A Parent’s Guide to Getting Back Into Weed
As the art of child-rearing evolves, so should parents’ self-care.
It hasn’t been an easy couple of years for parents out there. Was it ever though? Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, parents tend to put their children’s needs before their own. Time for themselves is the first thing to get cut when the schedule gets tight. However, it’s not possible to pour from an empty cup. One wellness practice more parents have access to with every election: legal cannabis. However, depending on where you live and how your social circles feel about cannabis, you may have not felt comfortable wandering into these greener pastures just yet.
I’m here to tell you, as a parent myself, it’s okay. It’s okay to try cannabis. It’s okay to get back into cannabis. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, and, if you’re anything like me, it might even help you become a better one in the long-term.
A recent national survey of American adults reported that 51% of mothers with young children feel lonely and isolated. If you are feeling that way and looking for some relief, know that you are part of the majority—and that you might even find camaraderie while exploring. If you’re curious about cannabis or open to cannabis as the next stop on your wellness journey towards a balanced, better state of being, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a detailed guide for parents trying weed (again or for the first time), from a parent who gets it.
Why is cannabis a good option for parents?
Personally, cannabis helps me to strip away the layers of accumulating emotions, allowing some of the parental expectations I’ve placed on myself to dissipate into thin air. I notice the things around me with a new sense of gratitude and often laughter.
That temporary relief is always welcome, but I often find my fresh perspective lasts long after the high fades. My experiences with cannabis help me to better cope with stressors even when I’m sober, making it easier to identify and brush aside the “shoulds” when needed. I become more likely to hop on the ground for an impromptu tea party with my son or run around the house like a race car. I also am less likely to take on his big emotions as my own, allowing me to simply be there for him as he expresses himself.
How to get started with cannabis
In the modern world of cannabis and seemingly endless options, one can easily get overwhelmed when picking a cannabis product. If the smell of smoke or the idea of needing to buy accessories to smoke deters you, edibles are an easy first step into weed-y waters.
Gone are the days of eating whatever weed brownie or gummy you find and bracing for an unpredictable ride—states that have legalized cannabis are clearly labeled with THC content, and even in states that haven’t, Delta-8 THC products made from hemp are creating avenues for parents to explore more cannabinoids from more trusted sources. More and more people are getting comfortable with talking about cannabis and sharing their interest in cannabis, so know that if you’re curious about it, chances are you have a friend who is too.
And you know what that calls for? A grown-ups-only slumber party. You’re never too old for a fun and laid-back evening with friends, especially when the dress code is comfy pajamas and being silly is encouraged. No one has to drive home and no one will prank you for going to sleep early. If you prefer something a little more low-key and intimate, try exploring this with your partner or you can choose to take this journey solo.
Identifying your dose
Whether or not you’ve had a bad past experience or are concerned about getting paranoid, start low and slow. Everyone has a different endocannabinoid system, and everyone feels cannabinoids differently. What works for one person may not work for someone else; too strong for someone is just enough for another. We can provide some generalizations, but it is important to note how each dose makes you feel in order to figure out your own preferred range.
You will find that many “low dose” edibles are sold in 5 milligram increments, but for some, that’s a high dose. It’s recommended to bite that gummy in half to start with more of a “microdose” of 1-2.5 milligrams.
It might take a few times to test, learn, and get your desired effect, but it’s much better than having too much (here are some tips for what to do if you get too high). This is not about finding your perfect dose in one sesh—this is about getting back into weed the safe way.
What’s your intention?
While the dose is a critical step in planning your experience, it’s not the only prep. Cannabis has an interesting way of magnifying your current mindset, which gets tricky when turning to cannabis for relief from things like stress and anxiety. Without taking a moment to be intentional about shifting your mindset, cannabis could spotlight those negative feelings.
Imagine yourself like a traffic guard, and the stress-filled car of your psyche is going full speed ahead. You can direct it to turn and slow down for a much more relaxed road, but you have to signal that car to do so. This can be as simple as taking a couple of deep breaths before you consume or something more involved like journaling or meditating.
Set up your environment for success
In addition to magnifying mindset, cannabis tends to highlight things you like or don’t like about your surroundings.
Depending on your desired experience, here are a few questions to ask yourself: What might bother you? Do your kid’s toys strewn about really grind your gears? Would it be better to have a slumber party at a friend’s house while someone else watches or babysits your kid? Would you prefer to be in your house, but with your kid staying at a friend’s or relative's for the night?
As cannabis is known to heighten the senses, consider what you might be sensitive to and who or what will make you feel safe. This is not the time or place to invite over Judgey Jamie or Talks-Too-Much Taylor.
Consider all of the senses in your preparations—what music you’d like to use to set the tone; what snacks you might assemble beforehand so they’re ready if and when the munchies strike. Plan a walking route if you anticipate a call to the fresh outdoors mid-high. This is your permission slip to imagine and execute your dream rendezvous afternoon for yourself.
Don’t forget to let yourself enjoy it
One thing I wish someone would’ve told me after becoming a parent: It’s okay to take time for yourself, and it’s okay to not want to be around your child every minute of every day.
It’s okay to miss them while you’re apart—and it’s okay if you don’t! You are not doing anything wrong by not being with them at all times. You are not a bad parent for exploring how cannabis can help you. It’s okay to challenge parenting norms and the stigmas you might be holding onto about cannabis use. (Many people do not question a parent having a glass of wine or beer, after all.) Everyone has the right to seek out remedies to feel better. Taking care of yourself is a practice and you may need different tools in your toolbelt now that you’re a parent.
So pop that edible and surrender. Find something to focus on that would be enjoyable to you, perhaps your favorite rom com or that beloved album you haven’t listened to since high school. Get out your kid’s coloring books and see where it takes you. Assess how you feel after a couple hours. It’s okay if cannabis ends up not being for you. And it’s okay if it is.