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Marijuana Legalization and Moms

By: Carol Morriscey

More Moms Lighting Up

Young mom standing on a balcony smoking a marijuana cigarette. The idea that mom’s need a little something to help them cope with the stresses of parenthood is nothing new, from “Mother’s Little Helper” referring to benzodiazepines, and the omnipresent “Wine Mom”, we are well accustomed to medicating moms. However, with the growing acceptance and more widespread legalization of marijuana, more moms are turning to cannabis to deal with their daily stress. A growing number of mom’s claim that their cannabis use eases their anxiety, allowing them to be more present and focus on the important parts of parenting, rather than sweating the small stuff. Indeed, in some afternoon play groups a glass of pinot is being replaced with pot, blurring the line between recreational and medicinal use.

Are There Benefits to Using Marijuana for Moms?

CBD, a non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis, has anxiolytics properties. In other words, it is able to effectively reduce anxiety without getting the user high. Further, research is currently being done to investigate marijuana’s ability to reduce stress in high pressure situations. THC, another main component of cannabis, is commonly used to treat certain types of chronic pain. Unlike other drugs used for the treatment of chronic pain, cannabis doesn’t have as many side effects and allows users to continue typical engagement in their daily lives. In addition, moms commonly use cannabis to treat conditions such as postpartum depression and anxiety.

The Health Risks and Stigmas of Marijuana Use

Despite the growing use of marijuana amongst moms, concerns remain. Namely, there is a conspicuous gap in research regarding the effects of maternal cannabis use on breastfed infants. Therefore, it is difficult for doctors to give clear cut guidance to moms who are breastfeeding. In addition, the stigma of parents using illicit drugs is pervasive. Concerns regarding their parenting ability in an altered state of consciousness fuels the controversy of parents using marijuana. The risk of addiction, dependence, and especially, second hand smoke also raise concern.

Although there are demonstrated benefits of medical marijuana, the controversy of parental recreational cannabis use, as well as health concerns, leave a great deal to be considered. As with any medication, the benefits must outweigh the risks. Further, potential for addiction and dependence cannot be overlooked. However, compared to other treatment options, medical marijuana may offer a relatively safe and effective alternative. If turning to substance use becomes a necessary coping mechanism to get through the day, help to address the route causes of the stress, anxiety, or depression should be sought. Searidge Foundation Drug Rehab is glad to offer a helping hand to all those in need, especially as marijuana is set to be legalized in Canada this coming Fall.

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National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers International Security for Traumatic Stress Studies The Canadian Positive Psychology Association The Association for Addiction Professionals