Women have been using cannabis for a long time. Throughout history, they have likely used it just as much as men have. There is a long history of women using cannabis for various reasons, from recreational to medicinal and therapeutic uses. Today, plenty of women use cannabis in different forms, including some well-known names, even though celebrities most associated with cannabis tend to men. The history of women and cannabis isn’t so well-known, but there’s plenty of it, even if there has traditionally been something of a gender gap. From the Ancient Egyptians to Queen Victoria, we know that women have always used cannabis.


Cannabis in Egypt

Goddess of Wisdom, Seshat – Image Courtesy of Wikia

One of the earliest times we can pick up on women using cannabis is in Egypt. An image from 1250 BC depicts the goddess of wisdom Seshat wearing a headdress, which some historians say resembles a cannabis leaf. There’s no mistaking that it looks similar, and perhaps it was used in the pursuit of knowledge. Cannabis pops up in Egypt many times throughout history, with women using it to lift their mood around 50 BC, and for childbirth and uterine pain in the 2nd century.

Cannabis As a Pain Reliever

“Women are born with pain built-in,” says Kriston Scott Thomas’s character in Fleabag – and it’s true that women are no strangers to pain. Cannabis has been used by women throughout history to try to treat pain. In 9th century Persia it was used for migraines, while Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th century Benedictine abbess, recommended it for headaches and as a poultice to treat wounds.

Menstruation and Childbirth

If there’s one thing that many women know the pain of, it’s menstrual cramps, childbirth, and anything else linked to hormones and the reproductive system. Cannabis started to be adopted as a birthing aid from the 5th century in Europe, although it wasn’t until much later – in the 1850s – that cannabis would achieve official medical recognition as a childbirth aid by several medical journals. In 1942, an American medical journal also recommended it for PMS.

Famous Fans of Cannabis

There have been a number of famous people who have used or recommended cannabis for various reasons throughout history. It’s reported that Queen Victoria used cannabis for cramps and morning sickness, as well as an anesthetic in childbirth. ‘Little Women’ author Louisa May Alcott wrote about cannabis use, and may well have enjoyed using it. Poet, author and civil rights activist praised cannabis in her second memoir.

Women in the Cannabis Industry

Today, women make up a significant part of the cannabis industry. They count for 36% of executive-level leadership positions in the industry, which is well above the average of 25% across all industries.

Of course, in addition to working in cannabis industries, many women today also use cannabis products for a variety of reasons and in different ways. The benefits that cannabis may provide to women through products such as vape pens allows them to enjoy cannabis in the methods that they prefer.


Author csmith@planet13.com

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