May 14, 2018

Moms on Weed

I’m not a mom, but I know some moms. And I definitely know a bunch more through friends and friends of friends. The mom network is never ending and it grows by the minute. I figured I’d take advantage of that network and ask a question that I’ve always wondered: what’s it’s like to be a mom who uses cannabis?

Occasionally, I’ll put myself in those shoes and contemplate what it would be like. Ultimately all I know for sure is that my relationship with the plant would change in a big way. I put together a short survey for the mom network to talk about their experience with cannabis, what kind of fears and stigmas they face, and whether or not their kids know that mom has a secret.

Granted the sample size was pretty small but all of the moms agreed that wine drinking moms have easier; nearly all were using it to make their lives more enjoyable, whether through alieving physical pain, treating anxiety and depression, or increasing creative output; and even maybe most importantly, every mom felt like it made them better parents.

One of the things I learned was that there were stigmas and legal consequences faced even in legal states. One mom told a disheartening but all too common story when asked if she felt she had to hide her use:

“Abso-fucking-lutely. I don't feel like I have to hide it for my kids but I have to hide it from my friends, colleagues, my daughter's therapist and any other official agent or mandatory reporter. I live in a completely legal state I am a documented medical patient and I feel unsafe every day that I will be outed as a cannabis user. Not only does this potentially damage my reputation as a mom it also potentially could derail my professional credibility (because of stereotypes people have about what they think people who are stoned all the time are like and that our work is less competent and efficient.”

The stigma of being a cannamom was the biggest concern overall. Hiding their use is a part of their daily lives. Despite the fact that all of the respondents are of legal age and using cannabis legally in accordance with state laws, remaining in the closet is a common thread.

“...I absolutely feel as if I have to hide it which I hate .. also people should keep in mind that just because weed may affect one does not mean it affects the next in the same way.”

Other moms explained that it felt lonely, which I think a lot of femme cannabis users can relate too.

“There’s just not enough canna moms around here that can understand my lifestyle choice,” Leia, in IL, told me.

I think the biggest surprise in of the survey was that most of the moms had had conversations with their kids about cannabis. I assumed it would be a hidden bit of information that she’d drop on her children when she found their first bag of stems and seeds in the laundry. Maybe it's what my mom would have done if she was a cannamom herself. But I was wrong. 

Z said her kids have always known.

“My kids do know. They are 17 and 18 though. I started the conversation with them about cannabis with them in 4th-6th grade and came out to them as a cannabis user in middle school.”

And, as I mentioned at the beginning, I think the most important part of this survey was learning why these moms use cannabis. Which I think gives a pretty good look at why most of us are users as well, parent or not.

How and why do these moms use cannabis?

Stress.
- anonymous

“I use because it helps me to set aside my emotions and use logic.”
- anonymous, CO

“To ease anxiety and depression. To relax after work and for creative endeavors.
- Z, CA

“I use flower, oils, and edibles. I have used it for years for my anxiety but in the last 4.5 years I use it for PTSD symptom control.
- anonymous, OR

“Help my anxiety. Focus my ADD. Manage my pain. Sometimes as a sleep medication sometimes as a morning stimulant like coffee. It really is, to me, a complete miracle to my health. And admittedly sometimes I use it to relax and socialize too. With people that I do know use cannabis I am a little more open but for those who aren't parents I've actually been judged by other cannabis users about being a mom who uses cannabis and that sucks too.”
- anonymous, MA

“I smoke mostly out of convenience— cost— and how quickly it seems to help. I started initially using cannabis for my chronic pain but soon realized that would help ground me if I felt myself on the verge of a panic attack, I found myself sleeping much better. So now I would say I smoke to stay pain-free and sane.”
- Leia, IL

This survey reminded me that the pro-cannabis movement still has a lot of work to do. It's all fine and good that states are legalizing use and possession and regulating a legal market, but what about the societal implications for moms who use cannabis? What about professionals?

What about the mostly black and brown people who are still serving sentences for what would be now considered legal activities? 

Why is it acceptable that I can walk around DISNEY WORLD with a nice, cold, alcoholic drink in my hand but if I went to the smoking section and lit a joint I'd be arrested? Won't someone please think of the children? 

We have a lot of work to do so that everyone can enjoy the kind of freedom that I feel as a cannabis using white lady without kids. Everyone deserves that. 

Are you a cannamom? Leave your thoughts in a comment below. Or if you’d like to remain anonymous, feel free to fill out the survey too.

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