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Women In Cannabis History

Women! Such an incredible group of cannabis executives and dispensary owners. They make up a large percentage of this industry. However, the role of women in cannabis history is nothing new, even as International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate them.

woman cannabis user and advocate

Ancient History

Thousands of years back, in ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut, used a combination of honey and cannabis to help with menstrual cramps. Later, in what is now Russia, a female archaeologist unearthed the mummy of Princess Of Ukok, the Siberian Ice Maiden. She discovered cannabis in the tomb, which was apparently used for medical purposes.

During the Middle Ages, a German nun-physician named Hildegard Von Bingen became an early medical cannabis advocate. She used everything from hemp wraps for wounds to edible hemp for pain relief.

From ancient times to the middle ages, on different continents, women already knew to turn to cannabis. 

20th Century

In the 20th century, famed anthropologist Margaret Mead fought for cannabis legalization, even testifying before Congress in the 1960s. “It’s a new form of tyranny of the old over the young,” Mead told a Senate subcommittee. “You have the adult with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other, saying, ‘You cannot.’ This is untenable.” 

In the 1980s, biochemical neuropharmacologist Allyn Howlett helped make the connection between cannabinoids and human brain receptors. This provided a landmark discovery of CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

That same decade, a woman ironically named Mary Jane Rathbun became a volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital. She insistently served cannabis brownies to AIDS patients. The police arrested “Brownie Mary” multiple times, leading to national media attention. With a major assist from Howlett’s cannabinoid research, Brownie Mary would eventually help pass San Francisco Prop P in 1991 and California Prop 215 in 1996, for medical cannabis use. 

Todays Pop Culture

These days, no conversation about women in cannabis history is complete without a nod to the music artists who popularized it through song. For example, “Habits (Stay High)” remix by Tove Lo and Hippie Sabotage, “Sativa” by Jhené Aiko, and early classics like “Jack, I’m Mellow” by Trixie Smith and “When I Get Low I Get High” by Ella Fitzgerald. 

Feel free to check out our employee spotlight blog to get to know some of the women working at KANHA.

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