Legal Cannabis. Weed. Pot. Marijuana. Ganja – whatever you call it, the real question is: how to talk with your kids and teens about legal cannabis use.

As we researched this topic we found there are several best practices which keep showing up:

  • Honesty
  • Personal Experience
  • Age Appropriate Responses
  • Legal Use Rules

We’ll take these topics one-by-one and relate them to our experiences of raising three kids while using cannabis for pain management.


The first step of talking with kids and teens about legal cannabis is to be Honest. Keep it age appropriate (more on this below) and keep focused on your experiences and reasons for your experiences.

If you have limited experiences with cannabis, be honest when speaking to children and teens about your experience. If you’re a chronic consumer, be honest about your use, even if it’s difficult to discuss.

Remember: keep it personal. Don’t veer off into hearsay or myths.

Personal Experience

This is paramount. Most people have what I call a “recreational” relationship with marijuana. For me, while it may have started with recreational use, I was in an accident in 1993 and crushed 12 Vertebra in my spine; when I left the Hospital I was offered the ‘opioid of the day’ and told to “take it easy”.

Fortunately, I had previous experiences with cannabis and I knew it could be beneficial so I threw away the prescription for the narcotics and began using cannabis for pain management, which means: consuming ‘on-demand’ throughout the day.

My kids grew up with me using cannabis for pain management and, while I was as discreet as I could be, by the time they were in Junior High they were very savvy about it and I knew we were going to have to have the “weed talk”.

Age Appropriate Responses – The Weed Talk

My children were in middle school when we had the pot talk and so I kept it age appropriate for their situation. Of course, over the years, I had other versions of the marijuana conversation with them, all age appropriate, so when we got down to brass tacks, they were well educated about MY use case – but, we had to talk about recreational cannabis consumption as well.

To frame the conversation I had with my teens about recreational use I used the opportunity to talk about ALL the ‘taboo’ subjects:

  • Alcohol Use
  • Tobacco Use
  • Cannabis Use, and
  • Safe Sex

At the time we had our “weed talk” my boys were old enough to understand and have adult level conversations about this list and, as best I can tell now that they’re in their mid-20’s, this conversation (and subsequent ones) served the purpose.

Rules – Like Alcohol and Tobacco

Rules, like for alcohol and tobacco, were the foundation for the conversations which I’ve had over the years regarding consuming pot for recreational purposes, especially when my kids were minors.

They understood the idea of rules for alcohol and tobacco and they also understood the difference between prescription medication and street drugs.

As they grew up, we refined these broader concepts with more specifics and, while they did experiment, all my children made it to adulthood (and, in the case of my eldest, parenthood) successfully.

Now, when we’re visiting or having a dinner, when we toast with some wine we also enjoy a bowl!

Get Educated, Stay Educated

The bottom line: get educated about cannabis (even if you are a chronic user) and stay educated. There is always something new in the world of cannabis which can impact how we talk with kids and teens about legal cannabis.

Find the resources which work best for you. There are articles in parenting publications, news websites and cannabis-advocacy sites.

Learn More about Talking with Kids and Teens about Legal Cannabis

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