What a Scientist Suggests You Tell Your Kids About Legal Marijuana
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April 21, 2017
With marijuana legal in some form in 26 states and the District of Columbia, the old script for talking to your children about pot is changing. Behavioral scientist Elizabeth D’Amico, who has researched drug and alcohol use among teens for more than 20 years, discusses what kids need to know.
Teen marijuana use increased in Washington after legalization, but remained constant in Colorado. States considering legalized recreational marijuana for adults should also address the potential effects on teens.
Adolescents who use both marijuana and alcohol are more likely to have poor academic performance and mental health during high school. Marijuana use is predictive of poorer functioning across more areas than alcohol use, and nonwhite youth tend to experience poorer functioning than white youth.
In early adolescence, positive beliefs about marijuana and one’s ability to resist it have the strongest association with driving under the influence or riding with a drinking driver. As adolescents progress through middle school, the influence of those around them who use alcohol and marijuana becomes more important.