7 votes

Is Cannabis the Answer to Everything?

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  1. patience_limited
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    This article is about the marketing of cannabis, particularly to women, as a healthy lifestyle adjunct more than as a medicine. I view this trend with some alarm - cannabis and derivatives are, by...

    This article is about the marketing of cannabis, particularly to women, as a healthy lifestyle adjunct more than as a medicine.

    Throughout nearly a year of reporting, I found dozens of cannabis companies in Canada and the US overhauling the stoner aesthetic into a high-end lifestyle that seems cribbed straight from mainstream women’s brands like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. 48North’s identity, for example, is built on being good: good for you and good for the world. The company grows its organic cannabis outdoors, under the sun, on 40.5 hectares appropriately called the Good Farm. Then there’s Blissco, which bills itself as “the Canadian wellness brand” and whose website features a recipe for a cannabis-infused turmeric “golden canna latte” from a holistic nutritionist. Van der Pop, another brand, promises to help women explore weed “in a way that is nuanced and respects stigma free living.” Its strains have names like Cloudburst and Eclipse. Alberta-based Sundial, meanwhile, reminds customers that weed is “a way for women to take wellness into their own hands, and shake some of the obstacles that can hold them back from living their best lives.” Sundial divides its cannabis into therapeutic categories, such as “flow,” “ease,” “calm,” and “lift.”

    I view this trend with some alarm - cannabis and derivatives are, by and large, pharmacologically active medicines, which implies that they are not free of undesirable side effects. They're not neutral foodstuffs, which can be consumed ad libitum. Historical experience with cannabis as traditional medicine, as well as decades of stoner culture, is based on much lower potency and unrefined weed.

    The article highlights the liminal space that cannabis currently occupies - is it a medicine, a beauty product, a "mother's little helper", an alcohol substitute? Is marketing to women encouraging the accumulation of bullshit "wellness" in place of adequate research?

    My read is, "bullshit for the foreseeable future". The last time I went into a medical provisioning shop, I couldn't get any sensible strain guidance, and everything on offer was as THC-heavy as possible. It's the US, in a state that's only been legal for a year, so we haven't reached peak boutique and lifestyle marketing yet. I'm still getting CBD by mail order, largely because CBD products here are wildly unregulated and of uncertain purity.

    I don't particularly want to be marketed to for solving women's issues, but there isn't genuine medical advice available for marijuana pharmaceutics. As a point of reference, I had major joint replacement surgery without using any opioid pain relief afterwards, just a few days of THC vaping. That's powerful medicine, and I'd like to know precisely how much or little should be used for longer term health and safety. Crystal pipes, gold-plated grinders, and covering scents aren't what the marketplace should be offering in place of sound advice.

    8 votes