In nearly every sector of the cannabis industry, the portion of executive positions filled by women is higher than the national average for all businesses in the traditional economy.
Women comprise approximately a quarter of cannabis company founders and owners. And of those women-launched or owned companies, nearly 40 percent plan to expand within the next year.
While the specific reasons behind each woman’s journey into the industry vary, one thing is for certain: the future of cannabis is female. Botanically speaking, cannabis, the flowering plant, is female. It is a known healer, a trusted helper and proving itself to be a powerful contender against traditional thoughts on its role in society.
CANNABIS + HEALTH
While cannabis has been used by both men and women for some 4,000 years, scientific study on the plant has only recently begun. What has been discovered though, is the way in which cannabis works with the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabinoid receptors are found through the entire body, and perform a wide array of functions. CB1 receptors (which bond with THC) are abundant in the central nervous system. CB2 receptors (which bond with CBD) are more often found on immune cells, in the gastrointestinal tract and in the peripheral nervous system. Together, these receptors regulate sleep, appetite and digestion, mood, motor control, immune function, reproduction and fertility, pleasure and reward, pain, memory and temperature regulation. Full-spectrum cannabis creates an entourage effect for the users’ endocannabinoid system, meaning its team of medicinal components work alongside and enhance each other.
Studies have shown that estrogen enhances sensitivity to cannabis. Further, female sensitivity to cannabis increases during ovulation. PMS symptoms like bloating, migraines, cramps, headaches, hot flashes and chills can all be alleviated through the use of cannabis. Given the plant’s molecular similarities to estrogen, and the manner in which it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, cannabis helps stabilize hormones rather than treat hormonal imbalance symptoms.
The list of medicinal benefits cannabis offers goes on and on. But a huge revelation in the research world is its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. THC has been shown to kill cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth amongst breast cancer patients. Cannabis also assists with quality of life during cancer treatments, assisting with the pain of chemotherapy as well as reducing nausea and boosting appetite.
CANNABIS + WEALTH
While the healing properties of cannabis are enough to attract the healing nature of any individual to the industry, money talks too. A majority of states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing the use of cannabis for medical reasons. Fewer states have made it legal for recreational purposes, although speculation continuously evolves on who is next and when.
The emerging industry reported nearly $9 billion in sales last year, which is equivalent to the annual revenue from Pampers diapers. 2018 will see even higher sums, as California opened its retail market in January. It is believed the industry will be valued at $21 billion by 2021. The young industry is interesting, fast moving, and full of challenges. Women are excelling as navigators, enjoying the freedom, autonomy and control of a sector that has not had time to develop traditional patriarchal norms. As the majority of businesses are aged less than a decade, the structures of such are also more fluid, without the multiple layers of management that can create glass ceilings.
As the east coast states are watching their western counterparts legalize and monetize the plant, some are taking steps to follow suit. Vermont voted to lift prohibition in its state in January of 2018, and New Jersey is expected to legalize recreational marijuana at some point this year. Opportunity abounds, even within the states that do not have medical marijuana. CBD, the non-psychoactive oil produced by cannabis, is legal nationwide and demand has skyrocketed. CBD alone is expected to consume more than $1.8 billion of the cannabis market by 2022. The opportunities for women to get involved in, be a part of, and profit from the cannabis industry are abundant.
CANNABIS + HAPPINESS
The therapeutic benefits of CBD are vast and continue to evolve, and include mental health and wellness. As we discussed earlier, cannabis cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system to produce effects that can range from pleasant to profound.
Cannabis can be used as an antidepressant, easing anxiety and improving mood; an antipsychotic, relieving symptoms associated with schizophrenia; a therapeutic for panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder; and a neuroprotective agent, helping reduce damage to the brain and nervous system and encouraging growth and development of new neurons.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety-related disorders than men, and also face hormonal issues such as pregnancy, postpartum depression and menopause. Cannabis is known to assist with symptoms and results of these disorders and hormonal changes, without harmful consequences.
As research continues, we will undoubtedly discover and learn more of the medicinal benefits of cannabis for women. What we do know now, however, is that it has a positive effect on mental, physical and emotional wellbeing; thus a positive influence on happiness.