When it comes to talking with your kids about the dangers of doing drugs, it’s important now to specifically talk about marijuana in Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Health launched a campaign recently focusing on the need for adults to stress to kids that while marijuana may be legal in our state, that doesn't mean it's healthy.
Dr. Ian Tullberg is the Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth Memorial and says you should be talking to your kids about specific drugs they should avoid, especially marijuana.
“It's legal and it's everywhere, and kids may not know what to look out for. They may be offered a candy by a friend and they don't know what's in it, or they are told it's ‘marijuana candy’ but it looks like something a kid should eat, so they may eat it," Dr. Tullburg said. "The big keys are to be very specific with your kids and start early. Number one, have a good working communication with your kids. It won't be uncomfortable if you start early, do it often, and warn them every week, or every month, on a regular basis and say, 'Hey, how do you feel about cigarettes? How do you feel about marijuana? How do you feel about alcohol?'”
Dr. Tullberg adds there are legitimate long-term health effects that teens should know about when it comes to marijuana use.
"Long term, marijuana can increase the amount of mental health problems, like bipolar, depression, those things you won’t see right away. Yes, people may feel a nice little lull with it now, but long term, mental health benefits are not good," Dr. Tullberg said. "That's why it's federally illegal, and [as] employees of any health system, it's illegal for us to use because we know the risks. There can be medical benefits that we won’t go into (for this story), but in terms of general health, stay away from it.”
Dr. Tullberg also says that there are many in our state who may self-medicate with marijuana for various reasons, but it may not be the best of many treatment options out there.