I’m a pothead. A stoner. A midnight toker. And a mother. In my experience, you can cue in the gasps right about now. You can also cue the shaking heads, the tsks, and wagging fingers when I admit with all honesty that I do not hide my marijuana usage from my children, either. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a bad parent. I’m not raising gang banging, illiterate white trash, free-spirited hippie wannabe, dumb, or neglected children. They’re not at risk. They’re not unsupervised or exposed to anything that would jeopardize their safety or innocence. I’m not a drug dealer. I’m just a mom of four kids with a debilitating spinal disorder that causes chronic pain who also suffers from cyclic depression and is licensed by the state I reside in to legally medicate herself with marijuana.
Now, that does NOT mean that I openly smoke in their faces, or expose them to second-hand smoke, nor would I ever condone their usage without being a fully grown, consenting adult, under proper physician supervision and being accurately informed of all the pros and cons of it’s use. What it does mean is that I’m not a hypocrite parent. Okay, sure, once upon a time it wasn’t always legal to procure and engage in such a wonderful medicinal properties, but it’s always been an herbal remedy as natural as the grass your kids run across and the trees that grow tall from the earth. Just edible, smokeable, cookable, pleasurable, vegetation that can be used as a vice of pleasure and enjoyment, as well as for medicinal purposes. What other medicine can your physician prescribe you that’s fun to actually take? I’m not going to raise my children with half-truths, misinformation, or sheltered views, either. From my own personal experience, I know that that can cause more damage than good in the long run. At the same time, though, I will not glorify or encourage it’s use irresponsibly.
Throughout my life, I’ve suffered from cyclic depression. My parents always summed it up as me being a troubled-defiant-overly sensitive kid. There wasn’t enough awareness of child mental health issues back in the eighties for them to think otherwise. In my early adulthood, with the increased ease in access to the internet and all it’s infinite knowledge at my fingertips, I was able to find answers. I sought out mental health care for my symptoms, finding out after many appointments with therapists, psychologists, and physicians alike, that medication was a quick cure-all answer to my problems. Every. Single. Medication. tried, failed. It was a nightmare that only managed to throw my already imbalanced chemicals into a tailspin heading right for a nosedive crash landing into the gates of hell. I went into a bipolar state, unlike any part of the disease’s course thus far, destroying more of my life than saving it. The only time I ever seemed to find any balance was after getting high with marijuana, but at this time, it wasn’t readily available, legal to use, or socially acceptable. I wasn’t even aware of how helpful it actually was for me until some years later.
Eventually, I found myself in a place in life where I was unable to smoke at all, without great consequence coming down on me. I gave it up completely, without any of the withdrawal issues that not only illegal narcotics cause, but alcohol and antidepressants do, too. During this period of time, the benefits of the great green bud plant on my psyche became apparently visible- not only to myself, but also to those closest to me. I was extremely moody all over again with no middle ground in sight, lacking the ability to control which end of the high and low chart I was bouncing on at any given moment, and allowing the wave of darkness wash over my every thought putting me in a miserable state of mind. My depression came tumbling back at an alarming rate, plunging deeper into the illness than I’d ever been before. A new game of medication-around-the rosy to try to find a level of functionality that didn’t have me lashing out violently at my significant other’s mere moments after cuddling with him sweetly, like a black widow spider ready to eat her mate after intercourse. We had in fact mated already. Twice. Within two years. During all of this craziness came the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease. It was only discovered no thanks in part to the epidural that almost paralyzed me during my firstborn’s delivery. The chronic pain that unfolded from there on out sent me heading straight into the debilitating realm, setting me on a head first crash course with the crippling inevitability. After years of being on severely dependant-causing narcotic medications to deal with the hurt and a new game of medication-around-the-rosy, I ended up in a position where I could finally smoke that sticky icky greenery again. Hallelujah!
What a not so surprisingly surprise it was when that sweet bud eased my pain in ways the narcotic pills never did. Without any side effects, either… hmmmm, okay. Well, maybe a healthier appetite than the deceased one the pills caused and much deeper, more rejuvenating sleep, but who’s complaining there? Certainly not me.
Once Michigan became a legal medical marijuana state, I jumped at the chance to get my license so I could use the only tried and true medication to keep me functional, lucid, and balanced. It’s the only reasonable and responsible thing to do for my children to give them a mother who’s able to manage her short end of the stick. Because, it’s just not kosher to parent your kids when you’re a raving lunatic. You can’t even have an autistic child without being blamed for doing something wrong to cause it somehow these days. Who truly wants to be bad mom, let alone raise their kids all screwed up? In my gigantic heart of hearts, I can’t imagine that even the most strung out crack whore at their lowest point in life, wants to be a bad mom. Some just aren’t equipped for the real deal the same way others are overly equipped and make everyone else look like Martha Stewart’s prison friends. It’s not like they choose to be that way, they just are. So, for the past three years to maintain my sanity & reputation as a mediocre Martha-wannabe, I have been a licenced marijuana prescription card holder. With it, I have reduced my pain meds down to the barest, most minimum dosage able to be prescribed. Now, I only need to take an antidepressant for situational purposes. Like when my Grandma Pauline, my mother by heart, passed away, I was having a hard time with the grief and needed a little extra help. Overall, though, I’m able to manage everything so much better with cannabis.
For all the nonsmokers or those who haven’t smoked since that last kegger at university, or if you’re like me, in high school, than you probably have a misconceived idea of what I mean when I say I get high. Either Cheech & Chong, Scooby Doo, or Woodstock type stoner, comes to mind, baked out of their skulls in a cloud of smoke that’s so thick it can’t be through it. Or possibly, you relate back to that time you tried it and hated it, smoking with the cheapest of Mexican dirt weed, not ever knowing it was Mexican dirt weed, which makes all the difference, until you read this. (The lowest grade readily available for street sales while marijuana was still illegal. Very few dealers had real stuff back then, it was garbage and made you feel like garbage.)
Those images are so far from how it is, though. I’m not in college, or high school, anymore, for goodness sakes. Sure it’s fun, in it’s own acquired taste kind of way- to roll, pack, dab, break up, snip, grind, and all those other great things that are done before taking that first puff, but it’s also a very controlled act regulated by responsibility and governed by priorities. If you’re counting change to pay bills or feed your kid, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re medicating irresponsibly by over-using it into oblivion or disrespecting the medicinal factor and using it just because, you’re not doing it right. My day does not revolve around getting high, as some would like to believe. There are things to do, people to care for, places to be, as life goes by in a hurry, and it’s not always the time nor place to be high. I try schedule time three times a day, just as with any old antibiotic or blood pressure, or sinus medication, to try and smoke enough to alleviate the aches and pains, and energize my spirit, per say (or de-energize if it’s night time). And if duty calls while I’m doing so, well then so be it. My children will always come first.
All these years, long before the legalization movement came to be, I always wondered exactly what the fuss was all about. Especially since I was raised with a father who was employed as a law enforcement officer who has always felt similarly about the plant as I do. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, they say. Each strain of marijuana is cultivated to enhance or muffle each of the many properties that make up the THC component, which is the active chemical within the plant that gives the affects. These properties control every aspect of the high and are tailored to maximize the aggressiveness for all of the many diseases, disorders, and illnesses that can be helped with medical marijuana. It’s really a amazing wonderment how one plant can be genetically manipulated without chemicals, without scientists in labs using specialized machinery to alter the basic structure of the genetic strands, or without harming the overall quality, growth, flowering, etc. I’m able to obtain just what I need to help my symptoms without being impaired unless I purposely go over board, ultimately, which is in my full control.
The stigma that’s attached to parents who use medical marijuana is slowly changing as the legalization movement goes forward across the nation. Key word: slowly. The stigma attached to marijuana alone, it’s changing rapidly. I’m just a mom, trying to stay healthy so I can do right by my kids. I don’t hide or lie to them about my choices in medicine because I don’t ever want them to think I condone that either. If they’re ever going to grow to trust me as their confidant, than I must prove that trust is there, because we all know it’s a two-way street. Before the kids wake up, I try to smoke a little to wake up my body, alleviating the stiffness that sets in overnight. If the toddler actually takes a nap or if I’m going to be in a situation that would set my anxiety into panic mode, I’ll try to smoke a little bit to reduce my angrivation, keep my emotions along the middle line and away from either end of extreme. After a long, exhausting day, it’s so nice to sit back and toke under the light of the midnight moon, finally able to ease the fire that burns in my spine and the tension that’s built up throughout the day, once my duties are done for the day with the kids sleeping soundly in their beds. Just as you would do with a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, a quiet stroll through the woods, a bubble bath, or a xanax. Everyone rewinds in their own way, mine just helps keep me mentally balanced & free of pain as well. I’m a midnight toking mama, who’s thankful for the sweet Mary Jane medicine that works as no other has before, to get her through life. If that’s really so wrong, than I NEVER want to be right.