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More than 40% of moms admit to having a glass of wine to help deal with the stresses of parenting, but what about cannabis? Recent research suggests more parents smoke pot than you’d think—they’re just far less likely to admit it.
Parents who enjoy alcohol have a range of social examples through which to frame their habits and can even joke about it. (Think: beer-loving sitcom dads and #winemoms). But with attitudes around cannabis changing so quickly across the country, the conversation around parenting and cannabis is only just beginning to catch up with the culture.
With the push towards legalization, are weed moms becoming the new wine moms (and dads?) Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why parents use cannabis and how they’re fighting the stigma.
‘It makes me a better parent’
We know that parents who are in good mental, physical and emotional shape are better parents overall. Cannabis can help treat anxiety and stress, offering moms and dads some much-needed, pharmaceutical-free relief.
Shonitria, a 30-year-old mother-of-two from Los Angeles, hosts the podcast Blunt Blowin’ Mama. She started the podcast in the hope of bringing together other women and moms like her — “young and brown” — who proudly smoke cannabis.
“Cannabis 100 percent makes me a better parent,” she says. “It’s my go-to form of self-care. I’m able to check in with myself, fill myself with gratitude for all that I have in my life and meditate.”
Tori Owens, mother of two and blogger at The Urban Mom Spot, says cannabis has mellowed her out as a parent, helping her be more patient with the little ones. “Things my toddler does that normally would have prompted me to raise my voice and act out of frustration have been much different since I started incorporating Sativa edibles in my morning coffee,” she says. “All in all, cannabis has simply given me the ability to be more present, aware, and appreciative of every moment.”
It makes parenting more fun
Photo credit: High Society Papa
Ask any parent and they’ll tell you: Parenting can be joyous, but it can also be incredibly boring. There’s an undeniable silly factor to cannabis that encourages parents to be playful, goofy and quick to laugh, especially when you’re watching the Lego Batman movie for the 1,946th time.
As Rebecca Eckler writes on Savvymoms, “Not only was Peppa the Damn Pig pretty damn entertaining after a couple of hits of a joint, but I was watching Peppa the Pig alone, since the kids had been sent off to their grandparents for a sleepover.”
Shonitria agrees. “Cannabis helps me to just be a kid with my kid,” she says.
It’s easier than ever to be discreet
Parents don’t want their family homes to smell like a skunky frat house. Innovations in cannabis products, such as vape pens, CBD-infused gummies, topical creams and tinctures are helping parents discreetly integrate cannabis into their self-care routines, contributing to the rise in parents consuming cannabis.
It’s the better alternative
Photo credit: Blunt Blowin Mama
According to a poll published by Miss Grass, 21% of moms say they completely replaced alcohol with cannabis. In addition, 38% of moms admitted to preferring cannabis over alcohol sometimes. Alcohol poses significantly more health risks than cannabis and doesn’t trigger aggressive behavior or painful hangovers that sometimes result from too much alcohol. No wonder parents are swapping their nightcap for a night toke.
Celebrities do it, too
A slew of celebrity parents have recently candidly confessed their love for cannabis—Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon and Madonna are a few. Just one year ago, Kristen Bell got into hot water for admitting she likes to smoke once the kids have gone to bed. "I like my vape pen quite a bit. Weed rules. Weed is my drug of choice, for sure," she admitted on a podcast. "I can't do it around my kids, which is a phenomenal amount of hours each week. Once a week, if I'm just exhausted and we're about to sit down and watch 60 Minutes, why not?"
Grammy-winner Melissa Etheridge became a proponent of cannabis when she was battling cancer. Today she is cancer-free but says cannabis is still a big part of her life as a means to maintain its healthful benefits.
“My family, all four of my children, understand cannabis… they call it medicine,” she says. "When I hold [a joint] without shame or confusion, then they can understand it as simple as if I was pointing to a bottle of Percocet and said, 'That's Mama's medicine.' You take the naughtiness out of it, and it's not something that kids run to."
Pot rules for parents
To ensure safety and discretion, many parents have rules around their cannabis use. Driving while under the influence is a big no-no. Many parents report restricting their use to after their children have gone to sleep. Vaporizers and edibles are popular with parents, as they don’t result in a house full of smoke or a strong smell.
Fighting the stigma
Photo credit: High Society Papa
Mom Apie Binkley said being judged by other people motivated her to create Stoner Moms, a Facebook community that's amassed nearly 26,000 followers since its launch in 2011.
"My kids aren't sitting next to me and getting a 'contact high,' I don't have bongs sitting out masquerading as flower vases, and I'm not gonna offer the neighborhood kids a hit from my bowl," Binkley told INSIDER. "We aren't lazy, our houses aren't piles of messes everywhere because we're too busy smoking."
And the consequences for pot-smoking parents can be very real, even in states where it’s legalized. “There’s a common public misconception that parents who smoke weed are bad and should be punished,” Shonitria says. “Often, the form of punishment s in the form of removal of the child from the home.”
She adds that a lack of education over cannabis’ medicinal uses is why stigma still persists. “Education is the key to the normalization of cannabis use by parents who are curious about incorporating the plant into their lives,” she says.
Stepping out of the cannabis closet
There’s no denying the appeal of cannabis for parents is growing. Research shows cannabis users are more likely to be employed, more likely to hold supervisory roles at work and more likely to be homeowners with children than non-users.
“People can contribute to ending the stigma by educating themselves and those around them as much as possible about the different methods of consumption of cannabis and how it can treat many ailments,” says Shonitria. “There needs to be less judgement and more listening to those who use the plant so that understanding can begin.”
As Kaycee Lei Cuesta, aka The Cannavist Mom, puts it: “'Mommy needs a joint' should be just as socially acceptable as 'Mommy needs a glass of wine.’” We couldn’t agree more.