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Understanding The Struggles Of Women In The Cannabis Community

By Roger Malespin  photo/istock/rystjohn

Those of us who use and have been using cannabis for a long period of time might lose sight of the stigma that it still holds in society. Yes great improvements have been made in mainstream acceptance, and yes we will probably see decriminalization at the federal level sometime in the near future, but that still leaves a lot of people feeling like they need to hide the fact that they are users from family and friends.

This is true especially for women. A recent study conducted by April Pride, Founder of Van Der Pop, a Seattle-based publication that focuses on female cannabis consumers found that 70% of women believe cannabis consumption carries a stigma and 66% hide their usage. The study was done in conjunction with CVI and it surveyed 1,530 women across North America. 

Women are the fastest growing group of consumers in the cannabis market, and have a lot of reasons to be users. Four out of ten surveyed female cannabis Consumers from the study turn to marijuana as a natural alternative to manage mood swings brought on by menstruation, menopause or mental health conditions.  Relief from premenstrual pain as well as cramps also registered as major reasons, with 39% of women Consumers using cannabis to cope with their symptoms. 

Another aspect of the stigma women face is how they feel it would reflect on their status as mothers. More than half the women users surveyed have kids under 18 living at home, and are worried about others learning that they smoke. It could impact how other parents see them or let their own kids interact with theirs. Depending on where they live, it could affect their social standing and even opportunities for their kids because of social discrimination.
Anna Duckworth, cofounder of Miss Grass, a women’s cannabis magazine, knows the struggles and is a strong advocate for their voice in the industry.

“The industry is starting to recognize that women consumers need high quality products that seamlessly fit into their lives in a way that can replace a bad habit like drinking too much alcohol to unwind or taking a pill to go to sleep,” Duckworth notes. “As the market matures, brand aesthetics and designs push consumer products into the mainstream and more dialogue around cannabis is possible. Women will feel comfortable accepting and talking about using cannabis the more that it becomes normalized.”

We should keep in mind that women face their own sort of struggles with cannabis that men do not. It’s not unlike the way minority communities face their own that others do not. One of the best ways to help the cannabis community overall without having to spend a dime is simply to support those who need it. Acceptance for those who are users can go a long way in normalizing women who are casual smokers. Millions of people are known to be fully functional smokers that are nothing like the stoner stereotype, and women deserve the same understanding. There’s no reason to think a woman can’t be a smoker and a responsible, caring parent.