Mother Plants

I’m a mom.

3 years in, after having a child while in the middle of herb school, then proceeding to raise that child while going to school, working multiple jobs, building a house, and starting a business, all I can say is: thank goddess for herbs. Like many moms, I experienced the roller coaster of postpartum anxiety and depression, wild hormonal fluctuations, daily challenges to my resilience in the face of stress, and the struggle of putting nutritious food on the table when I’m dog tired at the end of the day. But living in the herbal mecca that is central Vermont and having access to some pretty amazing apothecaries and herbal mentors, I have been pretty lucky. I have had countless herbal allies during the past three years that have made these mountains a little easier to climb. Skullcap, passionflower, reishi, cannabis, kava, milky oats, eleuthero, shatavari, maca; let me count the ways. You have helped me sleep, soothed my nerves, gave me energy, and gave me roots. This month we celebrate motherhood (shouldn’t we do that all the time?), and to me, herbs and motherhood go hand in hand. Cannabis plays a particularly interesting role in that relationship. The plants used for medicine are exclusively female, and cultivation largely happens by cloning the “mother plant.” But aside from that botanical detail, historically, and around the world, it was used extensively in obstetric care, often used to strengthen contractions, speed up slow labor, stop hemorrhaging, and prevent threatened abortions. It was often called upon for menstrual and fertility complaints, and is used by many as an aphrodisiac. Apart from its affinity for the reproductive system, high CBD cannabis is used by many to quell the rush of anxiety and stress hormones that often (always?) accompanies parenthood. In fact, there is a whole movement of gals coming out of the cannabis closet, unabashedly claiming that cannabis helps them be better moms — more chill, more down to play, and more creative. From marijuana mom groups, to whole blogs dedicated to the subject, and now products aimed specifically at mothers, more and more people are owning the fact that this is not a drug for criminals, but rather an herb that is helping moms thrive in a society that is largely unsupportive of them (see: lack of paid family leave, postpartum care, child care, etc.)

marijuana mom group

Of course, that is not to say that its use is without stigma or potential concerns. Not everyone on your block will be happy letting their kids come over if they think mama might be consuming, or have edibles laying about (lock em up, people!) And in many states, if you have birth in the hospital and screen positive for THC, thats a red flag for Child Protective Services to get involved (but not in VT anymore, hooray! See FAQ #6 in this doc.) Also, there is evidence that THC does pass through the placental wall and into the breastmilk, and it’s unclear what effect that might have on the developing fetus and newborn (although many studies have been done showing no deleterious effects when exposed in utero). We know that cannabis does interact with the endocrine system, which could potentially affect a number of hormones, including growth hormones. But in large part, we still don’t know. This is true for a lot of herbs. Look at any list of “herbs to avoid during pregnancy and lactation” on the internet, and it pretty much tells you not to take any herbs (not even basil – I mean, really?). There are good reasons not to take a lot of herbs while creating another human being — herbs that can cause uterine contractions or could cause birth defects are definite no-no’s), and most health professionals err on the side of caution since most herbs have not been studied clinically in these contexts. After all, you can have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and childbirth without herbs, so why risk it? For me, it comes down to your personal comfort level, and your access to good information. If you’re worried about potential negative consequences of any herb, including both physiological and social, then trust your gut and find alternatives (and there a lot of great alternatives to cannabis by the way). But make sure your avoidance is based on good information and not fear. There are so many plants that can be amazing allies for us while we are parenting, and that goes for both moms and dads. This is a time in our lives when the world is being asked of us, and it can be overwhelming. But we shouldn’t forget that no matter what our family situation is, we all have a mother in the fertile soil and the green plants that grow from it. We don’t have to do this alone. Be well,

#motherhood #parenting #mothersday #moms #marijuanamoms #cannabis #motherplants #pregnancy #breastfeeding #anxiety #postpartum

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