While cannabis is known for its relaxing effects, a new study has found that cannabis-consuming parents are harsher with discipline than parents who don’t consume cannabis.
A study of 3,000 California parents found that those who consumed cannabis were more likely to discipline their kids in a variety of ways, ranging from timeouts and spankings to even harsher physical abuse. Researchers randomly selected parents of children 12 or younger and asked their recent and past use of alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamines and other drugs in addition to asking about their disciplinary habits
Findings from the study revealed parents who used cannabis or alcohol were more likely to discipline their children than non-users and the more substances used, the more likely they were to use all forms of discipline. The study was unclear as to whether the substances make parents more intolerant or if they just don’t want their buzz ruined.
“It appears that users may be quicker than other parents to react to minor misbehavior,” said Bridget Freisthler, co-author of the study and professor of social work at Ohio State University, said. “We can’t tell from this study, but it may be that parents who use marijuana or alcohol don’t want their children to spoil the buzz they have, or bother them when they have a hangover.”
As cannabis legalization spreads across the United States, the stigma surrounding cannabis is starting to dissipate and more people, including parents, are using cannabis. Not all parents that use cannabis are strict disciplinarians, as some mothers have claimed consuming cannabis makes them a better mom and cannabis helps cope with stressful family situations.
“We don’t know sequencing in drug use in parenting,” Freisthler said. “The question for us is what comes first and how are they related to each other—what can we do to help these people to maybe parent differently and help them cope?”