Pondering Motherhood and My Use of Cannabis
As my biological clock ticks and I mull over the possibility of motherhood, I’m faced with questions surrounding how I can both be a responsible parent, while continuing to medicate with cannabis.
I’ve been smoking cannabis since I was 20, successfully managing my own symptoms of anxiety for as long as I can remember. I know that my cannabis usage does not define whether I am (currently) a good wife or (in the future) a good parent. However, I am concerned about how the educators, physicians, and friends of my children will react when they learn about how I medicate. I certainly don’t keep it a secret… I’m telling you all about it, aren’t I?
But the tides are changing, and what was frowned upon 10 years ago is now a more commonly discussed topic between doctors, patients, and parents.
The Challenge of Pregnant Cannabis Patients
As a woman, pregnancy presents itself with an intimidating set of questions.
Will the stress from my job impact the baby? How will pregnancy affect the hormones in my body, and how will my levels of anxiety change post-partum?
How about, if I can have a glass of wine during the third-trimester of pregnancy, is cannabis use any different?
These are the questions I am thinking about as a woman who is considering motherhood.
I remain torn on giving specific advice on a woman’s cannabis use during pregnancy. But as an informed cannabis patient, what I do know is that there is a significant lack of research surrounding cannabis use during pregnancy. For my plans during pregnancy, I aim to avoid it completely.
Explaining Your Cannabis Use to Young Children
There is no one right way to be a responsible cannabis patient and mother. I’ve spoken to many of my peers and they all take slightly different approaches to integrating cannabis into their homes and lives. The consensus seems to be, just be open about it.
As anyone with children will know, and I have learned this the hard way with my three-year-old niece, if you tell a kid not do so something, or that it is bad, they’re just going to do it to spite you.
How you talk to your kids about cannabis ultimately depends how old your kids are. From what I’ve noticed the younger they are, the easier it goes over.
“This is Mommy’s medicine, I’m putting it in this cabinet, out of your reach. This is not medicine for kids, OK?”
I’d suggest starting to explain and normalize your use of cannabis as soon as you can. The dynamic between you and your children offers the perfect opportunity to explain that you use cannabis as a medicine. Younger children are of course more inclined to accept what you say.
I’d go as far as to suggest showing your children your medicine, clearly explaining that this is a medicine, locked away and to never be touched.
Explaining Your Own Cannabis Use to Teens
Your cannabis use can become an increasingly challenging topic to discuss with teenage children, especially since the lines between medical and recreational cannabis use continues to be a blurry topic.
My own untested theory is that by using administration methods like vaporizers or tinctures, you make cannabis less “sexy” to children and teens. It is seen as a medicine rather than an intoxicating substance. If you bring home medicine that looks, feels, and tastes like a gummy worm – it’s going to draw the attention of your child. By staying away from these administration forms you can avoid a mishap, such as the case where an 11-year-old brought THC gummies to school, and make it clear what your medicine is, and isn’t.
Explain to them, that when the time comes in their own adult lives, they can follow in the footsteps of their mother, and consume cannabis while being a responsible, loving, and caring parent.
As A Parent, Lead by Example
Times are changing, and parenting in today’s world presents its own unique challenges. I encourage parents, and soon-to-be parents, to tackle the challenge of your cannabis use head-on with your kids.
Ask yourself the tough questions about cannabis and consider the big picture about how cannabis will impact your life.
Let’s set the stage of normalization, and reduce the stigma associated with cannabis. Address it early on with your children so they aren’t afraid to have discussions about cannabis. Let’s make sure our children’s knowledge about cannabis isn’t guided by myths but is instead rooted in vetted science.
Mika Unterman – Community Manager @ sailcannabis.co
Mika Unterman is a cannabis educator, community manager, and tech evangelist. Before shifting her career into the cannabis sector, Mika worked in startups driving education and engagement for SaaS products. Now, she uses those skills to empower cannabis patients. She is passionate about using technology to help patients along their cannabis journey and helping them find the best products to help with their condition.