The number of female consumers in the cannabis industry is rising. Brands are rapidly adjusting to this new demographic, and female operated, tailored brands are creating knowledge and challenging stigmas. Cannabis is no longer for the typical ‘stoner girl’; it is expanding to more sophisticated markets.
Prior to the 1920s,women who smoked(cigarettes) were associated with loose morals and dubious sexual behavior.It was Edward Bernay, Sigmund Freud’s American nephew, who broke the taboo on women smoking by persuading. Hired by Lucky Strike to increase their user demographic, he applied the principles of his famous uncle and persuade them that the cigarette was a symbol of independence. He called them “torches of freedom.” Thanks to his efforts, women were no longer looked down upon for smoking, and Lucky Strikes became the best-selling brand for a long time (1).
Similar to how Lucky Strike saw the potential for broadening its market share and increasing sales, cannabis brands are tailoring to an industry where women are the fastest growing consumer segment. In addition, women-led companies are taking the cannabis market by storm. New Frontier Data surveyed over 1,700 stakeholders in the cannabis industry from 28 states and the District of Columbia and found that 30% of all respondents reported that women occupied all positions of ownership at their companies. Of those surveyed,57% reported working for companies where at least half the ownership was female (2). These women are bosses(shout out to our CEO Celeste).
New brands are filling the void for the sophisticated female cannabis user. Their goal: Creating an environment focused on wellness and cannabis education, all to strive for further acceptance and legalization. W!nk (for women by women)advocate for breast cancer education and encouragewomen to be diligent with their health (3).Beboe, a luxury brand, aims to change the way people see cannabis as a product, introducing it to dinner party culture. In addition, Beboe has been labeled as “the Hermes of cannabis” by the New York Times (4).
Although these new brands are appearing in the market,a survey from VanderPop (VdP)showed that70% of women still believe cannabis consumption carries a stigma, and 66% hide their use. Their primary reasonfor cannabisuse is for relieving pain, stress and anxiety. While one out of five women strongly agree they know the science behind cannabis, nearly two third (62%) of women reported not have a trusted source of information for learning more (5).
Women would like to know more about the benefits of cannabis. A study from Eaze surveyed 10,000 California cannabis consumers and found that59% of women surveyed consume cannabis daily. Almost all women that used cannabis reduced usage of other drugs, including opiates (95%), antidepressants (86%), and alcohol (78%). Interestingly, a significant portion of those surveyed replaced drug use with cannabis entirely: opiates (26%),antidepressants (28%), and alcohol (13%) (6).
These two studies demonstrate that cannabis brands need to focus heavily on the health benefits of cannabis. Products focused on the health-conscious and trendy consumer will be the brands that truly connect to the female market. Women have come a long way in history, from being looked down upon for smoking, to changing the industry through female operated businesses.