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Women & Weed: Breaking the Stigma

Women & Weed: Breaking the Stigma

Women & Weed: Breaking the Stigma

As a young (legal) adult, I saw the majority of my male friends smoke joints or bongs. If one of their girlfriends joined to take a puff, they were regarded as “badass” and “one of the boys,” a notion I always found peculiar. It seemed acceptable as long as they were smoking among men. For this reason, I found myself most comfortable indulging alongside my female friends, as I didn’t feel the need to take the biggest toke possible or put on this show of bravado that my male counterparts seemed to.

When I was out of university and into the working world, I kept anything cannabis related to myself. I didn’t want to be viewed as a “stoner”, or “lazy”. I certainly didn’t discuss it at work, even if my male colleagues were. I wanted to continue to be viewed as the high performing, intelligent individual that I was seen to be (and am).

Even after legalization, I have been selective of who I discuss my cannabis enthusiasm with. Will this reflect poorly on me? Is it on brand for my company (which is unrelated to the cannabis industry)? Questions that I wouldn’t be asking myself if I was talking about wine. And why is that?

I’ve watched as many female focused brands have emerged, toting beautiful accessories, “female friendly” strains and beauty products, like bath balms and face care products. As with any new market, there are the companies who genuinely want to empower women to utilize cannabis in whatever way they see fit, and there are other companies who “pinkwash” their products to make a profit.

One company that is doing things the right way is Van der Pop, a lifestyle and education brand committed to the modern woman. Van der Pop conducted a survey of 1 ,530 North American women about their perceptions surrounding cannabis. 70% of the women surveyed felt that cannabis consumption carries a stigma, so the majority of women hide their usage. These women primarily use cannabis for pain relief, relaxation, stress relief, and anxiety management; all reasons that we should not be ashamed of.

I wanted to find out for myself if my cannabis loving female friends felt the same way!

Emma

In what ways do you enjoy cannabis and how frequently?

I have a gold leaf and clear glass bong, which is preferred when engaging recreationally at home. If I’m out and about (camping, hiking etc.) a little joint is more convenient. I typically smoke 2-3 times per week.

What do you use cannabis for?

I use marijuana for anxiety, stress management, and appetite. It helps me unwind from a full day, and gives me more inclination to eat (as I don’t have much of an appetite when I’m stressed or over tired). Marijuana also allows me to get more creative and relaxed when painting/drawing, as well as doing evening yoga.

Have you ever felt ashamed or like you had to hide the fact that you enjoy cannabis because you are a female?

Absolutely. I’ve had to hide the fact that I smoke marijuana many times because I knew that I’d no longer be taken seriously as a professional female in the workplace; I’d be seen as a ‘dirty hippy chick’, somehow “irresponsible”, and/or “stupid”.
I also choose to hide it because I feel there is a weird stigma associated with women smoking weed that has people over-sexualizing it. I want to avoid unwanted attention on that level.

Do you feel like cannabis brands cater to females? Any brands in particular that you like that do?

Not really, I have yet to find a company that caters specifically to women. Mind you, I’ve never had the opportunity to be particularly choosey until recently, as there are far more options available now. In the past I simply did my best to find a company that didn’t blatantly sexualize women in their advertising.

Do you feel like there is a stigma around women who use cannabis?

Yes – as a woman I notice that you’re considered “dirty” (impractical, unwise, unkempt, unintelligent, unclean/tainted), you’re sexy (loose, easy, intensely sexual, open/available) or you’re both. There seems to be no neutral ground where women can stand and simply have a J without their character or morals being judged for it in some significant way.

Courtney

In what ways do you enjoy cannabis and how frequently?

I enjoy cannabis via joints as well as glassware – bong, pipe. I use it daily, sometimes multiple times a day.

What do you use cannabis for?

I use cannabis for pain relief. I’ve suffered from migraines and headaches for 14+ years with no success from other medications. Cannabis is the first thing that has helped. It doesn’t always rid the headache but it does always numb the pain so it’s bearable to continue on with my day.

Have you ever felt ashamed or like you had to hide the fact that you enjoy cannabis because you are a female?

More often than not.

Do you feel like cannabis brands cater to females? Any brands in particular that you like that do?

I’ve never seen anyone cater to females except The Healing Co. with their yoni products (which I love)

Do you feel like there is a stigma around women who use cannabis?

Yes, I feel like women need to hide being “rebellious” if that’s the proper word to use. There’s still a lot of stigma with cannabis and therefore it might make people look differently at you as opposed to a male.

Lisa

In what ways do you enjoy cannabis and how frequently?

2-3 times per week with a vape pen or occasionally cbd/thc oil

What do you use cannabis for?

Fun, swelling, anxiety

Have you ever felt ashamed or like you had to hide the fact that you enjoy cannabis because you are a female?

Yes, I’m usually discreet about it unless I know the person and their opinions on cannabis.

Do you feel like cannabis brands cater to females? Any brands in particular that you like that do?

My boyfriend buys from the government’s online store, so I don’t really see any that cater to females. I was in a Tweed store, which was nice, but I didn’t feel it catered to women.

Do you feel like there is a stigma around women who use cannabis?

Yes. As a user I still feel it is seen as unprofessional to use even in your personal life. It’s socially acceptable to drink alcohol. I would say I’m going to have a nice glass of wine after work, but I would not say I’m going to go consume some cannabis.

Looking Forward

It’s interesting to see that many females feel the same way; that there is a stigma around not only how and why we choose to use cannabis, but the mere fact that we do. I look forward to the day that cannabis is accepted as both a medical treatment and a means of relaxation, with zero stigma. I believe that with the increase in studies being conducted, the amount of education circulating and the general enthusiasm of those who do use cannabis, that day is quickly approaching. Until then, we will continue to work to break those preconceived notions that cannabis use has any impact on who we are as individuals.

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