There’s a good reason that recreational marijuana laws have minimum age limits — immature brains and bud don’t mix. Some studies have found THC, the psychoactive chemical within marijuana, to be a neurotoxin to developing minds; using THC at a young age might cause irreparable damage to neurological tissue in people younger than about 25, forever altering how a young user stores memories, makes decisions, learns, focuses and more.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that keeping cannabis in a home with young kids is a horrific mistake. It is important to remember that alcohol is a literal poison to everyone, not just young people, but parents who relax with a glass of wine on weekend evenings are not demonized by society. It isn’t fair that parents who responsibly partake of the good green herb are villainized.
Still, not every parent’s management of the weed in their home is responsible. You can be a safe and smart stoner parent if you adhere to these simple rules:
Don’t Use Edibles
This might seem incredibly prohibitive, especially because edibles are so fun, but the fact is that weed treats and snacks are too attractive to kids to allow inside your home. While the world of pre-made edibles is expanding at a near-exponential pace, most edibles you can find at your local dispensary take the form of candy, baked sweets or snack foods like chips — all of which are tempting to young ones. Worse, as experienced cannabis users undoubtedly know, most full-grown people don’t need to nosh on much of an edible before they feel suitably high; kids, with their smaller body size and lower THC tolerance, are much more likely to overdose on edibles, worsening the short- and long-term effects of the drug.
Even if you plan to keep your edible stash in a locked box on the top shelf of your closet, the risk is too high that your kids will find and consume them. Instead, you should opt for cannabis products that aren’t particularly appealing to little ones, like oils or raw flower. Yet, even though kids will be less likely to ingest oils or bud, you should still keep your weed goodies in a place where they are unlikely or unable to be encountered — like in a locked box on the top shelf of your closet.
Know When to Partake
Hopefully, you recognize that it is inappropriate to get blackout drunk when you are the sole supervision for your children. If so, then you should also understand that it isn’t a good idea to get sloppy high during the periods when your children need you to care for them. In fact, unless you need marijuana to manage a medical condition, it might not be wise to partake in the good green herb at all when your kids are around. After all, childcare requires wits and fast reactions, which weed will almost certainly strip away.
Instead, you should reserve your stoner sessions for when your kids will be out of the house for at least a few hours. Sleepovers at other friends’ houses are wonderful for giving you a stress-free night of recreation, and you can also asked family members to supervise kids for an evening when you feel particularly overwhelmed and in need of a bud break. Especially not until your kids are older and more capable of caring for themselves should you even consider using cannabis while they are in your home under your supervision.
Open Communication With Kids
Communication is king when it comes to parenting. Even if you are careful to hide your stash and use only when they are out of the house, your children will likely pick up on your pot pastime. If you live in a state like Maryland where cannabis is only available to patients with specific health conditions, you should be open and honest about how marijuana is a medical treatment for you, like how your kids take vitamins and their grandparents take other medications. If you do use weed in a recreational capacity, you should do your best to model responsible marijuana consumption and talk at length with older kids about when it is safe to start using weed — i.e. in adulthood, or better yet at the legal minimum age.
You can be a good parent and continue to use cannabis, as long as you know how to keep your parental responsibilities and your weed hobby in balance. You should develop your own rules for your own household, to ensure that you can find the time to partake while keeping your kids safe.