As the use of cannabis becomes more common around the country, many moms are ditching the “Mommy needs a drink” trope and instead kicking back to unwind with cannabis.
According to a recent study conducted by The Harris Poll, 64 percent of parents admitted to leaning on cannabis to help deal with the stress and frustration brought on by the COVID-19 lockdowns, with 67 stating that using weed “helped them to be better parents” and 78 percent planning to swap their preferred cocktail for cannabis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there’s evidence to show that some cannabinoids may help soothe the side effects of cancer such as nausea and that marijuana could help with certain types of neuropathic pain. But marijuana also has a negative impact on health — the organization notes that people who use it are more likely to develop mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety, or have an increased risk of vascular diseases. Pregnant women who use marijuana are also at risk for harming their unborn baby’s health in the form of low birth rates or developing neurological problems, among other concerns.
And because cannabis isn’t legal in most states, there is judgement surrounding moms who partake.
We spoke with four moms to learn why they’ve made the switch from alcohol to cannabis, and what they wish others knew about their lifestyle.
“The Stereotypes Are Laziness and a Lack of Responsibility”
As Danielle Simone Brand entered her late 30s, she noticed that a glass or two of wine in the evening would leave her feeling wrecked the next day. “After a few years of dealing with side effects from alcohol, I realized that short-term enjoyment on a Friday night wasn’t worth the headaches, tiredness, sugar cravings, and digestive issues the next day,” the author of Weed Mom: The Canna-Curious Woman’s Guide to Healthier Relaxation, Happier Parenting, and Chilling TF Out, tells SheKnows.
“All it takes is one brave mama to crack the stigma.”
Brand says she’s been able to find her own personal “sweet spot” with cannabis, which allows her to enjoy the positive effects (in her case, it’s relaxation, the ability to stay present, and improved wellbeing) that she no longer experiences with alcohol. “Plus, I’m a chiller mom and I sleep better,” she says. “It’s an all-around win.”
Still, Brand wants stoner stereotypes to disappear. “Many people who don’t blink an eye when parents consume alcohol (even to excess) are mortified by the idea of one who consumes cannabis,” she says. “I think that mainly comes from a lack of education about what responsible cannabis use looks like; many people seem to think that cannabis enthusiasts all [use it] like Cheech and Chong. The stereotypes mainly revolve around laziness and a lack of responsibility — which couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“We Want Our Kids to See That Marijuana Can Be Used Responsibly.”
Before the pandemic, Chelsea O. drank one glass of wine per week. “The bottle usually went to waste before I could ever finish it,” the mom tells SheKnows. “Then COVID happened and we found ourselves sitting on the porch with neighbors over cocktails.” From alcohol, Chelsea struggled to stay hydrated and battled frequent hangovers until a friend introduced her to vaping THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). From that point on, she says, “I didn’t have headaches, I wasn’t dehydrated, and I was more relaxed,” adding that it helped her lessen anxiety and depression. One small study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry conducted on people with anxiety and depression found that medicinal cannabis use was associated with better sleep and quality of life and lower self-reported depression. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, there is research to suggest that people who smoke marijuana are diagnosed more often with depression than those who don’t use it, “However, it doesn’t appear that marijuana directly causes depression.”
“I don’t worry about stigma as a mother using cannabis because I keep my circle limited with like-minded people who understand the benefits of THC,” she explains, adding that her children are too young to understand what she is smoking. “As they get older, we want them to see that marijuana is something that can be used responsibly to unwind. We also want THC to be seen the same as having a glass of wine after a long day at work.”
Chelsea also wishes the media would do away with stoner clichés. ”Portraying pot smokers as lazy, dirty, and dumb in shows and movies continues to keep the stigma alive and well,” she says.
“A Well-Rested Mommy is a Happier Mommy.”
At 38-years-old, Melissa B. has never really liked alcohol. “Beer is gross and I’m always hopeful that wine will taste like grape juice but it never does,” the mom tells SheKnows. “I also don’t really like the feeling of being buzzed or drunk.” Although Melissa believes the benefits she receives from cannabis make her a better mother to her three boys, ages five through nine, she still worries that people will see her as an unfit parent if they learn about her use.
“My house is loud all the time. They are constantly fighting and getting into things. I love them so much but sometimes it’s nice to sneak away and smoke a little or sneak an edible cannabis gummy,” she says of her kids. “It helps me to relax and I feel like I’m a better mother because I’m more patient and I yell less.” Melissa adds that cannabis helps her sleep better. “A well-rested mommy is a happier mommy.”
“My Girls Deserve Me at My Absolute Best.”
Kristina Adduci prefers unwinding with cannabis instead of wine because it allows her to remain in control while she’s partaking. “With it, I function normally in a state of mental ease,” the mom tells SheKnows. “With cannabis, there is no hangover the next morning.” She adds, “I want to be an incredible mom, and I think I am. My girls and my family know that. But I’m not at my best when my anxiety takes over. My girls deserve me at my absolute best.”
Adduci isn’t too worried about what people will think of her choices. “I do what any other mother does — which is what’s best for me and my family. I keep a good handle on my anxiety and it doesn’t rule over my life anymore. I’m happy and healthy and I can focus on my girls without worry seeping into every thought,” a mindset she credits to cannabis.
Still, Adduci would like to see the shame surrounding cannabis use lifted, which is why she has become a proponent of its benefits over the years (she even sells related accessories that are designed to be artistic yet discreet through her aptly named company, House of Puff). Says Adduci, “All it takes is one brave mama to crack the stigma,” she says.
*Chelsea O. and Melissa B. requested that SheKnows omit their last names for privacy reasons.
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