Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know
Starting the Conversation

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Tips for Parents

  • Be a good listener.
  • Set clear expectations about drug and alcohol use, including real consequences for not following family rules.
  • Help your child deal with peer pressure to use drugs.
  • Get to know your child’s friends and their parents.
  • Monitor your child’s whereabouts.
  • Supervise teen activities.
  • Talk to your child often.

As this guide has shown, marijuana use can affect the health and well-being of children and teens at a critical point in their lives—when they are growing, learning, maturing, and laying the foundation for their adult years.

As a parent, your children look to you for help and guidance in working out problems and in making decisions, including the decision not to use drugs. Even if you have used drugs in the past, you can have an open conversation about the dangers. Whether or not you tell your child about your past drug use is a personal decision. But experience can better equip us to teach others by drawing on the value of past mistakes. You can explain that marijuana is significantly more potent now and that we now know a lot more about the potential harmful effects of marijuana on the developing brain.

Greater acceptance of marijuana use, compared with use of other illegal drugs, continues to be the basis of differing opinions about its dangers, legal status, and potential value. Whether or not marijuana is legal for adult use or allowed for medical use in your state, it can be harmful for teens and can alter the course of a young life, preventing a person from reaching his or her full potential. That's reason enough to have this sometimes difficult conversation with your children. Be certain the discussion focuses on how much you care about your child’s health.

We hope this guide encourages and helps parents to begin the dialogue and, more importantly, to keep the channels of communication open.

Want to become involved? Consider coordinating an event during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week using free NIDA materials or contact us at