I’m a dad—a single dad of three amazing kiddos, ages 11, 9, and 7. They are smart, playful and just love being kids. We do all sorts of normal things like jazz dance classes, lacrosse, soccer and the slew of activities all families participate in on any given day. In most aspects my kids and I live a very fun and interesting life. But now I find myself in a brave new world.
Living in Colorado, I have had some time to get used to the idea of cannabis being in the fabric of our lives. In fact I taught my own kids about it when cannabis became legal for recreational use. I wanted to help them understand the value the plant can bring while discussing the risks for them as kids. As I do in all discussions I have with them, I don’t use fear, I use science and logic.
As a leader in the cannabis industry, and CEO of a company that connects a whole bunch of pot-friendly folks, I am very aware of the challenges we face as parents. I hope these three tips will help you all navigate the changing face of weed as we head toward more widespread legalization around the world.
- Know the safety facts: Don’t guess or listen just to soundbites when attempting to learn about marijuana. Remember, for over 70 years there has been a Prohibition-style mindset creating false information. You need to do your own research and truly understand the complexity of cannabis, safety, and what “getting high” really means. In this case what you don’t know could actually hurt your child more than the plant itself. Sitting in the palm of your hand is one of the most powerful devices ever conceived of….the internet via your cell. Take time to at least read before you spout, “Because it’s bad Johnny.”
- Know what to actually be afraid of: Many people in the cannabis industry will go on and on about how cannabis never killed anyone, and they are correct. Cannabis, on its own, has (as far as we know) never killed a person. However when it comes to your kids, what’s good for you can be dangerous for them. You need to understand what cannabis does and how it is activated. First, if you have dried “flower” (the dried plant often called the “bud”) lying around your house and your kiddo eats it, relax, they won’t get high without ingesting a massive amount. Marijuana THC works best when activated through heat (smoking, cooking or vaping). Plants by themselves are not as active as when heated. Therefore they are mostly harmless. Although bud could be a choking hazard for small kids. What you should be more concerned about is kids reaching for cannabis-infused brownies, cookies, and the other countless number of edible products on the market. They will not suffer an overdose, but a child ingesting 100mG of activated THC in the form of an edible can become severely disoriented. They can wander into the street, fall off your deck or trip down the stairs. Not to mention that this will be a horrible experience fora child as they experience a hyper level of disorientation. One tool I use with my kids is “Ask First.” My kids know to ask a grownup PRIOR to eating any kid’s snack (brownie, cookie, candy, or the like) this question: “Is this medicated?”
- Don’t smoke around your kids: Just to be clear, cannabis smoke and the “contact high” is a real thing. Period. I have seen it, experienced it myself and the scientific community has confirmed it. If you smoke weed around other people and they ingest the smoke they can get high. Under the right circumstances, they can get REALLY high. If you love to spark that joint to relieve stress at the end of a long work day, I support it. Just be smart about where you smoke. Your kids have very small lungs and breathe at a much faster rate than you. They can walk by and inhale a big amount of smoke that will contain THC. You should think before you burn one down around Jr.
Remember, there are many alternate forms of ingestion that will protect your kids from an accidental high. For example, a vape pen with a cartridge of high quality oil dissipates vapor quickly and you will be the only one feeling the impact of your medicine. An added bonus to this form of consumption is the ability to control your dose. The average puff is only around 1-3mg of THC. That’s enough to clear your headache.
The bottom line for all parents is that legal cannabis is moving forward around the world. As with any substance that can impact your kiddos, you need to be educated on what the REAL risks are and what they are not.
One place you can get support is on High There. We have built a community of like-minded people who enjoy talking about cannabis for all kinds of reasons, not just to date. I have many friends I met on High There! who offer great insight into how they consume. I have also met people who have many questions about how they can consume safely, in the future, when cannabis is legalized in their area. Join us there and let’s chat.
I will continue to talk with my kids and help guide them on what to really be afraid of instead of letting society make those determinations. Weed is actually an amazing wellness product for adults (and kids if we are talking CBD version). It can heal your body, make you feel better, and reduce your stress while you enjoy the experience. It saved my mother from a terrible cancer. At the same time, I don’t want my kids to stumble upon it. I lock my weed products in a small safe at home, I don’t consume around them, and I make sure I am not impaired when they are with me
I do think this product will serve their generation in a way we can’t even imagine. And that only happens with good parenting now.