The family that tokes together...?
Singer songwriter Melissa Etheridge, 55, has acknowledged that she has smoked weed and continues to do so, saying that it brings a family closer instead of drives them apart.
In an interview with Yahoo's Weed and the American Family, Etheridge said that she started smoking cannabis products around the same time as she was diagnosed with breast cancer and continues to do so. She admitted, though, that smoking around her children was something that did take some getting used to.
“It was funny at first, and then they realized, it’s a very natural, end-of-the-day [thing]," she said of her experiences when she first smoked weed with her older sons Bailey, 20, and Beckett, 18.
Etheridge recently came out with her own line of cannabis products, Etheridge Farms, last year, and did so before Proposition 64 was officially approved. The proposition made it legal for adults who were 21 or older "to use, possess and share cannabis, as well as grow it at home."
She said that it has been her attitude throughout her cannabis use since she started it 12 years ago that she wouldn't demonize the drug with her children, whether it was her oldest two children or her twins, now 11.
“My children have a very clear understanding of cannabis," she explained. When I hold it without shame or confusion, then they can understand it as simple as if I was pointing to a bottle of Percocet and said, ‘That’s Mama’s medicine.’ You take the naughtiness out of it, and it’s not something that kids run to.”
She credited her ability to be with her children during her breast cancer experience to cannabis, as well as her ability to actually eat during her bouts with cancer and its treatment.
“It was just being to a place where I could communicate with my children, to where I could get up, to where I could eat. It was great medicine,” she said, noting that she didn't want to use more conventional medical therapies in coping with the nausea or other symptoms that cancer patients can frequently cope with.
Etheridge acknowledged that while she was cancer-free, she continued using cannabis because of the additional health benefits, such as easing stress and allowing her to sleep more effectively.
She also noted that there are benefits beyond the easing of stress and the ability to sleep, especially as far as her relationship with her spouse, Linda Wallem, goes.
“Cannabis is the best marital aid,” she added. “When it’s date night … It takes down your inhibition; your sexual desires are enhanced. We take a bath every night and smoke and talk and wind down and sleep a very, very good night sleep — and sleep is extremely important.”
Etheridge said she wanted to work towards removing the stigma of marijuana use, since there were what she believed to be clear health benefits of using the drug.
“Cannabis is a resource, cannabis is an alternative,” Etheridge said. “It’s clear this medicine that is cannabis helps.”
While Etheridge is working to break the stigma about marijuana use, Canada is taking steps towards legalizing the drug nationwide. There will, however, still be protections in place under the Cannabis Act to ensure that youth will still have restricted access to cannabis, and it's unlikely that this law will be approved before April 20, 2017, often "celebrated" as Weed Day. April 20, or 420 according to cannabis culture, became a day to honor marijuana as a drug of choice because 420 used to be a police code for marijuana smoking in progress.