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Making the Case for Marijuana as Mommy's Little Helper?

parents smoking pot

Should parents smoke pot?

I don’t smoke pot. I haven’t since 1997, when I decided that marijuana and I don’t mix. Unlike some people who swear getting high helps alleviate their anxiety, I think that pot actually contributed to the panic attacks I had in college. I’m not alone in experiencing anxiety as an adverse reaction to cannabis: reports suggest that “roughly 50% of marijuana smokers in the United States have on some occasion experienced this adverse reaction,” and a 2009 study showed that “daily consumption of cannabis in teens can cause depression and anxiety, and have an irreversible long-term effect on the brain.”

Still, I know that many people do not react so negatively to the drug, and rely on it to “take the edge off” the way others rely on a few glasses of wine. Is that so awful? I’m not sure. One of my best friends told me she decided to stop smoking because she wanted to be able to feel things again, which is a pretty compelling argument. I do think even in people who respond positively to THC, marijuana should only be used sparingly. (To the drug’s credit, a recent study showed that smoking pot in moderation can increase lung capacity, though when “using marijuana more than 20 times in a month, or having over 10 lifelong joint-years worth of smoking — lung function seemed to decline again.”)

I lay all this information out there simply to ask, is marijuana an acceptable recreational drug for new parents? One mom who shared her story today at Jezebel totally thinks so. She writes, “I have a full-time job. I’m a taxpayer. I’m a registered voter. I’m regularly contributing to my 401k and IRA. I’m married. I’m a homeowner. I’m a mom. I’m a stoner.”

I won’t rehash her entire post here (hash — get it?), but I will say that her closing statement about wishing “more parents were open about smoking pot in order to reduce the stigma associated with it” seems kind of ridiculous given the fact that she wrote the post anonymously. I know – marijuana is illegal, and as this New York Post story about moms smoking pot points out, arrests for possession are up in New York City, so the author is just protecting herself. I couldn’t help but wonder if this post was written by Tracie Egan Morrissey, who recently had a baby and used to be very vociferous about her ganja use in her web series Pot Psychology with Rich Juzwiak. Then again, not sure why Morrissey would feel the need to be anonymous in a post if she’s not anonymous in video format, so I’m at a loss. Whoever anonymous is, she’s called Kelly Oxford out for her love of weed, too.

I’m sort of on the fence about parents smoking pot. I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea to do it when you have to be responsible to care for your children. I would totally wait until after the kids are in bed and keep it to one or two bongs hits, max. The mom at the heart of the Jezebel piece admits she gets high while her baby is awake, though, and she’s not the only one. One of the moms in the Post article says, “I have had moments where I felt like I could communicate with (my son) better, back when he wasn’t talking — we’d have a silent, eye-contact kind of conversation.”

Woah. Deep, man. This baby is like totally staring into my soul.

It’s weird when you’re looking at your baby the way your baby looks at, well, everything. You can’t both be glassy-eyed, tired and hungry. One of you has to make the food.

But advocates say pot is better than alcohol. American Scientist and the US Centers for Disease Control agree, saying “Marijuana is far less toxic than alcohol. Long-term marijuana use is far less harmful than long-term alcohol use.” The Post notes, “The Office of National Drug Control Policy says alcohol is safer, partly because its effects last only a few hours, while THC, the intoxicant in pot, can stay in the body for weeks.”

Some moms argue that pot reduces stress. The author of the Jezebel piece says, “Weed takes the edge off of my fatigue-induced bitchiness. It helps me not care so much about things. Wait, that sounds bad! I mean, it helps me not care about the stupid little unimportant things that I have a habit of getting hung up on and stressed about, like how my husband chooses to crush garlic.” But Dr. Howard Samuels, CEO of the Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles told the Post, “What’s so disturbing is that we live in a culture in which people need substances to reduce stress and anxiety instead of doing it in a healthy way, which is what we’re supposed to teach our children.”

What do you think? Anybody out there willing to admit they toke with a toddler in tow? (Hee-hee, that rhymed, man. Feel the music!!!)

Photo credit: Alexodus/Flickr

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