Others’ Safety

Cannabis safety is important for everyone—even those who aren’t consuming it.

 

How do I store it safely?

Sometimes it’s hard even for adults to see when edible treats include THC. That’s why cannabis-infused products can be dangerous for those who may think it’s regular food or candy.

Protecting others

When you store your cannabis safely, you’re keeping everyone—kids, other adults, and pets—out of risk. You can protect them from things like accidental ingestions and poisonings, reports of which have increased since the legalization of retail cannabis.

378 cannabis exposures were reported to the Washington Poison Center in 2017, up from 291 reported exposures in 2016. And more than double the calls the Washington Poison Center received in 2013.

There are some things that you can do to prevent accidental ingestion and poisoning.

Out of reach

Keep your cannabis locked away where small children and teens can’t get to it.

Keep in mind that—like alcohol—teens may search for cannabis products at home. Locking it up is an effective way to prevent teen use.

Out of sight

While you can’t use it in public, it’s best to consume cannabis where young people can’t see. Kids learn by watching the adults in their lives.

Labeled right

Prevent confusion by keeping the “Not for Kids” warning labels on products.

Sealed up tight

Store your cannabis in its original retail package or container.

Because pets might

Keep your cannabis away from curious pets.

If your child accidentally ingests a cannabis-infused product, contact the Washington Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. If the symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to an emergency room.

What about secondhand smoke?

Smoking cannabis—also known as marijuana, pot, herb, bud, weed, grass, chronic, dank, dope, ganga, and kush—in your home has risks. Here’s what you need to know.

Controlling the smoke

How can you help protect others from secondhand smoke? Try only smoking or vaping when and where others aren’t around. You also can wash your hands and change your clothes to remove lingering smoke.

What if I’m vaping it?

Just because it’s seen as an alternative to smoking, it doesn’t mean vaping is safe. Vaping or dabbing cannabis could result in a super high dose—triggering anxiety or paranoia.

There are still dangers

Recently, the U.S. Army Public Health Center issued a warning to users of e-cigarettes and other vaping products after dozens of troops experienced serious medical issues from vaping products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, oil.

More research needs to be done on the long-term effects of vaping. However, we do know the aerosol from e-cigarettes can be harmful. It’s not just “water vapor.”

Whether used for cannabis or tobacco, e-cigarettes contain solvents, flavorants, and toxicants in the liquids. These can include nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which can be found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.

It’s also important to note that while some people vape because it’s not as smelly as smoking cannabis, it’s still illegal to use cannabis in any form in public.

What if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

When it comes to pregnancy and breastfeeding, no two women have the same experience. And, while we do need more research on the impacts of cannabis use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, here are some things we know now. (Translated copies of the breastfeeding flyer are available here.) Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid use.

The basics

Pregnancy discomforts

Finding ways to manage pregnancy discomforts—like morning sickness, stress, and nausea—can be hard. That’s why, if you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s great to talk to your primary care provider for safer alternatives than cannabis.

THC transfers

THC, the chemical in cannabis that makes you feel “high,” can pass to babies during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Exposing babies to THC can lead to problems with feeding, learning, and paying attention.

 

Secondhand smoke

Studies show that secondhand cannabis smoke may contain some of the same harmful cancer-causing chemicals as cigarette smoke, and the American Academy of Pediatrics warns of the potential harmful effects to infants. To protect your children from secondhand smoke, try only smoking when and where others aren’t around. After you’re done, wash your hands and change clothes to avoid lingering smoke. And always lock cannabis away where teens and small children can’t get to it.

Ready to react

Cannabis can impair your judgment, alertness, and reaction time—skills vital to driving safely and tending to your child’s needs.

Not “just natural”

While cannabis can be natural, it’s not free from harm. There are health risks around cannabis for both you and your baby. And although it’s a plant, that doesn’t mean it’s safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding.

You can learn more from the University of Washington’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute.

Marijuana’s impact on pregnant women and their children >

Cannabis, reproduction, and pregnancy >

Need help quitting? Contact the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1-866-789-1511.

Want to know more?

Get more on the risks and consequences of underage cannabis consumption from the Washington State Department of Health’s You Can website.

For information about how to talk to teens and children about the risks and consequences of cannabis, visit Start Talking Now website.