A Q&A with Moriah Barnhart, founder of CannaMoms

Moriah Barnhart founded CannaMoms in 2013 after her daughter, Dahlia, was diagnosed with brain cancer … at age 2.

At the time there was little information on the medicinal properties of cannabis, but eventually Dahlia found relief and Barnhart moved to educate others through CannaMoms. Today CannaMoms is the first federally approved 501(c)(3) that raises “awareness of and access to alternative and supplemental healthcare options for critically or chronically ill, medically complex, and special needs children.”

Don’t be mistaken: CannaMoms are everyday moms who go to PTA meetings, church, and soccer games, and are integral members of their communities.

“I’ve helped launched the YMCA’s first pediatric cancer survivor program, am an adviser at St. Jude’s Patient Family-Centered Council, and have worked with several mainstream nonprofits and advocacy groups throughout my lifetime,” says Barnhart. “Cannabis was a cause that was brought to our doorsteps in the journey to save our own children, with the hope that we can save other children from suffering along the way.”

Barnhart shares more about her experience and CannaMoms.

On the Mission:It seemed in 2013, the only thing more controversial than cannabis was giving cannabis to children. I knew parents in similar situations needed assistance and advocacy specific to our particular hardships.

It was really important to me that I find my village and help other parents avoid the regret I lived with in not knowing the medicinal properties of cannabis at the time of my daughter’s diagnosis. My hope was, and is, no parent will say that they wished they had known. 

CannaMoms hopes that those benefiting financially from legalization will see the need to pay it forward and help us provide tangible assistance to families through nonprofit donations.

On Advocacy:As parents, advocating for our children is what we do best. This is one of many battles we are faced with in the fight to save our children’s lives. 

CannaMoms has been honored to work with moms from around the world, people of all ages and all ailments, as well as medical professionals who have taken part in our educational programs. Parents feel disempowered when their child is diagnosed with something seemingly unfixable. As moms, our primary drive is to protect our children. CannaMoms, as a united effort, gives us that empowerment back. It tells us we are not alone, and we can help our children through what once seemed insurmountable. 

On the Future: I hope that others see the value in the voices of parents who would do anything to save their children’s lives. There is power there — it’s a universal drive that connects us. We have moved closer to federal de-scheduling in the past few years than we did in decades before that, and I think it has to do with upstanding citizens speaking out and helping to break the stigma. 

Photography by Jorge Alvarez