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Conversation Starters

Having the Cannabis Talk

It may take many conversations to get through to your teen about cannabis use. That’s okay, keep trying. Every talk you have is a step in the right direction. By sharing information and listening to your teen, you can make an impact on your teen’s decisions.

Mother and Daughter  

Use These Cannabis Talk Tips

There are different ways of talking to your teen about cannabis. Here are some ideas to keep the conversation flowing:

​Talk Early And Often:

Start the conversation early, if possible, even before your kids start to think about experimenting when they first start asking questions.

​Be Casual But Clear:

Have casual conversation instead of lectures
or formal family meetings.

​Be Open, and Listen
Without Judgment:

Listen carefully to our teen without judgment. Ask open-ended questions that encourage
 your teen to elaborate.

Keep it Grounded
and Fact-Based:

Focus on the facts and discuss how cannabis
use might affect them.

When to Talk About Cannabis

It can be hard knowing when to bring up cannabis with your teen. But really, now is the best time. It’s not uncommon for kids to learn about weed in the school bathroom or through pop music, friends, or TikTok. In fact, talking with your child about cannabis use at a young age is one of the best ways you can help to prevent early experimentation with cannabis. So pick a casual moment, and keep it light. 

Find natural or informal times to chat about cannabis, like when you:

  • drive past a billboard or dispensary
  • see someone using cannabis online, in a movie, or on TV
  • after smelling it outside
  • are eating dinner or driving in the car together

Father and Son

Different Conversations for Different Ages

How you talk with your teen about cannabis use is going to depend on how old they are. Tweens and younger teens may not have tried cannabis before, but it’s still worthwhile having the conversation early on. Don’t be afraid to go there. If your teenager is older, they might want to challenge you. That’s okay—stick to the facts and win them over with some good logic.

Have an Open Conversation

13–14 Year Olds

If your tween or teen is curious about cannabis, don’t be afraid to talk with them about it. Let them know what it’s called and how people use it. Remind them their brain is still developing and using weed can put their brain development at risk. 

Father and Young Son

Give Them the Facts

15–17 Year Olds

As your teen grows older, they might come across cannabis in their group of friends. Let them know it can affect their brain and how it can impact the things they care about—like sports, school, and making memories with friends.

Cannabis Facts Versus Fiction

When discussing cannabis with your teen, they might try to make an argument for using it. It’s normal for teens to challenge their parents. But here are some comebacks to help you navigate the conversation.

If your teen says, "But it's natural," you can say:

"Just because it's natural, it still doesn't mean it's safe for you to use. Your brain won't stop developing until you're in your mid-twenties. Using weed now can impact your memory, stress, and anxiety."

If your teen says, "But it's not as bad as tobacco or other drugs," you can say:

"As your brain develops, it is expertly fine-tuning its connections and many substances, including cannabis, can disrupt the brain's developmental process."

If your teen says, "But it's legal," you can 


"The legal age of cannabis use in California is 21 and above."

If your teen says, "But I saw you use," you can say:

"Using cannabis underage puts your brain development at risk. That means your memory, attention, coordination, and mental health could be affected."

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