Talking to Kids About Marijuana and Alcohol

This article, entitled Is marijuana less dangerous than alcohol? comes from Nicole Knepper, writer of Moms Who Drink and Swear on chicagonow.com.

Throughout this blog post there are links to relevant articles. By clicking on the links, you will be directed to these sources. I strongly encourage you to read each article carefully, as they all contain interesting information. In order to make a decision about anything, it’s wise to do a little digging and find reliable sources of valid and reliable data and research on a subject. Are these sources valid and reliable? I can’t say for certain. All I can say for certain is that I used them to create this blog because they helped illustrate my point. The only thing I’m sure of in this life is nothing.

Is marijuana really less dangerous than alcohol?

My son and his friend recently asked me this question.

Why did they ask me? Did they think I’d have better answers than Google, because everyone knows that you can find out anything you want to know on Google! And it's all true! (Please tell me the sarcasm translated. Please, please, please.)

Why me? Well, because I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, they both know that when I was still doing direct care with clients, I held a specialized license called a CADC here in Illinois. I spent years studying the ins and outs of addiction and treated many clients with significant substance abuse issues. (CADC is an acronym for Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor.)

My license is still active and in good standing, and to keep it this way, I am required to obtain 30 hours of continuing education every two years through approved seminars and classes. But even if I didn’t’ have to do this, I would keep up with the changes in theory, research and the law with regard to psychology related stuff.

Some people are interested in music, others like art, sports or NASCAR. Me? I’m interested in all things psychology, and for me, addiction will always be a special area of interest.

So what did I tell them?

I told them that I didn’t know for sure, because I don’t. Nobody does and if they tell you different, you should check to see if their pants are on fire. The scientific community is only beginning to study the effects marijuana has on the body and mind. Correlation is different than cause. (Look it up.)

Is alcohol more dangerous than marijuana?

Is smoking marijuana safe, as some suggest?

Some sources/studies say no, others claim that certain strains of marijuana are safe.

I didn’t give my son and his friend a definitive answer, because there isn't one! I did tell them something I believe to be true to the best of my knowledge. I told them this -

I think that people will see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. People will find support for or against an issue, based on their own opinions and experiences. There is no definitive answer to the question of whether or not marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol. There just isn’t. But the fact of the matter is, even if marijuana was legal, you two aren't old enough to purchase it. Whether or not it is less dangerous than alcohol is a moot point, because in the State of Illinois it's only available to those who have specific medical conditions that fall under the medical marijuana umbrella.

Waaaa! Some of you are still reading and wondering why this blog post isn’t funny.

You like me better when I’m funny. I get it. If this blog is called Moms Who Drink And Swear, why am I not talking about parenting and drinking and swearing while using the humor-y snark you are so used to in my posts?

I am. Just because I’m not approaching this particular topic lewd metaphors and dropping six hundred and fifty f-bombs doesn’t mean I’m not still hilarious.

Because I am.

However, as a parent, you will, at some point, need to talk about this with your child. Whether they ask or not, it’s very important to talk to your children not just about drugs, but also about how to use the Internet as a research tool when looking for answers to questions that are important to them with regard to all kinds of things, not just marijuana. You can teach your kids the art of discernment and discretion, skills that will help them learn to find the answers for themselves.

You might not have answers to the questions your kids ask. There might not be answers at all, and you find yourself feeling hopeless and inept, unable to help them. Well, you aren’t hopeless and inept. You are human and humans don’t know everything. Being a grown up doesn’t preclude a person from being ignorant or just plain wrong.

As evidenced by my crazy blog and many others just like it, people can say anything they want on the Internet. I may be a knowledgeable, responsible and highly educated professional, but that doesn’t preclude me from being a freak in my personal life.

Happens all the time.

I think that learning about drugs and discernment are just as important of a parenting topics as potty training, yet most of the parenting resources don’t address this abstract type of parenting.

Is marijuana less dangerous than alcohol?

Who knows?

A little light reading from the Mayo Clinic about Marijuana and Depression.



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