There is no denying it that our kids will hear about Marijuana, so before they get some bad information out there, let's empower ourselves to explain well to them the facts about Marijuana.
First of all, it has over 10 or so akas, including blunt, dope, ganja, grass, mary jane, pot, hash, etc. It doesn't matter what it is called, it is still basically the same drug. Now what we think of marijuana, though, may differ from seller to seller. What I will explain is basically only pure marijuana. What is often bought on the streets is laced or altered with other toxic adulterants, such as pesticides.
Pure marijuana is basically the dried flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves from the Cannabis plant. The main active chemical is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and its immediate effects are generally relaxation and mild euphoria. On the other hand, the short-term side effects are short-term memory loss, dry mouth, impaired motor sills and reddening of the eyes. In some cases, marijuana has been known to induce some cases of momentary psychosis (I have personally witnessed this).
While long-term effects have been inconclusive, there are a number of studies that show marijuana is more likely to have long-term negative effects in developing minds, i.e. young teens and young adults. In these studies, including one by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it showed that heavy use of marijuana is associated with decrements of neurocognitive performance.
It is also important to note, however, that in a study by NIDA researcher Dr. Jack E Henningfield, marijuana ranked as the least addictive substance of 6 substances (marijuana, cocaine, caffeine, alcohol, heorin, and nicotine). While marijuana may not be addictive, however, it is also important to explain that it is often younger minds that use it as a gateway drug. The drug, per say, has never been proven to be a gateway drug on its own, rather it presents many situations in which people will have access to buy other stronger drugs. A risk that is exacerbated with a younger peer group.
So these are the main facts. Remember, do not just tell your kids no. Explain to them the facts and treat them like adults so that they feel like they partook in the decision making of not "smoking weed."