Women and Cannabis: Shaping the Industry

Women and Cannabis: Shaping the Industry

Despite cannabis prohibition, women have been an integral part of the cannabis space as growers, distributors, and users of cannabis for medicinal and spiritual purposes for thousands of years.

Despite cannabis prohibition, women have been an integral part of the cannabis space as growers, distributors, and users of cannabis for medicinal and spiritual purposes for thousands of years. Now that cannabis is legal in more than half of the United States, women play an even more active role in the industry as entrepreneurs, executives, and consumers.

History of Women in Cannabis

Understanding cannabis is rooted in women. Even our preferred prize-producing plants are female, rich in trichomes and cannabinoids, and free of pesky seeds. Understanding of the plant may also be thanks to divine femininity.

In traditional tribal communities, women typically managed tasks like cultivating the earth and foraging while the men hunted. Their daily tasks would have put them in direct contact with the plant, providing them with opportunities to learn its benefits.

Some of the first historical records of cannabis use came from ancient Egypt, where the few lady Pharaohs, such as Hatshepsut, would use cannabis-based tinctures and topical solutions to assist in ailments like menstrual cramps. The benefits were so well known, marijuana as medicine continued through the centuries, with Queen Victoria being said to have used cannabis remedies.

Why do Women Like Cannabis?

Consumption among women steadily increases as it becomes more accessible through changing laws. While there are many reasons women turn to cannabis, studies have shown that women typically continue to turn to cannabis for more medicinal purposes.

Women are more likely to pursue treatment options for illnesses and diseases and turn to cannabis as a replacement for prescription drugs. Women over 40 have shown to have a higher increase of consumption, possibly related to the benefits cannabis provides in relieving symptoms of menopause. In addition, many more users turn to cannabis to reduce stress, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Still, medical benefits aren’t the only reason it’s becoming more popular with the ladies.  Women generally have a higher sensitivity to cannabinoids like THC and CBD.  While it may be fun to have fast and long-lasting results, women are also more likely to develop a high tolerance over time.

What Types of Cannabis do Women Like?

With the medical benefits in mind, it’s no surprise women prefer strains with higher CBD content. So often, women are left to juggle many tasks at once. This mantle of multitasking increases if she runs her own business, has children, or is a primary caregiver for another person. By prioritizing CBD over THC, consumers can benefit from things such as the entourage effect without heavy psychoactive results. And who has time for that when 100 things need to get done?

A survey from Leafly found additional cannabis preferences for women. Most women prefer uplifting Sativa strains over fatigue inducing Indica. While Sativa strains are not recommended for people who suffer from anxiety, they allow for elevated cerebral euphoria and focus, making it a go-to option when things need to get done.

Leafly also found women overwhelmingly prefer sweet and fruity strains over more traditional earthy, diesel, and skunky notes. Preferences for more tolerable aromas and flavors are likely because women have a more acute sense of taste than men.

Finally, women prefer more discreet consumption options like edibles, tinctures, and vaping cartridges. The added convivence of not having to prepare for a session, combined with the ability to medicate discreetly, empowers women to manage their needs without judgment.

Women of the Industry

Women are breaking barriers leading the charge in all aspects of the cannabis industry.

We can even thank women for pioneering changes to cannabis legislation that opened the doors for medical use.

Mary Jane Rathbun made a name for herself with her famous pot-brownie recipe. Known as “Brownie Mary,” she provided medicated delights to patients with HIV/AIDS at the beginning stages of the epidemic. She later met Anna Boyce, a nurse who provided cannabis to her husband with cancer. Together in the early 1990s, they were significant players in campaigning for California’s Prop 215, which later helped establish the first US medical cannabis dispensary.

Despite the progress made, the cannabis industry remains largely male-dominated, with just 22% of executive-level positions being held by women. However, the cannabis space continues to multiply, and women are at the forefront of this movement. Despite the barriers, women challenge the status quo and continue to make their mark.

Women like Jane West. You may be familiar with the name through the FLUENT x Jane West pre-filled glass pipe collaboration. But in 2014, she founded Women Grow to help women succeed in the industry through networking and community building. As the industry expands, groups like Women Employed in Cannabis (WEIC) continue to support women on their journey to success in cannabis.


Women are instrumental to the history of cannabis. Tracing its growth as a medicinal and recreational drug, women have played an important role in shaping its perception as both a beneficial and detrimental plant.

Women have not only shaped the cannabis industry but the legalization movement. As the industry continues to grow, it is vital that women’s stories from the past shape our perceptions of the present and future of this miraculous plant.