Students in Pennsylvania’s K-12 Schools Are Learning About Hemp
by Kat Helgeson
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, we sat down with some Cannamoms to talk about the in’s and out’s of being a mom who uses cannabis. These mothers shared their stories about the medical conditions they use cannabis for, the unjustified stigma they have encountered, how to talk to children about cannabis, and what they would like people to know about being a Cannamom.
The Cannavistmoms Club on Facebook defines a Cannavistmom as “a woman who has carried a child with her body or in her heart, who enjoys or supports cannabis use for medicinal or recreational purposes and who is actively trying to break the taboo surrounding moms who choose cannabis in their everyday lives.”
Kaycee Lei Bawdon Cuesta (@cannavistmom) and Jenna Guerrero (@cannawitchmom) are the Co-Founders of this Facebook group, which they started four years ago to create a non-judgmental community of cannabis-friendly moms. Today, the group has grown to over 26,000 members.
“The main problem that a lot of women, myself included, would run into was that as soon as you mentioned the word cannabis, you were just immediately bombarded with all this hate, negativity, and judgment. And as somebody who is chronically ill and has used cannabis to help me get off pain meds, I really found that I was yearning for this community,” Jenna told us.
Jenna suffers from Osteogenesis imperfecta, which causes frequent bone fractures and chronic pain. “So I use cannabis to help me be a better mom…Whereas if I were taking the pain pills that my doctor prescribed me, I would just be an absolute zombie.” When it became difficult to find topicals during the pandemic, Jenna started making them herself with cannabis coconut oil, beeswax or shea butter, and different essential oils.
Kaycee uses cannabis to help relieve pain from both endometriosis and migraines. It also helps her with anxiety. “Mommy needs a joint should be just as socially acceptable as mommy needs a glass of wine,” Kaycee told us.
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Groups like The Cannavistmoms Club are incredibly important safe spaces where mothers can open up about their cannabis use without facing judgment and stigma. The stigma surrounding cannabis and the propaganda of the War on Drugs is primarily why many mothers are afraid to try cannabis for their medical ailments. On top of that, those living in illegal states live under fear of legal repercussions like losing their children.
“Don’t ever let anyone make you question whether cannabis makes you a bad mom. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t! Always be unapologetically you, and stand up for what we believe in. Cannabis makes us great mothers! And don’t ever forget that you’ve got an army of like-minded Momma’s behind you,” says Jenna about being a Cannamom.
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Some of the women we spoke to actually grew up with parents who were incarcerated for growing cannabis before legalization. These women experienced a deeply traumatizing stigma, grew up not being able to see their parents in prison, and were often not allowed to hang out with other kids. One mother who lives in an illegal state, and therefore wishes to remain anonymous, told us:
“Cannabis has been a lifesaver for me and a much safer option than the majority of pharmaceutical products available for the treatment of mental illness. It allows me to be a better mother and more level headed. It keeps me calmer and helps me parent in a more gentle manner as well as keeping life a little lighter. Parenting is super hard. I can use cannabis and not worry about being a zombie but still able to be relatively relaxed and maintain alertness.”
– Anonymous Cannamom
The experience of using cannabis to be a better mother came up a lot in our conversations with Cannamoms. For Chef Lauren Gulyas (@lolasbest), the stress she experienced after giving birth led to her trying edibles. Her baby wouldn’t stop crying for four months straight. It wasn’t until she tried edibles that she was able to relax:
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“I used to just walk around with a very clenched jaw all the time and I was just trying to keep it together and then I had half an edible one day…and then I just realized, my jaw was unclenched, I was so much more relaxed, I was able to have fun and play with her, and I just became like a totally wonderful mom who was not stressed or high strung. I was like there’s obviously something here, and I started making edibles and testing out different recipes.”
– Lauren Gulyas
Since then, Lauren started growing her own cannabis and experiments in her kitchen with recipes like marshmallows, gingerbread cookies, and lemon squares. Lauren now rests easier and is able to be more present with her children.
“Yeah, I definitely It helps me sleep through the night and take the anxiety edge off of things. And then I’ll microdose a little bit of THC here and there, and I just find that it really kind of chills me out. I’m able to play with the kids and I’m not so worried about things like, oh my gosh, this house is dirty, I have to do laundry…instead, you’re sort of living in the moment. It just makes me a way better version of myself,” Lauren told us.
We also spoke with mothers working in the cannabis industry who shared their experiences with stigma and fear, especially for mothers who are Women of Color. Jamela Zarha (@jamelazarha) is a cannabis blogger (see her website High How Are You?) and a podcast producer. She grew up in a 420-friendly family, but when she was pregnant with her first child, she was fearful about consuming cannabis and decided to take a break. “There’s fear for me as a Black woman that I’m going to get in some kind of legal trouble for being pregnant and smoking. And so I just thought I felt like I’ve never taken a break before, this is my time where I’m just not going to smoke weed and I kind of put my blog on hiatus,” she said.
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And when it comes to how to talk to your children about cannabis, Jamela had this advice to share: “As a parent you encourage your kids to wait for things. You should wait to have sex, to drink, to smoke. But at the same time, what you want to do is make sure that when your kids are not around you, which at some point they won’t be, that they have been raised with all of the information to make an informed decision, to make good choices.”
Entertainment industry executive and mother Whitney Beatty (@thehighmommylife) didn’t use cannabis growing up. But today she’s a veteran in the cannabis industry who is breaking stereotypes and pushing new frontiers for Women of Color in cannabis. She’s the CEO behind the Apothecarry Case, a high end brand of cannabis storage cases, and the founder of Josephine & Billie’s, the first dispensary in Los Angeles to focus on serving Women of Color.
It wasn’t until Whitney experienced a panic attack as an adult that she considered using cannabis medicinally as an alternative to prescription anxiety medications. When she began researching cannabis, she learned about the deeply racist history tied to prohibition, figures like Harry Anslinger, and the demonization of the plant. She talked about her goal to change perceptions around cannabis for the better:
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“I know I can’t fix the whole media machine. But what I can do is put myself out there. I can tell people, ‘Hey, I’m Whitney. I’ve got three degrees, I am a productive member of society, I go to church on Sundays, I love my son and I use cannabis.’ And show people that all the ideas that they see in the paper or on television aren’t necessarily indicative of every cannabis consumer. I want them to be able to see themselves when they see me using cannabis.”
– Whitney Beatty
As for being a mother, Whitney explained that, “I don’t think that cannabis is the defining portion of my motherhood journey. It’s just one portion in the same way that people who drink wine aren’t necessarily wine moms—or someone who takes insulin because they have diabetes, that’s not an insulin mom. I think sometimes people have a tendency to put us in a box: ‘Oh, that’s a cannabis mom.’ I think that lets the rest of the things that are important slip by.”
Mandy Lile (@potencyno710) is a mother and the founder of Potency No. 710, a skincare line made with CBD and natural and non-toxic ingredients. Mandy is on a mission to show people the power of CBD and cannabis for both their beauty and their health. She explains how using cannabis helps her relax and find balance.
“It’s kind of my little relaxation moment to slow me down a little bit. It also opens up my creative self…A lot of people think ‘stoners’ are smoking just to get high. We’re not. Most of us are doing it because we’ve found it works for us, and so many people aren’t educated on the endocannabinoid system,” Mandy said.
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Even other moms have started to ask Mandy about cannabis. “I think they thought the doctor had the answer to their problem, and they were on Prozac and they’ve all had their prescription anti-depressants that made them feel a million different types of ways except who they are. I think they’ve exhausted their resources of what to do to feel balanced. Being a mom, we are so many different people in one day…From cleaning lady to Uber driver to school teacher to the shopper person.”
Ashley Priest (@cannalance) is a seasoned cannabis writer who you may also recognize from Veriheal’s blog Cannabis Central. We asked Ashley what she would like people out there to know about being a Cannamom. Here’s what she had to say:
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“Forget everything you’ve been taught about this plant…Look at recent news stories and articles. Nothing will grab your heart strings more than the adolescent patients’ stories written by real moms about the effects of this medicine on their children. Then go out and read about what it is you’re hoping that cannabis can help you with and look at the science and educate yourself. Set forth with that armor and do your due diligence. Make sure that the products you’re using are good products…It all boils down to education.”
– Ashley Priest
So once you’ve prepared yourself with education and information, what do you say to your children when they ask about cannabis use? The moms we spoke with recommended explaining that cannabis is a plant medicine for adults just like alcohol is for adults only. They choose to be honest with their children because otherwise, the plant becomes stigmatized and taboo.
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Tatiana Alexander says:
May 8, 2021 at 8:13 am
As a 22 y/o mother of a 5 y/o daughter whom has lost her pap, causing her to go through behavioral therapy, tinctures have helped me with my PTSD. Childhood trauma which I have been in therapy for, has helped with yelling/reacting. The micro-dosing helps my anxiety as well as staying in the present moment. I am grateful rather than fearful.
Kelsey Lee says:
May 8, 2021 at 9:54 am
Thank for the great article! Stuff like this really helps me stop feeling guilty about using cannabis for my ptsd, migraines, anxiety, and Chronic pain. It really does help me be more present with my daughter. I am so lucky to be in a state where it’s legal.
Alice JOUAN says:
July 21, 2021 at 5:13 am
how to be honnest with children where it’s illegal ? i’m afraid s.he will spill the beans at school and will be stigmatize or worth that the teacher reports me.
Renita Manley says:
July 27, 2021 at 6:44 pm
If unfortunately, Cannabis is illegal in your state, your child is probably best not knowing. Is Cannabis completely illegal in your state? Are you able to use CBD products? You definitely don’t want teachers reporting you.
August 2, 2021 at 12:41 pm
Are there any articles on cannamoms who breastfeed? I know there’s a stigma on that as well