Cannabis in homes with children: A survey on use, storage, and attitudes

Alex Gimelli, Anusha Deshpande, Julia N. Magana, Aimee Moulin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: The recent legalization of cannabis in California has the potential to affect cannabis prevalence in households with children. This eventuality, combined with suboptimal cannabis storage practices, could lead to adverse effects such as unintentional pediatric ingestion, which occurred in Colorado after legalization. Our objective was to assess prevalence and storage practices of cannabis in households with children, and attitudes on use and storage education in a state that has legalized cannabis. Methods: We administered electronic surveys to 401 adults in a pediatric emergency department in California. Participants were excluded if they were not English- or Spanish-speaking or did not live in a household with children <18 years old. They answered questions regarding cannabis use, storage, and attitudes on cannabis storage education. We used convenience sampling and analyzed data using descriptive statistics. Results: Research assistants approached 558 participants of whom 401 completed the survey. Three participants did not respond regarding past or current cannabis use, and 14.5% (58/401) reported cannabis use in their home in the prior six months. Both users and non-users rated safe storage of high importance in homes with children. Only 44.8% of home users (26/58) reported that their cannabis was both locked and hidden. Among home users, the most common source of storage advice was friends and family (21/58, 36.2%), and 45% of home users (26/58) received no storage information whatsoever. Most cannabis users (53/67, 79.1%) and non-users (241/330, 73%) reported that they would feel comfortable receiving cannabis education from their primary care provider. Conclusion: Cannabis is used and stored in homes with children; however, safe storage is not clearly defined in California, and storage education is lacking. Healthcare providers in primary care and the emergency department may play an important role in educating the public about cannabis use and safe storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1146-1149
Number of pages4
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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