Lock it up: Keep children and pets safe from cannabis poisoning2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
By Gina Alderman
Cannabis edibles are often typical foods infused with cannabis. Unregulated edibles often do not have cannabis-identifying packaging, and can look nearly identical to popular snack brands. This can cause confusion for children, who may think they are snacking on a regular food product. Even regulated products can look like traditional tempting treats to those who do not understand the cannabis information on the packaging.
If these products are not securely out of reach, it can lead to children consuming edibles. No amount of cannabis ingestion is safe for children, and it is important that if you keep cannabis in your home that you are taking steps to reduce the risk of ingestion by children. Unintentional cannabis poisoning in children has increased since the legalization of cannabis. It can present with a variety of symptoms, such as lack of coordination, irregular or fast heartbeat, and slowed breathing.
Children are not the only household members who have seen an increase in unintentional cannabis poisoning. Household pets are ending up in emergency veterinary situations after accidental ingestion. A 2021 study from University of Guelph researchers noted an association between areas that have legalized or lessened penalties around cannabis and an increase in dogs experiencing cannabis poisoning.
Have a plan in place for how you will store your cannabis products before you use them. Once you have consumed cannabis, you may experience impaired attention and memory. This could result in products not being properly stored out of reach of children and pets.
Keep all cannabis products locked away securely, in child resistant packaging, and use them out of sight of children. Be sure to keep them stored in an area away from other products that they might be mistaken for, such as snacks or medications.
For more resources, visit our cannabis information page for parents and caregivers.
Choosing to use? Make sure you understand the health and safety impacts of cannabis use by visiting regionofwaterloo.ca/cannabis.