Talking Pot with Youth: A Cannabis Communication Guide for Youth Allies
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA)
We know that Canadian youth are doing their own research online about cannabis and are talking with their friends about its benefits and harms. But they’re also getting inconsistent messages: they have heard that there are some potential benefits to using cannabis, but feel that the adults in their lives often overlook or purposely leave out this perspective. (Throughout this guide, “youth” and “young people” refer to people 14 to 24 years old.)
We asked young people what they want in a conversation about cannabis, and they told us they want to share their thoughts and opinions, not to simply listen to the thoughts and opinions of others. They want to hear both sides of the story — the good and the bad — and would like this information presented to them in an unbiased way. Youth told us that when they are engaged in meaningful discussions about cannabis, they can be more informed about the issues and can make better decisions. (To learn more about what youth want and their thoughts on cannabis use, see our Canadian Youth Perceptions on Cannabis report.)
This guide takes a harm reduction approach to talking with youth about cannabis. Its purpose is to help those who work with young people to have the right kind of conversations with them about cannabis: conversations that are safe, unbiased, informed and non-judgmental.
Fleming, K., & McKiernan, A. (2018). Cannabis Communication Guide for Youth Allies. Ottawa, Ont.: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.