Cannabis is poised to be the next essential of the GOOP generation
Published by: The Kit on June 18th, 2018
Hold on to your Whispering Angel: If one cannabis exec is right, your glass of rosé may soon be replaced by a joint—or, more likely, an elegant vape pen that discreetly tucks into your Mansur Gavriel Mini Moon clutch.
“Cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the world,” says Jo Vos, managing director at Leafly, a Seattle-based digital cannabis education resource. Last year, according to StatsCan, Canadians spent $5.7 billion on cannabis—90 per cent of which was for “illegal purposes” (i.e., no medical prescription was involved)—and our post-legalization market is projected to at least double, possibly quadruple. Vos says that in states such as Colorado, cannabis sales have zipped past alcohol just three years after legalization, and she expects the same thing to happen here within a decade: “After all, cannabis has no calories and no hangover.”
If that sounds like a verse from the Gospel of Gwyneth, that’s kind of the point. Much like crystals, yoga and Turmeric lattes, cannabis is increasingly being positioned as a therapeutic good, a lifestyle indulgence with health benefits aimed squarely at the same female consumer who eats organically, practices mindfulness and is, at the very least, Jade Egg curious. “If you drew a Venn diagram with medicinal use and recreational use as the two circles, right there in the overlap you’ve got wellness,” says Vos, nodding to the multi-trillion dollar industry that Goop built. Touted as an alternative treatment for chronic pain and anxiety, cannabis is also being heralded as the next miracle ingredient in skincare. It is, the faithful say, the perfect union of health, aesthetics, and increasingly, aspiration. Lighting up has evolved from your skunky Saturday night secret into a Rihanna-approved way to relax—and bonus points if it helps with cramps, eczema and muscle soreness from Soul Cycle.
“As someone much wiser than me once said, ‘There’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel good while feeling better,’” says Mary Beth Williamson, formerly of Procter & Gamble and Jameson’s Vitamins, and now the chief marketing officer of Fleurish, Canada’s first female-centric cannabis wellness company. Translation: Just because a product can get you high, it doesn’t mean it can’t make you well at the same time. While the Toronto-based start up awaits licensed provider status, its founders have big plans, including launching cannabis merch: bath bombs, lip balm, even the bud itself.
Lighting up has evolved from your skunky Saturday night secret into a Rihanna-approved way to relax.
Fleurish has used focus groups to identify two core groups among its future customers: Millennials who are open about their usage of the drug, both as part of their lifestyle, and in service of their general mental health; and “marijuana moms,” who sub in a secret smoke instead of a glass of wine and tend to be daily users.
Fleurish’s research also found that 40 per cent of women who currently buy cannabis legally are using it to alleviate PMS symptoms. The body’s densest concentration of receptors for cannabis molecules like THC and CBD is found in the female reproductive system—these receptors are associated with moderating everything from mood, memory, pain and sleep. That’s why, Williamson explains, more women than men may find cannabis to be more effective as a medicine.
More women than men are also leading the entrepreneurial cannabis charge. A 2015 survey by Marijuana Business Daily shows that 36 per cent of high-level jobs in the industry are held by women—a striking contrast to the 25.6 percent of female managers in the private sector overall.
These emerging leaders include Camille Chacras, the founder of Montreal-based Allume, a curated online shop of accessories for cannabis users. Chacras uses cannabis to treat epilepsy and migraines, and launched her company after she found a dearth of products that spoke to her as a style-conscious woman in her 20s.
“If you go to most smoke shops, the products are pretty masculine and perpetuate that stoner stereotype,” says Chacras, whose retro minimalist aesthetic extends to the rose gold lighters and marble ashtrays she stocks. “I wanted to represent the diverse reality of smokers. I know so many moms, teachers and young professional women who dab, use oils, smoke, whatever.” In terms of a retail experience it’s more Glossier Penthouse meets Apple Store, less Bill’s Bongs and Bongoes (or whatever the equivalent of that weird shop that sold fantasy figurines and “hemp” products was in your town growing up).
“There’s definitely been a re-branding of cannabis as a lifestyle product,” she says. “Like any product, if the branding’s on point people will be drawn to it. Do I think it will drive people to try cannabis? Definitely. But it’s important to do your research beforehand: It’s not for everyone.”
And that’s the thing: While that rose quartz by your bed may or may not ease stress, popping a rose-flavoured gummy edible will actually have a physiological effect, so experts emphasise proceeding with caution and an abundance of information. Oh, and your credit card.