No Stoners Here
I’m the mother of a 14 year old neuro-typical teenage boy – Liam. In the frightfully near future he will probably be offered pot at school.
I have told Liam in no uncertain terms that I don’t want him smoking pot. Though he’s a responsible, rule-following first born child, his brain is not fully developed. Teenagers don’t always make the best long term decisions. I don’t want Liam to be pegged as one of those kids at school; I don’t want him to get busted by the cops; and I most certainly don’t want him to hurt himself.
The fact that weed is being laced with God only knows what and sold to school kids puts them at risk. Generally speaking, the THC level (psychoactive component) of pot now is higher that what our parents smoked at Woodstock. Teenagers can’t be expected to make smart decision when they’re high. So we keep the lines of communication open with Liam; we try to educate him about those dangerous aspects of weed; and we give him words to get out of uncomfortable situations.
I’m the mother of a 12 year old boy with a developmental disability and seizure disorder – Aidan. In the near future I hope to be able to offer him pot at home.
Re-read the beginning of this post and replace pot with anxiety/depression/ADHD meds. Yes, of course there are differences. But what is good and healing and necessary for one person may be harmful for another. This fact is clearly lost in the school hallways where kids are trading Ritalin for Percocet or whatever prescription drugs can be found because if a doctor says it’s safe for me then it could probably help you too. That’s a dangerous lie.
Somehow we are able to contextualize these conversations for other substances but not marijuana.
I’ve probably held a beer in my hand while telling Liam that under no circumstances should he be drinking alcohol before he’s 21. That’s not hypocritical; it’s contextual. I point out to him that I’m a legal age, that I’m in safe circumstances with people I trust, and that my fully developed brain will help me set a limit on my drinking. (Just to be clear, I don’t have a substance abuse problem and I’m basically talking about having a beer with nachos). The context of Liam’s potential drinking would likely include driving, being surrounded by people who don’t have his best interests in mind, and getting drunk.
I’m excited that people are talking about the benefits of medical marijuana for kids with Epilepsy. I’m in the process of trying to obtain it legally in hopes that it would stop Aidan’s seizures, while at the same time warning Liam against using whatever substances he’s offered at school.
I’ve met other seizure moms who are looking into the use of medical marijuana for their children. None us of take this decision lightly. We’ve all done our research. For me, I’ve researched medical marijuana more than I researched any other medicine my doctor prescribed, though the side effects of the other meds are scary. Most of our children have already tried and failed the use of many pharmaceuticals, while some have even had radical brain surgery to try to reduce seizures. We are motivated and committed to finding safer, more effective treatment for our children, and if that’s medical marijuana then so be it.
I was contacted a few weeks ago by a reporter who needed people who were willing to go on record as seeking or using medical marijuana for their kids. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma against using it and some understandably fear the repercussions against going public. Though I have no idea if marijuana will ultimately help Aidan, it’s helping other kids and I want to be part of this dialogue. So I shared my story in hopes of raising awareness of the healing potential of pot.
To the mothers of kids who are experimenting with drugs and seem to be risking their health and throwing away their academic or athletic prospects – I hear you. To the mothers of kids with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems – I hear you. Those are very real and scary challenges. I want you to be able to help your child in the best way possible, just like I want to help mine.
I understand this conversation may make people nervous, angry, or afraid. All I ask is this; please listen to our stories and tell us your concerns before judging us. If I can have these awkward, nuanced conversations with my children, I can have them with you. This is an invitation for you to ask questions.
We’re going through another med change for Aidan, which always makes me extra watchful. Just this morning Aidan twitched and jiggled and cried the entire time while getting ready for school. This is all part of his seizure activity. As a result, he didn’t eat much because he couldn’t control his body.
How can I do anything less than everything to try to help both of my children?
Check out our story on the FRONT PAGE (thank-you Mary Pols) of the Maine Sunday Telegram
To read more about how medical marijuana is legal in our state but Aidan wouldn’t smoke it etc. read my post complete with links
To read how legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado is another complex conversation, read this article from Slate.