More Than a Quarter of American Parents Would Share Marijuana with Their Adult Children

A new study finds that more and more American parents would share a marijuana joint with their adult son or daughter. This is yet another example of how cannabis is going mainstream

According to online survey was commissioned by not-for-profit addiction and behavioral healthcare provider Caron Treatment Centers, at least one-quarter of parents (26%) find it acceptable to share a marijuana joint with your son or daughter if they were 18 or older.

This despite the fact that marijuana is classified by the Federal Government as a dangerous Schedule I drug, on par with heroin.

“Parents are more comfortable smoking marijuana with their young adult children than smoking a cigarette,” said Dr. Joseph Garbely, Caron’s Medical Director. “Many people don’t realize that marijuana today is radically more potent than it was years ago and can have a significant impact on the developing brain. Parents who didn’t experience consequences from prior use may not be aware of the difference. That creates misperceptions and a dangerously permissive message to their children.”

The survey revealed that approximately 13 percent of adults say it’s OK for teenagers to occasionally use prescribed painkillers, despite that opioids, even when used as prescribed can cause significant, permanent changes to the developing brain.

Caron said that the finding raises significant concerns – especially as the United States grapples with a raging opioid epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of five of those addicted to heroin first used prescription painkillers.

“Parents may also be misinformed about the safety of prescription painkillers – even when prescribed by a physician,” continued Garbely.

According to the survey, marijuana is also generally viewed as less risky than alcohol, especially among younger people.

While both substances are largely viewed as addictive (87 percent for alcohol versus 63 percent for marijuana) and having a negative impact on someone’s brain and health, far more people recognize the harm associated with alcohol than with marijuana (88 percent versus 71 percent for a negative impact on the brain, and 89 percent versus 59 percent for a negative impact on health).

Adults are also almost eight times more likely to feel that marijuana, not alcohol, is a safe alternative to prescription pain medication (45 percent for marijuana versus 6 percent for alcohol).

Many adults (39 percent) also feel it is okay for someone to use marijuana recreationally, even if it was originally prescribed medicinally. Among 18-34-year-olds, 73% say alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, compared to 53% of adults ages 65 plus.

On a positive note, most parents say it’s important to talk to their children about prescription painkillers (77 percent for 18 to 25-year-olds; 74 percent for 13 to 17-year-olds).

However, it highlights the need for greater awareness because many parents don’t recognize the need to speak with their children about prescription painkillers on par with other substances.

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