Can smoking pot make you a better parent?


Art dealer Mark Wolfe makes the argument in a New York Times opinion piece that his medical marijuana use makes him a better parent.

At 44, Mark had long-term back pain, stress, anxiety, and insomnia. He got his cannabis card around the same time his youngest daughter was born.

He says before he started the marijuana treatment, he was a dutiful parent, but the every day stresses left him burnt out.


Before beginning treatment, I was a dutiful if not particularly enthusiastic father. Workaday parental obligations were a necessary, unfortunate chore. I was so stressed out by the end of the day that bedtime, with its interminable pleas for more stories, songs, sips of water and potty breaks, felt like a labor to be endured and dispatched as quickly as possible.

Now he says’s he’s ready to not only be there for his kids at night, but really engage with them.
I swear I am a more loving, attentive and patient father when I take my medication as prescribed.Perhaps this isn’t surprising. As anyone who inhaled during college can attest, cannabis enhances the ability to perceive beauty, complexity and novelty in otherwise mundane things (grout patterns in your bathroom floor, the Grateful Dead, Doritos), while simultaneously locking you into a prolonged state of rapt attention. You not only notice the subtle color variations in your cat’s fur, you stare at them in loving awe for 20 solid minutes.
He knows he’ll get con criticism for this conclusion, but says that being part of a family with two working parents with modest incomes in an expensive city, it’s impossible to try more time-consuming things like yoga or meditation to try to deal with his stress and anxiety. He also points out that in most states marijuana is an illegal option.
But for me, at least, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. I find the time I spend with my children to be qualitatively different and simply more fun when I take my medicine (always in private, never in front of them, never too much). I am able to become a kid again, to see things through my daughters’ eyes and experience, if I’m lucky, the wonder of each new game, each new object and sound, as they do.
With increasing numbers of people on medical marijuana, this is a compelling observation, especially considering the reality that so many parents self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs to “get them through the day.”