Marijuana use is being destigmatized at an unprecedented rate. Between medical marijuana becoming more accepted and several states legalizing the substance during the last election, people are talking openly about cannabis use in a way we have never really seen. And new data about who, exactly, is using the drug might be surprising to some people. It turns out that the modern marijuana user is likely to be a woman — and maybe even a parent.
A new survey from Eaze, a cannabis technology company that facilitates delivery of medical marijuana, analyzed who their consumers are. They found that they are highly educated, employed, and well-off, with almost half of respondents reporting an income of $75,000 or more per year. They're also overwhelmingly millennials. A higher number of women than men reported using cannabis daily, but perhaps most surprising of all is that one in five marijuana users in their survey were parents — with 63% of those parents reporting using cannabis on a daily basis.
Sheena Shiravi, head of PR for Eaze, says that many people are turning to cannabis to replace their opioid prescription for chronic pain.
"It's not surprising to think that parents are using cannabis every day," she tells Refinery29. "Think about how often a mom reaches for glass of wine or takes Tylenol or pain killer for a headache or back pain."
Rachel*, a 32-year-old mother of five-year-old twins, says she uses CBD oil several times per week to manage her anxiety (CBD is a cannabinoid that does not have psychoactive effects, like THC does). She's based in Colorado, where it's legal, which makes it accessible for her. She says she'd only smoked pot twice in college before discovering CBD oil as a potential treatment for anxiety.
"I mostly take the CBD because being a parent with anxiety is hard. Kids trigger it in a lot of ways," Rachel tells Refinery29. "And if I take a [benzodiazepine like Xanax], I can't really function as a parent. But if I take CBD oil, I feel way less anxious but not impaired or like it affects my ability to parent."
She says the oil is a great option for her as a parent because she can keep it hidden from her kids.
"I can slip off to my bathroom, put a few drops under my tongue, and my kids see nothing. No vaping, no smoking, nothing out," she says.
Shiravi points out that what's interesting about women as cannabis consumers is that they are twice as likely to favor tincture products, like Rachel uses, than men are. They use lower-dose edibles and CBD dominant products 42 percent more than males do. "What we're seeing with women is that they're integrating cannabis as part of their health and wellness regimen," says Shiravi. They're also using it to replace potentially more harmful habits, like a form of harm reduction — parents are more than 50 percent likely to replace drinking alcohol with consuming marijuana and 26% more likely to replace opiates than non-parents.
"I use about two puffs at a time, a few times per month, just enough to get a medicinal benefit," says Lea Grover, a 33-year-old mom of three kids, seven-year-old twins and a five-year-old.
"When I smoke marijuana, it helps me keep my thoughts ordered, and calm," she says. Grover, who lives in Illinois, also says it helps with some of her PTSD symptoms, like being triggered by physical touch, as well as with her PMDD and menstrual cramps.
"For me, marijuana eases away that tension [from PTSD symptoms], and allows me to interact with my kids without pushing me over the line into an unhealthy emotional place," Gover explains.
Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws.
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