Parent Action on Drugs (PAD) is pleased to announce that with the generous support of CanopyGrowth and in partnership with Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) PAD has developed and today launches two digital cannabis education tools for parents and youth. One, the Weed Like to Know Chatbot is designed for parents as well as adult caregivers, influencers and adolescents aged 10-14 to enhance dialogue and prevent early initiation of cannabis consumption. The second, What’s With Weed (WWW) SMS Tool was developed for teens and young adults to provide factual information about cannabis, the risks, harm reduction, and an opportunity for youth to reflect on their cannabis consumption to prevent problematic use and promote well-being.
“Weed Like to Know” Chatbot
PAD employed the technical expertise of Massively, a leader in artificial intelligence, to develop a fun and interactive chatbot designed to engage, educate and encourage conversation between parents and their young adolescents about cannabis. This tool promotes supportive communication between parents and children, a protective factor in promoting resiliency and preventing problematic substance use and youth initiation of cannabis use.
Through activities like charades, quiz questions, and “what would you do?” scenarios, chatbot users learn age-appropriate evidence-based information about cannabis, its effects, the law, risks to youth during brain development, and reasons youth consume or not. Content related to harm reduction and safety is also covered.
Weed Like to Know can be accessed on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, through the PAD website www.parentactionondrugs.org or Facebook messenger and Twitter. Additionally, the chatbot will be deployed directly inside display ads on targeted websites.
What’s With Weed SMS Tool:
PAD collaborated with Evolution Health Systems, a trailblazer in creating digital health tools, to work together to build a youth-focused cannabis education and problematic use prevention tool aimed at teens and young adults (15-21 years). The resulting tool is an SMS (short message service) program easily accessed by anyone with a mobile phone. Individuals can subscribe through our completely revamped, comprehensive cannabis education website, https://whatswithweed.ca/. WWW SMS subscribers receive a text message (proactive messages) each day for 54 days covering factoids about weed and how it works in the brain and body, cannabis laws, tips for reducing risks and safer use, questions to reflect upon one’s use and why, alternative approaches to coping with life stress, and support for cutting down/quitting. Subscribers can also select from a list of “keywords” to get additional, targeted educational and support messages. Although the tool is more relevant for youth who use cannabis, or those who may be concerned about their use, anyone can learn valuable information.
The WWW site also includes an anonymous brief intervention questionnaire, Check Your Cannabis, and personal risk profile report. The WWW suite of tools is a non-judgemental approach to providing youth the information they need to make informed choices to minimize harms and promote healthy development.
We invite you to explore these cannabis tools and share them with the youth, parents and those who work with youth in your community of practice to empower them to communicate, reflect and make informed decisions about cannabis use.
The PAD Team