Morning sickness and a hormonal roller coaster are symptoms associated with pregnancy. Physical pain turns into mental agony, as the joy of bringing a human into the world can turn into sorrow and anger. For a lot of women, the “baby blues” go away after a few days. For some, it never goes away and becomes postpartum depression. As much as 20% of women suffer from anxiety, have trouble sleeping, and suffer other symptoms a year after their pregnancies “ending.”
Celia Behar could not get out of bed after her first child was born. She cried uncontrollably. She felt no connection to her daughter. She wanted to hurt herself. She was given Prozac. While that left her with migraines and insomnia, things were better. After her second child was born, she started smoking marijuana. She told Texas-based TV station KXAN that it worked right away.
Behar is lucky. She lives in California, where marijuana use is common and the substance is universally available. Even so, parents who consume marijuana are generally frowned upon. They also run a risk of a visit from child-protective services. In Texas, marijuana is completely prohibited. This is why, KXAN reports, there’s a “growing group of mothers in Austin” who “secretly use marijuana to treat postpartum depression.”
One of them, a 34-year old mother of three who wished to remain anonymous, told KXAN she tried marijuana at the suggestion of a therapist, after finding herself ridden with intractable “postpartum rage.” She’s used the substance for several months. Texas does have a very limited medical-cannabis program, but only low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil is available, and it is confined only to patients with severe epilepsy. Texas state Senator Jose Menendez is pushing a proposal that would expand marijuana access to patients afflicted with a wide range of “debilitating” conditions.
His Senate Bill 269 would provide medical cannabis to people suffering from cancer, PTSD, chronic pain, nausea, post-concussion syndrome, and “any other medical condition approved as a debilitating medical condition” by health officials. Does postpartum depression count as debilitating? According to some researchers, “absolutely.” However, Menendez’s bill also allows Texas medical cannabis to contain THC. That may prove debilitating in the State House, especially considering how challenging the state has made access to low-THC marijuana.