Cannabis and Minors: Common Questions Asked By Parents

September 19, 2023

Cannabis has become common in many households, especially in states where medical and recreational marijuana use is legal. Whether in the form of medical recommendations or recreational CBD products, you can even find cannabis-infused coffee to enjoy every morning.

However, the easy availability and legal complexities surrounding cannabis have led to an increasing number of minors experimenting with it. For parents who may not be well-informed about cannabis products, their effects, and the legal consequences, this can be a source of anxiety.

If you're a parent with questions and need guidance, we're here to help.

Some Commonly Asked Questions By Parents

As parents or guardians, worrying about your child’s future, their safety and health is a full day job. With the addition of confusing legalities around substances like cannabis and its use only adds to this structure of constant worry.

But you can turn this worry into help and support only when you have complete knowledge surrounding it. To make the process easy, we’ve answered some common questions that parents have about the cannabis use by their minors.

Can Minors Use Cannabis?

The simple answer to this one is no. At least not recreationally.

While every state that allows the use of marijuana has their own set of rules, no state allows a minor (below the age of 18) to purchase or own marijuana or its derivatives. In some states, the legal age is 21.

However, there are certain situations in which a minor can be allowed to consume medical cannabis. If a child is suffering from a medical condition that, according to a certified physician, can be relieved with the use of cannabis, they can get a marijuana recommendation.

This type of situation requires the child/teen as well as their adult caregiver to be registered with the state and own a medical marijuana card before purchasing and consuming the herb.

What are the Side Effects of Marijuana Consumption by Minors?

The use of marijuana in minors, especially without justified medical requirement, is restricted for a reason. While the adult brain is fully developed, a teen’s brain is continuously developing and use of cannabis can alter the natural process.

This can lead to minute symptoms like reduced concentration, to having memory issues, feeling nauseous, leading to motor impairment and go as far as increasing their probability of mental health conditions at a later stage.

What is the Right Age to Talk to Your Child About Marijuana?

This one depends on two things and no it’s not their age. They could be any age above 10 for you to initiate that conversation. What truly matters is how you go forward with the conversation. 

Starting ‘the talk’ out of the blue can create an uncomfortable environment that gives an air of interrogation. Asking them if they’ve ever heard of it or used it abruptly can make them retreat into their defensive shell, and you don’t want that. Instead, find clues around you that can help start the conversation.

Maybe it could be a dispensary that recently opened up round the block or an advertisement for a CBD company. These can be a great conversation initiator without making your child feel like they’re in the spotlight.

And once you’ve started the conversation, allow them to tell you what they know. If the people around them are using any marijuana products, if they’ve ever used some themselves. Then follow it up with an unbiased explanation of how it can affect them or why it’s use is restricted to adult use.

Can Medical Marijuana Consumption of a Minor Stand in the Way of College/University Regulations?

Firstly, it depends on whether marijuana use is legal in your state.

Secondly, it depends on whether the college/ university follows state or federal laws.

Some universities can even have their own rules with respect to oncampus consumption.

For instance, The University of Colorado at Boulder bars first year students from living off campus, with the exception of students who consume medical cannabis. Since the college follows both federal and state laws, they’ve established a no- marijuana on campus policy while also supporting the rights of legal marijuana users.

It all comes down to the respective institution that your child applies for.

Can Scholarship Aid be Affected by Marijuana Use?

For a majority of sports and their respective authorities, the use of any controlled substance is prohibited. This means that if traces of marijuana is found in an athlete’s drug test, it can lead to multiple degrees of punishments amounting to a complete season of sitting on the bleachers.

In case of serious medical conditions that require the use of an otherwise prohibited substance, an athlete can apply for a TUE (Therapy Use Exemption). The TUE has helped multiple star athletes receive their medication and still play competitive sports.

Are There Any Cannabis Products that Can be Legally Used by a Minor?

To make things clear, consumption of cannabis by minors below the age of 18 can be damaging for your child. With a developing mind and body, it can hinder natural growth and lead to some effects like anxiety, insomnia or even nausea. It can also make them more susceptible to mental health disorders like Schizophrenia.

However, there are some cannabis products that can be used at the discretion of a certified physician.

Cannabis has proven to show some positive effects in children suffering from epilepsy, autism, cancer and other life threatening medical conditions. 

The FDA has also approved Epidiolex, a cannabis derived medication to treat epilepsy in kids, making it the first and only legal medication that is recommended for use by children.


Using cannabis among minors is a topic that demands attention and careful consideration, underscoring the importance of parents and guardians being well-informed about this substance and its potential dangers.

It cannot be stressed too strongly that marijuana use in minors should exclusively serve medical purposes. If your child's medical condition necessitates the use of medical cannabis, obtaining a medical marijuana card is an option following consultation with a licensed physician. This card grants legal access to medical cannabis and ensures that the treatment is administered under proper medical supervision.

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