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Friday September 14, 2018

By Michael Walters


In the age of legalization, more and more parents are using cannabis to help them get through their busy and stressful days. Does this make them bad people? Definitely not! In fact, many responsible parents believe cannabis helps them to be even better parents for their children while also improving their own personal quality of life. When it comes to cannabis and parenting, there are a few key guidelines to abide by and PotGuide is here to help you become the best canna-parent possible! Follow along as we highlight some of the major “Dos and Don’ts” of cannabis and parenting.

Canna-Parenting “Dos”

To be a responsible canna-parent, there are several things to consider. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with being a parent who consumes cannabis as long as you’re careful, responsible and cautious! Keep reading for some very important “dos” for being an awesome canna-parent.

Use Responsibly

First and foremost, before you consume cannabis, ask yourself a question: why am I choosing to consume? If you don’t have a good answer, don’t consume. Good answers include: to ebb my pain so I can play outside with my child, to be more present while I read children’s books tonight, to soften my reaction to stress when my child is difficult, to temper my ADHD during a forced tea party, and more.

Responsible consumption is one of the most important aspects of being a canna-parent. photo credit

You get the idea; you’re an adult, and you should have adult reasons. Perhaps the best reason to use responsibly is that you should be setting an example for your children that cannabis is not something to be abused but to be used as a tool for a fully-developed mind.

Set a Good Example

Just like you knew that your mom was taking Xanax and Ritalin when you were a child, it’s not going to be easy to hide your cannabis use from your children. Arguably, the goal shouldn’t be to hide it because that is treating it with the same disrespect and stigmatization that our parents bestowed upon us by their parents bestowing it upon them. Let’s end that cycle.

Cannabis is a plant, so honor it like one. It’s a medicine, so treat it like one.

When you quit manifesting the demonization of the past, it goes away. When it’s gone, it’s much easier to see that cannabis has been mistreated, disrespected and is no more dangerous or idyllic than a sunflower. It’s just a plant. Unfortunately, many people don’t see it like this. That’s why cannabis consumers should be their children’s first educators.


Cannabis is a medicine, and medicinal effects differ between people. If you’re a canna-parent, it’s probably because cannabis works for you. If it didn’t, your medicine might be opiates or caffeine or yoga, or all of them. You could teach your children yoga, but you likely wouldn’t advise them to use an opiate for pain. Cannabis can help children medicinally – especially for children who experience seizures – but it shouldn’t be used by young minds for non-medicinal purposes. The science is still out on the long-term impacts of cannabis use on young minds, but caution should be exercised, and that should be a part of your child’s education.

Emphasize Discretion

A significant portion of canna-parenting is emphasizing discretion with not only your own cannabis use but also your discussions with your family about cannabis. You wouldn’t let your children go around bragging about your Valium prescription or telling people how much money you make or where you keep your guns locked up; there should be just as much discretion regarding cannabis use. It’s family business and no one else’s.

Make sure you exercise plenty of discretion with your cannabis consumption habits. photo credit

Children understand this concept quite well, but it has to be a part of their education, and you have to show them you are both included in that. This segues into being a better parent; showing that you have the compassion, understanding and acceptance to talk about anything your children desire – without judgment – shows them that family business goes both ways. You trust each other with family business. This feeling of trust within a family does not extend beyond those boundaries, and that’s what leads us to the “don'ts” of canna-parenting.

Canna-Parenting “Don’ts”

When dealing with a substance like cannabis, it’s important to note that there will always be roadblocks along the way. Until federal legalization is achieved and cannabis is normalized to a similar degree of alcohol or tobacco, keep these “don’ts” in mind.

Don’t Assume Everyone is Okay With You Being a Canna-Parent

Remember the stigmatization you’re trying not to pass on to your child? Well, unfortunately it’s still strongly alive in the minds of some people. You’ll meet people who profoundly disagree with your canna-parenting, and you aren’t going to change their mind any easier than they’re going to let you clean up the vodka-martini they just spilled on their khaki shorts.

This is also why emphasizing discretion and teaching your children about “family business” are integral to being a productive member of society while maintaining your parenting style without judgment from others. If someone does catch wind of your style and begins spilling their drink all over themselves while they tell you off for being a horrible person, it’s best to just walk away.

Don’t Argue With Naysayers

Stigmatization isn’t something you beat with a bat. Without passing judgment yourself, understand that anti-cannabis proponents are brainwashed into their thinking of marijuana as some inhibitor of integrity and productivity. These people have been hearing, and believing, lies and misconceptions for decades. Their grandparents heard it, their parents heard it, they’ve heard it and even better, it still spills out of talking heads’ mouths on television.

Heart Hands
Staying positive against anti-cannabis proponents is your best line of defense. photo credit

If it comes down to confrontation, the best you can do is let naysayers know that cannabis works for you. Additionally, let them know that you’re a loving, responsible and established parent and that you don’t believe plants are evil or that their use should be treated as a character flaw. You won’t beat them into submission, but if they hear enough people say that and see enough people doing it, their brainwashing might fade away over time.

Don’t Assume the Law is on Your Side

A big reason why so many people are against cannabis is because of the outdated laws that enforce it. Even if cannabis is legal in your state, it’s still federally illegal. The stigma still resides in Child Protective Services, as well. They aren’t keen on parents consuming cannabis while attending to their children. They have a particular disdain for parents who leave cannabis or paraphernalia somewhere within reach of their children. Because of this, it would be wise never to assume the law is on your side, even if some of them are. Take extreme caution, because no plant nor advocate’s principle is worth more than your children.

If you’re a parent who consumers cannabis responsibly, always make sure your stash is hidden in a child-proof container that is out of reach from any of your kids. A locked safe is a great place to store your cannabis and it will prove to the naysayers (and hopefully law enforcement in legal states) that you are responsible and dedicated to keeping cannabis out of your children’s hands.

Don’t Put Your Children at Risk

Regardless of your attitude, beliefs and the facts you have on your side, canna-parenting involves risk. Minimize it and don’t do anything that would jeopardize your children. With every action you take around cannabis, you should be fully aware of the laws of the jurisdiction in which you preside. Educating them about its use and teaching them about its risks is the best way to maintain safety, security, and joy within your family as a canna-parent. And in the end, that’s all that matters.

Do you have any tips for canna-parents out there? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Lauren Lulu Taylor (license)


Michael Walters Michael Walters

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric, Michael started his journey in the cannabis industry managing content, communications, and technical writing for one of Colorado's largest dispensary chains. In 2016, Michael pivoted to the ancillary sector to become PotGuide's Content Manager and was responsible for overseeing all of PotGuide’s editorial endeavors and content marketing strategies. Now, Michael is PotGuide's Director of Content & Marketing, focusing his efforts toward new educational content and exciting media endeavors.

With a life-long passion for cannabis knowledge and education, Michael devoted himself to becoming a subject matter expert on marijuana at an early age. Now, Michael has worked in the marijuana industry for over four years helping break down negative stigma and promoting safe cannabis practices. An avid consumer himself, Michael has worked tirelessly to improve content marketing strategies for cannabis businesses and is devoted to creating meaningful content that is useful to a wide variety of marijuana consumers. Follow Michael on LinkedIn and Instagram for updates and insights.

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