Shannon Chiarenza, founder of WeedMama

Shannon Chiarenza, founder of WeedMama

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

Despite it being legal, stigma around cannabis – and those who use it – certainly aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But one B.C. woman is hoping she can change the negative perceptions of weed-smoking moms, one website view at a time.

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, said she started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers who are interested in ditching the merlot for the versatile plant.

“My background is website design, but I’ve been a stay at home mom now for a few years,” she told Black Press Media. While living in the Kitsilano-Point Grey area, she said as a cannabis-user herself, she noticed quickly that other mothers seemed to be comfortable drinking wine, but smoking up was left for the dads.

“I never really figured out why – but then I felt it myself, as a mom – feeling that as a mother you have to hold up a higher standard than even dads, for some reason,” she said. “It’s not really a spoken thing, it’s a felt thing. It’s something we have in our own heads, in our own consciousness.”

Chiarenza herself admitted that she oftentimes hid her cannabis use from other parents at her children’s school to avoid criticism or judgment.

“You do kind of feel like you’re the bad mom,” she said. She quickly realized she wasn’t alone, as she connected with other moms and kicked off her Weed Mama project on social media.

“They hide it. They were embarrassed and they didn’t want to tell anyone and they had to hide it in shame. So I realized there was definitely a market or place for this kind of a thing where women can feel accepted for what they do and find other moms who do the same thing.”

Ironically, it was motherhood that reintroduced Chiarenza to cannabis.

“I had a very traumatizing birth with my son, and my first pregnancy was painful, too, and it left me with a lot of pain” she said.

w.soundcloud.com

After a six year hiatus, at the age of 41, Chiarenza decided to try vaping with her husband.

Despite being worried at first that it would trigger her anxiety, “it made me relax, but it took all the pain away,” she said.

From the basics like how to purchase pot to what it does to your body, as well as how it can help stomach pains or the top three “ahhhmazing ways to experience cannabis,” Chiarenza said she’s hoping her website she can educate people on safe use but also the positive culture.

There’s also a special section dedicated to cannabis’ benefits for women.

“For me, at least, this is one of the biggest areas that cannabis can help woman – for painful sex and menstruation and pain that comes after child birth – it can really help reduce that,” she said.

View this post on Instagram

Generalized anxiety/ panic disorder, that was my diagnosis when I was pregnant with my first child. Genetic in my case, I've had this since childhood. The worst anxiety I've ever felt was before I had children, triggered when I quit smoking. One year of the worst anxiety you can possibly imagine, with severe panic attacks lasting for weeks on end, the anxiety was so bad my body was wracked with intense physical pain. A few times I considered checking myself into the hospital. I could write a book about how anxiety has wreaked havoc on my life and all the things I've tried. In the past 20+ years I've tried everything in my desperation to overcome anxiety; I've taken medication, read dozens of self help books, spiritual books, philosophy books, brain science books, numerous anxiety "cure" programs, yoga, meditation, group therapy, group meditation, spiritual classes, reiki, tapping, body talk therapy, chakra cleansing, chanting, primal scream therapy, saw psychics, spiritual healers, shamans (I have stories) past life regression therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, watched numerous ted talks, attended numerous seminars, tried so many different supplements, cleanses and diets saw a therapist for several years, several doctors and acupuncture, and I'm sure I'm forgetting things. What finally worked was a combination of things I learned from my therapist, realizing anxiety can't really be cured but it can be trained to behave and, modern cannabis. CBD has allowed me to relax. It soothes and calms the anxiety. If you have anxiety issues, give CBD a try, it's safe and non psychoactive. There's many ways to take CBD including oil infusions that can be added to your morning coffee or smoothie. A good dose to start is around 25mg and adjust as needed. To get the whole plant therapy (entourage effect) take with a low dose of THC (less than 5mg) and/or use cannabis plant derived CBD rather than hemp. I've tried many brands and have been disappointed by many. I'm working on compiling a list of good ones, hope to have that soon, meanwhile if you use a brand you like please share it in the comments! (Pictured is a CBD vape pen by @culture_pens )

A post shared by Weed Mama (@weed_mama) on

As Canada enters a new age of legal cannabis, Chiarenza said the culture will hopefully move away from negative connotations for those looking to take part, especially for moms.

“You can find things that are very sophisticated – there are connoisseurs… it’s not just this one-sided thing,” she said, pointing to those who use it as soft-medical relief for pain and other symptoms.

Since launching her website, Chiarenza said she’s received both support and concern, including one person who asked her if she thinks it’s wise to be be doing this as a mother and questioning her responsibility.

“This is exactly why a lot of moms don’t talk about using cannabis, because people still have this old-fashioned ideas about what it is, and modern cannabis is so much more than that and there is a lot of good science coming out about it now. My goal is to educate people so moms don’t feel that anymore, they can feel like they’re a good mom and can also do cannabis to unwind.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

cannabisLegalized Marijuana

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Patna Sweets and Restaurant has been awarded the Frontline Excellence Award at the 2020 Abbotsford Business Excellence Awards.
Abbotsford’s Patna Sweets and Restaurant wins Frontline Excellence Award

Local business recognized for its leadership and grace to aid Abbotsford during the pandemic

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Abbotsford’s Zone Garage Fraser Valley won the Community Contribution Award at the 2020 Abbotsford Business Excellence Awards. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Zone Garage wins Community Contribution Award

Local business wins big at the 2020 Abbotsford Business Excellence Awards

The best in Abbotsford business was recognized on Thursday morning.
VIDEO: 2020 Abbotsford Business Excellence Awards

Best in local business honoured on Thursday morning in virtual ceremony

Dan Kononoff (left) and Dan Buhler recently announced the merger of Clearbridge Business Solutions and unetworks, including with a YouTube video.
Two competing Abbotsford IT companies announce merger

Clearbridge and unetworks join forces as Clearbridge Business Solutions

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team is investigating after a 30-year-old woman died in a Newton alley early this morning after being found with gunshot wounds in a vehicle. The incident happened in the 13700-block of 75A Avenue. (Photo: Lauren Collins).
Woman, 30, dead after early morning crash, shooting in Surrey

Surrey RCMP looking for vehicle, video surveillance in area of 13700-block of 75A Avenue

Most Read