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by Kimber HarrisSurvivor, Breast CancerNovember 15, 2023View more posts from Kimber Harris

High! – Welcome to Elephants and Tea’s, “Cannabis Column with Kimber.” I am a Stage IIIA Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and Ductal Carcinoma in-situ Survivor. I received my breast cancer diagnosis in December of 2019. I support adult recreational and medicinal cannabis use. I am a regular contributor to Elephants and Tea magazine and serve on the Steven G. Cancer Foundation Patient Advisory Committee. I am a passionate advocate for people and plant medicine. Finally, while the addition of cannabis use to my own care plan has proven necessary to my overall well-being, it is not for everyone. Please, always consult with your physician care teams, before making any medication changes. Always adhere to your state’s laws and only purchase legalized cannabis products from a reputable, licensed dispensary. I wish you all peace and light and I hope you enjoy reading about my personal experiences with this valiant plant.

It is high time to abolish the stigma attached to cannabis-using parents. I am a proud bong-ripping, bowl-roasting, dry-vaping, joint-smoking mama that LOVES my kids to the ends of the universe.

I am a CannaMom.

Judgments, side-eyes, whispers, unsolicited advice…I face these criticisms far too often. Simply because I choose to be a CannaMom.

I do not judge others for their personal parenting, or non-parenting, choices: public, private, or homeschool; screen-time or nah; strict or loosey-goosey rules; wine or weed; yet and still, it appears I wear an open invitation to criticism on my forehead. S’okay, I’m used to it. I’ve been flagged as a “stoner” for years. My cancer diagnoses of two types of breast cancer didn’t change my typecast. But it’s okay, because the more I am questioned, the more I can educate.

In our home my cannabis is referred to as “medicine.” It is just as off-limits and locked away as my prescription medications. As a knowledgeable medicinal cannabis user, with other prescription medications, I choose not to drink alcohol to avoid adverse interaction effects.

With opioids completely out of my pain equation by choice, I know that ingesting cannabis will alleviate my pain and calm my mind almost immediately. I have several diagnoses of types of anxieties (shocker). My therapist and I decided to venture on a path that relies heavily on indica strains, or indica-leaning hybrid strains. Indicas tend to coerce a more relaxing, slowing down effect for me, while a really great sativa strain will have me cleaning the whole house, pain-free, until I’m not again.

Weed is my anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, appetite-inducing, mentally calming choice. As a blunt-blowing mommy, I know I have my physician-approved way to unwind and recenter myself, especially after a long day of chasing three kids around, while still dealing with emotional and physical detriment left behind by my cancers.

My loving husband can even recognize when I need to “take my medicine.” He attests that he can see it in the way I walk—he says that I look much less in pain after having my medicine. I mean, he’s completely right! This is why I took the bold move to break up with Oxycodone permanently and rely solely on my plant medicine.

I do not drink, nor does my husband. I have always been a “stoner,” while he never, ever partakes. We’ve chosen to be together since we were kids in 1998 and our personal choices have never changed and continue to remain. We accept each other for who we are. While he does not use cannabis, he would never judge me or deny how helpful it has been for me. He encourages me to continue on my own path to personal success and happiness, and I for him. I mean, it’s basically why we vibe so well; we are our own two-person gang.

I use cannabis to relax as well. In addition to reducing my inflammation and easing pains, it calms me. It gives all of the anxious thoughts bouncing around my brain an all-encompassing, warm, soothing hug. It allows me clarity and patience, which I know make me a better version of myself, and ultimately a more attuned mom.

In today’s climate, the use of cannabis as a medicinal or recreational substance has become a topic of debate. However, a very important aspect that commonly goes unnoticed due to the massive double standard involves moms who choose cannabis as a means to unwind, relax, and manage pain, among other reasons. While it is widely accepted for moms to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a long day, the same level of acceptance is not extended to us cannabis-using mothers, or CannaMoms.

I strongly believe in the importance of shedding light on the dark stigma attached to CannaMoms and exploring the nuanced judgments from a widely alcohol-embracing society. The consumption of alcohol, particularly wine, has become deeply ingrained in the culture, more specifically, the momming-culture. Little phrases like “Mommy Wine Time” or “Mom’s Wine Down Glass” are font-designed and printed onto vinyl adhesive to be adhered to wine glasses, t-shirts, tote bags, stainless steel tumblers, and more, all in an effort to validate an alcohol-accepting community. Moms are commonly portrayed in the media and pop culture enjoying a glass of wine to cope with the stresses of life and parenting.

I’ve never understood why alcohol is an acceptable solution for stressors. Why is it socially admissible to consume a substance that has been proven, over and over, to have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health? Have you ever seen a drunk parent, live in action?—I have, many times, and not once has it been cute.

As a medicinal cannabis patient, I know that even though I don’t like drinking, it would interact in a very detrimental way and the mixture could be potentially fatal for me.

As a proud Cannamom, I feel very strongly that it is crucial to challenge the double standard that exists between alcohol and cannabis use. Both substances have the potential for recreational and medicinal purposes, and responsible use should be acknowledged, regardless of the substance chosen. By fostering an open dialogue, we can educate society about the science-backed benefits of cannabis and debunk the myths and misconceptions surrounding its use.

The normalization of cannabis and cannabis-using moms is essential for advancing federal laws and regulations. By destigmatizing and replacing prejudice with fact-based science, we can encourage more members of society to advocate for progressive cannabis legislation. Cannamoms can help shape public opinion and contribute to changes in laws that promote responsible cannabis use. Through transparency and sharing personal experiences, we can add to the end-goal of normalizing cannabis.

I know I am an incredible mom and I don’t need anyone to validate that for me. I know my children and how happy, sweet, smart, and incredible each one of them is, and they know me. They prefer the version of me that is less agitated and anxious and able to move about and play with them.

Cannabis provides me with patience, a clear mind, decreases my all-over pains and inflammation, and helps alleviate my stress and anxiety, allowing me to fully engage with my children. Being able to focus solely on them and their needs is paramount to my momming style. I am very involved with them and we love to play and learn together. I know my ability to compartmentalize my stressors and give all of my attention to them in a calm and engaging way has much to do with my medicinal cannabis use.

Just like any other medication, cannabis deserves respect and understanding. Not only does it keep my appetite enticed, which in turn, keeps me fed, resulting in a more energetic, clear-minded, relaxed, and focused mom. It is essential to recognize that being a CannaMom does not make me any less of an incredible parent; rather, it has allowed me to tap into my creativity and embrace my childlike spirit while fulfilling my parental responsibilities.

Now, pass me the piece for my peace. xo

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