Content warning: abortion. Leafly took care to exclude triggering information, while still detailing emotions and autonomy but does not discuss the abortion procedure or its justification in this article. 


The last few weeks have been difficult for pretty much everyone with a uterus, regardless of their family planning needs. Right now we are surrounded by unsolicited opinions and discussions about a topic that, for many, isn’t just philosophical but a reality. 

“I was 42 when I had my abortion, and for me, it was a defining moment. A clear dividing line between one life, with all its hopes and imagined futures, and the life I was choosing for myself and my family.”

– Darlene*

Abortion is an extremely sensitive topic and personal decision, regardless of faith, gender identity, or age. The public discussion left me wondering, is there a space for a weed writer to talk about something as serious as abortion and cover it in a meaningful way through a cannabis lens? 

Absolutely.

You see, cannabis isn’t a just vice product like tobacco or a purely medical product like pharmaceuticals. Cannabis lives in a space between those two places where plants meet medicine (and have for thousands of years).

Cannabis has been a comfort to a number of women, non-binary, and trans people going through the abortion process.

Whether recreational, therapeutic, or doctor-prescribed, cannabis has helped numerous people Leafly spoke to in a number of ways—psychologically, physically, and spiritually.

Turning to cannabis in turbulent times

“I was 42 when I had my abortion, and for me, it was a defining moment,” shares Darlene*, “a clear dividing line between one life, with all its hopes and imagined futures, and the life I was choosing for myself and my family.”

It was 2020, at the height of the pandemic, so Darlene chose to do an at-home abortion, wanting to avoid the hospital. She shares that her choice to use cannabis on the day of her abortion was thought out and intentional. Since she had been using cannabis for years, she knew the ways it could support her emotionally and physically on the day of the procedure. 

“I like cannabis in my everyday life because it helps me reflect, ponder and find wonder in the ordinary. I chose cannabis for my abortion for those reasons: I felt like I was closing the door on my youth and opening a new one to the future, and I wanted to approach the experience with  the gravity and reverence it deserved.”

– Darlene*

For Annabelle*, cannabis was invaluable emotional support when she found out she was pregnant. It was during a particularly stressful time in her life and she hadn’t realized that she missed her period. When Annabelle and her partner went to Planned Parenthood, they found out that she was, indeed, pregnant.

“They did a pelvic exam which triggered old medical trauma. I smoked immediately afterward to try to return to my body,” shares Annabelle, who has been using cannabis for years to manage anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

She explains the entire abortion process as emotionally turbulent. Also doing an at-home abortion, Annabelle says she used cannabis the entire day and “couldn’t have imagined getting through without it.”

How cannabis can assist with abortion

“I was in bed for a week just like smoking weed, taking oil, and using suppositories. It was just kind of all hands on deck.”

Maia shares cannabis was invaluable during her abortion.

There are numerous ways to incorporate cannabis for therapeutic reasons before, during, or after an abortion without getting high. Cannabis products like creams, patches, suppositories, high CBD vapes, and flower make plant medicine more accessible for those looking for low-to-no THC content.  

For Maia, pregnancy was especially unexpected.

After years of endometriosis, they had assumed it wasn’t possible. The first thing they did after finding out she was pregnant was smoke a joint “to quell the anxiety and kind of just process a little bit what was happening.”

“I was in bed for a week just like smoking weed, taking oil, and using suppositories. It was just kind of all hands on deck,” shares Maia. “The physical symptoms were awful, I couldn’t imagine feeling that way for nine months. Cannabis was instrumental, especially that week.”

For Darlene, cannabis was instrumental in aiding the emotional and spiritual aspects of her at-home abortion. But she felt that cannabis alone wasn’t enough for her pain management.

“Ultimately, the cannabis did help centre me in the experience, although I do wish I’d paired it with stronger painkillers. I was given Tylenol 3s for the procedure, but I knew from previous surgeries that I don’t like how they feel, so chose regular Tylenol and cannabis instead. In retrospect, I wish I’d just asked about alternate painkillers.”

Reclaiming autonomy through cannabis

Unless you have been pregnant, it is impossible to understand the way it feels to share your body and grow another; let alone comprehend the complexities of being pregnant when you don’t want to be.

For the people Leafly spoke with, cannabis didn’t just help with their mental and physical health; it was also a way to take back their bodies.

“There was a bit of rebellion in my decision to use cannabis at that moment. I had given it [cannabis] up when I was pregnant with my much-wanted and much-loved child,” writes Darlene.

“Continuing to use it through this unwanted (and high-risk) pregnancy was a way of affirming my bodily autonomy. A way of saying this is what I need and that’s what matters now.”

As a non-binary person, Maia shared that their pregnancy spurred emotions akin to the ones they experienced with being labeled as female. It just didn’t feel right.

“It was wrong. I now describe that feeling as dysphoria, since coming out as non-binary. It was just something that felt like it didn’t belong in my body.”

Maia shares that the decision to have an abortion actually helped affirm them as non-binary. Cannabis wasn’t only a physical comfort for Maia, it helped with the hormones and other symptoms that were unwelcome in their body.

Reproductive rights are not guaranteed in Canada

In the past few weeks, I have seen women boasting with pride that Canada has reproductive rights for all in comparison to news in the United States, but that just isn’t true.

Abortion isn’t legal in Canada, simply decriminalized. Some experts say that conservatives are watching the US overturn Roe vs Wade closely (and may follow suit if successful). 

Not to mention, the reproductive rights of Indigenous women in Canada are far from progressive. There is an extensive history of coercion and forced sterilization of Indigenous women in both the US and Canada.

In times like these, it is important to remember that legal and safe access to abortion (and cannabis) is not a guarantee anywhere, even in Canada. And no matter what country someone is living in, the right to access safe abortion is the right to proper healthcare.

*names have been changed by request

Ashley Keenan's Bio Image

Ashley Keenan

Ashley Keenan is the Canada editor at Leafly, as well as a freelance journalist, consultant, and patient advocate in the cannabis industry.

View Ashley Keenan’s articles



Source link

Star signs and cannabis strains: July 2022 horoscopes

Star signs and cannabis strains: July 2022 horoscopes

Presented By June 30, 2022 Well, Stargazers … what a month June was. If your heart feels heavy about the state of everything, just know you are with millions of like-minded folks who are ready to fight for a new and better world. The stars and astrology teach...

What is hemp? | Leafly

What is hemp? | Leafly

For centuries, what we call cannabis today was known as hemp in the English-speaking world. The hemp of olden days was used by our ancestors as a source of food (its seeds), and the fibers of its stalks were used for creating materials, mainly rope and...

Camping with weed? 4 things you need to know

Camping with weed? 4 things you need to know

Is it legal to consume cannabis while camping in Canada? Parks Canada permits cannabis on private sites but not in common areas.Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta campsites are mostly weed-friendly.Keep quantities under 30 grams (unless you have a medical...

Works of fire: Best July 4 weed strains of 2022

Works of fire: Best July 4 weed strains of 2022

Fact: Americans enjoy more weed freedom and variety than any people in the history of the Earth. Our global competitors? Crazy backward about the pot.  Ganja’s a $25 billion legal industry and the country’s 5th largest cash crop, with 19 rec legalization states...

Craft cultivars for the cannabis connoisseur

Craft cultivars for the cannabis connoisseur

Sponsored The Cultivar Collection empowers master growers to create truly artisanal strains. Artisan craft is a rare resource without a substitute. That goes double for the cannabis industry, where decades-long and still ongoing prohibition unjustly jails many...

PSA: Oregon will outlaw all delta-8 THC products this Friday

PSA: Oregon will outlaw all delta-8 THC products this Friday

Hey, Oregon…it’s time to stock up. Starting this Friday, July 1, all Oregon businesses—including gas stations and grocery stores—will be prohibited from selling any and all “artificially derived cannabinoids.” That means not just heavy hitters like delta-8 and...