How to safely use cannabis at home as a parent

Published Mar 31, 2019 11:30 a.m. ET

We are fortunate to live in an era where marijuana use is now legal in many areas, and no longer something parents must hide from their children. The problem is, with legislation so new, there are many new and inexperienced consumers who aren’t sure how to responsibly consume cannabis at home. Since weed is so often compared to alcohol, one would be expected to assume that the rules for both substances would be relatively similar. Though it is true that both products should be kept safely away from tiny hands, there are some dramatic differences in how the drugs are often displayed and how they might affect you while caring for your children. To help, here are a few recommended guidelines for safe marijuana use in homes that have underage kids.

1. Storage - Where you safely keep your cannabis is going to be one of the most importantchoices you make as a parent who uses marijuana. Any cannabis derived products should be kept out of fridges, cupboards, and other areas that children regularly access. Ideally, it should be stored entirely out of reach and kept behind lock and key for safety. This will protect your kids from accidentally consuming products like edibles or tinctures. Same goes for whatever devices you choose to use as they will be full of resins that could potentially affect a small child if ingested.

2. Education - Knowledge is power. A saying that all of us 90’s kids know all too well holds in the world of responsible marijuana use and as the child of a parent who keeps it around the home. Open age appropriate conversations should take place so that younger kids are aware of what is it their parents are using, and why they shouldn’t use it until they reach adulthood. This may take a bit of research on your part to confidently answer any questions that they may have, but it opens an honest dialogue that leaves children much less likely to try cannabis themselves, as it no longer will hold the appeal of something that is keep it a secret. Kids should know what pot leaves look like, how to identify products that may potentially contain marijuana and what to do if they ever come across these kinds of things when an adult isn’t readily available.

3. Consumption - A lot of parents are wondering if it’s safe to consume cannabis while in the presence of children. This question doesn’t have a right or wrong answer and should be based more on your personal experiences with marijuana use. Much like with alcohol, some people may feel comfortable smoking marijuana and going about their daily business, while others may feel way too overwhelmed to care for kids reliably. Another aspect to consider is the ages of the children in question and their ability to take care of themselves and access an emergency contact in case anything happens while their parents are under the influence. If it is your very first time trying weed, then it is not recommended to do so while children are in your care unless you have a completely sober adult present to assist if needed.

4. Exposure - We mentioned that some parents question their ability to be mentally available for a child who may need assistance while their parents are high. There are also some who assume that marijuana use is alright in the presence of children. One of the most important things to remember when considering your child's risk of exposure to cannabis smoke is that they can and will get high from second hand smoke. Much like with cigarettes, children should never be present in the same room or even house as an adult who is smoking weed. Outdoors is an entirely different matter. If you feel comfortable in your ability to watch your kids while under the influence of marijuana than by all means, light up a safe distance away to account for potential wind interference and enjoy yourself.If the smoke isn’t near anyone who is underage, you are entirely safe.

5. Access - Though storage has been mentioned, what hasn’t been mentioned is our human weakness and tendencies to forget things, especially after a good smoking session. Only take out your cannabis when you are going to use it and be sure to immediately clean the area and check for dropped pieces that may be found by little ones. Keep any tools that you use to smoke marijuana like a vaporizer, bong, weed pipe, grinder, etc., out of reach and locked away whenever possible. Some devices like vaporizers will store large amounts of cannabis concentrates that can be easily accessed with a light push of a button. These devices should never be left unattended in a home that houses underage children.

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