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Cannabis and parenting : an exploratory analysis of the relationships between cannabis use, attachment, and parenting outcomes Daniels, Sarah Elizabeth Ann


Alcohol and other drug use have demonstrated negative impacts on parenting behaviours and parent-child attachment. A major shift in federal policy legalized recreational cannabis use for adults in Canada in October 2018. In light of shifting social norms and changes to policy for individuals of reproductive age, important questions arise about the impact of regular cannabis use (RCU) on parenting. Elucidating the influence of RCU on parenting is crucial not only in the context of supporting a healthy developmental environment, but in matters of custody and other litigation pertaining to parent-child interactions. In the present study 313 participants (25.9% male, 73.5% female, 0.6% other) who identified as living in Canada with at least one child under the age of six were recruited from parenting groups online and a Canadian panel company. 27.5% were regular cannabis users. RCU did not have a significant association with measures of parenting and attachment after controlling for problematic alcohol use (PAU) (all p’s >.05). Within cannabis users, using cannabis for the purpose of expanding awareness and perception expansion was associated with interest and curiosity in the child’s mental states (p <.05). Problematic patterns of use were not associated with child maltreatment or child attachment difficulties after controlling for PAU (p’s >.05), however it was associated with adult attachment difficulties before and after controlling for PAU (p<0.01, p<0.05). Finally, there was an association between poor mental health and all measures of parenting, however this effect was not contingent on RCU (p’s <.05). There is a dearth of research assessing the impact of RCU on parenting. The results of this study suggest that cannabis users do not differ from non-users on important indices of parenting and attachment. These findings will be of interest as the potential impact of legal cannabis use is reconsidered in matters of custody, litigation, and social stigma related to parental cannabis consumption.

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