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Medical Cannabis Safety Tips for Thanksgiving 

thanksgiving cannabis safety tips

With turkey day almost upon us, and as families gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, it can get hectic whether you are traveling to see family or friends or hosting everyone at your home for the feast and fellowship that makes Thanksgiving great. Medical cannabis safety tips are probably not at the top of your priority list.

However, every year in the United States, children are exposed to cannabis.  In emergency cases, some children need medical care because of the effects of cannabis toxicity.  Or contraindications with medications they are taking or symptoms of health conditions they may have.

So as we head into the holiday weekend, our physicians and staff at DocMJ want to share some important safety tips to consider if you have medical cannabis in your home.  Or if you are traveling with medical marijuana to visit family or friends. 

Before things get too busy, make a plan to safely store your cannabis, and prevent accidental ingestion of cannabis so that everyone can have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. 

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Traveling Out of State With Cannabis Can Cause Legal Problems

When you are a patient registered with your state medical cannabis authority, you have rights and protections. As a certified patient, you have permission to use medical marijuana within the limitations provided by state laws. 

Patients who have medical cards are legally protected.  That means, as long as you do not break the laws regarding quantity or provide cannabis to unregistered patients, you are free to use it to manage your symptoms.  And free to transport it from the dispensary to your home or anywhere you are traveling within your home state. 

However, did you know that those protections no longer exist when you cross the state line?  It’s true if you travel to a state that does not permit medical cannabis.  But did you know that it is also illegal even when you are traveling to a state that has legalized medical marijuana?

It is unfortunate when a patient with a medical card faces legal consequences for transporting cannabis to another state.  And many people do not know about the risks they face when they leave their home state or jurisdiction.  

A few states have reciprocity laws, which allow patients from another state with a medical card to purchase cannabis from a licensed dispensary legally.  Other states can issue temporary medical cards for a period of thirty days or longer if a patient plans to visit a state.  That extends the legal protection to purchase, possess and use medical cannabis.  And helps prevent legal problems. 

Providing Medical Cannabis to an Unauthorized Patient

When we care about someone, we do not like to see them experience pain or discomfort.  And whether you are traveling or inviting someone to your home, you may be tempted to share your medical cannabis with them, particularly if they have debilitating symptoms and are interested in trying it. 

In Florida, delivering or providing an individual with 20 grams or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor offense.  By innocently sharing your cannabis, you could face a fine of $1,000 and up to one year in prison.  And other states have similarly strict rules against authorized patient use.

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If you know someone who is struggling to manage their symptoms using traditional methods, refer them to DocMJ in Texas, Florida, or Ohio.  Or another trusted provider to schedule their medical cannabis health evaluation and apply for their own medical card. 

Securing Your Cannabis to Prevent Access from Minors

There are two circumstances where minors can access cannabis used by a registered patient.  The first and most common is young children’s accidental ingestion of edibles.  To a child, a gummy or other edible cannabis product can look like candy.  And often, packaging for cannabis edibles looks very similar to different types of confectionaries. 

On June 16th, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about minors’ accidental ingestion of THC edibles.  According to the FDA, the national poison control centers received 10,448 “single substance exposure cases” involving THC edibles between January 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022. 

  • 77% of cases involved patients 19 years of age or younger. 
  • 65% involved unintentional exposure to THC.
  • 91% of the unintentional exposure cases affected pediatric patients.
  • 79% of the cases required evaluation at a healthcare facility.
  • 7% of the cases required admission to a critical care unit for treatment.

Tragically during that time period, there was one pediatric fatality after the suspected ingestion of a delta-8 THC edible. Raw cannabis buds, edibles, tinctures, and vapes present an equal risk of harm to children, including semi-synthetic THC products. 

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Symptoms of pediatric exposure can include hallucinations, increased heart rate, nausea, and vomiting.  Make sure all forms of medical cannabis are carefully stored and secured to prevent accidental use by minors.  And if you suspect a minor has ingested semi-synthetic or other THC products, contact your local poison control.  Or visit urgent care as soon as possible. 

Carefully Control Access to Cannabis-Infused Foods 

If you have a medical card, some Thanksgiving side dishes or meals may be cannabis-infused for your own consumption.  However, if you invite family or friends over to feast, it is essential to segregate your cannabis-infused foods from other menu items. 

Even if there are no minors in your home, you must exercise caution to remain compliant with state medical cannabis laws.  Only a physician can determine if cannabis is safe for an individual.  Certain prescription drugs are contraindicated with cannabis; it can create a life-threatening situation if there is a medication conflict. 

Protect yourself legally, and protect the safety of those you love by taking these extra precautions with medical cannabis over Thanksgiving weekend and the holiday season so that everyone has a happy and safe holiday.