Meet cannabis advocate and instagram influencer Jessica Gonzalez, otherwise known as The Mommy Jane. Jessica credits cannabis with saving her life and her relationships, and making her a healthier and happier version of herself. So much so that she made it her mission to normalise the use of cannabis and plant medicines and help break down the stigma associated with being a CannaMom. We were lucky to sit down with her and have her talk about how she got into cannabis and became an influencer, how the plant helps her parenting, the stigma that still exists around what she does, and how mindfulness and meditation are integral to her approach to health and cannabis.
Why cannabis? What drew you to the plant?
Growing up in Northern California, I was no stranger to cannabis. My family members were some of the first card carrying cannabis consumers in California in the early 1990s and I have memories of accompanying my grandmother to deliver groceries to AIDS patients in Marin County. Their homes would often smell like cannabis, so to me, it was always a plant that was medicine. However, it wasn’t until my 30s that I discovered cannabis could be medicine for me.
I dabbled with it here and there in my 20s and 30s, always curious how sometimes I would smoke cannabis and want to clean the house, versus other times I wouldn’t want to leave the bed. And sometimes I would smoke and lose my appetite while other times I would become insatiable. Shortly after I had my second child, I had met a mom friend who was a card-carrying cannabis consumer and she was the one to suggest that I get a medical cannabis card as well, saying how much it was helping her with her depression and anxiety.
Once I became a medical cannabis patient, that’s when things really started to take off. Since doctors weren’t exactly active in helping me find products suitable for my needs, I took my health into my own hands and began researching cannabis, cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. At that point, I was heavily into daily alcohol abuse and was using Celexa to treat my depression and anxiety. Not long after adding cannabis to my lifestyle, I was witnessing my need for both those things were decreasing, and my joy of cannabis was increasing. That was when I made a major shift and decided to titrate myself off the prescription drugs and alcohol and get myself into the magic of plant medicine.
It wasn’t too long after my lifestyle change that I was able to recognize a tremendous amount of positive results in my life, my relationships, myself included. Seeing my success in real time was a big inspiration for why I started my Instagram page @themommyjane. If I was experiencing all these wonderful outcomes thanks to plant medicine, then I wanted to share my knowledge and experience to help other women hopefully take their life and their health back into their hands. It became my mission to normalize plant medicine for moms.
How did motherhood affect your relationship with cannabis, and vice versa, how did cannabis affect your experience as a mother?
As I mentioned previously, I was heavy into the mom wine culture. I was rosé-ing all day and night and waking up tried, grumpy, and short tempered. This did not make me a good mom. The more I drank, the more weight I gained and the meaner I became. Bloated from alcohol and a poor diet and constantly jealous, cranky and exhausted, I was doing next to nothing to take care of my mental health. I had hit rock bottom.
Once cannabis was re-introduced to me as a mother, I was able to see it as a tool in my belt. Cannabis became my super power, helping with headaches, body aches, stress and sleep, and rending me more active for my young children. Instead of hiding from my kids on my hangover days, I was finding ways we could create and connect every single day.
Building my relationship with cannabis and my mental health helped build my relationship with my children. Instead of living in anxiety, afraid to leave the house every day, I was finding reasons for us to go on walks, do crafts or just spend time hanging out by the pool or in nature.
If motherhood is a tapestry, cannabis was the treat to tie it all together. I was more patient, kind, mellow, loving, helpful, thoughtful, blissed out and it was rubbing off on my children too.
I tell people all the time “cannabis saved my relationships and my life!”
How do you communicate with your kids about what you do, and do you have any tips for other mothers who want to be honest about their cannabis consumption with their kids?
I approach this topic the same way I do everything: mindfully. My children have a 5 year age gap and my youngest found out at a much younger age than my oldest. When it comes down to it, you know your children best. You know what they can handle and their level of emotional intelligence. Don’t just offer information to a three year old, if they’re not inquiring, but also be mindful about how you use and discuss cannabis in your home.
If you lie about it, then your children will wonder why there is a taboo attached to it. But if you are open and mindful with how you speak about cannabis, how you keep it in your home and the methods you consume it, then there shouldn’t have to be much of a conversation.
Rarely do we sit our children down to discuss our medications or alcohol choices, so it’s really up to you how much you want to divulge about the plant and at what age.
I always called cannabis “my medicine”. Once my children were asking questions about my use, I sat them down, opened YouTube and educated them on the healing benefits of cannabis with children, cancer patients and people with invisible illness like myself, so that they could see that this plant is medicine for people of all ages and that our bodies had receptors to receive the healing benefits of this plant. I wanted to show them that this plant was saving lives and is just a magical superfood with an unfortunate stigma behind it.
As a parent, the wonderful thing is, you have control of that outdated stigma. Cannabis destigmatization starts at home. If you attach cannabis with shame, then they will attach the shame as well. Your cannabis conversation with your child could be something you can look forward to, instead of something you’re avoiding. Do some homework on the endocannabinoid system beforehand if you haven’t already. Get to know how your body receives this plant, and be mindful of how you use cannabis as medicine. And always remember: it’s just a plant!
How has it been at the nursery/school gates with other mums, when they ask you what you do?
I know this sounds hard to believe but I was a room mom for a number of years for both my girls and no one knew about my cannabis use until recently. I avoided the conversation like the plague, consuming cannabis before playdates or quickly answering “I am a writer in the wellness industry” when they asked what I did for a living. That meant I wasn’t lying. I just wasn’t divulging all the details of my work. Looking back, I wanted the moms get to know me before they judged me, and I wanted my children to have a fair chance at playdates. Because I knew the minute I came out of the closet, then so would the naysayers.
As soon as moms caught wind of my cannabis use, they urged the teacher to not allow me on the last field trip as a chaperone. They blamed me for anything that fell to the wayside saying that it must be because I am a stoner, not just a mom who was struggling to run a brand new business and volunteer at her child’s class so she could break the stigma with herself. They hung me out to dry the first year in TK (transitional kindergarten) so that by the time Kindergarten came around, I was back in the closet with my career, and out of the room mom and PTA circuit.
Not everyone is ready to believe that a plant can do so much for them. They would rather believe the years of propaganda we have been fed by the federal government and the powers that control our world.
I currently live in the Bay Area, where the stigma isn’t as strong as it is in Southern California, but I know it still exists. This is by and large why I preach so hard on @themommyjane with tips on how to live more mindfully, be the best parents we can be, and how to navigate our lives with more purpose and passion, so we break the stigma within, and therefore, the world.
Do you still feel stigmatised as a cannabis using mum?
I have been recently opening up about the exhaustion of being a cannabis consuming mom and having to prove to the world (and my husband) that we are “good parents and citizens”. I kept my house magazine clean, made Pinterest worthy bentos for my children’s lunches and created dinners that tested my culinary capabilities, just to prove I could “do it ALL”.
I put so much pressure on myself to have the kids in a good school, and live in a good neighbourhood and drive a nice car and keep a fit body: all this overcompensation when in reality I was just a mom who needed an alternative to the medicine that wasn’t helping her and all I wanted was to not feel so alone.
One day I realized by trying to maintain all of this, I was feeding the stigma and so I pulled back one day and just started living more mindfully and putting more intention into my day.
When it comes down to it, what’s important here is that no matter if we choose to use cannabinoids or not, kids are loved, fed and happy. At the end of the day, if anyone wants to judge me, they can have the keys to my home, walk a week in these shoes and then we can talk.
How do you think we can reduce this stigma and which people or projects are you excited about in this regard?
One of the single most important ways to reduce stigma is by talking exactly like this. Sharing our stories, our struggles, our satisfactions with cannabis is essentially what’s going to make the shift for others to realize the same. The more we put our truth out there and explain how cannabis helps us, the type of products we use for which ailments and how often we use them we will definitely demystify how others view this plant.
When we are sharing our routines with our friends and family, sharing the breakthroughs within the industry and the incredible amount of success stories that exist, then our anecdotes will be what paves the way. If more doctors (or anyone really ) hear how CBN is helping with our sleep and THCv has done wonders for our weight loss, then we are giving them more of a reason to want to dive into the research of this plant and better understand the medicinal value that has been buried for nearly 100 years.
If we federally legalize cannabis in America, we are going to need all the help we can get educating doctors, medical clinics and dispensaries on this plant, so I really hope to see a trend with more people joining this industry to help others discover the plant and give them the power take their health and wellness back into their own hands.
What obstacles have you encountered on this cannabis journey and how have you, or are you, dealing with them?
One of the biggest obstacles I have encountered on this journey was surprisingly my father’s side of the family. They are the only ones who have made me feel shame or guilt for using plant medicine, pursuing a career in plant medicine our sharing that I am a part of their family publicly in any way. They have bullied me on my pages long before strangers have and were a big reason I made a separate cannabis account to advocate for the plant. The most ironic thing is that they are all closet cannabis consumers and have been for years, but god forbid I step out of mine and try and do something about it.
Another obstacle was learning to not give everything away for free. I was so excited to step into a brand new industry that I didn’t even think twice about all the energy that I put into it. I was giving so much of myself that I was becoming resentful. Once I made the shift in my mentality that this industry could be viable and I was an asset that deserved compensation just as much as the next man, I was able to turn this advocacy into a career and really start to make an impact.
Lastly, the biggest obstacle I have overcome is myself. As much as I have to thank myself for this success, I have constantly stood in the way of my growth, I have battled imposter syndrome more times than I ever want to admit and every week I consider shutting it all done and heading for the hills because let’s face it, this industry isn’t for the weak, it’s for the willing. If you want to survive in the cannabis industry, you have to have a strong mindset and thank goodness I have the tools I need now to lead the way, and share what works so others don’t make the same mistakes I have made.
What has it been like running a successful Instagram account whilst having young children?
Very difficult! I wish I could lie and say that everything falls perfectly into place every single day, but it is not easy being a public figure on social media while making sure my children don’t become social media obsessed. My oldest is about to turn 13 and really wants an Instagram account and I refuse to allow her to step foot onto that platform until I feel she is of the “right age”. The internet is a vast place, and I know how much I had struggled in the past with comparison and being trolled by strangers.
It’s also difficult to post all day every day with consistency. Some days, or weeks my kids just NEED me more than others and it makes getting work done so difficult. I have to be mindful not to attach guilt to myself on both ends “how can I be a career woman if I’m not working toward my career” vs “how can I be a good mother if I am constantly focusing on my career?” Which both eat at me daily!
So if you follow me, just know I try my best, I wish I could split myself in two and give what I need to give to who I need to give it to equally, but being a mom will always win. Mommy is before Jane for a reason.
How do you cope with stress?
I start my day with a 12 minute gratitude meditation that plays in my ears while I boil water for tea and stretch my body and do deep breathing using my kitchen counter for support for certain stretches. Then I take my CBD, CBN and magnesium. By the time the meditation is over, the tea is ready, I am all stretched out and I am in an abundant state of mind with cannabinoids pumping through me, I am ready to really wake up. While drinking my tea, I read Reddit and emails from my personal account that have nothing to do with business, but are enlightening and fun. Once my brain has “woken up” I head to the calendar and start my day. I do not go directly to social media until I have taken a considerable amount of time away from it doing other beneficial things. Because of this routine I have been able to set myself up for a day where I have taken time for myself, my body and my schedule before I jump into work mode. If I am having a particularly stressful week I will go hiking, call my best friend or spend time ALONE. Alone time is one of the best ways to decrease stress.
What excites you most about cannabis or the cannabis industry at the moment?
I am mostly excited about the cannabinoid research coming up and the fact that we are finally recognizing the importance of cannabinoids individually and synergistically. I hear talks of custom medicine where cannabinoids and terpenes come together to create a unique blend per patient, and that gets me excited. I love the individuality of the medicine. How we are realizing that everyone’s body receives this plant differently and it’s so important for us to do the research to get to know our bodies and the medicine that truly works for us. I am also excited for all the nanotech that is coming up, and the merging of Pharma and cannabis that has been happening in the CBD world to create highly effective medicine for immediate and extended release.
I look forward to the discovery and better understanding of minor cannbinoids, CBD as a daily supplement for everyone, and more availability of high quality products as we start to break down the walls and start building the bridges of cannabis and medicine.
I also look forward to the day where I am not introduced in my bio as a cannamom, but just as mom. We are more than our cannabis use. And cannabis does more than just help us.
What is your favourite strain or cannabis product?
I always tell people that if I was ever placed on a deserted island, the one product I would take with me would be Mary’s Medicinals CBN Transdermal Gel Pen. That pen has been the most beneficial product for my anxiety and anger management and I don’t want to live a day without it. It has very similar effects to Diazepam so if anyone has ever taken that, you know what to expect as far as feeling of calm and slight sedation. I use it in a micro dosed form so it doesn’t make me sleepy, but then again, I have high functioning anxiety, so it might feel different when you take it versus when I take it and how much.
Finally, if you had a wish for cannabis and women right now, what would it be?
My wish for cannabis and women right now is for them to give plants a chance if they haven’t already. We give alcohol so many chances to do us dirty, but we don’t want to give Mary Jane a moment. Our bodies literally have receptors asking to receive the benefits from this plant. You don’t have to become a cannaseur overnight, just start low and slow, or begin with CBD and play around with cannabinoids and terpenes to see which are highly beneficial for you.
Start to get to know yourself and your relationship with cannabis a little more. Explore the various ways to consume cannabis, and if you have been only smoking flower your entire life, see what a CBD tincture can do for you. Start to hone in on various cannabinoids individually to see how you can enhance your wellness even more.
Remember to stay helpful, informed and kind and know that the only way we can break the stigma is within. If we are using cannabis with intention, then there should be no shame. If there is a mother consuming more or less than you, there should be no shame. And when you are out and about in this world and people find out that you choose plants to enhance your health and wellness, then there should be no shame.