Cannabis education is part of education about substance use, addictions, and related behaviour and is a key component of overall health and well-being. We can all play a role in helping students learn about cannabis to help prevent substance misuse and to promote student safety and well-being.
Younger students benefit from learning about the dangers of substances such as cannabis and can keep themselves safe by obtaining skills they can use to resist pressures to engage in harmful behaviours. As students become more independent, they benefit from opportunities to explore the myths, facts, and consequences of substance use, the relationship to mental health and overall well-being, and the skills they need to make and maintain safer and healthier choices when dealing with situations involving substances such as cannabis.
With support from your local public health unit and other experts in your community, you will be able to help students learn about cannabis in order to make safer, healthier choices for their personal safety and lifelong health and well-being.
You are not expected to be or become an expert on cannabis to run any of these activities. Reach out to experts in your community such as your local health unit and/or other local programs listed in this guide for support to help you plan activities!
You don’t have to come up with all of the ideas on your own, although we’re quite certain you have some amazing ones! That’s what this guide is for — to spark interest, provide ideas, and offer activities that are ready to be used in your school, at home, or in your community.
The ideas for action in this guide can also be used for a variety of topics — we’ve modified them to be applicable to topics related to cannabis.
The Ideas for Action: Cannabis Education guide may be used to support schools who have identified Substance Use, Addictions, and Related Behaviours as a priority health topic to focus on as part of their Ophea Healthy Schools Certification. If you would like your school to be certified for all the healthy things you do, be sure to check out www.ophea.net/HSCertification.
The Substance Use, Addictions, and Related Behaviours component of Healthy Schools is based on the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School (2014). This topic, of which cannabis education is a part, includes strategies and activities related to the following:
- Behaviours and actions that can lead to injury or death
- Detrimental habits and behaviours leading to addictions and healthier alternatives
- Connections to a healthy school community
- Impact of substances on health and well-being
- Issues and trends related to substance use
- Mental health and problematic substance use
- People and community sources of support and how to access them
- Personal and social influences and implications of substance use
- Resilience and protective and risk factors
- Responding to influences and challenging situations
- Short- and long-term effects and legal consequences
- Warning signs of misuse or abuse