High on motherhood: The rise of the ‘Cannamoms’


Mothering in 2024 is no joke. Each day we’re faced with a towering list of domestic and professional to-dos, the management of the ever-expanding universe that is each of our children, and the increasing needs of our aging parents. We’re asked to juggle more balls and spin more plates than a Cirque du Soleil acrobat while keeping our bodies fit, our minds agile, and our spirits uplifted. (Just writing these words makes me want to take a nap.) It doesn’t help that all of this is set against the consistent hum of a broader unease, as we attempt to metabolize the long-term effects of a radically destabilized environment, the heartbreak of too many school shootings, and the dopamine-tanking consequences of our collective screen addiction. 

The intensity is high, and as it turns out, so are we. A 2023 study conducted by The Harris Poll for cannabis retailer MedMen Enterprises found that more than one-third (37%) of American women over 21 consume cannabis. With about 74 million kids under 17 currently living in the US, it doesn’t take a mathematician to understand that a good amount of those consumers are mothers. So how has a substance that has been federally illegal since 1970—cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, alongside LSD and heroin—become a mainstay of the PTA set? 

It’s a state-by-state situation. Currently, 24 states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis use, transforming the procurement of weed from a back-alley drug deal into a pleasant retail experience. Cannabis dispensaries are often shiny affairs with a boggling array of options from tinctures, tablets and vapes to rainbow-hued gummies with complex flavor profiles (jalapeno and guava, anyone?). The average cannabis store is a snacker’s paradise featuring sodas, cookies, crackers and popcorn each infused with various amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant, i.e., the stuff that gets you high. If you’re a traditionalist, you can keep it classic by sticking with the cannabis plant in its natural state. Cannabis buds or “flower” are available in a dizzying array of strains. Smoking has options, too. Go the DIY route by rolling a homemade joint, purchasing a tidy preroll, or popping it in a pipe or bong. 

‘Mommy’s little helper’ gets an upgrade 

Modern mothers often need support with overwhelm and anxiety—and for some of us, that help can be surreptitiously puffed in the backyard while Peppa Pig entertains the little ones. While a glass of wine used to be a mother’s go-to relaxant, wellness conscious Gen X and millennial mamas are on an ongoing hunt for alternatives to alcohol. Hangovers are passé, as is the sugary and caloric wake that boozy drinks leave behind. 

“We have had lots of feedback from mothers specifically who find our edibles a healthy replacement for a glass of wine,” says Erica Kingsolver, Director of Ecommerce & Digital Marketing at Rose Los Angeles, a cannabis company specializing in chef-inspired edibles. 

With more than half the country legally selling cannabis, the drug is in the middle of a major PR facelift. Not gone, but definitely shrinking, is the dazed-and-confused stoner stereotype. As research continues to support the medicinal effects of the plant, all kinds of people, from seniors to CEOs—are using cannabis as a tool, rather than a vehicle to escape or check out. 

Mothers are one group that is using weed purposefully. “Moms say that the patience it brings makes them feel like better parents,” says Kingsolver about the brand’s strawberry gummies, offering a gentle 1 mg of TCH in each serving. With its sleek packaging, curated list of whole-food ingredients—their latest edible features passionfruit, chili and cilantro—and lower-dose products, cannabis companies like Rose are helping to polish weed’s tarnished image and normalize regular use for everyone—mothers very much included. 

A time-out for mom 

Marissa Fratoni, RN, an integrative nurse specializing in women’s health in the cannabis space, has dedicated much of her work to advocating for parents who use cannabis, specifically mothers. She sees moms using it to treat chronic conditions like pain, depression, anxiety and insomnia. “Cannabis is a really strong anti-inflammatory medicine,” she explains. “It’s high in antioxidants and it is highly therapeutic. We have enough evidence to now support the idea that it has medicinal therapeutic benefits.” Fratoni runs a Facebook group that offers cannabis resources and support for mothers and notes that moms are also using it to help them with the grind of day-to-day parenting

“A lot of moms will tell you that they use cannabis because it helps them be a more present mommy,” she says. For Kaylee, a 41-year old mother and entrepreneur, cannabis helps her manage challenging moments with her 5-year-old daughter. “When I feel overwhelmed or short with her I’ll ask her to go downstairs and tell her I’ll be down in five minutes,” she says. “I take a hit and then I’ll be able to say ‘I’m sorry, that’s not how I wanted to handle things.’ When I’m feeling a little stressed, it makes me better able to manage my stressors.”  

Cannabis can also simply make parenting more fun. “I’ve found that I’ve had some of the sweetest, most engaged moments with my daughter when I’m a little bit high,” says Susie, a 45-year old mother of a 5-year-old and a small business owner who smokes some cannabis every day. “I’m an older mom and I didn’t jump into motherhood because I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it—there’s a lot going on physically, emotionally and responsibility-wise and it can be hard to tamp those down and actually enjoy parenting. It helps me turn off the work, turn off the planning and just hang out with her, do a puzzle, have a fun conversation.”

Start slow and low 

As research into the benefits of cannabis use expands, it is settling into an increasingly legitimate place in the wellness conversation. The American Nurses Association has even recognized the once-controversial (OK, still controversial in half of the US) plant as a bonafide subspecialty of the nursing practice. 

“Cannabis nurses are here to help the public understand cannabis as a therapeutic—its risks, its benefits, the entire profile. We’re educators,” says Fratoni. 

Understanding cannabis starts with understanding the endocannabinoid system. “It’s a physiological system much like the respiratory system or the immune system; a master regulatory system that crosses between the nervous system and the immune system. It signals messages through the central nervous system out to the peripheral nervous system and we have receptors through those systems. We have receptors in just about every system in our body,” she explains. 

If you’re cannabis-curious, Fratoni recommends starting with a very low dose, increasing slowly over time, and using a journal or app to track your use and experience.

“Cannabis is a self-therapeutic substance and everyone’s different,” she says. “I’ve had women who have reported that one milligram of THC, which is a pretty low dose, has made them feel very, very high and then there’s people who might not get the same effect with 30 milligrams and more. You have to explore it.” 

She also suggests enlisting support when starting to experiment with cannabis. “If your children are under your care, it’s really important that you have a responsible adult around just so that you can explore safely—and [so that] everybody can stay safe while you’re doing that.” If you’re just beginning to dip your toe in the vast sea of cannabis options, resources like Frantoni’s Facebook group can be a lifeline. “We help moms find the resources they need to make informed decisions. Because we all know moms need to make informed decisions. We don’t do anything lightly.”

Snugbox Stash Box

Snugbox


$159

Keeping your stash safe from little hands is always a top concern. After all, edibles can easily be mistaken for candy, and let’s face it–kids can find anything no matter how cleverly you may hide it. For kid-proof containment that’s beautiful and functional, Snugbox is the answer. The smell-proof design features a combination lock to keep your goods out of reach while a grommet at the back allows you to charge any devices inside. A removable storage tray provides places to keep small pieces organized while the main compartment is large enough for glassware or, um, things that vibrate. Talk about making each session a gorgeous little ritual!

Yew Yew Ash Tray

YewYew


$45

Chances are, you’re not leaving an ashtray out on display, but when it doubles as a pretty night stand catch all? Why not? The durable pressed glass pieces from YewYew are designed to be stackable so you can store jewelry or trinkets when you’re not using it for other things.

Barbari Airplane Mode Herbal Blend

Barbari


$23

We love a good mutlitasker. The gorgeous herbal blends from Barbari combine CBD-rich hemp flower with blue lotus, rose petals, and lavender to make up a bouquet unlike any other. Together, they can be used in rolling papers, as a tea, or even as incense to offer a bit of relaxation at the end of the day.





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