Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Don't Ignore Women In Weed

As many successful women have shown, cannabis isn't just for the boys.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Five years ago the shelves of most dispensaries housed sugary edibles, strong concentrates and a selection of flower with as much THC as a grower could manage. The industry and its products were geared towards the male consumer who dominated the market.

mikroman6 | Getty Images

Fast forward to 2020 and markets like California are seeing a rise of women-centric cannabis products and services -- low dose mints, high end topical oils and lotions, CBD bath balms, mini-joints with low levels of THC that everyone can enjoy.

While men have traditionally been the main consumers of cannabis, contributing to approximately two-thirds of purchases, women are becoming increasingly more prominent in the market. Although women control around $30 trillion in annual spending, the majority of companies often ignore this powerhouse of a demographic. Millennial women in particular tend to enjoy an above-average household income, and have been estimated to represent a $170 billion dollar market.

With the growing number of female cannabis consumers, companies ignore women and their specific needs at their own financial peril. With the average cannabis consumer shifting, there are numerous ways to appeal to the budding female demographic.

RELATED: Meet Three Women Who Are Disrupting The Canna-Business

What Women Want

Men are more likely to purchase their cannabis in the form of flowers and concentrates, but women have an affinity towards edibles, sublinguals, topicals and tinctures. They have a desire to use lower dose products for wellness as well as to unwind.

The sales of CBD-specific products, such as lotions and bath bombs, as well as low dose THC edibles have been on the rise as women of all ages and backgrounds become more intrigued by the calming, relaxing and pain-relieving effects of cannabis.

The demographics of women who use cannabis are diverse. Mothers find relief from anxiety. Athletes find reprieve from aches and soreness. Baby boomers find joint pain relief and a sense of nostalgia. And all women can get an improved night’s sleep.

RELATED: Five Things To Watch In Cannabis In 2020

A Female-Centric Shopping Experience

Cannabis products of the past had typical stoner design -- everything was green, littered in pot leaves and maybe even tie dye. Finding information about dosing or using cannabis for a specific purpose was a challenge, and the dispensary environment felt intimidating to newly curious customers, many of whom were women. Many shopping experiences were particularly uninviting to women seeking information about personal health -- cramps, arousal, etc -- as they may not have felt comfortable asking the man behind the counter.

There are a few ways the industry can evolve to better serve women. When we developed Sava, our curated, women-focused cannabis delivery service, we used the following guidelines that were born out of what we wanted from a shopping experience.  

  • Accessible Education. Make it easy to understand dosing as well as how to use the product for specific purposes. Many new users approach with caution and want to have a measured experience, rather than eating a whole edible and seeing what happens. Have a brief description of what the product is and what it does on the label, and consider having more info or customer support available online.
  • Good Design. The exterior of a product tells a story -- one of professionalism that garners trust, or one that communicates to approach with caution. Staying away from a stoner aesthetic helps usher in the new age of cannabis, one where this beautiful plant can be seen as a legitimate wellness tool or way to mitigate stress.
  • Discretion. While the number of people using cannabis is rapidly increasing across the United States, there is still a stigma around these products for some people. Providing a brand free exit bag or asking your delivery team to be free of logos and branding provides an experience more people are comfortable with.
  • Convenience. Unlike grocery stores, in most areas there isn’t a local cannabis shop on every corner. Busy women need quick and easy access to their products, which can be achieved with the option of online ordering and delivery services.
  • Inclusion. The industry needs a range of products so every consumer can find their perfect cannabis experience. Creating a range of doses, flavors, scents, cannabinoid profiles and ratios, and types of product let’s each cannabis user really dial in their experience, especially when paired with No. 1 -- accessible education!

RELATED: Band Of Sisters: These Organizations Help Women In Weed Unite

Cannabis is more than just weed these days, and women in the marketplace are a driver behind that shift. Women know what they want and need, which includes the relief cannabis can provide, and they are becoming less hesitant in obtaining it.