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How to Keep Your Medical Cannabis Safe from Your Kids

    • While cannabis isn’t dangerous, your prescription was meant for you—an adult with medical reasons to use marijuana. Additionally, safety measures should be paired with the communication approaches that work best for your family.

 

    • Because every family is different, we’ve provided tips for as many different types of parents and children as possible.

 


For patients who start their path to healing with medical cannabis online, finding reliable advice for managing their prescriptions around their children can be challenging.

The TeleLeaf community can sympathize: many medical cannabis patients have children, and all types of families have found ways to keep their children and their prescriptions safe.

If you’re not sure where to start, this guide is for you. We’ll offer some practical tips for safe storage, break down a few approaches to talking to your kids about marijuana, and even offer some insights for unique family structures (like co-parenting scenarios).

The Practical: Tips for Safe Storage and Security

You got your medical cannabis card online, picked up your products from the dispensary, and you’re ready to start your plant-based recovery quest. But how do you keep your supply away from your children?

Containers and Convenience

Containers are key storage, but what kinds should you use to keep your marijuana safe? The answer depends on your children’s ages and stages:

  • Containers with tight-fitting lids – If you have very small children or infants in your home, they’re likely not strong enough to open something like a mason jar. But these can break; keep them out of reach on high shelves or inside locked cabinets.
  • Dispensary bottles – Keeping your products in their dispensary-provided containers is an excellent choice for parents of young children. Even if they do get their hands on one of these containers, they may not be strong enough to open them or old enough to understand the locking lids.
  • Lock and key – If your children are old enough and strong enough to outsmart tight containers and locking lids, it might be time to take more advanced measures—keeping your supply in a secure lockbox or safe, for instance.

Our number one tip is to slowly escalate your containers to a developmentally appropriate level—preferably proactively instead of reactively. In other words, upgrade your containers before your kids can get into them.

You might also consider using administration methods that decrease your likelihood of accidentally leaving something out: pre-rolled joints, discreet vape pens, and gummies are all convenient methods that only require you to take one item out of your containers at a time.

The Philosophical: Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Marijuana

Keeping your kids out of your cannabis supply is like keeping them away from your prescription medications: it just makes sense. But as your kids age, they may take notice of your treatment regimen, and healthy communication is key here.

Let’s dive into some tips for talking to kids about cannabis.

Have Developmentally Appropriate Conversations

Your conversation about cannabis will look very different depending on the age(s) of your child(ren). Here are a few example scripts that can help you keep the conversation developmentally appropriate for their age level:

  • Preschool to elementary school – “I take special medicine to help me stay healthy. But this medicine is only for me: just like you have your own toothbrush/vitamins/medicines, I have my own. I don’t need to use yours, and you don’t need to use mine.”
  • Middle school – “I choose to use plants to support my health instead of/in addition to typical medicine you get from the pharmacy. It’s healthy and safe, but it’s also designed for adults only.”
  • High school – “I choose to use cannabis for my health—not for recreation. While recreational use is okay for adults, marijuana might not help you reach your goals at this age. Plus, it’s against the law for anyone under the legal age to use it, and the consequences of getting caught are very serious.”

We know what you’re thinking: Kids blab to their friends (and family, and teachers) about everything. When you talk about cannabis with your kids, you run the risk of butting up against social stigma in your community.

But there are two things to remember:

  • Attitudes toward cannabis are changing; this community and its supporters are growing.
  • Boundaries are key to healthy communication.

Set (And Enforce) Boundaries

Setting and enforcing boundaries will help you keep your children safe and accomplish other goals—like protecting your confidentiality. As you talk to your kids, set boundaries related to:

  • Privacy – “Your health is your business, and my health is my business. I don’t tell people about things that are private to you. I’m choosing to tell you about my health because I trust you. If you share private information about me with others, that changes the amount of trust in our relationship.”
  • Respecting belongings – “This is my medicine. It’s not for you to use. If you need help with something health-related, your doctor and I can help you; you don’t need to try things on your own—especially if they’re not prescribed to you.”
  • Consequences – [This is most appropriate for older children.] “You’re welcome to ask me questions about cannabis, but you may not use mine. If you do, there will be consequences for our relationship. Plus, legal consequences for using marijuana without a prescription/underage can have a major impact on your life.”

You also need a plan for handling potential boundary violations. If you find out that your high school-aged child has been sneaking your marijuana, what conversation will you have with them? What actions will you take? Making these contingency plans can help you respond calmly and effectively to unexpected situations.

Considerations for Special Circumstances

The scripts above only scratch the surface of what it might look like to talk to your children (and others in your household) about your medical marijuana treatment. If your family is a little atypical, your approach might be, too. Let’s touch on a few unique situations:

Co-Parenting

If you have shared custody or parenting responsibilities with another adult, keeping them in the loop about the conversations you’re having with your children can help support a transparent, positive co-parenting relationship.

Plus, your co-parents may have helpful advice, or they may have reservations about talking to your kids about cannabis. Hearing their concerns might help you prepare for potential questions from your child and consider a different perspective.

Chosen Family/Adoptive Children

Whether a friend and their children live with you or you have adopted children, you should still consider how those children (and their parents) might respond to your approach:

  • If a friend and their children live with you, have a conversation with your friend about how to approach the situation. They should have a say in how their kids learn about cannabis.
  • If you’re an adoptive or foster parent and have a relationship with your children’s birth parent(s), keep them in the loop to an appropriate extent. Depending on your child’s age and your relationship with their birth parent, it may not make sense to talk to them about cannabis until they’re older.
  • If you (and your spouse, perhaps) are the sole caretaker(s) of an adoptive child, your approach is your prerogative.

Children with Special Needs

If you have a child with special needs, you may have to take a very unique approach to talking about cannabis with them. However, the advice above generally still applies:

  • Keep it developmentally appropriate – Whether you frame cannabis as a medicine or dive into the specifics, the purpose of communication is to extend respect to your child and keep them as safe as possible.
  • Set boundaries – To the extent that your child understands boundaries, set them. That could look like a conversation about common courtesy or a clearer set of expectations and potential consequences.

In some cases, it simply might not make sense to have a conversation about cannabis if it’s not developmentally appropriate. For these scenarios, sticking to highly secure storage is the safest possible route.

TeleLeaf Offers Must-Have Support for Medical Cannabis Patients

Choosing cannabis as a healing tool has a variety of implications for your life: especially if you have children. While keeping your kids safe from cannabis takes a lot of thought and intention, their protection is paramount.

Not sure where to turn with your questions about cannabis? The TeleLeaf team has your back. We’re here to help patients connect with the licensed providers and supporters they need to recover with medical marijuana: the all-natural, plant-based medicine that produces real results.

Are you ready to start your journey? Talk to our medical marijuana doctors today.


Source

Children’s Hospital Colorado. Keeping Marijuana Safely a Home.
https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/parenting/parenting-articles/safety/

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