Moms and Marijuana: What You Should Know

moms and marijuana
Graphic by: Anna Wissler

Editor’s Note: The Everymom does not encourage illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

For the past few years, I had heard dozens of friends have great experiences with medical marijuana and followed several women on social media who use it to help conditions like endometriosis. After so many years of chronic pain and disability, I finally decided to give marijuana a chance.

I like to think I’m a pretty responsible parent, but I couldn’t help being anxious about my choice. My nerves were due in part to the stigma that parents receive for using any type of marijuana, but also to the fact that I had personal experience seeing someone I loved dearly struggle with substance abuse. Because of that experience, I never experimented with drugs or alcohol in high school like many people did, which inevitably made me a ball of nerves the first time I went to a dispensary. Even with my doctor’s approval and a state-issued medical marijuana card, I was still nervous. For other moms who might feel the same—or who might just be curious about trying marijuana—I reached out to two experts who have a plethora of knowledge and plenty of tips to help guide “canna-curious” moms, Danielle Simone Brand and Sarah Tupper.

Meet the expert
Danielle Simone Brand
Author and Advocate
Danielle Simone Brand is an outspoken advocate for conscious consumption and an inspiration for the start of our brand. Her book Weed Mom: The Canna-Curious Woman’s Guide to Healthier Relaxation, Happier Parenting, and Chilling TF Out is a must-read for anyone interested in a deeper exploration of their relationship with cannabis and parenthood.
Meet the expert
Sarah Tupper
Founder of Sarah Jane
Sarah, an entrepreneur, founded Sarah Jane in 2020 and has made it her mission to empower women in their exploration of cannabis in the Midwest. The cannabis industry has fueled Sarah’s passion for equal representation for women in both the consumer and entrepreneurial space.

 

Combatting the “weed mom” stigma 

Even with marijuana becoming legal in many states—and with my doctor’s approval—I knew some extended family members wouldn’t approve of medical marijuana. I was also worried that friends and fellow parents would buy into the stigma as well.

“Yes, there’s definitely a stigma for ‘weed moms,'” said Danielle, “but it’s somewhat nuanced and depends on where you live, your social circle, and lots of other factors. Skin color, unfortunately, is one of them—women of color tend to be judged more harshly than white women when it comes to parenting and pot, as well as lots of other issues.”

“Just as a quick comparison, you can find ‘wine mom’ jokes and memes all over the internet that are mostly celebrated or thought to be an innocuous part of North American mom culture,” Danielle continued, “while cannabis-consuming moms who are open about their use on the internet can be subjected to a lot of judgment and hate, or even calls for CPS to investigate their families. Of course, there are prohibitionists and even anti-cannabis parent groups out there, but in general, my message—that responsible cannabis use and good parenting are 100% compatible—seems to be met with more curiosity than judgment from the mainstream. So far, at least.” 

 

You can find ‘wine mom’ jokes and memes all over the internet that are mostly celebrated or thought to be an innocuous part of North American mom culture, while cannabis-consuming moms… can be subjected to a lot of judgment and hate.

 

When I asked Sarah for advice on how to cope with this stigma, she said, “We know that women like to talk to women, so we’re working to bring these conversations from private whispers to public shouts. The more we talk about our experiences with cannabis, the larger our community will grow and flourish. No judgment, no stigma, no rules except what works best for you—whether you’re consuming wine, weed, or something different, we support women finding the support that works best for them.”

 

 

Considerations when caring for children 

When you’re a parent, the health and safety of your children should always come first. Before deciding to use marijuana, parents should think about how they will partake safely as a parent, including a secure storage method—especially considering how gummies can sometimes look like candy or regular snacks. 

Because safety is of paramount importance for moms, I walk readers [in my book] through what responsible use looks like—from figuring out your ideal product and dose, to child care and supervision issues,” said Danielle. “To answer the question succinctly I’d say that, if you’re new (or returning after a long time) to cannabis, experiment with THC when you have a backup parent or sober caregiver.”  She also advised never driving or doing serious outdoor activities like mountain biking or climbing with your kids while consuming.

“However,” she continued, “the elephant in the room for moms and cannabis concerns its federal Schedule I status. Cannabis is state-legal in many places, but it remains federally illegal—and in most states there aren’t clear protections for parents who consume.” She stressed the importance of knowing the laws where you live and being aware that cannabis use can complicate child custody proceedings if you have an ex or co-parent who chooses to make an issue out of it.

“And, of course, don’t consume cannabis if your job prohibits it,” Danielle added.

CBD can be a safer alternative for moms just starting to experiment. “It’s non-impairing, though it may help shift your mood subtly and reduce anxiety,” said Danielle. “If you’re brand new, try it when there’s someone else around just in case you feel sleepy. With THC-containing products, always start low and go slow (more on that below) and don’t try any new-to-you products while caring for young children. Once you’re comfortable with your response to THC and understand the proper dose for your body, I believe it’s okay to consume a microdose, or possibly a moderate dose, while parenting in low-stake, at-home situations where connection is the goal: reading together, doing art, playing board games, etc.”

 

Being aware of the health risks

One of the things I had heard about marijuana that made me nervous was that people could get really paranoid and even be prone to some mental health risks. Danielle shared that “some people do get paranoia or anxiety with high-THC products; that’s a downside that can be avoided simply by avoiding getting ‘too high.’ Dry mouth, red eyes, and coughing (if you’re smoking) might also happen, but these are minor inconveniences that tend to pass relatively quickly.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, some negative outcomes associated with heavy, long-term cannabis use for adults are:

  • Lung problems, especially from vaping
  • Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (severe vomiting)
  • Increased risk of psychotic episodes or mental health problems
  • Dependence issues
  • Some risk of harm to baby if pregnant or breastfeeding

Danielle added that “most of the negative outcomes associated with cannabis involve long time, heavy use of THC-rich cannabis and that moderate use of legal cannabis in the proper dose for you at appropriate times (i.e., not while driving or working) is very low-risk in terms of health and safety.”

 

 

Using marijuana responsibly

 

Go slow and consider microdosing 

Start low and go slow is a common refrain in the cannabis community, Danielle shared. “You can always add more, but you can’t subtract.”

“You may have heard of the term microdosing—this is a method of consumption that suggests taking low doses of a substance throughout the day can provide consistent support,” Sarah explained. “In actuality, the concept of ‘getting high’ is technically a side effect of consumption. Research has shown that integrating microdoses of cannabis into your daily routine can enhance your body’s capacity without going overboard. This can prove more effective at reducing pain and anxiety than the stigmatized image of a typical cannabis consumer’s choice to smoke with the primary goal of ‘getting high.’

“The arrival of legalization has brought stricter testing guidelines, dosing measurements, and more access to premium processing methodology, which has allowed women to experiment with cannabis through a wider variety of methods, including those that are more discreet and comfortable for mothers who are just looking for quick relief from the day-to-day.”

 

Incorporate CBD to mitigate marijuana side effects

“If you’re going to incorporate THC,” advised Danielle, “balance that out with some quality CBD (in the form of a tincture, capsules, or even smokable hemp). Research shows that CBD helps mitigate some of the potential negatives of THC (including anxiety and paranoia that some people get with high-THC products) and can function as a neuroprotectant.”

 

Buy from a legitimate dispensary or delivery service

“Legal cannabis is tested for residual pesticides, molds, and other contaminants—and clean cannabis is much healthier for you,” said Danielle. “Plus, on the legal marketplace you know how potent the products are (measured by milligrams in edibles and percentage of THC in flower).”

 

Preparing for your dispensary visit

When I walked into the dispensary near me, I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and professional everything was. Where I live in Pennsylvania, in order to enter, each person needs to show their medical marijuana card and is not allowed to enter with friends or family who do not have proper clearance. Once inside you pass over your card, fill out some paperwork, and wait for a staff member to escort you into a locked room with registers, tablets with a menu of items, and a few large-screen televisions. The staff answered a bunch of my questions and, in the end, I walked out with two items I was excited to try.

I was surprised to find that for dispensaries, you generally need to pay in cash or via a debit card, but some things like needing to be a legal adult to enter made sense. Here are a few other tips from Danielle:

  • Consider the effects and benefits you’re looking for
  • Decide how you’re comfortable consuming (options include smoking; vaporizing; vaping; taking tinctures, capsules or edibles; drinking infused beverages; applying topicals, serums, or lubes)
  • Consider what you want to spend and get some cash (federal banking restrictions mean that the vast majority of dispensaries—medical or recreational—operate on a cash-only basis)

Sarah also added that “not only are there a huge variety of strains, but there are also multiple methods of consuming cannabis beyond the cultural image of a stoner with a joint. In actuality, smoking may not always be the best method of consumption for a first-time user.”

 


While going to a dispensary after changing diapers all day can be nerve-wracking, I have to admit that using medical marijuana has been one of the best decisions for my health. I had my doubts, but after experiencing the benefits firsthand in a safe environment, I personally would recommend moms with chronic pain discuss it with their doctors. If I could change one thing about my journey with exploring this type of treatment, it’s only that I would have asked my physician about the option much sooner—and worried less about the stigma.

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