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A Brief History of Women in Cannabis

From Ganja Goddesses to modern Marijuana Mavens, women have helped shape the cannabis industry throughout history. Here’s how:

Today, more women than ever are realizing the power of cannabis to help them reach their goals, become their strongest selves, and unleash their creativity.

Though this is a significant step forward in this miracle plant’s journey, there lies behind today’s modern cannabis-woman an incredible history (or herstory, if you will), of women in cannabis, and the struggle that still continues to normalize its use.

Cannabis has been used for centuries across the globe, but it wasn’t until the all-male federal bureau of narcotics banned the use of the plant in the 1930’s. Though the modern stereotype of cannabis-users is primarily masculine, women have played a much bigger role in its history than one may think.

Some of the earliest known uses were created by and for women.

In India, it was an affective method used to relieve birthing pains. Cannabis was used in China as an anesthetic, and in Egypt to reduce menstrual pain (which is still a common use for the plant today).

It has also been used to treat Endometriosis and PMS, as well as Interstitial Cystitis, a painful urinary condition.

“Marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”
-Joycelyn Elders, MD

So, if cannabis has all these great benefits, why, until very recently (and only in some parts of the country), was it banned? Well, there isn’t a great answer, unfortunately. From what we can gather, marijuana was used as a scape goat to blame deep-seeded societal issues on, and this spiraled into its being labeled as an extremely problematic substance.

Some women who knew the potential of cannabis to empower, cure, and treat, saw the problem with this prohibition and took action. One influential woman in particular that we can all look to for inspiration is Maya Angelou. Not only is she a feminist icon, and an advocate for strong women, but was also a promoter of cannabis. To have a woman of color so widely celebrated for her work, even despite her portrayal of cannabis consumption in a time when it wasn’t so widely accepted, is an incredible example of a wonderful woman who paved the way for today’s cannabis users.

“The food was the best I’d ever tasted. Every morsel was an experience of sheer delight.”
-Maya Angelou

Another woman who set the tone for our appreciation of the benefits of cannabis is Louisa May Alcott. She openly wrote about the pleasures it can bring, and went so far as to publish the phrase “Heaven bless Hashish.” Certainly, if a woman even further back in history promoted the use and enjoyment of cannabis, we can happily follow suit knowing we are adding to the stepping stones of brave, open, and fearless women who shared their love of the plant publicly.

Today, cannabis is slowly becoming more widely accepted and utilized for its strengths.

However, as with any change in a long-time societal norm, there is resistance. Closed-mindedness persists, and will continue to do so until we come boldly forward and celebrate the women that are shaking up the industry today.

And believe me, there are many. Women that use cannabis today are relishing in their own successes around the world, all with the power of the plant to support them. They are lawyers, artists, craftswomen and accountants. Journalists, mothers, professors and CEO’s alike are harnessing all that cannabis has to offer.

Whether that means gearing up for a big meeting, or winding down after a long day of playing chauffeur, cannabis can help you conquer your days, and relish in your evenings.

Women today are recognizing this ability, and running with it.

Some modern day marijuana role-models include Mary Jane Gibson: Culture Editor for HIGH TIMES Magazine, Jazmin Hupp: Co-founder of Women Grow, and cannabis-centered attorney Rachel K. Gillette.

So, Venna woman, as you continue your journey with cannabis, take comfort in knowing that many women before you have also learned the exquisite joys of cannabis, and have worked hard so you can enjoy it as openly as possible in a society that is still on its way to full acceptance.

Take pride in knowing you are in good company. You, by indulging in cannabis and sharing your love of what it can do for you, are becoming one of the fearless trailblazers that, like those mentioned in this article, will continue to push for support and acceptance for years to come.


Sources: Aliza Sherman, Women and Cannabis: History, Herstory, and Health. Brittany Sanger, 7 Women From History You Didn’t Know Were Fans of Cannabis. Sophie Saint Thomas: 15 of the Most Powerful Women in the Weed Industry.