If trying to figure out the 411 (information) on 420 leaves you scratching your head, this parent tip’s for you! Because more than likely, your tween already knows that ‘420’ is a drug reference to marijuana (aka: kush, kick stick, catnip, vipe and many other ‘slang’ names that vary significantly depending on culture and community location).
Parents should also know that marijuana use is on the rise among America’s youth. According to the recently released Monitoring the Future (a study which surveys eighth, tenth and twelfth graders nationally), not only are more teens using marijuana, but more teens are smoking it on a daily basis. Among high school seniors, marijuana use is at its highest point since the early 1980’s. The survey also found that fewer teens perceive regular marijuana use to be harmful, suggesting that this upward trend may continue.
Youth rely on their parents to help shape their attitudes about marijuana and other drugs. So when you talk to your child about marijuana, it is important to dispel the myths and share the facts.
MYTH: Marijuana is a safe alternative to alcohol and other drugs.
FACT: Marijuana is addictive and affects memory, judgment and perception.
MYTH: Marijuana is a natural herb, and therefore not harmful.
FACT: Marijuana can damage a person’s respiratory and immune systems and in some studies has been linked to certain types of cancers.
MYTH: Marijuana just helps people relax.
FACT: Marijuana increases heart rate, and for some people, causes anxiety and paranoia.
MYTH: Marijuana has no affect on grades, athletic performance or other activities.
FACT: Marijuana can impair attention and learning in the classroom; timing, movement and coordination on the playing field; and cause loss of interest in other activities.
The conversation may not feel completely comfortable, but it is critical to talk to your children about the dangers of marijuana and other drugs.
Sources: 2010 Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the University of Michigan. Marijuana - Facts for Teens: National Institute on Drug Abuse Source:
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