Over the last hundred years or so, cannabis use has developed a certain, uh, reputation. Many people think cannabis users have bloodshot eyes and baggy clothes and mumble something about “seeing the music, man,” but that image is not consistent with the vast majority of users these days. More people than ever use cannabis medicinally or recreationally, and slowly the “stoner” image is starting to shift. The key to making that change stick, however, is to be a responsible cannabis user every time.
As a legal cannabis user, you take on certain risks every time you light up, inhale, or take a bite, but underage people and your furry friends can’t make those choices appropriately. It is up to you to keep pets, underage people, and your fellow adults safe while you use cannabis responsibly.
Risks to Pets
Animals are particularly susceptible to getting into cannabis-related mischief if there’s an opportunity to do so. Between your dog’s natural curiosity and cats knocking containers off the table just for the heck of it, pets can get into your stash pretty quickly if you’re not careful.
There isn’t much research about the impact of cannabis on your animals, but most people agree that it’s not good. When animals get into cannabis, they exhibit the same physical responses that people have, but since their bodies are so much smaller (and they can’t tell you what or how much they ate), the symptoms can be especially frightening. Vomiting, disorientation, enlarged pupils, fatigue, and hyperactivity are just some of the ways pets show that they’ve ingested cannabis, but in some severe cases, it can slow your pet’s breathing and heart rate and even cause a coma.
Risks to Children
Children pose an entirely different problem than pets, although they do have several similarities. Their opposable thumbs and intense curiosity make it so that you have to be careful every time you imbibe. Edibles, especially, pose a significant threat to children because they may not stop at one chocolate bonbon or gummy bear, leading to a scary experience for both you and them. Additionally, dumping out the aluminum grinder with your perfectly powdered green onto the carpet or setting your house on fire with a lighter would also be major bummers.
Risks to Teens
Teens are particularly susceptible to cannabis use and abuse, so it’s essential to start teaching cannabis safety early if you use around teenagers. According to the American Psychological Association, one study linked teenage cannabis use to a decrease in IQ. Several other studies found that teen cannabis use significantly alters areas of the brain like decision-making, judgment, planning, abstract thinking, impulsivity, and flexibility. The human brain continues to grow and develop into a person’s 20s, so it’s important that teenagers resist cannabis until at least the legal age of 21.
Risks to Adults
In a state where cannabis is legal, there are no risks to other adults, right? Wrong! There are still the same risks for secondhand smoke, but the main risk for other adults is driving while under the influence. Many factors influence how much cannabis your body can safely use, but you should never drive while high. Cannabis slows your reaction time and can impair your ability to concentrate and judge situations – all crucial skills for safe driving. There haven’t been many studies to find the exact link to stoned driving and traffic accidents, but if nothing else, common sense says it’s not a good thing to do.
It’s worth noting here that secondhand cannabis smoke is harmful to just about everyone. While you can’t necessarily get high from secondhand smoke, there are a lot of carcinogenic chemicals in the smoke that can harm pets, children, teens, and other adults. It can cause eye and lung irritation and cause flare-ups for people with respiratory conditions like asthma. Additionally, prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke can lead to all kinds of different cancers down the road. It’s just better to smoke in a well-ventilated area that is far away from any other people or pets who aren’t intentionally participating in the smoke sesh.
How to Keep Your Stash Safe
Keeping your stash safe isn’t hard to do, but it does require a little bit of thought. You should get in the habit of doing the following things every time you choose to use:
- Put it away every time: When you’re stoned, your first thought probably isn’t to put away your stash box, but it should be. If you have animals or children nearby, as soon as you finish your session, you should put everything away in the same place every time. It should be in a high enough spot that children and pets can’t reach it and accidentally ingest your green.
- Use a locked stash container: Stash containers are excellent tools for keeping all of your cannabis and cannabis accessories safe, but you need to ensure that they are locked. Using an old shoebox won’t cut it if you have kids and pets, but our gorgeous humidors not only keep your stash fresh but are also lockable to keep things safe. Our smell proof bags also allow for safe keeping when you’re on the road.
- Keep all original packaging: This goes for everything but especially for edibles and vape juice. Should a child or animal get into your cannabis stash, you will need the information on the back of the packaging to help medical personnel administer treatment.
What should you do if someone ingests your cannabis who shouldn’t have?
Sometimes accidents happen even when you’re careful, so you should have a plan of action ready just in case. For people, you should call 911 or Poison Control (800-222-1222) immediately and have your cannabis stash information available. If a child is exhibiting symptoms, call 911 or take the child to the nearest hospital, and be sure to bring the original packaging with you.
If your pets ingest your stash, you should call Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) or your vet immediately with the original packaging in hand. Animal Poison Control is run through the ASPCA, and there may be a consultation fee to speak to one of their representatives.
It’s crucial that you be completely honest when you speak to medical personnel. The conversation will likely be uncomfortable, but when the safety of your dependent rests on your shoulders, you have to be 100% forthcoming.
Using cannabis isn’t dangerous in and of itself, but you should always be safety-conscious when there are other people around you. Keeping your stash safe and away from curious hands and furry paws is the best way to ensure that everyone makes good choices and stays healthy.