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What Parents Need to Know About Keeping Cannabis Products at Home

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Every parent deserves their own version of self-care, and increasingly, that self-care is taking the form of cannabis products. CBD- and THC-laden treats, toiletries and even the real deal raw bud are outstanding methods for relaxing after a long day of parenting, and they can help the body heal from issues like pain, nausea, anxiety and more. Yet, having weed products in the same home as children can be risky; curious kids are likely to get into things they shouldn’t, which can put them at risk of using products and experiencing negative side effects.

Marijuana is legal, but that doesn’t make it safe for everyone to use. Parents need to know a bit more about how cannabis can affect their households if they want to keep any marijuana products — to include hemp and CBD — at home.

What Cannabis Does to Kids

Here’s a worst-case scenario: A toddler pulls apart a baggie to find his favorite thing: gummy candies. He eats the entire bag of them and toddles away happily. Later, after the toddler is down for his nap, his parent finds the empty baggie — but not in enough time to cause the toddler to throw up. The parent panics and dashes to the nearest emergency room. Doctors check over the child and say that likely, the toddler will be extremely sleepy, disoriented and nauseated for a few hours, and then the pair will be released to go home.

Marijuana overdoses are never pleasant, but even in children, they aren’t exactly life-threatening. There are no confirmed cases of children dying as a direct result of cannabis overdose. Rather, overdoses are marked by more extreme versions of the typical marijuana high — instead of feeling relaxed, users get fatigued; instead of hungry, they get nauseated; and instead of euphoric, they start to hallucinate, get confused, develop paranoia and panic. In some cases, users experience a hike in blood pressure, which might lead to long-term effects on the cardiovascular system — but for now, the long-term effects of cannabis use are not understood.

However, children can die or be seriously injured during the course of navigating an unexpected cannabis high. Because THC causes confusion and lack of coordination, users who have overdosed often get themselves into life-threatening situations. If the toddler from the scenario didn’t go down for a nap, he might have drowned in a pool, fallen down a flight of stairs, wandered into traffic or otherwise unknowingly put himself in harm’s way.

It is much, much easier for children to overdose because they are smaller, they have no cannabis tolerance, and their metabolism quickly and efficiently digests and absorbs everything. Even though an overdose is unlikely to result in a child’s death, most parents should go out of their way to prevent the possibility of an overdose in their household.

How Parents Can Keep Cannabis Safely

There are three ways cannabis-loving parents can reduce the possibility of a cannabis overdose:

Choose the right cannabis products. Plenty of cannabis products aren’t appealing to kids, and others won’t produce harmful effects. For example, kids might gobble up an entire platter of pot brownies, but they likely won’t even notice cannabis capsules or oils. THC tends to be the harmful substance when it comes to kids’ accidental usage; CBD doesn’t produce a high, so kids might not even notice any difference after consuming CBD products. Parents might compare the effects of CBD vs. THC and find that CBD provides desired benefits without the dangers.

Keep cannabis products in a secure place. Kids should have no opportunity to get ahold of cannabis products. Parents should store their cannabis goodies in a private space well out of a child’s reach; cannabis products should never be left on a counter or in a shared space where kids are likely to stumble upon them. When kids are younger, a high shelf in a bathroom or parent closet should work, but as kids get older, parents might want to invest in a lockbox of some kind.

Communicate about cannabis usage. Kids are much more aware of their parents’ behaviors and activities than most parents realize. Parents think they are covertly using cannabis, but most children are seeing the drug use even if they don’t understand it. Thus, children might try to copy their parents and use the same substances — so parents need to be upfront about their cannabis use. With younger kids, parents don’t need to use the right terminology, but they should explain that the products could be dangerous and that kids should never touch them. With older kids, parents might explain why they choose to use cannabis and how they are doing so safely and responsibly.

Cannabis is not the devil drug that many members of older generations once believed. Parents should feel no worse about the occasional toke than they do about drinking a glass of wine after a hard day of raising kids. Still, it is imperative that parents understand the risk of having cannabis products in the house and that they take steps to keep their kids safe and healthy.

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