How to talk with your teen about the use of cannabis

WATCH ABOVE: Dr. Abby Goldstein is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Toronto. Her research examines the treatment of substance use and addictions in youth, young adults and adults. Goldstein has several other research projects on the go, which include looking at young adults' motives for using cannabis. Susan Hay has the story.

Cannabis – legal or not – has always been a hot topic.

“I looked a lot at alcohol use and cannabis use,” said Abby Goldstein, Ph.D., C.Psych. Associate Professor, University of Toronto.

Goldstein’s research examines the treatment of substance use and addictions in youth and young adults and their motives and reasons for using different substances including the use of cannabis.

“Trying do understand now how parents and their relationship with their kids impacts risk behaviours and wellness behaviours,” Goldstein said.

So how should parents talk with their teens regarding cannabis?

“I think it’s less about the age and more about how you have this conversation,“ Goldstein said.

“Kids already have some ideas and impressions about what’s happening with cannabis and so starting by asking them what they know and then helping to fill in some of the blanks.”

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Which also means that parents need to get information themselves regarding what cannabis use is really about. What recreational cannabis use looks like. And the harm is associated with using cannabis.

“The concern with having cannabis be illegal, is that now our teens are trying to access something in illegal ways and being exposed to illegal means of getting something,” Goldstein said. “Now that we have legalization there will be safe ways and safer substances that teens are going to be experimenting with.”

What are the misconceptions regarding cannabis use?

“Just like any other drug, cannabis is also something that can be addictive,” Goldstein said.