The following is an excerpt from Mother Tongue
I think about weed a lot. For the past seven years, I’ve followed, enjoyed, and reported on cannabis trends — from transdermal patches and turbine-powered farms to cannabis-friendly aerobics classes and the phenomenon of the stoner manicure. And in the last year, when every economy braced for devastating impact, I watched the cannabis industry flourish. Amid the increase in consumption, normalization, and legalization, I noticed something in particular: many moms in my life were bringing weed back into their lives.
My mom has long appreciated a low-dose edible before bed, but more of her friends were reaching out for product recommendations from her “weed expert” daughter. My grandma actually went to a dispensary for the first time last summer and no longer works on her collage crafts without her infused sour candies on hand. Even moms on TikTok made a trend out of the shared experience that is “coming back from the garage a better mom.”
At the most recent tally, 16 states (and counting) have legalized recreational, or “adult use,” cannabis for anyone over the age of 21. According to industry website Marijuana Business Daily, annual sales reports in key markets showed increases ranging from 10% to 50% in dispensary sales in 2020, and that’s during a year without tourism. Everyone got a little less intimidated and a little more curious about whether this plant really could replace a prescription drug; could finally resolve that particular, nagging pain; could help one cut back on alcohol for good, or loosen anxiety’s hold; could really make a person feel better, all around.
“Everyone” includes moms, of course, and, it turns out, everyone likes gummies. No smoke, no mess, no smell — plus a little sugary dopamine bump to kick off the gummy’s effects. This style of edible continues to dominate the category from state to state, proving that longtime devotees, doe-eyed rookies, and those who fall in between tend to enjoy cannabis in this form.
Yet shopping for them can get complicated. For starters, there’s the industry dedicated to CBD (cannabidiol), as in the CBD tinctures you can buy at grocery stores and ship to your home. Those are made from hemp plants, which contain low-potency CBD and less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Hemp products can be sold like any other vitamin B supplement or green tea extract, regardless of state legalization status. Then there’s the adult-use industry of licensed farms and dispensaries, where you need to show your ID at check-in and products are made with cannabis plants containing far higher percentages of CBD and THC.
“Everyone” includes moms, of course, and, it turns out, everyone likes gummies.
Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids — two of the many chemical compounds in cannabis that interact with our body’s receptors. THC produces more noticeable psychoactive effects: the relaxed, sometimes silly, occasionally hungry feelings we associate with the traditional “high” of cannabis. CBD has anti-inflammatory and restorative effects, helping the body achieve homeostasis (essentially, feeling like you’re getting back to normal) by regulating systems like sleep cycles, metabolism, and muscle repair. Like many treatments in plant medicine, the effects of cannabis are most profound when taken in as close to a whole plant state as possible — meaning the more cannabinoids, the more impactful the effects. (I point this out to prepare the uninitiated among you for the likelihood that you will not feel as noticeable a shift in your state of mind or body with hemp-derived CBD as you would a cannabis-derived product containing CBD and a little THC.)
In light of these parallel realms of hemp CBD products and cannabis products with CBD and THC (the former are available to ship nationwide, and the latter only in legalized states), we’ve narrowed down the must-try gummies in both cases, considering sourcing methods, confection processes, quality of ingredients and the go-tos of our most trusted canna-moms.
Dosage: 25 mg CBD each
Quick take: The perfect starter edible for the CBD-curious.
When it comes to distinguishing quality CBD products from the crowd, look for brands like WYLD, who got their start as bestsellers in the strictly regulated adult-use market. It proves not only that they know how to make a tasty product with consistent effects, but that they are accustomed to far more serious testing and supply chain control than the average CBD company. You can expect a consistent, mild dose of calm from every chewy, fruity bite, but if it’s your first-first time, try it out on the weekend so you can assess the effects without extra stress.
“The day always starts to get to me by early afternoon. I’m a little less patient, more easily annoyed, and though I prefer to smoke, I can eat one of these gummies around 2 p.m. and just reset mentally.”
– Educator and mother of three in Portland, Oregon, age 41.
Wild Berry Gumdrops by Lord Jones
Dosage: 20 mg CBD each
Quick take: A luxurious, gilded take on gourmet gummies.
Lord Jones makes a variety of hemp-infused goodies, but their juicy, old-fashioned-style gumdrops, made with a blend of real blueberries, raspberries, and boysenberries, are their standout sweet. (Keep an eye out for their seasonal drops — including mouthwatering limited-edition releases like last holiday’s cranberry version.) A 20 mg gumdrop is a great standard dose for morning or midday — one will take the edge off without making you drowsy or giving you those third-cup-of-coffee jitters.
“I didn’t realize how little deep rest I was getting until I started taking these. I take one before bed when I haven’t gotten any restorative rest, or when I am looking to calm my nervous system. I will never not use them.”
– Consultant and mother of two in Asheville, North Carolina, age 55.
Dosage: 10 mg CBD each
Quick take: Highbrow delicacies for the herbal connoisseur.
There’s a difference between the honey in the McDonald’s to-go packets and a jar of raw honey from a local farmer’s market. Rose LA makes their edibles with the raw honey-equivalent of the cannabis extract world: fresh-pressed rosin. It makes for the purest, most potent CBD content, and thus, each of these 10 mg Turkish Delight-inspired treats feels more like a full 20 mg. Every release of new flavors is a culinary wonder — like “Ponche,” a botanical spin on a traditional Mexican punch made with persimmon, hibiscus flower, and tamarind.
“My job requires a lot of hands-on work, and raising a 14-year-old is a job in itself! Having anxiety only amplifies things, so one of these helps quiet the noise in my mind. I’ll take one whenever work and life collide and I need some help keeping my cool.”
– Nonprofit program coordinator and mother of one very independent preteen in Brooklyn, NY, age 32.
1:1 Retreats by Willamette Valley Alchemy
Price: $24-$30 (depending on dispensary)
Dosage: 5 mg CBD & 5 mg THC each
Sold in: Oregon
Quick take: When starter gummies no longer get the job done.
All edibles are made by adding cannabis concentrate or cannabis-infused butter/cooking oil to the recipe. Willamette Valley Alchemy is a renowned Oregon processor in the most connoisseur type of concentrate-consuming circles, so you can expect a consistently high-quality, full-bodied experience. Like a two-hour massage kind of relaxation, but the masseuse also has really good taste in music and aromatherapy. WVA’s strain-specific formulations mean that if you have a positive experience with one of those strains in flower form, you can look forward to similar effects via those gummies.
“I started with CBD-only hemp gummies, then I stopped feeling anything. My daughter bought me the CBD versions made with real cannabis from a dispensary, and even the first few I tried didn’t work for longer than a few weeks. I’ve been taking one of these before bed every night for almost a year now and haven’t needed to renew my Ambien prescription yet.”
– Paralegal and mother of two in Roseburg, Oregon, age 59.
Dosage: 6 mg CBD & 2 mg THC each
Sold in: California
Quick take: Remove the fear of “too high” with a CBD-dominant ratio.
For anyone looking to mitigate the risk of too many effects — like feeling too spacey to function or having bloodshot eyes — a balanced CBD and THC dose is a consistently safe bet. The combination of cannabinoids can soften any anxious edges of THC and amplify the reparative qualities on the body, and this particular gummy is great for a light-handed mellow that won’t leave you questioning whether you can handle social interactions.
“They are super mild and CBD-forward, so I can eat them without fear of paranoia or anxiety. I'll eat one around dinnertime, and it kicks in about an hour before the kids go to bed. For me, it's the perfect blend of chilled out and aware, with a sprinkle of giggles.”
– Film editor and mother of two in Los Angeles, California, age 39.
Pink Lemonade Pioneer Squares by Craft Elixirs
Dosage: 10 mg THC each
Sold in: Washington
Quick take: Proving a grown-up weed gummy can be as pretty as it is potent.
Each soft, chewy Pioneer Square gummy has a piece of real candied lemon in the center. The flavor burst tastes like summer, and the calming, happy high feels like summer, too. Although there isn’t notable CBD content, these edibles are made from quality cannabis plants that contain small amounts of a variety of cannabinoids (at a volume that brands don’t typically label on packages). Note that this 10 mg dosage means you really should wait two to three hours to assess effects before choosing to enjoy a second, delicious gummy. There’s also no harm in eating just half of one your first time and getting to know your tolerance bit by bit.
“I’ve consistently had great highs with these. I like to take them before going on a hike or when wandering through a new city while on vacation. The flavors are so tasty, too — I’d love to be able to buy uninfused versions!”
– Graphic designer and mother of one in Seattle, Washington, age 31.
Writer: Lauren Yoshiko
Photography: Michele Andersen
Styling: Amy Lipnis