Before states from Colorado to Massachusetts legalized recreational weed, smoking weed as a parent was taboo. This doesn’t mean that people didn’t do it, just that you would probably never be high (or ever admit to it) in front of your kids. Today, well over half of Americans live in places where marijuana is legal in some form. This means that a lot more parents are toking up. Here are the dos and don’ts of being a parent who smokes weed in this new era of 420 freedom.
Do: Play With Your Kids While You’re High
The most enjoyable thing you can do as a weed-smoking parent is playing with your kids when you’re high. Many parents find that weed helps them relate to their kids. Plus, you’re more likely to enjoy the same things your kids like when you’re blazed.
Many parents around the world would agree with this. Lucy, who lives in Portsmouth, England, wrote to The Guardian: “I feel weed makes me a better, calmer, more interactive parent, I ask my daughter more questions, have the patience to sit and teach her new things, go on long exploratory walks and spend longer playing with her than I would if I hadn’t been smoking, I feel it’s really brought us closer.”
Don’t: Smoke Weed While You’re Pregnant Or Nursing
While you can (and should!) play with your kids when you’re high, you should never let them ingest THC. Though second-hand smoke isn’t good for children, the main way that babies ingest harmful amounts of THC is in the womb or potentially through breastmilk.
Studies show that ingesting THC while pregnant can affect brain development. Dr. Yasmin Hurd of Mount Sinai Hospital told the New York Times, “Even early in development, marijuana is changing critical circuits and neurotransmitting receptors.” Transmitting THC to a baby can have detrimental long-term effects on a child’s capacity to read and focus, as well as their ability to feel emotions.
THC can also be transmitted through breastmilk. Though we still need more research on the long-term impacts of THC on developing brains, avoid smoking marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Do: Talk To Your Kids About Weed
We’re all for honesty if your kids are of an appropriate age. We leave it up to you to decide how old that is.
Tell them the good and bad aspects of the cannabis plant. This could mean going into its amazing health benefits for people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and skin conditions. There’s no reason why your child shouldn’t be a marijuana legalization activist later in life if we haven’t made strides on the federal level yet.
Talking to your kids about weed probably also includes explaining that weed is still a Schedule I drug federally (though feel free to share your opinions on why that is). If your kids are learning how to drive, you should also explain why driving high is dangerous.
Additionally, make sure your kids know that not all weed is created equal. Synthetic cannabis can be deadly. Make sure your kids only want the finest organic herb by the time they’re of age. Teach your kids the dos and don’ts of being a parent who smokes weed for when they have their own kids.
Don’t: Leave Weed and Weed Paraphernalia Around
Whether or not you feel comfortable smoking in front of your kids, don’t leave your weed or weed accessories around the house. When it comes to the dos and don’ts of being a parent who smokes weed, the number one thing you don’t want is young kids playing with glass bongs and lighters. Or accidentally ingesting edibles.
If your kids are young, store weed high up and in child-proof containers. If they’re older, get creative.
Do: Choose When and Where You Smoke Carefully
It’s a whole new world when it comes to smoking weed with your family. This one is really up to you. Some people will smoke in front of their kids (not right next to, however) while other parents aren’t comfortable doing that.
Whatever you do, make sure you’re deliberate about when and where you smoke. Hint: Don’t smoke while driving. Don’t hot box with your kids. Avoid letting your kids see you totally couch locks and other non-parental things we do when we’re super baked.
Additionally, studies show that marijuana can curb domestic violence. Not only can smoking around your kids be fun, but it can make you a more tolerant and relaxed (and better) parent.
Don’t: Let Kids Smoke Marijuana
This one should be a no-brainer, but young kids shouldn’t be smoking marijuana. This extends to letting them ingest second-hand smoke. A study shows that children who inhale second-hand smoke have marijuana biomarkers in their urine. We do not know the effects of marijuana on children yet, but while we do research, it’s best to avoid letting your kids smoke marijuana or ingest second-hand smoke.
This extends to edibles, too (obviously). Letting your kid consumer cannabis can have some serious health and legal consequences. The police arrested this woman who let her two-year-old eat a marijuana-infused mack and cheese. Authorities are also charging a mother who made her baby smoke a blunt with child abuse, among other things.
Of course, there are health conditions that merit medical marijuana use for children. One of the dos and don’ts of being a parent who smokes weed is being well-versed in the marijuana’s benefits. For instance, medical marijuana can help children with autism. Don’t just give your child marijuana, though. Consult a doctor and doing a lot of research before considering marijuana for children.
Parenting and Pot
After years of weed prohibition, many parents are finding themselves in unchartered territory when it comes to weed and children. When it comes to the dos and don’ts of being a parent who smokes weed, use your discretion and do your research.
With inconclusive research on the effects of THC in children and adults, there’s a lot we don’t know about marijuana. For now, keep the herb at a safe distance from kids, but don’t be afraid to let the herb teach you to be a better parent. Weed can help you calm down and focus on what matters when it comes to your kids, whether you have a toddler or your kids are smoking weed at college.