Against the backdrop of a Colorado health department official formally recommending that almost all marijuana edibles be banned, the Children's Hospital of Colorado staged a weed-related Twitter chat this morning, with one of its focuses being how to talk pot with children under the age of ten. Among the pieces of advice the facility shared: If a child asks, "What is marijuana?," answer with something along the lines of ""It is a plant that people use to change how they feel. It can make people feel confused or fuzzy."
Continue to see the complete "How to Talk to Young Children About Marijuana" item, as well as an accompanying "The Facts About Marijuana" page, complete with more pics like the one above showing how difficult it is to tell infused goodies from the typical kind.
At this age, it will be easier than at any other time for parents to impart your thoughts about marijuana. Experts at Children's Hospital Colorado recommend these tips:
• Deliver messages for young kids in terms of health and safety by saying something like, "We don't want to put things in our body that could be unhealthy for us." If your child asks, "What is pot/marijuana?" a good response is straightforward: "It is a plant that people use to change how they feel. It can make people feel confused or fuzzy." • Give them tools to refuse marijuana. Say something like, "It's okay to say no if someone asks you to do something that is bad for your health. Say no and tell an adult you trust." • If you are concerned about your child accidentally ingesting marijuana say something like, "Be careful what you eat. If you see candy or a cookie, before you eat it, make sure you know what it is and where it came from. If you don't, it's best to say no."
What is marijuana?
Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, which contains the psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as well as other related compounds. This plant material can also be concentrated in a resin called hashish or a sticky black liquid called hash oil.
Marijuana is usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). It is also smoked in blunts--cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour, odor.
What are marijuana edibles?
Marijuana can also be mixed into a wide variety of foods such as candy, baked goods, and even sauces. These are called edibles. Marijuana can also be brewed as a tea.
What should parents know about marijuana?
• Marijuana can affect the brain, particularly the vulnerable, developing brain (up to 25 years old). Learn more about marijuana intoxication. • The brains of teens that smoke marijuana work abnormally hard to complete simple tasks. • On average, chronic marijuana-using teens have one point lower grade point average (GPA) than those who don't smoke. • Marijuana smoke contains 50-70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. • Marijuana may increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. • Marijuana can affect learning, memory and sleep patterns. It can contribute to an increase in depression, anxiety, panic and paranoia over time, and there is evidence that marijuana can permanently decrease IQ. • Marijuana is addictive and, with chronic use, can cause withdrawal symptoms. • If used in excess, marijuana can cause harm. • Marijuana use can affect a person's ability to effectively deal with emotions. • Smoking marijuana as a teenager is also linked with poor grades, criminal behavior and increased risk of dropping out of school.
"Edibles" vs. regular food: It's hard to tell the difference
In the series of images below, our photographer took pictures of marijuana edibles (pictured right) next to regular candy and treats (pictured left). Can you tell which is which?
For more information
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides information on what marijuana is and what it does to the body. Find out the legal parameters of pot from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Sources: National Institute of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse, New England Journal of Medicine, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Colorado's "Don't Be a Lab Rat" campaign aimed to increase the perception of risk among youth regarding underage marijuana use.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.