Learn more about why cannabis plants growing in the ground do not pose a risk to children, why they can be a safe part of your family garden, and what you should worry about instead!
- The science behind why cannabis plants are safe
- Explanation of why cannabis plants don't naturally contain THC
- An overview of what kind of products you should keep away from children
Why You Will Love This Guide
When I first found out I was approved as an NYS Licensed Cannabis Farmer, I celebrated with a video of me and all my favorite cannabis pictures.
Some of these pictures included my children in my cannabis garden, to which one internet troll stated: “putting actual drugs in the hands of your children, what a bad mom you are!”.
But the truth is, these plants are perfectly safe in children's hands.
And while I want to be defensive and mad, I know most people don’t understand this because they were never taught.
Most people have never had the opportunity to see a cannabis plant growing in the ground or the opportunity to see it be turned into medicine.
This is why most people incorrectly assume that these plants are somehow dangerous when they are growing.
But the scientific truth is that growing cannabis plants do not pose a health or safety risk to children or adults.
They pose no more threat than the tomato or squash plants growing next door.
The main health and safety concern associated with cannabis is THC, a compound that can cause an intoxicating high. Growing cannabis plants contain little to no THC. Therefore, they do not pose a risk to children (or adults).
The Answer is Scientific
Raw cannabis plants do not naturally contain large amounts of THC (or CBD or CBG)1.
Instead, cannabis plants contain what are known as cannabinoid acids. The most common acids are THCA, CBDA, and CBGA.
These cannabinoid acids are *non-intoxicating*, meaning they cannot get someone high through touching or eating.
Cannabinoid acids must be converted into the active forms of THC, CBD, and CBG through the process of decarboxylation.
The process of decarboxylation occurs when cannabis is exposed to light or heat (through baking or smoking)2.
After this process, THC is then active, and now can be considered dangerous to children if consumed (which is when reasonable safety measures should be put in place, see more below).
However, it is nearly impossible for decarboxylation to be achieved by a child under appropriate supervision.
Growing cannabis plants do not pose a health or safety threat to children because they do not contain large amounts of active THC.
Even if a child were to eat raw cannabis, they are not consuming any THC because decarboxylation has not taken place.
As a mother of two, I can guarantee it is very difficult to get a little boy to eat any type of green vegetable, and it is unlikely I will ever find him out in the garden chowing down on a cannabis plant.
What You Should Worry About Instead
Just because growing cannabis plants are not dangerous to kids does not mean that THC cannabis products are not.
It is still extremely important to keep prepared cannabis products that contain active forms of THC away from children – especially edibles.
Your job as the parent is to store these products in a way that keeps them out of children's hands – no matter their age.
From toddlers to teenagers, it is important you take the appropriate precautions that are right for you and your family.
Safe Practices Include:
- Secure storage - child-resistant backs or lock-boxes or locks installed on cupboards.
- Appropriate packaging and labeling – standardized cannabis symbol
- Appropriate disposal practices
- Contact info for your local poison control center 3
There is always a possibility of encountering environmental health risks during the growing process.
Risks that are naturally seen when growing other crops, such as mold development, is possible.
It is also important to keep any chemical products, such as pesticides, out of the hands of children. These can be toxic if consumed.
Indoor grows run additional risks such as carbon dioxide buildup, and electrical and fire hazards, and should be considered carefully.
A Part of Your Family Garden
Keeping growing cannabis plants away from children because they might get high is like saying you can’t take a child into a restaurant with a bar because they might get drunk.
If you are legally allowed to grow cannabis plants where you live, there is no reason your plants can’t be a part of your traditional garden.
In fact, growing your own cannabis plants with your family is a great way to teach your children about cannabis – why we grow it and how it can help us.
It is also a great time to teach them about using THC responsibly when they are of legal age, just like we talk to our children about using alcohol responsibly.
Having open and honest conversations with our children about cannabis and its role in our lives will only set them up for success later in life.
It will allow them to learn about the plant, understand the benefits, and see how it helps you and your health.
Proper education can help keep everyone safe in the long run!
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Hi, how is it with the plants inside?
My partner is growing two plants in a room that will actually be a baby room... Those two plants will be gone soon, but still...
In January baby will come to this world. He will first sleep in our room anyway. But i'm really stressed to put him later in the other room. What do you think?
Hello Alicia! First, I have never grown indoors before, so I am no expert in this area. However, I think you should be fine, especially if you have plenty of time in-between harvest and babies arrival 🙂 Congratulations to you, mama!!