is just opening the door through that some people use this mommy works to help produce a medicine, you know, that helps people and it all has to be age appropriate. So another thing that my husband and I were talking about, it’s still up for debate, but we’re actually going to be doing some construction on our house.

[00:15:17] Whitney Conroy: And I asked him, I said, Hey, you know, we’re going to have a little wet bar area. And most people have a wine fridge under that. And so I said, Hey, how do you feel about, instead of having a wine fridge, we get the same size cigar humidor. It has a lock on it and it’s behind a cabinet, but instead of storing wine, Can I put my cannabis products in that?

[00:15:37] Whitney Conroy: Because I keep all my cannabis products in a safe. Even though everything’s childproof, I still want that extra step of protection. But I was like, babe, I don’t want the kids to think that I’m embarrassed or ashamed. Like, I want it to be a part of something where they grow up and kids see liquor bottles in their house all the time.

[00:15:54] Whitney Conroy: They see their parents, they’re cheersing their parents. Their parents have a glass of wine at lunch, at dinner. I don’t want it to be that odd for my children to see like, Oh, look, behind a locked door. Yeah. My mommy has gummies. Like, yeah, we don’t have wine in our house. We have gummies. I don’t want it to be a big conversation.

[00:16:12] Whitney Conroy: I want it to be a natural conversation. So I’m not going to like sit down. It’s not like the sex talk, it’s not like, Oh, here’s a big one. It’s just like, Hey, this is a part of life. This is a natural plant.

[00:16:23] Ellen Scanlon: Janet Matula, who you heard from at the beginning of the episode, has grown children. When they were young, she drew some hard lines around what she thought was best for her family.

[00:16:35] Janet Matula: I truly, truly believe that you would not leave Pills around, or an open bottle of vodka, or it is parenting. It’s your parenting style and what you choose to do. And if you choose to leave a package of edibles out and your kid gets into it. You know, is it the manufacturers phone? Is it the distributors fault is the retailers fault or is it your fault?

[00:17:03] Janet Matula: Because you happen to leave a bag out and they got into it. I’m sort of a hard line as a parent when it comes down to that sort of thing. You didn’t leave bleach out. You don’t leave little pods for your dishwasher or your laundry machine. There’s just certain things that you don’t leave around, you know, you, you put them away.

[00:17:25] Janet Matula: And that’s how I feel about. Prescription drugs, how I feel about alcohol, how I feel about canvas. I think that cannabis is just not that much different. So many bigger issues, you know, be careful when you’re out drinking, because somebody could spike your drink. Be careful when you go to college parties, because because, I mean, God forbid you’re doing cocaine and it’s got fentanyl in it.

[00:17:48] Janet Matula: There’s just bigger issues to me. Cannabis is just such a small cog. I was far more worried about alcohol than cannabis, getting behind the wheel, blackout drinking, partying to excess, on and on and on. If you get stoned, you get stoned.

[00:18:07] Ellen Scanlon: There is lots to discuss about cannabis and parenting, and I want to hear from you.

[00:18:13] Ellen Scanlon: What other parenting topics would you like us to cover? Please reach out to hi at do the pot dot com or dm at do the pot. If you like this episode, please share it with a friend. We love new listeners and are here to help everyone feel confident about cannabis.

[00:18:34] Ellen Scanlon: Thank you for listening to How To Do The Pot. For lots more information and past episodes, visit do the Are you one of the thousands of people who love our newsletter, which comes out twice a month? If you’re not getting it, please sign And if you like How to Do the Pot, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts.

[00:18:57] Ellen Scanlon: It really helps more people find the show. Thank you to writer Joanna Silver and producers Maddy Fair and Nick Patry. I’m Ellen Scanlon and stay tuned for more of How to Do the Pot.

[00:19:20] Ellen Scanlon: Weed drinks are popping up everywhere. And if you’re looking to drink less alcohol, I really recommend trying one. Cans drinkable, delicious cannabis beverages come in lots of flavors and with THC levels that range from one milligram to 10 milligrams. So you can choose how you want to feel use promo code, do the pot for 20 percent off when you visit drink can.

[00:19:45] Ellen Scanlon: com. That’s drink C A N N. Try a can today and have a great time without the hangover. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our show.



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