It comes as no surprise that the mainstream acceptance of cannabis has a way to go. This has never been more apparent to me since the Annual Wellness Show in Vancouver with Flower & Freedom. The stigma of cannabis is so ingrained in our society and is understandably difficult for many people to make positive associations with the plant. But as it’s thrust into the spotlight with the approach of recreational legalization, cannabis has the opportunity to earn back the trust of its audience.
The Flower & Freedom booth was decorated with a blush pink and white banner, education brochures, flowers and athleisure wear. You could say it was feminine, fabulous and was all about cannabis for wellness. We fit right in. As we prepared for the rush of people, eager to learn about the latest wellness trends, we set out to ask one question; have you heard about cannabis for wellness?
The most common reaction was that of surprise, accompanied by an expression of concern, embarrassment and laughter. As someone who works in the industry, it is easy to forget that conversations around cannabis are often conducted in secret. Yet from our conversations, a large portion of attendees seemed to be made up of either people who were consumers, people who wanted nothing to do with cannabis, or those who were curious to explore cannabis, but were concerned about the opinions of friends and family.
While exploring cannabis for wellness is the essence of Flower & Freedom, our experience at the Wellness Show poses another question; are people ready to talk about cannabis, period?
The answer is yes. A recent study conducted by Van Der Pop, which looked at consumption stigma surrounding woman, found that “66% of woman hide their cannabis usage,” and “70% believe cannabis consumption carries a stigma.” Labels such as stoner, addict, being a bad mother and hippie are among the few that have developed over the years.
This fear of being judged is a great example of why some people walked past our booth with curious eyes but closed body language, ultimately not having the courage to approach.
While we were busy all day discussing topics from fitness recovery to menopause, to stress relief and relaxation, I couldn’t help but feel that common misconceptions and stigmas in our society may be stopping people from accessing important education required to make empowered and informed decisions for themselves. After all, your cannabis experience is up to you. Flower & Freedom exists to help arm people with the tools they need to make good decisions and have good experiences with cannabis.
Since its conception, Flower & Freedom has been tackling stereotypes by discussing personal consumption experiences and varied cannabis stories. Helping people become a little more comfortable with cannabis through activities like yoga and outdoor adventures combined with introductory cannabis education.
An astounding “78% percent of woman are looking for information online”, so we know there are plenty of people who are curious about the subject. While legalisation will increase accessibility of cannabis it’s important that we’re able to help individuals make the right decisions. Having the confidence to ask questions is the first step to an informed choice and we shouldn’t allow cannabis consumption to define an individual’s identity.
Exploring cannabis can be daunting and it’s different for everyone. It’s important to talk about the positive and negative experiences people are having. Whether it be for medicinal, wellness or recreation purposes, people are exploring cannabis for a variety of different reasons.
If you’re one of the 78% of women searching for cannabis online, Flower & Freedom is here for you. There is a place for you in this cannabis conversation, whether it’s for your own personal use or to better understand the choices of those around you.
Disclosure: The information shared in this post is a personal experience and not to be considered medical or legal advice. Please consult with a health practitioner and seek legal counsel on the cannabis laws in your area.