Plenty of parents like to relax after a long, hard day with a generous glass of red wine or a couple cold beers fresh from the fridge. Yet, if you aren’t that into alcohol, you might be wondering: Is it safe for you to enjoy a joint after your children have gone to bed?
In general, the stigma surrounding cannabis use and parenthood is incredibly unfair and definitely unwarranted. Cannabis isn’t any more dangerous than alcohol; in fact, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that weed is better for your body and mind than booze. Still, cannabis and kids don’t exactly mix. Here are some tips for toking safely as a parent:
As much as you might want to light up after a long day of work and parenting, you should refrain from consuming cannabis while you are the sole caretaker of your children. The truth is that no amount of incapacitation is appropriate when children are around, and because any amount of cannabis consumption can impair your judgement or reduce your reflexes, you shouldn’t be interested in any cannabis dose if there are no other adults around able to pick up your slack.
Here’s a realistic scenario: You put your kids to sleep without a problem, and as a reward, you take a few sips from your cannabis vape. A half-hour later, just as your high is reaching its peak, a child wakes up immensely sick, with a dangerously high fever that requires immediate medical attention. Your stoned brain might not understand the gravity of the situation and try to put your child back in bed; alternatively, you might know you need to go to the hospital, but you legally cannot drive incapacitated by weed.
Another consideration you should make is the example you are setting for your children. Kids of all ages learn about appropriate behavior by watching and modeling their parents. Though cannabis consumption isn’t inherently morally wrong, it is dangerous for kids to use weed too early in their mental development. Cannabis is considered a toxin to developing nervous tissues, and it can irreparably change the structure of the brain in babies, children and even teens.
Here’s another believable scenario: You limit your smoking to weekend afternoons, as a way to unwind. While your kids are playing in the backyard, you roll a joint and smoke it, keeping yourself separate from their activity. Still, they can see you partake, and they incorporate smoking weed into their game of pretend. As they get older, your kids are more curious about cannabis use, and when offered weed by friends, they eagerly accept — even though their brains are still growing and changing.
You should want your kids to be as safe and healthy as possible, and that means making smart choices about how you consume cannabis as a parent. Ultimately, you can use weed in your home, but it isn’t wise to do so when your kids are around.
Stash cannabis in off-limits place. Cannabis should be kept out of reach in a place kids know they aren’t supposed to go. You might keep your stash in a locked box at the top of your closet or in a locked laundry room cupboard.
Use when kids are out of the house. It isn’t difficult to arrange playdates and sleepovers to get your kids out of the house. You might also hire a babysitter and find another place to use, like a cannabis lounge or Aurora dispensary.
Use when another adult is present and sober. If you want to use when your kids are asleep, you need to be sure there is another adult on hand to handle emergency situations. You can always call over a friend or neighbor if you don’t have a spouse or roommate on hand.
Talk openly and honestly about cannabis with kids. When your kids are old enough, you need to have a frank conversation with them about your cannabis consumption habits and how you make sure to use weed safety and responsibly. You might also set your expectations for their drug use, so they understand house rules and boundaries.
Know the signs of cannabis intoxication in children. Having cannabis in your home will always be a risk, and you should be ready and able to respond should your kids accidentally get into your stash. The signs of cannabis intoxication in kids are similar to those in adults, but they can be dangerous.
You aren’t a bad parent for using cannabis. In fact, using cannabis to relax is a good way to keep your stress levels low and remain committed to being the best parent you can be. Still, you should control your consumption to avoid negatively impacting your kids, and that might mean changing your habits in the above important ways.