The No-Mercy Mission of Mothers Mary
Staring down the stigma of maternal cannabis use, Mothers Mary Community founders, Annie and Jordana found healing through the support of likeminded women. They also discovered their true calling—to change the narrative of motherhood, mental illness and cannabis.
Heads Lifestyle: How is Mothers Mary?
Mothers Mary Jordana: It’s going great. We’re officially over the one-year mark now. We've done a lot of pivoting, a lot of growing, and a lot of maturing. Annie likes to call it entrepreneurial maturity in the cannabis space. I'm personally feeling, like, what's better than cloud 9? I don’t know, cloud 420! It's more than a business; it’s a movement. And I see the women’s lives that we’re touching every single day. I see how my live video discussions impact women and I get tons of support. We’re in a really great place and we’re growing. We’re thanked everyday for what we’re doing, and I think that’s just wild.
HL: How did you two meet and what sparked the creation of Mothers Mary?
Mothers Mary Annie: I was looking online for information on cannabis during breastfeeding and I found Jordana’s Facebook group and we just clicked. We talked about all these things and we agreed that we were going to change the narrative. We both experienced bullying from a young age that resulted in trauma. For us, it is very important for women to empower and support one another rather than tear each other down. We wanted to make a space, create for us what we didn’t have, what we were missing. We both want to change the world.
MMJ: We know what the solutions are because we know what we need in this moment as mothers. I was told my whole life you’re too unfiltered and you want too much and you expect too much and you’re so passionate about everything. Or, you’re too loud. You’re too ambitious. I don’t fit in. I’ve never fit into any societal box—not the Jewish community, not the Montreal Jewish community, not the Concordia community, no motherhood community. I do not fit anywhere other than where I want to fit in, which is Mothers Mary. Let’s give back to everybody else.
We wanted to make a space, create for us what we didn’t have, what we were missing. We both want to change the world.
HL: If you look at history, people that actually make change often didn’t fit in.
MMA: We connect with that on so many levels. I went to Concordia and majored in Human Relations, which is the study of why people do what they do. You study human development and how parenting affects us as we grow up, our choices and relationships and how it all changes group dynamics. I started in pharma marketing and when I became a mom I was like, Oh my God, this is profits over patients. I was horrified. It was a big theme in my post-partum depression and losing faith in what I believed in. I got into pharma because I loved science and I wanted to help people. For me, it all came together with Mothers Mary. I was like, Oh my God, this is it! I can take all that I know and bring it to cannabis.
HL: So now that you've got some entrepreneurial maturity, what is your primary goal with Mothers Mary?
MMA: We want to touch on our three main themes, which are basically motherhood, mental illness and cannabis. For us, they’re all interlinked and that’s how we’re living better lives. Cannabis leads to mindfulness, which helps with motherhood. So we’re focusing on building a social enterprise to help moms and give them the tools and resources and community support under those three themes.
And talking about the ugly. No one’s having the ugly conversations. People are still doing the perfect social media life thing and in motherhood there’s nothing more lonely and damaging than that. What literally saved me—and I know for a lot of other moms—is when you’re having depression and dark thoughts about your kids and your life and your family, it’s talking about that with other moms. We’re alleviating the guilt, that’s what we’re doing with our moms.
MMJ: I personally go live up to three times a day. I’ll share the most beautiful parts of my life and the absolute ugliest, horrifying parts. There’s nothing we don’t talk about. I changed my description on Instagram from Thought Leader to Thought Provoker. I’m making people think. I’m making you question things. And that’s what it really comes down to. These are the conversations that are happening in Mothers Mary.
Mothers Mary Jordana discovered cannabis when a friend suggested it could replace the anti-depressants and sleeping pills she was on.
HL: Tell us about your Mombership program?
MMJ: We’ve been providing free anecdotal community support via our Facebook group Mothers Mary Community, and now we have a Mombership program. We’re offering a paid annual subscription to moms who are ready to make that self-investment. There’s a cannabis course and every month there’s a different theme. We are working with certified coaches. A specialty person comes in and helps us with mindful living. For instance, last month we had a certified holistic family health coach, @knowmommy on Instagram. She was talking to our Mombers about healthy living. How important water and diet and mindfulness are. We guide our Mombers through an entire month on a specific theme. We’re hosting a meditation challenge for a week. We get our moms to participate in these types of things because cannabis definitely empowers and encourages you to want to be more mindful, to be more natural.
MMA: Mothers Mary is moving towards supporting moms through self-development. We’re really empowering moms to take their power into their own hands by taking care of themselves, by investing in themselves again, re-finding themselves after motherhood, and all of that with cannabis.
HL: One of the things that strike us the most about what you are doing is your willingness to be vulnerable. If someone is suffering at home and they see you being honest about what’s going on, suddenly they’re not alone.
MMJ: Thank you. It’s really not easy. I’ve had people ask me why I’m putting my life on the Internet. Who do you think you are? And I’m like, Woman, this is exactly who I am. I’ve always loved expressing myself. When we talk about self-development and the importance of self-care, it’s a conversation that’s not happening. As women, we are told to be in the kitchen, keep a clean house, cook the food, take care of the children, do the laundry, and don’t talk about anything else. You’re a mother first and foremost. This is what I was told. Put your children first! When I became a mom, I was like, How do I put you first right now? I’m not well. I can't. I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to just rip my hair off my head. I wasn’t getting better at motherhood and my post-partum depression sent me to the E.R. for a psychiatric evaluation. And then Child Protection Services was called because I was having homicidal ideation about my children. I literally saw myself picking my kid up like a football and chucking him across the room. And I just kept saying, This is not normal. I should not be feeling like this. Something is wrong. If we continue to put our children first, we’re not changing the past, we’re not coming out of patriarchy, we’re continuing to belittle what matters most, which is mothers. I gave life to you. I’m going to continue feeding and raising and teaching you but I need to be well to do a good job. Motherhood, mental health and cannabis—that’s Mothers Mary Community. MMC. It’s understanding that moms have to come first.
I literally saw myself picking my kid up like a football and chucking him across the room. And I just kept saying, This is not normal. I should not be feeling like this. Something is wrong.
HL: What was your first experience with cannabis?
MMA: I love this question because we both had such different experiences. For me, it was love at first sight. I tried it when I was 15. I was having insomnia and my Irritable Bowel Syndrome had started. I just didn't realize they were the result of having undiagnosed anxiety. Cannabis slowed down all these things and worked better than my sleeping pills. So I always self-medicated but thought it was recreational use. I just continued to use it and it always made me the best version of myself. I feel like cannabis brings out the best in you.
When I started trying to have kids, my fiancée said, You’re going to stop, right? And I was like, What? What do you mean? You know that I’ve been smoking for this long? It was very off-putting. With my first pregnancy, I just didn’t know. There was no research at the time, no information so I completely stopped using. I dealt with the insomnia, but I didn’t have as many mental health issues so it wasn’t too bad. But with my second, life was different. I had a toddler. I was in the middle of buying a house. I was living at my mother-in-law’s at the time. My relationship was rocky…
MMJ: Adulting. You were adulting.
MMA: That’s it—adulting. I was desperate for relief and I was adamant that I was not going to take anti-depressants during my pregnancy. Because of my professional background, I have access to product monographs. Anything that is prescribed to me, I pull it up and I read it. So I medicated here and there, sparingly, feeling so guilty, feeling like the worst person. After my daughter was born, it all just came crashing down. I really believe that if I had medicated throughout my pregnancy properly, I probably would have had much less severe post-partum depression, if at all, especially if I would have had CBD at the time. I did all the research and self-treated my post-partum depression with CBD. There was therapy involved and there was community support from Mothers Mary. And it worked.
MMJ: My story is really different. I actually stumbled upon cannabis. I had no idea it was going to help with my depression. I never liked cannabis as a teenager. I suffered from mental illness from the age of 11 and I became heavily pharmaceutically medicated in my 20s, but it was never getting better. My depression wasn’t going away, my anxiety wasn’t going away. I was going to therapy as much as I could. My life was just a huge mess. I was on over 400 mg of pharmaceuticals at the time. Then a girlfriend who had always used cannabis visited me. I was 27 years old and we’re in my apartment and she was like, Let’s just smoke a joint. Give it a try. Holy bananas! First inhale, my life forever changed. At this point, medical cannabis was legal in Canada and I asked my doctor about it because I knew I was feeling better with cannabis. I didn’t want to be on 150 mg Effexor and 150 mg of Seroquel and 20 mg of sleeping pills that leave a metallic taste in my mouth. I was sleeping half the day and then up partying all night. This was just not a productive lifestyle. I couldn’t live like that. So I said, I’m smoking weed and it’s really helping me. So I started to come off my anti-depressants, my SSRIs. I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety disorder and I realized that my anxiety comes a lot from society. It comes from what people expect of me, it comes from my cell phone usage, it comes from all of these things. I couldn’t actually get better with cannabis or a pharmaceutical until I had this self-awareness moment. Cannabis really changed my life.
HL: Do mothers who use cannabis recreationally limit the credibility of medical users? Do you worry that your Mombers are looking for justification for their cannabis consumption?
MMA: No mom is taking this lightly. Our messaging has gotten so clear and our true Mombers are the ones that are really facing hard decisions. We’re not advocating for recreational cannabis use during pregnancy. It’s really for people who are faced with serious medication with known side effects. I know it sounds crazy, but with cannabis the unknown feels safer than the known side effects. And that’s where moms are coming from.
Mothers Mary Annie first tried cannabis at 15. It slowed down the impact of her insomnia and I.B.S. "For me it was love at first sight."
HL: There may be as much stigma surrounding post-partum depression (PPD) as there is with parental cannabis use. Very few women are forewarned (by their doctors, friends, family, community) about PPD. Then when they find themselves with crushing post-partum depression at a time when they are supposed to be their most fulfilled, they may feel like complete failures. What is your message to pregnant women regarding PPD?
MMJ: Post-partum depression kills. That’s the main message. It kills.
MMA: The stigma is so strong that women are drowning and they’re not asking for help because they’re scared their children are going to be taken away, that their family is going to turn on them. That’s why it kills.
MMJ: Exactly! Cannabis is a wellness tool. Not only did it alleviate the anxiety and help with the rage and definitely, 100% alleviate, I mean my depression was gone. I stopped wanting to kill myself. I stopped having suicidal ideation and images in my head. That never happened with pharmaceuticals. All the years I was on pharmaceuticals, I always thought about killing myself. I never saw myself growing old. With cannabis I know I’m going to live to see my kids grow up.
MMA: I think the best thing is how instant and customizable it is. Pharma just made me a zombie. The depression is gone but so are you. I couldn’t function and I didn’t want to be a zombie. I wanted to live. I wanted to see the world through my kids’ eyes.
All the years I was on pharmaceuticals, I always thought about killing myself. I never saw myself growing old. With cannabis I know I’m going to live to see my kids grow up.
HL: What is the role of therapy on the path to wellness?
MMA: I’ve always said I think everyone should see a therapist once a week or once every two weeks whether you’re doing well or not. You just have that touch point where you can go talk about what’s going on in your marriage, your finances, your job, your friends, your kids, whatever it is. You know what I mean? And if you have a crisis, well, that therapist relationship is already set up.
MMJ: We talk a lot about societal change and I think one of the biggest things is if you’re going into a doctor’s office and you’re getting a prescription for an anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, anti-whatever, you should also be getting a referral for services to a social worker for therapy.
HL: There seems to be a visceral reaction to pregnant women or mothers smoking joints. Do you believe CBD could offer all the medicinal benefits needed by mothers without the stigma of THC?
MMA: I think it’s a way to dip a toe. They both have their different medical benefits but from a societal perspective, to start bridging and having those conversations, definitely CBD.
MMJ: It is a bridge and I always advocate that cannabis in general—CBD and THC—is not for everybody. It’s not going to have the same impact on one person, as it will on someone else. We’re all individuals; we all have different endocannabinoid systems. We’re not here to change your mind about cannabis. We’re not here to necessarily make you think differently, but we’re here to support the moms that are into it. I’ll educate you head-to-toe on CBD and THC and the differences. But they both have medical benefits.
HL: How has legalization affected the Mothers Mary Community and your messaging?
MMA: We’ve really gotten so specific. We have three consumer types: the O.G. moms—people who have been doing it from before legalization, since before becoming moms. Now they’re having a different conversation, that of motherhood in a legalized context. Then there are the newbies, who, because of motherhood and legalization, have just started using cannabis. And then there are the canna-curious—people that before legalization didn’t even think about cannabis. Each of those groups will talk about THC and CBD differently because it’s such an individualized, personal journey.
No one's drinking their sangria anymore. People want the bud.
HL: Medical, recreational or therapeutic? Sometimes the lines blur; can you explain the differences?
MMJ: Recreational is when you just want to smoke a joint and hang out with your girlfriends. If you’re consuming with intent and introspection, it’s either for medical or therapeutic purposes. So if you want to have a great meditation or yoga class, then you’re consuming knowing what you’re consuming for, knowing that it’s going to elevate your experience. It’s definitely therapeutic.
MMA: And then medical is replacing medications and really using it to improve your quality of life.
HL: Specific cannabis strains have been developed to alleviate conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and pain. Would you like to see breeders focus their efforts on cultivating female-centric strains for morning sickness, post-partum depression and other conditions?
MMA: It’s has to be based on science; that’s the key. People put so much emphasis on strain names and creating hype. The same plant, the exact same strain can have different effects if it’s grown indoors versus outdoors. So I think we’re not giving consumers enough information about the science—the terpenes and cannabinoids and the percentages.
MMJ: It would be great to have strains called No-more-depression-for-mommy or Mommy’s-me-time.
HL: What cannabis philosophy do you promote in the Mothers Mary Community?
MMJ: Having the attitude that I’m going to do what I want because it’s legal now is definitely not ok. We have to be compassionate and considerate. We’re coming out of 70 years of prohibition, propaganda, and the War on Drugs. So when people are anti-cannabis, let them be. We’re not here to change people’s minds; we’re here to support the people who need us. If people are in pain, I’ll recommend CBD and if you give me the stink eye or you make a comment, I totally get it. I would have felt the same way 10 years ago. But this shit actually changed my life. Either stay in the dark or come into the light. It’s up to you. It’s like spreading the good word of cannabis. We preach the good word. Except we’re not missionaries and we’re not forcing it down people’s throats. And that’s the important part. We always say cannabis is not a cure-all. Smoking a joint is not going to cure your mental illness. Taking oil, ingesting it every day, having the regiment, doing self-work, going to therapy, exercising, eating healthy—that’s going to get you living to 100.
MMA: That’s why we’re really working so hard to have the conversations about mindful and conscious cannabis use so we can have a more informed generation.
We have to be compassionate and considerate. We’re coming out of 70 years of prohibition, propaganda, and the War on Drugs. So when people are anti-cannabis, let them be. We’re not here to change people’s minds; we’re here to support the people who need us.
HL: You’ve spoken of establishing Mothers Mary Wellness Centres. What would these look like? What needs would they target?
MMA: It’s about accompanying women in the whole journey of going from a woman to a mom. Let’s say you have serious depression. You finally go and see a therapist and they’re anti-cannabis. If cannabis is a big part of your life and your wellness routine and the therapist makes you feel worse about it, then that’s no good for anyone. We think that all the cannabis moms deserve a space where they can be themselves.
MMJ: Whatever you imagine in your head, like walking in and feeling you’re in the most divine, serene building—that’s what I envision. I envision being greeted by rose petals and tea. You’re a woman, welcome. Thank you for your existence. We’re going to make women top priority and give them the best care possible with access to cannabis judgment-free doctors. That is the dream.
HL: You’ve also expressed a desire to hold in-person live events. How would these be structured? Workshops, meet-and-greets, lectures, parties?
MMJ: Coming up! Meet-and-greets, lectures and workshops. Not parties, that’s not in line with the Cannabis Act.
MMA: If we weren’t a cannabis brand, it would be so different. There are so many things that we want to do and we know that moms want but there’s so many roadblocks. Live events is the continuation of what we’re doing online, a natural progression. The future of digital media is when you can bridge the gap between online and real life.
HL: Can you tell us about Mothers Mary's involvement with the University of Western Ontario study called Perinatal Marijuana use in Canada: Exploring Patient Decision-Making?
MMA: It was actually a Momber in the group who reached out to us. She’s a PhD student working on the study. It’s basically to shape guidelines for gynaecologists to use during pregnancy. So they reached out to us to help recruit for that study. I think that the stigma really comes down with science. That’s our biggest weapon right now. We will change the narrative with science especially when it comes to breastfeeding and pregnancy.
MMJ: We really want to be at the forefront of data collection. This is one of the things that is really important to us. We’re sitting on a goldmine. This is information that is imperative to our future.
For Mothers Mary, it's very important for women to empower and support one another rather than tear each other down.
HL: Mothers Mary has just recently partnered with Apollo Research Cannabis Clinic. Can you tell us about this?
MMJ: We are really excited. After six months of working with Apollo Research Cannabis Clinic, we are now in partnership with them. We are now able to refer our moms directly to a free Canadian cannabis clinic. This is really important because a lot of moms have a really hard time accessing legal medical cannabis and their doctors don’t want to prescribe it to them. Some spouses are threatening to take kids away from moms for using cannabis. Having a prescription is just so important if you’re using it for medical purposes.
HL: How does the referral process work?
MMJ: You go on mothersmary.com and click on the Access link. You then register for an appointment. Apollo calls you with an appointment and you get your cannabis prescription following a video consultation. Then you come back to Mothers Mary Community and we help guide you with how to consume, what to buy, where to go, which LPs to sign up with.
MMJ: We also really advocate to our moms, if they’re in a legal place, to please grow their own cannabis. If I can grow my own cannabis, I can make myself hair masks, face masks, bath bombs. I’m not worried about what I’m smoking or what I’m putting on my body.
We are now able to refer our moms directly to a free Canadian cannabis clinic. This is really important because a lot of moms have a really hard time accessing legal medical cannabis and their doctors don’t want to prescribe it to them.
HL: One last question, you both use cannabis to manage your mental health and the Mothers Mary Community was born from this. Do you recreate?
MMA: Absolutely! I don’t drink anymore.
MMJ: No one’s drinking their sangria anymore. People want the bud and it’s just really interesting to see. We definitely like having mom sessions together, just a group of gals hanging out and passing a joint.
MMA: What’s the big deal that the side effects are that I want to laugh and eat? It allows people to connect.
HL: Thank you for connecting with us today and supporting all the moms who look to you for guidance and community.
Check out Mothers Mary at: mothersmary.com
And follow them on Instagram at: @mothersmary_hq