In an industry where stereotypes and social stigma continue to be a day-to-day reality, women are taking charge in a significant way. Cannabis consumption may still be skewed towards men, but the gender gap is closing (around 45% of cannabis consumers identify as female). More and more women are turning to the healing plant for medicinal and therapeutic reasons, shaping the cannabis industry one bud at a time.
So how do women differ from men as cannabis consumers? It turns out women choose more often to medicate with high CBD strains and cannabis oils. “Women are more apt to consume cannabis for personal care,” says Audrey Wong, Director of Provincial Distribution Partnerships at Aurora. “Consumers overall are moving from smoking to less harmful methods of consumption, and that’s especially true among women,” she adds.
Aurora’s District Contract Relations Manager Nina Tu believes even more women will consider alternative consumption methods post legalization. “The majority of people are supportive of medical cannabis use when they find out there’s more to it than just smoking,” says Nina. She says women are particularly receptive to healthier options, and hopes that as cannabis education becomes widespread people will have a better understanding of the consumption methods outside smoking.
Advocates and educators within the industry are also propelling the movement towards social acceptance by breaking down stereotypes long associated with cannabis. Aurora’s Regulatory Affairs Manager Annaliese Kibler is the former co-chair of Women Grow in Vancouver, and the current VP of Operations at Canexions. She says she began attending meetings at Women Grow – an organization dedicated to re-branding the cannabis industry as more female-friendly – because she was looking to improve on personal skills and wanted to meet other members of the cannabis community. In 2017 she helped found Canexions, a social and networking organization with the female business consumer in mind.
For those interested in becoming involved in the cannabis sphere, Annaliese suggests the Facebook community SheCann where women (and men) are encouraged to share their journeys with medical cannabis. Other resources include Flower & Freedom – a female-founded health and lifestyle brand dedicated to sharing personal experiences with cannabis – and the High Friends Podcast – a Vancouver Island based podcast for women who love cannabis.
Remember, you don’t have to be an activist to be an advocate for cannabis use; it can be as simple as sharing your medical cannabis experiences with another person. If you’re curious about cannabis but haven’t yet tried it medicinally, Aurora suggests speaking to your practitioner for more information on dosage, strain types, and methods of consumption.
Happy International Women’s Day!