Children's Hospital Colorado

Talking to Teenagers About Marijuana

Tips for talking to teenagers (ages 13-19)

Teens are able to use logic to think about drug use. It’s likely they have already heard about marijuana from their friends, the media, or in school, and may have already formed their own opinions about it.

Despite that, parents can serve as a strong influence on teens, if they have a relationship. This is why it is important for parents to build a relationship with open communication when their children are younger. 

Parents can be strong influences

According to Christopher Stille, MD, MPH, pediatrician at Children’s Colorado and Professor and Head, General Academic Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, “Teenagers don’t always ignore their parents’ wishes. In fact, if they have a good relationship, parents can sometimes be very strong influences.”

Conversely, parents are much less likely to influence their children if they rarely talk to their kids about difficult topics but then decide to do so when their child becomes a teen. 

Parents can also influence their children by modeling positive behaviors like healthy coping, being responsible, openly communicating and acknowledging mistakes.

What to do if your teen experiments with marijuana

It is common for teenagers to experiment with marijuana. Beyond the concern for your child breaking the law, and the impact on his or her brain, a parent should be concerned if it seems that marijuana (or any other drug, alcohol or activity) is negatively affecting his/her functioning. 

Whatever the case, a good way to start talking about marijuana with your teen is to have a mature conversation by asking questions to assess what they already know.

Find more resources for parents about marijuana.