Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

New Communications Guide Provides the Tools to Talk Effectively to Youth about Cannabis

Ottawa, September 27, 2018 — Earlier today, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) released Talking Pot with Youth: A Cannabis Communications Guide for Youth Allies. The guide provides parents, teachers, coaches and other youth allies the information and tools to have an unbiased, informed and non-judgmental discussion with young people about cannabis.

“This is a guide to having a meaningful conversation about cannabis, not a lecture,” explains Chealsea De Moor, Knowledge Broker, CCSA. “Whether you’re a parent, teacher, coach or another type of youth ally, this is a ‘must have’ guide for anyone in these roles.”

Cannabis legalization is less than three weeks away. By releasing the Cannabis Communications Guide now, CCSA is delivering on what young people asked of us. They wanted the trusted adults in their lives to be able to have constructive talks with them about their thoughts and questions on cannabis. The three process-based exercises in the guide focus on helping adults prepare for and conduct a successful and honest discussion with a young person.

It is important for young people to be aware of the health effects and harms unique to youth who use cannabis. One of the three exercises in the guide aims at getting the facts about the spectrum of youth cannabis use to young people.

“Young people are turning to the Internet for answers, and they are getting mixed messages,” explains Kiran Somjee, RN, National Priority Advisor, CCSA. “Through the combination of open communication, knowledge exercises and the ability to establish a trusting relationship, the Cannabis Communication Guide responds to the need for an effective tool to help youth allies talk to young people about cannabis.”

CCSA developed this unique guide itself by talking to young people. They said they wanted the facts about cannabis presented to them in a balanced and unbiased way. Youth expressed a desire to have the whole picture on using cannabis so that they could make their own decisions. Input from Health Canada as well as Canadian youth and youth allies contributed to the guide’s development.

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