Yes, good moms like weed, too.
Cannabis is legal now, but after decades of ‘just say no,’ legal doesn’t always feel like acceptable. But if you’re a mom who happens to like — or be curious about — cannabis, you’re not alone: 26 per cent of Canadian parents admit to consuming weed.
As with other social beliefs rooted in misinformation, education is the antidote to stigma. With that in mind, here are 10 expert tips for understanding the troubled history of cannabis prohibition, talking about the plant in a healthy way, and establishing your responsibilities as a weed-loving parent.
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Know your cannabis history
“It's important to consider and now re-evaluate why cannabis was made illegal in the first place,” says Dr. Jenna Valleriani, CEO of the National Institute of Cannabis Health and Education. “In North American history, the ban of particular substances, like cannabis, has historically been linked to racism… part of the reduction in stigma is because white, middle class people have become more forthright about their use.”
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Realize that it’s complicated
“Cannabis is equally medicinal, recreational and therapeutic, and our inability to define its exact role has led to confusion about what it is and what it does for people,” says Tabitha Fritz, director of cannabis education for Mihi Cannabis and mom of three. “Stigma has crept in from many sides, including pop culture, which tells a single story of stoner consumers, a failed war on drugs that taught us lies about cannabis, and institutional racism that has disproportionately imprisoned people of colour for crimes involving cannabis.”
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Remember that cannabis has been in families forever
Reena Rampersad is a former social worker and current cannabis caterer. “When I was a kid, my grandma would come visit us from Trinidad, and she’d use this plant to make oils and rubs,” she says. “She’d heat it on the stove, heat it really low. I didn’t know it as cannabis or marijuana or weed, I just knew it was a natural herb, and a part of life.” Cannabis isn’t new for families — stigma against it is. Our social views have radically changed once, and now they are changing again.
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Don’t judge yourself (because someone else is already doing it)
“Mothers are judged for everything in our culture,” says Fritz, “for our alcohol ingestion, the way we dress, the way we dress our kids, how our kids relate to others, screen-time, dinner time, vacation time. The list never ends, and cannabis use is no different. It may take some time, but I'm confident that as mothers continue to use cannabis, and as it comes more into the open, society will begin to see that cannabis is a uniquely effective and useful wellness tool for women, particularly during their childbearing years.”
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Consider talking openly
“I'd like to see more of my parent-friends talk openly about their cannabis use and even be more open on their social channels,” says Rachael Collier, a communications consultant and mom. “Another important piece of the conversation is that discussion leads to information sharing — dosage, strains, the whole gamut. There are a lot of great sites out there with tons of articles and tools, but like most things, first-hand info and recommendations go the farthest.”
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Include your kids in the conversation
Ashleigh Brown is CEO of patient advocacy group SheCann, a mom of two, and an advocate for frank dialogue. “Whether you’re discussing your personal cannabis use or educating your kids about cannabis, I think the most important thing to remember is that kids are smart, and they don’t miss a thing. An evidence-based harm reduction approach that puts science first and encourages critical thinking is the best way to give them credit for their perspectives and their existing knowledge.” She recommends the CSSDP youth toolkit as a conversation kick-starter.
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Lock your stash
Danielle McInnnis is a cannabis advocate, mom and founder of Canna Parents. She reminds parents that being a responsible cannabis consumer means educating your kids about cannabis, and keeping your weed out of reach. “Locking up one’s cannabis and storing it in a safe place out of reach and sight is a parent’s responsibility,” she says, “but we also have a duty to educate our children about our ‘stashes’.”
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Set a good example
“I believe in being open with your kids about why you use cannabis,” says Stephanie Karasick, mom of two and co-founder of Strainprint, a cannabis data company. “Whether it’s as a medicine or to relax at the end of the day, if they see you being responsible and not impaired, it helps them get a better understanding. I also think it’s important they see you choosing healthier methods of consumption, like vaping rather than smoking.”
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Be careful with edibles
Some of the recent bad press around cannabis has to do with edibles experiences gone wrong. If you have cannabis-infused foods that could be appealing to children, it’s paramount that you look them up — and that you know your own limits, too. “A good starting dose for a naive user is somewhere around 2.5 mg of THC,” says Valleriani. “Of course, this varies based on the individual — for some this can be enough, and other may not feel the effect. If the person is over the age of 60, even consider 1-2.5 mg of THC as a starting dose.”
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Remember that you’re not alone
“Momming is really hard and we are all struggling in different ways, but most all can agree our number one concern is the safety of our kids,” says High Society Mama founder Bianca Snyder. “When we can accept that we are all different, but all have this same concern in mind, we can find common ground. Moms should come together to support one another.”