Weed: It's Not Just for the Bros
by Julia Rubiner
The first thing I did after deciding to expand my clientele to cannabis entrepreneurs was make a beeline for the newsstand to pick up – what else? – High Times. But I couldn’t find it. I finally approached the guy at the counter and asked, “Where’s High Times?” His response: “Men’s leisure.”
Men’s leisure? Since when was smoking weed a men’s activity? I’d been indulging for years, usually with girlfriends, and had never heard such a thing. Another arena, I reflected glumly, where men have a lock. Then I had an even more disheartening thought: Are women NOT participating in the cannabis revolution because it smells like bro spirit?
Soon after my newsstand revelation, however, I uncovered the flipside of this male-dominated market; the growth area in this growing industry is female.
There are many reasons for this, not least of which is that female consumers shop for the household, meaning they buy a lot more stuff than men. Another big one is that women suffer disproportionately from conditions whose symptoms can be eased by cannabis. From menstrual cramps to reproductive cancers to autoimmune disorders, women on the whole need more relief than men.
I started down my own cannapath recreationally, but I’ve since come to appreciate the therapeutic power of the plant.
I used to be a platinum blonde, which was time-consuming, expensive and – when the bleach began to penetrate my scalp – painful. During one of my frequent trips to the salon, I was bitching more bitterly than usual when my stylist said, “Let’s go outside and smoke a joint. It will help.” She was right. That’s how I grokked the pain-relieving power of pot.
Then there’s my sexual dysfunction.
Not long after you find it’s fun to get high, you find it’s fun to get high and have sex. Cannabis, it turns out, is a sex aid.
I take medication for depression – a condition that affects women disproportionately. There are side effects, one of which is anorgasmia. Guess what? It, too, affects more women than men. But by the grace of Jah, I figured out early in my psychopharmacological odyssey that cannabis helps.
Of course you don’t have to be taking medication to become anorgasmic. You may just be menopausal. (Cue sad trombone.)
The upshot: There are two kinds of women who can potentially benefit from the sweet relief of cheeba. 1) Women who menstruate and 2) women who don’t.
Which isn’t to say women shouldn’t enjoy marijuana for the same reasons men do: creativity, entertainment, self-awareness, stress relief, sociability, intimacy, sleep, distraction, mind-alteration, the aforementioned fun.
So let’s say you want to assert your position in this growth area. Where do you start? There are 7,500 strains of cannabis on the market, each with its own nuances of aroma, flavor and psychoactivity (some of which work their magic with NO psychoactive effects). There are also formulations galore – flower (what we used to call “bud”), edibles, concentrates and countless variations therein. And there are many ways to consume cannabis (smoking is becoming a thing of the past). It is truly daunting to wade into this profusion, but you’ll be amazed by how quickly you catch on.
Back when I was partying with the pom-pom girls, I didn’t know anything about the pot I was smoking. Not only did we not know what kind it was; we didn’t even know there was more than one kind of the kind. Potency was our only selection criteria (in Michigan, you could score some pretty im-potent pot).
Now, when I go into a dispensary, I’m likely to ask for an organically grown sativa or sativa-dominant hybrid with at least 4% CBD and a measure of THCV (to stave off the munchies). Or a vape pen pre-loaded with solvent-free Harlequin oil (for the occasional writer’s block) or Blue Dream (for meditation).
The best way to dip your toe in this water is to do your research, then go “slow and low.” I’m convinced there’s something for everyone, that it’s just a matter of finding it. I feel sorry for all the people who think they can’t use cannabis because they had a bad experience – I’m looking at you, edibles – and are certain it’s the only kind of cannabis experience they’d ever have.
Start by researching local dispensaries to find one staffed at least in part by female budtenders. Look at their websites; some will feel more welcoming to women and the canna-curious than others. Med Men, “the Apple store of dispensaries,” in West Hollywood, is my current favorite. On my inaugural visit, I walked in, marched up to the first woman I saw and laid my cards on the table: “I know nothing. Help.” She was more than happy to take me by the hand.
Or save the dispensary for later and instead consult the Cannabis Feminist or go to a Bake Sale. Listen to Cannabis Confidential with “Dr. Dina.” Download the Cannacopia app. Tune in to the Cannabist Show. Head out on a Ganja Goddess Getaway. Take high tea courtesy of White Rabbit. I recommend subscribing to Leafly.
Regardless, no matter where you are on the cannabis spectrum, education is everything.
Speaking of, I haven’t been back to that newsstand since I heard the words “men’s leisure.” But I look forward to returning when High Times can be found in the fabulously gender-neutral “General Interest” section.
Cannabrand Storyteller Julia Rubiner is a writer who helps cannabis entrepreneurs with brand development and messaging.