Highly Responsible Parenting Advice
Cannabis is catching on. Conversations about cannabis as an alternative to opioids, sleep aids, and mood stabilizers are on the rise and parents are left scratching their heads. "How do I use pot and not let my teenagers catch a whiff?" I field this question a lot as a cannabis lifestyle guide and am offering up my best tips and tricks for being highly responsible parents and cannabis for wellness consumers.
As an educator I hear, first-hand, the doubt and worry in some parents’ voices when they tell me they want to consider cannabis for wellness, but it feels irresponsible and wrong. Many think bringing pot into their home would make them a bad parent - even though it’s legal and supported by a growing majority of citizens in our country and abroad. To someone like me, that thought sounds insane. But, I’m no stranger to perspective, and I understand it’s hard to reverse the deep seeded beliefs planted by people we trust both at home and in political positions of power and fostered by eighty years of cannabis prohibition.
I get it. For most people, change is hard. It physically feels uncomfortable to change; why do you think so many people don’t want to do it? Seriously, we all know people “stuck” in loveless marriages or thankless jobs or fake friendships where their passion for life and creativity is suffocating. And rather than saying, “Hmmm, this doesn’t seem to be working out. Perhaps we should change something. And if that doesn’t work, let’s set each other free so we can all be happy. That sounds reasonable, right?” Nope. Instead, they stay. For many, “stuck” is way more comfortable than speaking the truth out loud.The uncertainty of what would happen next is just scary enough to endure their current routine and beliefs.
I won’t let this be one of those times. The benefits of cannabis for wellness are staggering and everyone, including parents, deserve to explore its use for the treatment of anxiety, mood, sleep disorders, arthritis, pain, and a myriad of other symptoms.
I live to inspire change. And since it’s hard to stop a wildfire I have something to say to all of you overworked, under-appreciated, ride-or-die, love-and-cash-machine parents out there. I see you, and I hope to empower you to give yourself permission to get casually baked. Before you just say no, consider the following.
Highly Responsible Parenting Tips and Tricks
- Lose the guilt. Cannabis is good for grown-ups. Cannabis is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain reliever and a much healthier option to treat those aches and pains and help you relax and catch enough zzz’s to tackle a new day. Plus, if dosed correctly, you won’t wake up groggy with a medicated hangover. Because cannabis also makes you happy and euphoric does not mean it isn’t medicine - just that it’s amazing medicine. You’re not doing anything wrong.
- You can consume undercover. Although normalizing your cannabis for wellness use with your family is important, if you still want to use cannabis undercover you have so many options to choose from. Consider low-dose breath mints you can carry in your pocket or purse, sublingual strips or drops that absorb under your tongue, a mini vape pen, cannabis infused tea, or medicated topicals for localized pain relief. Choose products that have a medicinal feel to them. I don’t suggest stocking up on edible treats such as chocolates, cookies, chips, and popcorn. Kids and pets love treats; don’t accidentally tempt them.
- Your highness is optional. The psychoactive effects of the cannabinoid THC are pleasurable for many of us, but if you’re just not that into it, you can choose a variety of infused products with varying ranges of CBD:THC. For someone trying to avoid being high at all costs, choose products with an 18:1 ratio of CBD:THC, but experiment with an 8:1 split or something similar. For optimum wellness a 1:1 ratio is ideal. The two cannabinoids work in symphony and help each other do their best work.
- Pot is way better for your waistline than booze. Consider replacing your evening toddy time with a reefer recap instead. Cannabis relaxes your body and mind, and if micro dosed regularly can be a metabolism booster. The “munchies” is a misnomer. In this modern cannabis era, you can find products and strains that actually have the opposite effect and curb your appetite.
- You are not a hypocrite. Cannabis is okay for you, but generally not good for your kids and their developing brains. If brains were a DIY building project, during the tween and teen years the foundation and frame are set, but the house is getting wired and plumbed. Cannabis use can affect that process and reroute critical neural pathways. And for the 1% of teens that have a genetic disposition for mental illness, early cannabis use has been shown to increase the onset and severity of mental diseases such as schizophrenia. Note: There are instances when cannabis can be a lifesaver for kids with seizure disorders, cancer, and the like. Consult your doctor or a cannabis nurse practitioner to learn more.
- “Because I said so,” probably won’t do the trick. Do your homework and understand the material so you can have an open and ongoing conversation with your teens about drugs and alcohol and explain why it’s not a smart idea for them to experiment with cannabis.
- Make a date. If you’ve got curious kids or older teens they’ll want to know when they can try pot. Decide collectively and make a pact that you’ll do it together when the time comes. I’m a proponent of not smoking until you’re 21, but just like with alcohol, that’s highly unlikely for most teens. So, parents, I encourage you to be open to this exercise with your teens before they head off to college. You’d rather them learn from you or a professional like me instead of the frat bros during rush.
- Don’t be naive. Kids don’t consider consequences. Life hasn't yet kicked them in the teeth enough to understand the concept. That said, pay attention and keep the lines of communication open. Speak openly and often about cannabis. If you make it a household topic, then it loses its sparkle and allure. Share information about the laws (and consequences) in your state and municipality.
- Cannabis can’t be a one and done conversation. Set a Google alert for “teens and cannabis” and “cannabis use and youth.” Share videos, articles, podcasts and info with your kids about the research being done and discuss the findings. Empower your teens to make thoughtful decisions.
- Listen. Eavesdrop if you have to. I know you parents have ninja skills so pay attention to texts, social feeds, friend groups, telephone chatter, locked bedroom doors, and above average teen apathy. The teens I know tend to fall into three categories 1. Would never do it. These kids are scared to get caught and disappoint you. 2. Does it. They’re curious and then feel so guilty they confess their “sin.” 3. Does it like a boss. These kids are too cocky and eventually get caught. They’re the challenging ones that make all parents a little nervous. Are you smarter than an arrogant teenager? Game. On.
So, what’s next?
There are many ways to learn the foundational elements of cannabis for wellness and examine the nuances of the modern cannabis culture. I share some of my favorite resources on CasuallyBaked.com and Casually Baked, the potcast. As a 20-year cannabis veteran and organizational junkie, I also curated what I believe to be the building blocks for living a highly responsible lifestyle in the Cannabis Class Kit: your personal guide to pot. In the age of the digital takeover, this retro analog kit is perfect for anyone who wants to discreetly learn about cannabis and track their personal journey, without leaving a digital footprint.
Parents, I know it’s a lot to consider, but the upside is worth the research and effort. Whatya say? Let’s get casually baked.