When a mom discovers cannabis as remedy, either accidently or purposefully due to an ailment, there’s a layer of secrecy involved, due to the decades-long stigma created from misinformation on the plant.
If her child falls ill, cannabis is often the last resort when traditional Western medicine runs its course and fails. When the plant works, a whole other conversation must ensue – how do you continue to incorporate the herb into your daily life without a) going to prison; or b) having your children taken away from Child Protective Services?
To protect the mom and subject of this feature, she will be called Jane. Hence the need for this little story to be written.
Jane medicates with a CBD (cannabinoid only) vaporizer pen for acute anxiety that brings on full-blown panic attacks. Her first attack came when she was 19, while working as a server in a diner. She shared that she would be off and on SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors: Prozac, Celexa, etc.) for years, but replaced everything with cannabis – despite her husband’s initial complaints.
“My husband’s background and culture is more conservative, so it took him a while to get on board,” she explained. “His own health issues include anxiety, and he had heart palpitations that lasted a year. So, we learned about low-dose strains and CBD only that allowed him to stay focused at work, while helping him to relax at home.”
For a cannabis patient, in a legal state or not, finding your remedy is just half the good news. To live in the world, a cannabis patient knows his or her medicine is not welcome everywhere. Jane and hubby found that out the hard way.
Mickey Just Says NO
Recently Jane and her husband, with their small children in tow, attempted to enter Disneyland with their respective CBD vaporizer pens, honestly offering them up for inspection along with their phones and a few miscellaneous items.
With California being legal for recreation (January, 2018), and the common knowledge (she thought) that CBD-only concentrate has no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and, therefore, no psychoactive properties, she and her husband believed the pens were a moot point.
“Once we placed the pens in the bucket the security guard immediately started rummaging through it,” Jane explained. “I walked through the detector and he pulls out the pen and questioned us on whether it was CBD or THC.”
The fact that the gatekeeper knew the difference between the two types of concentrates is encouraging, however, the guard responded with fine print, stating that Disneyland does not allow the possession of CBD products on the property.
“He said we could forfeit the pens to them or take them back to our car,” she continued. “This guy obviously had no idea how expensive CBD is, and I nervously chuckled. Mind you, there are families in line, passing us – and my poor little girl is just staring up at us, confused.”
In Jane’s home, children are educated on the benefits of the cannabis plant – so, her daughter didn’t understand why her parents were stopped, or why Dad had to walk their “medicine” back to the car.
“The most humiliating part of the experience was, the guard talked derogatorily to my husband – in front of our children – saying, ‘…and don’t smoke that on your way back to the car, if they catch you smoking in the parking lot, I can’t let you back in.’ To which we both exclaimed, ‘for CBD?’
Ultimately, mom and kids were allowed inside the park to wait for dad to come back from the car.
“The thing I couldn’t shake all night was the fact that we were criminalized in public, in front of our children – at the ‘happiest place on Earth,’” Jane said. “I was also praying I wouldn’t have a panic attack at Disneyland, because my meds were so far away from me in the Mickey and Friend’s parking lot!”
A letter from this writer to Disney’s Public Relations Department, regarding restrictions of non-psychoactive CBD on park property went unanswered, as did follow-up phone calls.
Under “General Rules” on Disneyland’s website, the smoking of tobacco, including “other products that produce a vapor or smoke,” are allowed in designated smoking areas, but Jane said she was keenly aware of guests smoking all over the park, where they could.
Under “Prohibited Items,” “marijuana” is clearly listed along with alcohol or “any illegal substance.” The fact that California is now legal for recreational use of cannabis; or that both California and Florida (home to Disney World) are legal for cannabis as medicine appears to be a moot point.
Jane said the irony of the incident is, her rules at home with cannabis are similar to her rules with alcohol, she prefers that her kids do not see her consuming it – even though they are responsible with their alcohol intake, and understand that cannabis is mommy and daddy’s medicine.
“We live in an affluent community, and have a designated room in our house for medicating,” she concluded. “Our medicine is kept in a secure place. Which is why the whole Disneyland ordeal was so hard to take. We are responsible parents. I know I’m an excellent mom – that’s beside the point. If I would have had a prescription of OxyContin in my purse that would have been alright. And that’s not OK by me.”
By Sharon Letts
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 136