Article by Anisha Dhiman, Growth Op
Before rushing to the hospital following a heart attack scare, Andrea Meharg had tried it all.
She gave prescription medications a shot, went into therapy, practised yoga and meditation. Nothing seemed to shake off the depression she had been struggling with as an elementary school teacher. “I was in a really dark place, unable to get out of bed, not being a mom to my kids,” says Meharg.
The stress and anxiety finally caught up to her. In 2016, Meharg was briefly admitted to the hospital in London, Ont. with what she presumed to be a heart attack, but turned out to be an anxiety attack. By then she was nearly 100 pounds overweight.
“By the time I was put off work on leave, I was close to my heaviest,” says Meharg. The following Christmas, her mom gave her a bag of weed. “[She] said, ‘I think this might help.’”
Months went by before she and her husband tried it. “I consumed cannabis as a teenager, but I got away from it in my early 20s and didn’t touch it again until I was 38,” she says. “We had to watch YouTube videos on how to roll a joint! He uses it for his moods, and to manage back pain and migraines.”
Cannabis came in handy as she went on a lifestyle journey too. “I decided to go through with weight loss surgery. I lost about 30 pounds before surgery and another 60 after, using cannabis the whole time. Now I’m able to successfully manage my weight and cannabis is a key tool in my toolbox,” she says.
As cannabis helped with multiple facets in her life, including being a good parent to her two kids, Meharg transitioned from her role as an elementary school teacher to becoming a cannabis coach where she helps people figure out how best to use cannabis through her online platform, Reveal Cannabis.
“I heard from people who said they wanted to try cannabis but didn’t know how. Now I’m on a mission to ensure that you can start using this amazing plant to reach your best health without all the trial and error,” she writes.
Move over wine — mom wants weed
Like a glass of wine at the end of a long day, B.C.-based Shannon Chiarenza has been using cannabis to relax.
As for her two kids, aged 9 and 5, she feels no reason to hide her cannabis. “I teach them that it’s a plant that can be medicine but it’s for adults. My daughter loves to help me with the cannabis plants when I grow them out in the yard. She loves the smell.”
From fellow frazzled parents, Chiarenza has been receiving an influx of inquiries at her online cannabis platform, Weed Mama. “Parents need some way to unwind, and are looking to try cannabis, especially CBD, the non-impairing cannabis compound.”
Although with smoking-related concerns, she finds many are switching to edibles. “I’ve tried dark chocolate bars by Foray; taking one square would be a safe bet for the daytime and a nice treat for yourself,” she recommends. For those struggling to wake up in the morning, infused tea could be the kicker they need. “One thing you can do with their tea is to make a pot, stick it in the fridge with some ice and have an infused iced tea on hand. This allows you to microdose THC over a few days, getting more use out of one teabag.”
Cannabis for moms-turned-homeschool teachers
Alone time for B.C.-based Gill Polard has become a thing of the past. “Helping them understand their school assignments is tough. Half the time I have to re-educate myself before trying to explain things to them,” says Polard, who has been homeschooling her two kids aged 9 and 12 while her partner goes to work.
Founder of the cannabis publication, The Herb Life, Polard has been using cannabis sparingly throughout the day and depends on it for a good night’s sleep. “It helps me get into a frame of mind that reminds me that we’re doing alright and we’re going to be okay,” she says. “You’ll often hear parents talking about how cannabis use can help them appreciate playtime with their kids, and I think when you’re cooped up in a house with your family, it’s easy to start annoying one another.”
For moms looking to try cannabis for the first time, she recommends staying away from sugary edibles. “It is far too easy to overdo it and wind up feeling sick. I would recommend a drop of tincture in a cup of tea or even low dose capsules (aim for no more than 2.5 mg of THC) for a low level buzz.”