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Women are pioneering Britain’s budding CBD Industry

By William Cohn

High Society. This term often conjures up stuffy ladies’ lunches and leisure clubs. But what if it meant something more alternative?

There is a community relatively new to the United Kingdom, whose female leaders are not as likely to don pastel skirt suits or throw philanthropic fêtes.
They are more interested in cannabis.

The medical marijuana and the cannabidiol (CBD) industry has grown rapidly over recent years in North America.

This affinity for hemp was apparent at the Canadian Cannabis Capital Markets Conference in London this May. Nomi Lyonns, the event’s coordinator, realised the potential of the cannabis industry in the United Kingdom.

“Rise and shine, it’s cannabis time!”

“It’s so new here in the UK and people are very misinformed,” Lyonns said. “We went to an event in London and I was mortified by the misinformation. One speaker likened cannabis to thalidomide. Our conference was there to educate British women on the basics.”

Lyonns said that female caregivers have been using hemp for generations. This puts females in the cannabis industry in a unique position to surpass men with their knowledge of what hemp can do.

“[The industry] is female because we have been suppressed for such a long time. Women who have been growers and nurturers have been doing it quietly in the background,” Lyonns said. “The climate is changing for women to come into this and we want to support women who want to be their own bosses rather than just being growers.”

Infographic detailing statistics from the United Kingdom's CBD industry and the women in it.
Statistics from CBD Village, CLEAR and the United Nations

One of these women is Lisa-Marie Marais, who uses her shop, Hemp Botanics, on Notting Hill’s Portobello Road to educate the public about CBD and how to use it. This shop offers a glimpse of what the industry’s future could look like in the United Kingdom.

Hemp Botanics is entirely female-owned and operated. The shop was the first store in Britain to sell CBD buds from the hemp plant and the first to offer non-medical consultancies.

“It ties in with looking after yourself, looking after others and the nurturing of others,” Marais said of her business and her team. “They all have that naturally inside of them, and they have an affinity with cannabis. They are not scared of it and they want to share their knowledge with others.”

CBD oil vials from Hemp Botanics
CBD oil vials from Hemp Botanics

Nevertheless, Marais echoes the same idea Lyonns put forward about female nurturing instincts. As CBD becomes more mainstream in the United Kingdom, it can be more appealing to anyone looking for alternative answers to chronic health issues. Marais argues that this is why many women have started to get involved with CBD in Britain.

“There are women truth-tellers on the rise globally with great depths of experience.”

“I have suffered with depression and anxiety quite badly for many years,” said Rachael Wilson from West Yorkshire, the woman behind
@cbdwoman on Twitter and the CBD Woman YouTube channel. “I was exercising, meditating, and eating really healthily but was still riddled with anxiety and really depressed.”

Rachael Wilson with products from her shop, Excite for Life
Rachael Wilson with products from her shop Excite for Life

CBD triggers endocannabinoids that are produced throughout the body by strengthening natural levels to help quell long-term illnesses.

“After using CBD for three weeks I found that my sleeping pattern got better,” Wilson said. “I did not need to be on antidepressants anymore and I was not panicking as such. It was profound how it worked.”

Starting a business out of an appreciation for CBD is also not uncommon in women who have been caregivers for a loved one with prolonged health problems.

“It is a slow evolution but there are a lot of females interested,” Marais said. “Many of them have children that suffer with fever-like activity, neurological damage or autism. Their interest is based on a need for the oil and they might then start a family-run business out of that. It is happening but at a very slow pace.”

Sasha Stone, Assistant Manager of Hemp Botanics
Sasha Stone, Assistant Manager of Hemp Botanics

According to Lyonns, the cannabis industry offers an ideal environment for women to empower each other through shared interests in well-being.

“There are women truth-tellers on the rise globally with great depths of experience,” Lyonns said. “If we educate women now, they can be ready to step into these businesses as they open up or create their own.”