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.
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.
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, that 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
It’s not just “water vapor”—e-cigarettes and vapor products can be harmful. Whether used for cannabis or nicotine, e-cigarettes contain solvents, flavorants, and toxicants, including:
- 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.
Vaping and lung injury
Vapor products, including those that contain THC and CBD, have been linked to a lung injury that’s led to hospitalizations and even deaths across the country. So, what symptoms should you be looking out for? People affected experience coughing, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and fever.
And this isn’t the first time vaping has been linked to serious illness. In 2018, the U.S. Army Public Health Center issued a warning to users of e-cigarettes and other vapor products after dozens of troops experienced serious medical issues from vapor products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, oil.
While more research needs to be done on the long-term effects of vaping, we do know that the immediate risks are serious, and we encourage everyone to quit using e-cigarettes and vapor products immediately.
What about driving after use?
Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal. So is having it out in your car. That’s why it’s best to keep cannabis unopened, in its original package, and out of reach—like in the trunk. That means passengers too. When you’re along for the ride, remember, it’s still illegal to have cannabis outside of its original package or use it while in the passenger seat.
Choosing a safe alternative
Driving a car under the influence of cannabis isn’t just illegal—it’s dangerous. Even if you feel like you “drive better high,” data indicates that driving under the influence of cannabis increases the risk of crashing. So, for the safety of others, it’s important to find a designated driver, call a cab, or use a rideshare service.
And we’re not alone on this. Studies show consuming cannabis can affect your judgment, coordination, and reaction times—even if you’ve only had “a little.”
Driving while under the influence could lead to harmful, possibly deadly, crashes—leaving you subject to significant legal penalties.
105 traffic deaths in 2017 involved a driver who tested positive for cannabis.
That risk can increase when you mix cannabis with alcohol. Alcohol and cannabis are the most common combination of drugs found in drivers involved in deadly crashes. By choosing a safer ride alternative, you can keep yourself—and everyone else on the road—out of harm’s way.
Learn more about driving under the influence of cannabis from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
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.