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What CBD can do for women’s health

What CBD can do for women’s health
By CBDossier • Issue #6 • View online
As we celebrate Women’s History Month here in the U.S. and a few other countries, this newsletter edition is dedicated to women and CBD. A warm hello to new readers, and welcome back, everyone else!
For this special edition (which, of course, is still relevant to you if you’re not a woman) I’m joined by web pioneer and women’s wellness advocate Aliza Sherman, who runs two women-focused cannabis platforms.
Since 2016 she publishes, which features Q&As with women in the cannabis industry talking about their professional vision and achievements as well as their personal journeys with the cannabis plant.
In early 2017, after Aliza realized that “what was missing was a warm, personal, non-intimidating forum to bring better information about cannabis to women,” she co-founded together with her friend Melissa Pierce. The idea was to offer women a website “where they saw cannabis written about from a health and wellness perspective versus more of a stoner, ‘let’s all get high’ angle.” 
“Nothing wrong with getting high for the enjoyment of it - that’s part of wellness, too - but women’s health issues are quite specific and conventional medicine throws pharmaceuticals at women all the time to cover up our natural aging process. For us, cannabis offers a more natural alternative to everything from reducing anxiety and irritability to addressing pain to aiding sleep and enhancing sex, particularly as we age.”
But why CBD specifically? “As CBD picked up in popularity in 2018, we shifted our focus to lead with CBD because cannabis was still an intimidating subject for many women,” says Aliza.
Ellementa, targeting women 35 years and older, used to hold in-person meetings in the U.S. and Canada, says Aliza. But due to the pandemic, they needed to shift events online (live-streaming The Ellementa Show every week) and broadened the focus towards alternative paths to wellness, including psychedelics, Ayurveda, homeopathy, yoga and meditation. Read on for the Q&A with Aliza.

Aliza Sherman, co-founder and CEO of Ellementa | Credit: David Stewart, AGEIST
Aliza Sherman, co-founder and CEO of Ellementa | Credit: David Stewart, AGEIST
Question: Why are the women in your community drawn to CBD? What are some of their common questions, concerns and possibly misconceptions?
Aliza Sherman: Because of the Farm Bill of 2018, people were under the impression that CBD is the “legal” side of cannabis, and while that isn’t entirely accurate, it removed a lot of the stigma around the idea of talking about the plant. Many people still don’t know that the hemp plant is actually a variation of the Cannabis sativa plant.
Besides being less intimidating and perceived as “legal,” CBD offers some clear benefits that have been demonstrated through some research, even though much more still remains unknown about it. Most women we reach have told us, through our market research arm (Ellementa Review Lab), that they are dealing with pain issues, sleep issues, and anxiety. The fact that CBD can address those things - to varying degrees but safely - is very appealing.
The most common misconception is that CBD will get you high. A common concern is that CBD will get into one’s bloodstream if they use it in a topical [applied to the skin], and then they will fail a drug test at their job. We never tell anyone definitively that they will not fail a drug test using a cannabis or CBD topical, but it is unlikely the topical will penetrate through enough dermis or skin layers to break the blood-brain barrier
Many women we know take CBD for sleep, but getting to the right dose for each individual to get to a sedating effect is tricky. CBD can be stimulating versus sedating, depending on the dose and how it reacts with your body and brain. CBD can also help with anxiety, and that could be why some people, who suffer from racing thoughts that prevent them from getting to sleep at a reasonable hour, find some efficacy with taking CBD at night.
How have you seen women’s information and connectivity needs change over time? 
After five years of educating women about the cannabis plant, we still see the same need over and over again. Women are seeking relief and simply want to feel better, particularly as they age or as they go through challenging times. They are looking for overall well-being, from head to toe, inside out. While some women are now coming to us armed with so much better information about cannabis and CBD because of the many resources and companies that have launched since Ellementa, we still get women asking us, every day, if CBD will make them high. The misconceptions are still out there.
Over the last few years, we’ve emphasized product reviews on and explaining the science behind the product claims, debunking many of them and helping women become more savvy CBD consumers. With the explosion of the CBD industry comes the unscrupulous money grabbers who mislead consumers, so they can charge high prices for bad products. Adding CBD to a bad product doesn’t suddenly make it a good one. In many cases, particularly on Amazon, companies sell hemp seed oil as if it were CBD. Hemp seeds do not contain CBD and Amazon doesn’t allow CBD products on their platform. Too many people are being deceived by false advertising practices and end up with ineffective products or worse.
Many CBD brands seem to be run by women and targeting women. In your experience, to what extent is it a female industry?
Women are present in both the cannabis and CBD industries, but not to as wide an extent as some might suggest. However, as CBD becomes part of a growing number of products, including skin care and cosmetics, more women are at the helm of companies in those areas. 
Women are also often at the forefront of wellness companies, particularly those that address women’s health. CBD is also becoming a part of wellness, supplements, and so it may look like more women are in the CBD industry because of that. [But they] are less in the CBD industry and more in industries that are embracing CBD as an add-on to what they are already doing.
How do you perceive the mainstream media coverage about CBD?
I think the media’s portrayal of CBD is all over the map, from sound and science-based to complete hyperbole or total misinformation. I think the media - and everyone, really - tend to focus on the latest shiny object, the new thing that is still unknown enough so everyone can infuse it with more meaning or more power than it actually deserves. 
CBD as a chemical compound - and the entire cannabis plant - is quite extraordinary and has been used as medicine since ancient times, but it isn’t all the things that everyone says it is. I think some of the media tends to add CBD to a headline for clickbait; the same way companies add CBD to their product ingredients to give the illusion that the product is now somehow better and worth more money, even when it is not.
CBD is not a silver bullet. It is not a cure-all. And it doesn’t work at its best in isolation. Know what is in your CBD product - and understand that even a little THC can make it work better so look for full spectrum CBD products, if you can get them. Check for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for every CBD product you want to buy. Because the CBD industry is unregulated, CBD companies are not legally required to test their CBD products. Those that are reputable and transparent invest in the tests and post their COA’s on their website. Don’t get duped by nefarious CBD money grabbers.
📧 What experience do you have with taking CBD?
Tell us your story by contributing to CBDiaries. (You’ll find the latest at the bottom of the newsletter.) Any other questions, thoughts, feelings? Please send them to me.
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With the goal of sharing authentic experiences and bridging knowledge gaps, CBDiaries collect personal accounts from readers. If you’d like to contribute, please fill out this form.
CBDiary #6: Lindsay, 33, New Zealand
I first became interested in CBD: In 2019, I was living overseas and went through a particularly stressful stretch of time. When I expressed extreme anxiety and panicky feelings to my counselor, she prescribed highly-addictive medication. I decided to try CBD first and have been taking it ever since. 
I was living in Amsterdam, which means I had access to lots of rated and reviewed distributors. I had a long chat with a shopkeeper who works with athletes for pain management.
How I could tell that it worked for me: My partner noticed a difference right away. I seemed more relaxed. I guess I noticed a slight lack in irritability more so than a complete transformation, but it definitely helped calm me down enough to not take the prescription anti-anxiety medication I was scared to take. I also noticed an immediate relief in tension in my upper back, shoulders and neck.
Concerns? Not super concerned, but I definitely wonder whether CBD and a medication I take have any interaction with one another. Since my doctors in the Netherlands did not seem concerned about taking them in tandem, I am not super worried about it. But still curious.
My preferred form of taking CBD: Drops. 4 drops daily (I used to take 8) of 15% full-spectrum CBD.
Side effects: At first, I think it made me a bit sleepy. But my energy was quite drained at the time anyhow, so it may not have been from the CBD.
Lindsay is the Chief Operating Officer at Playground, a next-gen event discovery platform. Thank you for contributing!
Before You Move On
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CBDossier is written by me, Kim Bode, a business reporter turned product and engagement strategist. I’m deeply committed to independent journalism and seeking out accurate, unbiased information about CBD that is relevant to you. Let me know what interests you.
Big thanks to Meredith Hattam for the CBDossier logo and design as well as The Cartoon Crowd for the illustration.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading.
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