Keeping Kids Safe from Medical Marijuana

By Ellen Lenox Smith, Columnist

Frequently, someone will mention to me that they want to medicate with cannabis but won’t even consider trying it due to their children living in the house.

I can certainly understand their concern, but feel there are still ways to administer the medication, get control of your pain and also keep your children safe.

What are the biggest concerns a parent has about using marijuana around children?

  1. The danger of cannabis getting into the children’s hands.
  2. The smell from smoking marijuana alerting children to what you have in the house.
  3. The still lingering issues of society’s judgment of it

How can you comfortably still make use of cannabis with children in the house?

As with all medications kept at home, you always have to be alert for the safety of children. Cannabis is no different. For any medication, parents (and grandparents) should consider locking it up to keep it out of the wrong hands. 

To still be able to enjoy the benefits of marijuana, but without the smell, there are ways to administer it that are just as successful as smoking. Many wrongly assume that is the only way you can use it. 

I only take cannabis as an oil. It is kept in a medicine bottle, measured out nightly and mixed with some applesauce. This is not something that children are attracted to. I always make sure it is a secure spot. I sleep through most nights and generally during the day never need to take any other forms of the cannabis, since it continues to offer me benefits from the nightly teaspoon.

Another effective option is to use it topically. The results are soothing and have shown tremendous relief, even for those suffering with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). We make ours with a peppermint oil extract added to mask the smell. The peppermint also helps  open the pores in the skin to allow for absorption.

Tinctures containing cannabis can be made in either a glycerin or alcohol base. They can be stored in a medicine bottle and used as frequently as needed. One simple teaspoon in the cheek or under the tongue allows for absorption and pain relief. You can also take cannabis as a pill or suppository, and many have learned to make it as a drink or steeped as a tea. 

For more on the different ways to use cannabis, see my column: “How to Use Medical Marijuana Without Smoking.”

Finally, as far as societal judgement goes, as your children grow older, it doesn’t hurt to be honest with them about the benefits you have found from using cannabis to improve the quality of your life.  It is no different than any illness you are coping with where there is a need to medicate. As time progresses, this conversation will get easier as society embraces this safe alternative.

If you are one of those people who is putting the benefits of medical cannabis on hold because of your children, you might want to reconsider your options and allow yourself the relief you need. Remember, unless you take too much, you do not experience the high that people associate with marijuana. A body in pain does not react to marijuana like a body using it socially. You get pain relief and the others get the high.

Ellen Lenox Smith suffers from Ehlers Danlos syndrome and sarcoidosis. Ellen and her husband Stuart live in Rhode Island. They are co-directors for medical marijuana advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation and serve as board members for the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition.

For more information about medical marijuana, visit their website.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.