Bethany Robson:

Parents of the Twitterverse weigh in on cannabis edibles

Photo credit: Josh Willink via Pexels

Edibles are evil and will irreversibly damage your children! Emergency rooms are filled with innocent four-year-olds tripping on a parent’s carelessly forgotten weed cookies!

Do these statements remind you of anything?

Truthfully, this is the projection of a rather biased mainstream media. I wouldn’t consider myself a news junkie by any stretch of the imagination, but I do keep up with the stories that make daily headlines. It seems every time I see news articles that have anything to do with cannabis edibles, the headlines look suspiciously similar. Even this morning, a gift package in a hockey tournament made CTV News’ top stories because it contained cannabis-infused edibles and mistakenly awarded to a minor. It's safe to assume if the basket had contained a bottle of wine instead, no one would have thought twice. (Granted, the concern was in the accidental awarding of an intoxicant to a minor, however, there are plenty of other fear-mongering headlines to validate the notion that authorities and the media don't think parents will do much in the way of preventing consumption in their own homes.)

As a responsible cannabis-consuming parent, I find it difficult to believe that other parents who do the same are truly as careless as the media represents them. Having become acquainted with the plant, I also find it hard to believe that edibles are as scary as they are being made out to be. So, after an unusually sleepless night a few weeks ago that found me staring at the ceiling around 3 a.m., I decided to satisfy my curiosity by delving into the great depths of the Twitterverse in search of answers.

Photo credit: @Schmootensock via Twitter

My questions to parents were simple: what did they use edibles for? How did they store the edibles they consumed? What did they tell their children, if anything? What was their biggest concern with edibles?

Unsurprisingly, the responses I received were overwhelmingly supportive of the obvious: parents are responsible with adult-oriented products and they are aware of the hazards associated with them.

Plain, simple logic dictates that as investors in their offspring, parents will protect that investment by treating potentially harmful substances with an abundance of caution.

With each parent having their own unique take, this may mean storing edibles out of reach, clear labelling, and in-home education.

Having had so many wonderful parents reach out with their stories, I had to wonder: why do edibles evoke such a strong and highly negative reaction? There are plenty of other substances that could be equally or perhaps even more enticing to children. And while some of them are covered in the media, such as the recent concern over bubble-gum-flavoured vape pens, I have yet to read an article on these substances with more bias than cannabis or cannabis-infused edibles.

The most obvious comparison in the adult-substance realm would be alcohol. Happy hour is a well-documented occurrence and parents are not an exception to that phenomenon. Most of the parents I’ve met will have a glass of wine with dinner or enjoy a cocktail during a family dinner out. Furthermore, there is little doubt that they use similar protective thought processes with both alcohol and weed. However, despite many parents treating these two substances with arbitrarily similar caution, the government does not.

To see the story for myself, I trucked down to my local dispensary and liquor store to compare the two ‘evils’. The contrast was disturbing. My single square of chocolate garnered a price tag similar to a six-pack of coolers and only lasted me two servings. More shockingly, I had to take the package to our resident weed expert to help me open it, since nothing I did could get my chocolate out. On the other hand, while my youngest son didn’t give two hoots about the edible packaging, he immediately asked about the brightly colored, easy-to-open cans of coolers next to it.

Photo credit: Bethany Robson

On closer inspection, the chocolate package had several warnings on it indicating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content and various risks, while the cooler can had no warnings whatsoever and only a simple “7 per cent alcohol” tag to indicate that it was anything other than regular lemonade. I find this offensive. As a parent, I appreciate that the ingestion of either of these substances by small children could have traumatic effects, mentally and physically. I can also appreciate the debate concerning which is more harmful. But why the double standard when it comes to how they are treated?

Photo credit: Bethany Robson

My conclusion is this, and while it may seem obvious, it rings resoundingly true: fear is the cause. Fear is a result of ignorance, so people fear what they don’t know. It’s a vicious cycle, because regardless of whether it’s ignorance on behalf of regulators or fear of losing a political career from taking a stance, the result is the same. Cannabis, specifically edibles, are on the short end of the stick.

Those of us on the ground, though, know the truth. As consuming parents, we choose to educate our children without stigma. We choose to use cannabis or edibles to support ourselves as parents: whether that’s treating debilitating conditions so we can be present, or simply taking stress away so we can connect. In doing so, we also choose to model responsible consumption for our children. These things together are going to impact their future far more than any fear-mongering headline could ever hope to.