Ending the Stigma Between Parenting & Cannabis

Cannabis offers countless health and wellness benefits, but many cannamoms and dads are still shamed for using it. It’s time we end the stigma.

By Sharon Kevil / Photography by Jakob Owens

As legal cannabis use continues to grow across the U.S., society is becoming more accepting of it. In fact, in the 2020 election, four states voted to legalize recreational marijuana while two states legalized the use of medical marijuana. But there remains some resistance— especially when it comes to parents who use cannabis.

If you think only “bad” parents use cannabis, think again. A 2017 survey found that 54% of Americans who smoke marijuana were parents, and 30% of those users had children under the age of 18. So why haven’t we normalized parents’ use of cannabis the same way we’ve normalized parental drinking?

Shaking off old stereotypes

While many are recognizing the health and wellness benefits of cannabis, there is still a strong stigma associated with parents who use it. This stigma is aimed more toward mothers than fathers, simply because parenting has long been stereotyped as being a “woman’s job.” Moms are supposed to be the “responsible ones,” and somehow, the thinking that using cannabis makes them appear less qualified for their parental role still lingers.

There are a number of women who are working to normalize using cannabis as part of their parenting toolkit. Instagram “cannamoms” like  @highsocietymama, @bluntblowinmama and @damarijuanamomma use their platforms to let parents know it’s OK to use cannabis, reminding followers that you can reap the benefits of cannabis products and still be a great mom. 

Cannabis vs. Alcohol

While some of the resistance seems to focus on parents using cannabis in front of their kids, those using alcohol seemingly fly under the radar unscathed. Nearly one-third of parents say they’ve been drunk in front of their children while 50% say they’ve been tipsy. 

Research suggests the use of alcohol among parents triggers family arguments and makes children anxious. Still, we often hear jokes about “mommy’s juice box” when referencing a glass (or more) of wine, or we see ”funny” memes about parents pregaming their children’s birthday parties with alcohol. 

Parents drinking in front of their kids has become normalized, and barely anyone bats an eye at it. But if you tell someone you use cannabis in front of your children, many are quick to deem you a bad parent — with some even thinking it’s enough reason to call Child Protective Services.

How cannabis can help parents

Responsible cannabis use is not only healthy, but it can even make you a better parent! Here are a few ways cannabis can help busy, stressed out or anxious moms and dads:

#1. It helps you unwind.

Parents are constantly searching for ways to unwind, to be less uptight or frustrated by some of the trials of having children. This is the reason many parents turn to drinking. However, alcohol can actually make a tense situation worse by heightening your emotions, while cannabis, by comparison, is known to be calming.

#2. It offers wellness benefits.

While it is a normalized outlet for many parents, drinking alcohol has fewer health and wellness benefits than cannabis. In fact, you can microdose THC to treat symptoms of both mental and physical health issues, like stress, anxiety, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and more. In other words, you reap the benefits without becoming stoned, paranoid, or lethargic.

#3. It can boost your energy.

Though it’s touted for its calming effects, cannabis can also boost your energy and creativity, helping you be more present and involved with your kids. Women in particular are using cannabis to keep up with small children while balancing their careers and household tasks.

Legitimizing the cannabis industry

The cannabis industry has grown and become more legitimized over the past few years — and it’s time our society recognizes that. We must work to remove the image of the couch potato stoner as the typical cannabis user. JFK smoked weed in the White House while he was president. Your family doctor, your attorney, and your neighbors likely use cannabis. By spreading awareness on social media and breaking the stigma of cannabis, we can let parents embrace its benefits without facing shame.

Sharon Kevil is founder and CEO of Forti Goods, the first of its kind, sustainably sourced and manufactured furniture for responsible cannabis use within the modern home.