“My children have a very clear understanding of cannabis,” the 55-year-old mom of four told Yahoo during an interview for their Weed & the American Family report. “When I hold it without shame or confusion they can understand it as simple as if I was pointing to a bottle of Percocet and saying, ‘That’s mama’s medicine.’ You take the naughtiness out of it and it’s not something kids then run to.”
“I have smoked with my older two,” Etheridge continued, referring to 20-year-old daughter Bailey and 18-year-old son Beckett. “It was funny at first and then they realized it’s a very natural end-of-the-day and it brings you closer, so I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink.”
The Kansas native underwent a lumpectomy and several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Although doctors prescribed various prescription drugs to help her deal with the side effects of treatment, she took the advice of singer and close pal David Crosby and instead turned to medicinal marijuana.
“It was a wake-up call for me,” she said. “When I used it as medicine, it became so clear to me that it has been maligned and misunderstood, and I really wanted to help people who are suffering. Going through chemotherapy is suffering… and cannabis helps so many parts of just that. That’s just the beginning of what it does medicinally.”
“I smoked to be normal. I smoked to be out of pain. I smoked to lighten myself because you’re poisoning yourself with chemo,” she added. “It wasn’t about being high. It was just [getting] to a place where I could communicate with my children, to where I could get up, to where I could eat, where I didn’t have to go to the hospital. It was great medicine.”
Despite beating cancer, Etheridge added that she still gets high today to maintain the “health benefits,” like easing stress and sleeping better.
"When it's date night ... it takes down your inhibition; your sexual desires are enhanced,” she said. “We take a bath every night and smoke and talk and wind down and sleep a very, very good night's sleep -- and sleep is extremely important."
See Etheridge discuss her battle with cancer below.