Parents are the #1 influence on youth substance use, meaning you have a major impact on whether or not your child chooses to use cannabis (marijuana, hashish, weed, pot, etc.). Parents and mentors have the opportunity to promote substance-free norms and prevent young people from using cannabis. Talk with your children early and often.

How can cannabis affect youth?

The brains of young people do not fully develop until they reach their mid-20s. Regular cannabis use during the early years of life can lead to harmful physical changes in the brain. Research shows that when youth use cannabis their memory, learning and attention are harmed. Some studies suggest a permanent impact as well.

Should parents talk with their children about cannabis?

Talking with teens about cannabis is likely to affect their opinions about consumption. While they may seem like they’re not listening, studies show that parents are the #1 influence on youth substance use. Children who learn about the possible consequences of drug use from their parents are significantly less likely to use drugs. 

How do I know if my child is using cannabis?

Keep an eye out for small signs—changing sleep patterns, increased time alone, shifts in relationships and a more secretive demeanor—that may signal substance use. Dramatic shifts in behavior and physical appearance are signals to check in with your teen.

How can parents help their children avoid cannabis?

Monitor your teen’s friends, activities and digital movement to help them stay on track and out of trouble. Constant monitoring can be overwhelming so aim for consistent check-ins in specific areas of your teen’s life.

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Contact Us
Substance Use Programs (DSU)

Vermont Department of Health
280 State Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-8340


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Cannabis use in Vermont
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Visit ParentUp for more tips on talking with your child about cannabis
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