Mother and daughter together at home using a tablet


Responsible Canna-parenting: A How-to Guide from the “Weed Mom” Author

Danielle Simone Brand

By Danielle Simone Brand

March 22, 2023

Whether you call yourself a canna-parent, weed mama, a cannamom, a

-parent, or just a caregiver who enjoys an occasional toke, you’re in luck: access to the legal marketplace is steadily improving as stigmas across the U.S. wane. It’s been suggested that parents — especially moms — are the last frontier for cannabis acceptance: when “mama’s cannabis break” is as welcome as “mommy’s happy hour,” we’ll know we’ve arrived. 

Perhaps you’re a seasoned parent who’s new to the weed game — or maybe you’re a new parent who’s in-the-know about herb. Either way, it’s important to note that being a great parent and a cannabis consumer are 100% compatible as long as you understand the ins and outs of combining them responsibly. Let’s dive in. 

Know Your Why

In the

space, you’ll frequently hear the term “mindful consumption,” and that starts, of course, with understanding why you consume cannabis (or are interested in doing so). Is it for symptom relief — i.e. , inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, depression or another condition? Are you looking to enhance your self-care routine with an elevated version of yoga, meditation, hiking or a luxurious bath? Perhaps you seek relaxation and social time, or just to replace alcohol with a non-toxic alternative?

Cannabis can do all of these things and more. And while there’s probably more than one reason you consume cannabis — or are canna-curious — understanding its particular benefits will help you choose the right products in the moments that will enhance, not detract from, your parenting experience.

Two pieces of a THC candy bar with "3MG THC" on them

Choose Your Cannabinoids and Dose with Intention

is, of course, the most famed cannabinoid and the molecule responsible for most of cannabis’s psychoactive effects. And today, is equally conspicuous as an addition to tinctures, drinks, creams and more. There’s evidence that these two cannabinoids work , and many parents find that combining cannabinoids (including THC, CBD, CBG, CBDA, THCV, THCA and others) in specific ratios has a positive effect on their overall experience. In other words, there’s no reason to restrict yourself to one molecule. Experimenting with cannabinoids for different outcomes will help you tailor and dial in your cannabis experience. 

Start low and go slow is the canna-curious mantra for a reason: two milligrams of THC hits very differently from 20 milligrams, and that hot-at-your-local-dispensary 35% THC strain might turn out to be too heavy-hitting for your personal needs. Especially when parenting, microdoses and non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD, CBG and THCA can all help shift your mood more safely.

Timing is Everything

OK, almost everything. Where a heavy edible might readily fit your evening plans if Netflix, snacks and crashing out are what’s on the menu, you’ll want to skip the higher doses of THC during the day, or while actively parenting. Remember, too, that edibles usually take time to digest and be processed into 11-hydroxy THC by the liver, so effects won’t be felt for 45 to 90 minutes. Time your dose accordingly. 

On the other hand, tinctures as well as “fast-acting” edibles or

made with nano-infusion techniques can be felt in as little as 15 minutes. Inhalation, as you probably know, can be felt pretty much instantaneously. 

Joyful mother, helping her daughter to do art and crafts

Correspondingly, each mode of consumption (edibles, tinctures, smoke, vape, etc.) lasts for a different length of time. Edibles can usually be felt for four to six hours, tinctures for two to three hours, and smoking or vaping tends to wear off within one to three hours. But these are general guides; getting to know your body’s specific response to cannabinoids and modes of intake is key to landing on the right — aka responsible — time to sip that infused beverage or spark up a jay.

In my book

, I point out that cannabis can be a wonderful addition to parenting life when mindfully incorporated into the kind of low-stakes activities where connection is the goal: think crafting, bedtime stories, playing frisbee in a local park. You get the picture. Cannabis doesn’t pair well with activities, such as swimming or driving, that require your quickest reflexes for the sake of safety. And if you’re a parent to very young children or a child with special needs, make sure you have another caregiver on hand anytime psychoactive cannabinoids are in the mix. 

Set and Setting Also Matter

You may have heard of the importance of set and setting in the psychedelics realm, but it’s also highly applicable to cannabis. In this context, “setting” refers to the environment and people in it — the vibe, if you will — and “set” refers to your mental space or mindset when you consume. Both will affect your cannabis experience, so be sure that you’re in a comfortable place with people you trust when experimenting with the herb. If you’re new to cannabis or have experienced paranoia in the past, you’ll want to stick with homey settings in the company of good friends or your partner until you’re confident.

cannabis in a open tin can. on old wooden background. rustic. Horizontal orintation

Stash Your Stash — Responsibly

We’ll explore the ins and outs of stash storage next time, but for now let’s take a page from a celebrated sports brand and encourage you to just do it.

of cannabis edibles by children is, unfortunately, way up. And while there isn’t a known toxic dose of cannabis, high levels of THC can cause heart palpitations, disorientation, dizziness, slow breathing and other symptoms; it could even require hospitalization. Our advice? Don’t rely on child-resistant packaging, and don’t leave edibles anywhere children can find them. A locking stash box or locked cabinet — along with good communication and education for older kids — are a responsible cannamom’s BFFs.

Keep a Strain Journal

It may seem nerdy, but hear us out. Because cannabis isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal and because there are thousands of products to choose from, you can take a lot of the guesswork out of how cannabis affects your unique physiology by keeping a so-called strain journal. (You’ll actually be recording a lot more info than strain alone.) 

Cannabis buds on notebooks with glass jar, gold lid, incense bur
Adobe Stock

When you consume cannabis, note the product you’ve chosen (including all the cannabinoids present), your mode of intake (edible, tincture, smoke, etc.), how much you consume (dose), and how you feel after consuming. For bonus points, note what you’ve eaten in the last few hours, your pre-consumption energy level and mindset, plus anything else that may affect your experience. This is truly one of the best ways to understand how cannabis affects you personally and to predict how you’ll feel next time you consume the same strain, dose and product. The more you know, weed moms.

Educate, Don’t Hide 

While it may initially seem daunting to talk to your kids about cannabis, parents who consume have an “utmost responsibility” to educate their kids on the plant, says

, a cannabis educator, entrepreneur and children’s book author. “When we hide our use from our children, it’s rooted in shame,” she says, and that only reinforces the stigma and misinformation of prohibition. Explaining the social context of plant medicine to our kids as they mature has another benefit, says Ramirez; it helps educate them on the racial bias evidenced in the War on Drugs, and can, in turn, help them become more critical thinkers and better citizens. 

For teens, check out the free, downloadable

curriculum from Drug Policy Alliance for stigma-free education on cannabis and other substances. 

Danielle Simone Brand

About The Author

Danielle Simone Brand