The words “mom” and “weed” in the same sentence used to be enough to send any stoner into a fit of paranoia. Google those words together today and it’s obvious that times have changed. The “Weed Mom” has replaced the “Wine Mom;” a self-described “stoner mom” runs a lifestyle blog for other cannabis-using mothers, and the “Cannavist Mom” is conducting an online mission to normalize cannabis.
Mirroring the cultural shift has been political change. Cannabis, marijuana, bud, herb, ganja, weed, pot, flower – whatever your slang of choice – is now legal in 10 states, where it is regulated like alcohol for recreational use. An additional 23 states, including Hawai‘i, have legalized cannabis use for approved medical reasons. And now, the State Legislature’s HB1383 would decriminalize marijuana possession under three grams (violations would still be subject to a $130 fine) and sits on Governor David Ige’s desk, awaiting his signature.
Despite all these developments, the stigma of the stoner has been hard to shake – especially for moms. Mothers are expected to be tireless nurturers at all times: ever responsible and always ready to sacrifice personal luxuries for their families.
As weed moves into the mainstream spotlight, however, many have reexamined marijuana’s stigmatized past and accepted the possibility that cannabis can be responsibly integrated into a healthy lifestyle – even for Mom! In fact, so much has changed since the days of “Just Say No,” that Mother’s Day is becoming one of the hottest days for cannabis sales.
That’s right: Move over florists, Mom might be looking for some sticky green flowers this year.
“Last Mother’s Day we saw a 22 percent increase in sales compared to other Sundays during that time period,” said Teri Gorman, the director of communications and patient affairs at the cannabis dispensary Maui Grown Therapies.
“While women still make up less than half of Hawai‘i’s registered medical cannabis patients, they are a fast-growing segment,” said Claire Hill of Pono Life Sciences, another island dispensary. “For women who are mothers managing a chronic or debilitating condition, medical cannabis offers a safe alternative to traditional prescription medicines that may be missing the mark.”
Women and mothers face unique health challenges that can be addressed with cannabis, they add.
“Autoimmune disorders are more prevalent among women,” Hill said. “These disorders include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease, which are among the conditions Hawai‘i recognizes for medical usage of cannabis. Further, women are at a higher risk than men for prescription opioid abuse and overdose. These women, who are faced with severe or chronic pain, may turn to medical cannabis as a safe alternative for pain relief.”
Said Gorman, “From relieving symptoms of PMS, to reducing the pain of dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), endometriosis, or alleviating menopausal symptoms, cannabis can play a significant role in supporting women’s health and wellbeing.” However, she strongly advised against pregnant and breastfeeding mothers using cannabis, citing studies that examined the impact of THC (a psychoactive chemical in cannabis) on fetal brain development.
For Mom’s fully-grown brain, however, cannabis can provide relief from the stress and anxiety associated with motherhood, and other illnesses and health issues they may be experiencing.
“Medical cannabis is also known to relieve anxiety and depression, which can often come hand-in-hand with autoimmune disorders or chronic pain,” said Hill. “Mothers who are dealing with stress may turn to medical cannabis for this added benefit when seeking treatment for these conditions.”
This growing body of the documented effectiveness of cannabis as medicine and wellness supplement is what is driving the de-stigmatization of the plant, said Beth Savitt of the Maui Cannabis Guild, a nonprofit “dedicated to helping create a robust, sustainable, and accessible legal cannabis industry in Maui County.”
“More people feel free to admit they use cannabis, because of this wave of research and understanding that it’s been used throughout human history, before it was subject to misinformation and stigmatized,” said Savitt, a mother who has medicated with cannabis after a thyroid cancer diagnosis and neck surgery. Cannabis helped her manage pain and minimize the use of other pharmaceuticals with scarier side effects, she told me.
Because of the variety of cannabis strains and products, Savitt was reluctant to recommend anything specific without knowing more about anyone’s background.
Gorman and Hill, however, were happy to discuss the product preferences of the mothers who walk into their shops.
“We find mothers prefer our clear-headed strains that produce uplifting and energetic effects such as Dance World, Green Lotus, Tahitian Lime, and Kona Gold,” said Gorman. “These strains, popular for daytime use, are effective in managing anxiety without interfering with productivity.”
Hill noticed a similar trend. “The medical cannabis of today offers many discreet options for mothers who need maximum relief, without negative side-effects that may inhibit day-to-day function or interfere with child-care,” she said. “Low-THC, CBD, or balanced strains and products are popular among mothers because they provide maximum relief without the ‘high’ that comes from THC.”
Smoke-free options are also popular among moms.
“We find mothers really love our topical serums: Calm, Cool, and Renew,” Gorman said. “Calm is especially popular for skin care. Research recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology indicates that cannabinoids are effective against symptoms of psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, inflammatory skin disorders, and sun damage.”
Maui Grown Therapies is expecting increased business for Mother’s Day, Gorman added, and specials will be offered. “Every mom will receive a small box of chocolate and a fresh flower as our way of saying mahalo for all of the unpaid work moms do every day for the benefit of their families and the community,” she said. “Moms of every age do a million things that go unnoticed most of the time, so we want to acknowledge that on their special day.”
So whether it’s a gift of some dank flower for Mom so she can kick back on her special day, or just a little something for you to make it through Sunday brunch, it appears 2019 might be the year when a floral bouquet for Mother’s Day takes on a whole new meaning.
To purchase cannabis from a dispensary, individuals must have a 329 card. For more information, visit Health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabisregistry.
Image 1 by Albert Cortez