a woman smokes marijuana


I’ve Never Tried It — Can I Be a Mom and Smoke Pot?

Oct 26, 2018

In my world, drinking a glass of wine in front of my daughter Nikki is normal — we’re French and wine with a meal is to me what tea might be to a British person.

I know a lot of parents who don’t drink in front of their kids because they choose to model a behaviour they hope their kids might follow eventually. It's not my prerogative to hide my behaviours, but I get where they are coming from.

I’ve always walked a slightly different path with my daughter, operating on the notion that there are things I can do and she cannot. Because I'm an adult. I can drive, vote, swear and I can drink. She accepts that there are actions that aren’t within her reach until she’s older and that’s that.

Then came the legalization of pot and the question arose among a group of my friends: “Are you going to try it?”

Relevant Reading: Why I'm Talking to My 8-Year-Old Son About Smoking Pot

I’ve always talked to Nikki about how bad it is to smoke cigarettes, so it’s difficult to get past the visual of me smoking anything and normalizing that behaviour for her. After all, she’s only nine — she won’t be able to make the distinction between smoking pot and smoking a cigarette. Since I've already warned her against smoking, if I were to go ahead and smoke a joint in front of her, I’m not acting like the parent that I want to be.

While normalizing a glass of wine doesn’t bother me personally, as I won’t mind if she also has one with her dinner when she’s older, giving her the impression that smoking anything is OK worries me. This is one of those times that I agree with my non-drinking parent friends about exposure and feel like I need to walk the walk, for the sake of consistency.

But here’s the thing: I deal with anxiety. I’ve talked to my doctor about it in the past, but I’ve always chosen not to medicate because I don’t like the idea of the side effects. While talking to a mom friend about the issue, she revealed that has been using pot medicinally with a prescription from her doctor. It's for her anxiety and shes been using it for over a year, which came as a total surprise! I had no idea! Her confession led me to wonder if a little pot might help me cope better with the everyday ups and downs.

I Googled the topic and found an interesting study from Washington State University that studied, for the first time, the effects of inhaled marijuana on depression and anxiety: “The researchers also found that while both sexes reported decreases in all three symptoms after using cannabis, women reported a significantly greater reduction in anxiety following cannabis use.”

So, I feel like I’m left with a couple of options, and I don't know if any of these are the right answer — I'm still learning:

"How do I explain to Nikki that she can’t have that cookie or brownie?"

I could smoke and hide it from Nikki. But as a single parent, I don’t think that’s realistic. She’s bound to discover it, if only from the smell. She’s a child, not an imbecile. While I would rather be the one to explain pot to her, being discovered as a closet pot smoker isn’t the introduction I’d be looking to have.

Vaping is also an option, but I just don’t see myself doing that. Even with the newest types of vaporizers, the whole act is not far enough removed from the visual of smoking for my liking.

Finally, I thought that I could go directly to pot-laced edibles as an option. Unfortunately, they’re not legal to purchase pre-made yet, so I’d have to bake my own using legal weed from the government. Let me just say that my experience with baking to this point in my life has extended only so far as to grab the tube of cookie dough, slice cookie-like shapes from it and place them on a baking tray. I even managed to screw that up by making them too thin and burning an entire batch.

Relevant Reading: My Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like a Bad Parent

Me, baking with pot, doesn’t seem like a reasonable scenario at the moment. And even if I could bake edibles in a format that didn’t make me too high, how do I explain to Nikki that she can’t have that cookie or brownie?

Like the driving, the voting and the swearing, I could tell her that they were adult cookies. But if I know my little munchkin, she will push the issue: “What’s in them? What makes them adult cookies? Why CAN’T I have one?” Maybe I could tell her they are spinach-laced cookies! With my luck, that’s the moment when she’ll develop an acute interest in eating spinach! 

All of this wondering about pot boils down to the one reality: I’m a parent and I need to be able to parent, come what may. I have no idea how pot, in what concentrations, might affect me. What if I use too much? What if I get sick? What if, at that precise moment, Nikki twists her ankle tripping over her mountain of stuffies and I have to take her to the hospital while I am "baked?" Being a mom and experimenting with pot are possibly too far apart for me at this point in my life, but these conversations are happening more often than ever now since marijuana legalization in Canada.

Maybe you've heard the same questions and stories from friends, and are also just in the learning stages — just trying to figure out how it could work, or if it could work. All I know for sure is right now I could really go for a cookie. Just the regular kind!

This is one person's point of view and should not be considered expert advice. If you are a parent considering using cannabis and have concerns, please consult your doctor. 

Also, if you're a parent and writer who has something to say about pot legalization and parenting, or the culture of pot and parenting, please feel free to reach out to us with your story ideas at cbcparents@cbc.ca.

Article Author Chantal Saville
Chantal Saville

Read more from Chantal here.

Chantal Saville is, among other things, the chief wordsmith at Content Ghost. When not writing in her phantasmagorical voice, she is also a mother and a daughter. Usually in that order. Sometimes not.

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