Who Run the Cannabusiness? Girls, Apparently

Obviously we know that girls run the world, but did you know that girls also run the Cannabusiness? At this years SXSW convention, the entirely new track devoted to Cannabusiness was impossible to miss. Cannabis not only is the fastest growing market in the US, but also has the highest percentage of female executives (27%) when compared to other economic growth industries. Even Martha Stewart is getting in on the trend. At the Women in Cannabis meet-up led by Jessica Assaf of Cannabis Feminist, we were blown away by the future of THC and CBD products, what that means for women in business and the implications it has for modern day healthcare. Assaf is an award-winning cannabis and women's health activist (with a VERY casual) Harvard MBA. She has been passionately working as an activist in the field of clean beauty and conscious consumerism since the age of 15. In addition to Cannabis Feminist, Jessica is also the co-founder of Prima, which is a a CBD health and wellness platform. Assaf opened the talk by saying, “we believe that cannabis will be the first billion dollar industry run by women,” which is something we can all get behind.

Let’s unpack this a little bit. What exactly is hemp? Can you make baskets and sandals out of it? Can it get you high? Hemp is known as cannabis’s “sober, botanical, cousin” and it is one of the most “powerful, versatile and misunderstood” plants in the world. The plant is non-psychoactive and does not contain THC (which is what makes you actually high). “The Future of Hemp and Health” panel discussed hemp as medicine and the human body’s Endocannabinoid System. If you are like me and had never once before in your life ever heard of the endocannabinoid system, read on.

The endocannabinoid system is one of the most important systems in our body for maintaining homeostasis. “Endocannabinoids are cannabinoid-like molecules naturally produced by cells in our body. Endocannabinoids and receptors make up the ECS and exist throughout the body in the brain, immune cells, organs, glands and connective tissues. When something brings a cell out of balance, the ECS is often called upon to restore the previous physiological situation, thus maintaining homeostasis. As a result, our bodies are constantly producing endocannabinoids to address imbalances”. Additionally, endocannabinoids can be considered “a bridge between body and mind.” ECS receptors present all over our brains and bodies help regulate our responses to stress. Cannabinoid-based therapies can also be helpful in anxiety and mood disorders. British DJ Chelsea Leyland, medical cannabis/epilepsy activist also spoke at the panel about her journey suffering with ‘Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy’ (JME) and how she quit her pharmaceutical anti-seizure medications and treat her epilepsy solely with medical cannabis.

While it’s fun, trendy and topical to discuss THC and CBD entering the mainstream, we cannot deny or minimize how products like hemp and CBD have the power to revolutionize healthcare. And we can’t be happier to see women leading the way in this quickly-evolving industry bound to change so many lives for the better.