I visited LCE for the first time of 2018 last Friday. They must have missed me, because the line to get handcuffed lasted all recess long. During my time with the 6th graders I talked about marijuana and THC.
We started by writing down some notes about marijuana that refresh and build on what we talked about last year:
- Marijuana is not a vitamin or a health food.
- Marijuana is a plant that contains the hallucinogenic drug THC.
- THC makes your heart beat faster and disrupts balance, vision, coordination and reaction time.
- THC makes it hard to recall information and negatively impacts learning.
- Kids that use THC may permanently lower their intelligence.
- THC can be just as addictive as any of the other recreational drug.
- Abusing THC can trigger mental illness.
- Smoking/vaping marijuana is just as bad for your lungs as smoking/vaping anything else.
After that intro we watched the beginning of a video called “Marijuana and the Teenage Brain”. This video covers the ongoing research into the permanent negative effects of marijuana on the brains of kids. Here is a link to a preview of the video.
Our discussion ended with a talk on the recent changes in the law. Although the laws legalizing recreational marijuana in California took effect on Jan 1, cities all over the state are still trying to figure out the rules and guidelines for adults to use the drug. Add the contradictory Federal laws that still outlaw THC products, and the legalization of marijuana is still a very confusing and ambiguous topic.
With that being said, I reminded the students that the rules regarding kids and marijuana haven’t changed at all: a school aged child that gets caught in possession of or using a marijuana product is breaking the law and will face consequences from law enforcement, school administration and (hopefully) their families. There is nothing ambiguous about that, and those rules are in effect no matter where they live in the USA until they are 21.
I think its important to talk to the kids about marijuana in depth at least once a year, and this presentation builds on the material from the previous year. As always, please talk to your kids about their experiences and interactions with their peers. Every one of them will be making choices (such as whether or not to try drugs like THC) as they progress through middle school and high school. The more guidance they get from parents and the more fore-thought they put into these decisions, the more prepared they will be to make decisions for themselves. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.