Welcome to Talking About Cannabis, a support and information website for anyone who has been affected by cannabis use.
We hope you find this website useful. There are hundreds of contributions by families for you to read here and we look forward to receiving your stories – which can be powerful healing tools in their own right.
- HELP FOR FAMILIES – click the ‘HELP’ button at the top of the page to access services and resources that provide support for families.
- FACTS ABOUT CANNABIS, including advice for parents â€“ vital information based on scientific and medical evidence. Todayâ€™s drug is not the stuff you smoked at college. It’s generally ‘skunk’ that is sold now, which is significantly stronger, and can have a serious effect on the young in particular, sometimes leading to possible serious mental health issues. Behind every addict is a family in the background, many struggling to cope.
- Do you think your child may be smoking cannabis? Click here for a quick useful guide.
- View â€˜Tips for Parents of weed-smoking teenagersâ€™.
- Local Networking – get in touch with other parents in your area through this site, send us your contact details and we can put them on the site. Click HERE to go to the Local Networking page.
- You can share your own experiences in our Your Stories section or forum.
I am a freelance writer, living in London, UK, with my husband. We have three boys who are now 23, 20 and 17. Our eldest son, William, began smoking cannabis as a teenager, with school friends. He was 14 then, and by 16 was suffering severe personality changes â€“ and as a family we were reeling. We were confused for a long time, not knowing whether what was happening to him was as a result of normal adolescent changes, or something more insidious. We became aware, slowly, that it was the latter. You can read more by clicking here
I began to write an on-line Weekly Diary for this website, which described our familyâ€™s painful experience of seeing our son sink into cannabis addiction. We felt so alone with the problem, and could find no support, so I decided to begin documenting what was happening to us, and set up this website, in December 2006, to focus on the sometimes intolerable challenges facing families when a child begins to use cannabis. I hoped that by sharing our family’s story, we might be able to create an energy for change. That is what happened. Extracts from the Diaries were published in the national press, in 2007, and there was a deluge of responses from families across the social spectrum, many saying that our story was also theirs. A Parental Action Group was formed quickly afterwards and along with advisers in the field of drug education and mental health, we began campaigning, and a registered charity was established.
â€˜The Cannabis Diaries â€“ a mother’s struggle to save her familyâ€™, is based on the weekly blog which appeared on this site from Christmas Eve 2006 to the same date a year later. With a Foreword by William Bell, and an Appendix containing useful scientific and medical information, for parents and users, by Dr Zerrin Atakan, Consultant Psychiatrist, Institute of Psychiatry, London, the book is available now. For more details click here. To order your copy from Amazon – click the link to the right.
Debra and William appear in a Sky TV ‘Real Lives’ documentary, entitled ‘My Son, Drugs, and Me’, repeated regularly. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch with us following the transmissions. We are delighted that so many people have found comfort in hearing the stories of the two families involved – one of which is ours. We also took part in BBC 3′s ‘Britain’s Secret Cannabis Farms’, first transmitted 2010 and repeated regularly.
You can read â€˜The Cannabis Diaries Part 2â€™ here. After distancing ourselves from our son for over a year, tough love indeed, these Diaries take up the story as we begin to have some contact with him again. You can also read Williamâ€™s views of cannabis by clicking here.
With best wishes,
Debra Bell, London 2012
â€˜In all of history, no young people have ever taken marijuana regularly on a mass scale. Therefore our youngsters are in effect, making themselves guinea-pigs in a tragic experiment. Thus far our research clearly suggests that we will see horrendous resultsâ€™.
Dr Robert Dupont, National Institute for Drug Abuse, USA.
Talking About Cannabis has no affiliation to any political party, religious organisation or sect. This site is managed by The Path Web Design, who have kindly offered their services pro-bono.