Gray Matters urges parents to talk to their kids about teen marijuana use

Jan 24, 2024, 11:00 AM | Updated: 1:10 pm

FILE: A woman holds flavored vape on May 30, 2023. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)...

FILE: A woman holds a flavored vape on May 30, 2023. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Representatives from the state’s Gray Matters campaign, medical experts from Intermountain Health, and Utah’s PTA are challenging parents and adults to talk with their children about the dangers of teen marijuana use.

“This is a time when their brains are rapidly developing and changing. And so we really want to let people know that there are some potential harms that can happen,” said Katherine Jurado, Prevention Coordinator for Northeastern Counseling Center.

The push follows new data from the Utah Student Health and Risk Prevention survey report. It showed that 7.4% of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 used vape products that contained either nicotine, marijuana, or both.

“We know that there’s been [a] steady, significant increases in teen marijuana use,” said Jurado.

Talking with teens about the dangers of marijuana can be the most effective way to prevent use.

“We seem to think it’s their friends. But when we asked kids: Who do you trust?  Who do you get your information from? Who’s opinion do you care about?  They tell us it’s their parents. So we have a lot more influence than we think we do,” said Jurado.

Representatives from the state’s Gray Matters campaign, medical experts from Intermountain Health, and Utah’s PTA are challenging parents and adults to talk with their teens and tweens about the dangers of using marijuana before their brains have developed.

Impacts of teen marijuana use

Medical data shows that marijuana can damage the gray matter inside a young developing brain, reducing coordination and attention, and impairing memory, thinking, problem-solving, learning, and more.

Gray Matters provided four tips for talking with teens about marijuana use: 
  • be honest and open, 
  • stay calm and positive, 
  • talk instead of lecturing, and then listen, and 
  • stick with science.
More information and resources can be found at Gray Matters’ website. 

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Gray Matters urges parents to talk to their kids about teen marijuana use