Cannabis for Women: Where to Start?
Coming soon to a town near you…October 17, 2018 is recreational cannabis legalization in Canada. Who knew this day was going to come? Canada is poised to become a leader by being the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. This has led to much excitement and trepidation amongst Canadians as this industry is shaping itself while the world is watching this experiment play out. With a sophisticated black market, a host of regulatory controls, and a lack of choice – what will Canadian cannabis legalization look like?
The changing landscape of Cannabis in Canada
October 17, 2018 is the day that retail outlets will open their doors to Canadians above the age of majority in their respective provinces. In some provinces – Ontario, for example – there won’t be any retail in 2018, all sales will be online. Let’s say you decide to check out a store on day 1, what will it look like? What will you experience?
If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing what the retailers have done with store design, you may be thinking of a seedy head shop and that is not the case at all. The stores rival anything you’d see in a high-end boutique. Many of the designs favour women, open and inviting, with friendly and knowledgeable staff. One thing you won’t see? Any cannabis. All packaging must be tamper-evident, childproof, opaque, and behind lock and key. Typically, the store experience will be educational, with informational displays and stations. A consumer will rely heavily on staff for product knowledge and recommendations as you won’t be able to see, touch, or smell the product.
One thing many find surprising is the lack of product optionality that will be available as compared to the black market. Only two types of products will be allowed in year one of cannabis legalization – flower (or bud), and cannabis oil. Edibles, concentrates, and other value-add products (VAP’s) are slated to come out late 2019. Topicals are an interesting product line because they are probably the easiest and most benign way to use cannabis, but they are only allowed as liquid at room temperature. They are not allowed as balms, salves, body butters, etc. but are expected to be available as a VAP in 2019. They also are not allowed to include counter-irritants or have any ingredient that could enhance the cannabis like menthol or essential oils. Fingers crossed the restrictions lessen in 2019 as topicals are booming Stateside, introducing cannabis to new users who are simply looking for health benefits without the high.
Cannabis for Wellness
Speaking of cannabis for health benefits, a huge movement to use cannabis for wellness has started. Baby boomers who haven’t used cannabis since they were teenagers are coming back to it to help with health issues. One major segment that is seeking out cannabis for health and wellness is women. There are a large number of women who feel cannabis-use carries a stigma, and wellness focused products can be discreet and have little to no intoxicating effects. What is considered a wellness product? It could be defined as a method that is easier on lung health (i.e. sublinguals, capsules, edibles) or micro-dosed (i.e. 2-5mg THC content), anything with CBD, or a topical product as its effects are localized without a high. Many women are incorporating cannabis into their self-care and wellness routines to help with sleep, anxiety, sexual health, beauty, or just general relaxation.
Sublinguals - Administered orally, most commonly under the tongue; a solution of a medicinal substance.
Capsules - Dosage forms made up of gelatin shells which enclose accurately measured active ingredient(s) to be taken orally.
Topicals - A liquid or solid preparation for cosmetic or external medicinal use; healing ointment; designed for or involving local application & action (as on the body). There is evidence of cannabis being applied topically for thousands of years in many different cultures around the world.
I am woman, hear me…snore?
Having trouble sleeping? You are not alone. 63% of women in America report sleep issues (according to a National Sleep Foundation poll). Cannabis has long been known as a sleep aid, and according to a 2008 study[i], ingesting marijuana strains with higher levels of THC typically reduces the amount of REM sleep you get. Reducing REM sleep means reducing dreams and you’ll spend more time in a “deep sleep” state. The deep sleep state is thought to be the most restorative, restful part of the sleep cycle. (via healthline.com)
How could you incorporate it into your sleep routine in a healthier way?
Via Capsules and oils, ingest at least an hour before bedtime.
If possible find products with Indica strains or terpenes that induce sleep like Linalool - This type of strain is considered soothing and relaxing.
It is recommended to take less than 20 percent THC. Too much THC might make you feel groggy and sleepy the next morning.
Women & Mental Health
“Women with children, whether single or partnered, had a higher risk of personal stress. Distress, stress and chronic stress levels of mothers, regardless of employment, or marital status, are staggeringly high.” From BMC Women’s Health[ii]. Canada has some of the highest use of antidepressants in the world, in particular, 1 in 4 Canadian women between 25-55 are on an antidepressant drug[iii]. Life in general can be stressful, and some women tend to have the additional stressors of motherhood, post-partum depression, economic/workplace inequality, juggling work and home life, or even harassment or abuse. Cannabidiol (CBD) is showing promise to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is known to reduce heart rate and be a mood stabilizer (through regulation of receptor 5-HT1A which releases serotonin)[iv]. While there is much more research to be done, CBD shows incredible potential. One major benefit is that it does not produce the “high” THC is known for, making it is safe to take throughout the day, while at work, around your kids, etc.
It’s that “Time of the Month”
There haven’t been any advances in women’s health relating to pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS) for many years. Over the counter pain relievers, hot pads, or just “grin and bear it” has typically been the method of coping. With the boom of cannabis products stateside, there are many product offerings that are aiming to soothe the discomfort nearly every woman experiences on a monthly basis. While tampon-like suppositories, or balms and butters infused with cannabis are not allowed in Canada in year one of legalization, there are alternatives. Topical cannabis oils could be inserted vaginally or simply rubbed on the pelvis and low back to offer relief from cramping. These same products have shown promise to reduce pain and tension due to vaginal dryness in menopausal women.
Cannabis oils are not just for relieving pain and discomfort, but they could also be used as a pleasure enhancer. When applied topically to the vaginal area, they are known to increase circulation and sensation, as well as relax the muscles.
The latest “hot” beauty ingredient… cannabis
Hemp seed oil has long been used as an ingredient in skincare, but the industry is taking things one step further with cannabis beauty products including cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This includes lotions, bath products, after-sun care, etc. With CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is known to soothe itching from sunburns, psoriasis, and eczema. Other cannabinoids are thought to have antioxidant properties, making them useful ingredients in skincare for anti-aging. Outside of body and bath oils, these products won’t be available through regulated channels in Canada just yet. It is expected that products of this nature will roll-out in 2019.
Prohibition is ending, but the possibilities are expanding! Buckle up ladies, October 17th is tomorrow, and we have the power to shape the industry with our purchasing power and show that women want to use cannabis too…and we want products that meet our needs and wants. Whether you are looking for relaxation, help sleeping, pain relief, or skincare there are many options to navigate. Understanding what you hope to achieve with your cannabis use can help with narrowing down to an appropriate method of consumption, cannabinoid content and dose level to ensure you have a positive experience. Cannabis for wellness, it’s yours to discover.
About Kanabé Goods Co.:
Kanabé Goods Co. are creators of health and wellness products containing cannabinoids and terpenes for everyday use. The founders bring a passion for cannabis health and wellness products born out of a struggle to cope with various conditions such as Crohn’s disease, insomnia to stress and anxiety. They sought a natural way to cope with these various ailments when traditional therapies were causing side-effects and diminishing quality of life.
The company was recently acquired by EFX Laboratories Inc (“EFX”). EFX is sponsoring a Health Canada submission for one of the first cannabis-based Phase I & III Clinical studies measuring cannabis as a viable post-operative treatment. EFX also currently contract manufactures two-piece medical cannabis pills for Broken Coast Cannabis Ltd (“BCC”) and Aphria Inc. (“Aphria”). Kanabé will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary under EFX Labs continuing its efforts to build products, brand awareness, and relationships with retailers.