What to Do When Your Kid Eats Your Weed
Published on Oct 6, 2020
The list of states where cannabis is legal seems to lengthen by the day. The U.S. now contains 33 states where medical weed is permitted and 11 where any adult above the age of 21 can walk into a dispensary and grab some flower or a weed-infused treat. With that omnipresence comes potential danger, though, because marketing firms and brand ambassadors package tasty edibles in an effort to stand out in the crowded marketplace and entice consumers. That provocative packaging can unfortunately interest children who might think they've stumbled upon an exciting sugary snack. After all, most cannabis edibles are sold as chocolates, gummies, cookies, brownies, lollipops and other similar dessert items.
The good news is that parents who like to eat weed and keep edibles in the home can relax. Cases of kids unintentionally ingesting cannabis-infused products and suffering any type of poisoning are very rare. Reports of marijuana ingestion by children are not unheard of, however, so it is important for parents to know what they should do in the unlikely event that their kid accidentally consumes edibles. Just remember that no child has ever died from consuming marijuana and no child who has consumed marijuana has been left with any permanent health issues.
Symptoms of Marijuana Ingestion in Children
These are some of the common signs that your child might have ingested weed:
- Sudden onset of excessive sleepiness or lethargy
- Loss of balance
- Slurred speech
- Trouble walking
- Slowed breathing
There have been some documented cases of children suffering extreme symptoms like convulsions and even coma, but those reactions have only occurred a handful of times.
What to Do When Your Child Consumes Cannabis
If you think your kid (or any other child) has accidentally consumed cannabis, the first thing NOT to do is panic. Go to the National Capital Poison Center's Poison Control website or call them at 1-800-222-1222. Consider putting this number into your contacts for easy access. They will guide you through an assessment process that will include several questions about your child's current status and condition. If you are able to provide them with an idea of how much weed was accidentally ingested (even if it is an estimate) it will be extremely helpful to the professionals at Poison Control. Try to take notes as you monitor the child and his/her symptoms change. Bring them to a comfortable area that they normally enjoy where they will feel safe. If they do fall asleep, make sure that they are able to be awakened. In the very rare instance that they cannot be awakened, head immediately to the emergency room.
Will I Get In Trouble if My Kid Gets High?
It is important to not allow any fear of potential legal ramifications to interfere with the care of the child. Kids are curious and often fearless; there is always a chance that they will try to consume anything from laundry detergent to household cleaners to rotten food in the refrigerator. Even the most vigilant parents cannot prevent accidents from happening.
You might receive some questions from a local government official who works for child services or social services, but if the ingestion happened by accident and it is obvious that you maintain a level of care in order to keep your kid safe, there is no reason that it might be handled like anything other than an unfortunate incident. Emergency rooms are used to handling cases where a child has gotten into something potentially dangerous which is a normal household item. Be honest and provide as much information to the doctors and house staff so that they can provide proper care. The care will usually involve administering fluids and simply allowing the kid to rest and stay calm until the effects of the ingestion wear off.
How to Prevent Children from Consuming Edibles on Accident
There are several steps that parents and guardians can take to minimize the risk of accidental cannabis consumption. Thankfully, most legal edibles are now mandated to be packaged in child-proof containers that greatly reduce the chance that they might be accessed by a snooping child or toddler. The easiest thing to do is to keep cannabis and cannabis edibles on lockdown. Just as you would with knives or bleach, store your edibles in a cabinet that is difficult to access, out of reach of curious kids and preferably locked. There are several lockable medication bags on the market that can be used to store prescriptions and things like weed edibles. Otherwise, consider purchasing a small safe or lockbox that can be stored out of reach of your kid. All of these are affordable options and will bring you the peace of mind of knowing that your stash won't be compromised.
Are you a parent who enjoys edibles? How do you store them? Do you ever worry about your kids finding and consuming your infused treats? Let us know in the comments section below.