BY MARIE LODI | Images courtesy of Kush Queen
Olivia Alexander had her first foray into the world of cannabis when she became a budtender at the age of 18. Then in 2015, she launched Kush Queen, a women-centered cannabis and lifestyle brand famous for the industry's first high-dose CBD and THC-infused bath bombs, topicals, skincare, and ingestibles.
Through her work in the cannabis industry, Alexander developed a strong passion for educating women on how to navigate the many benefits of this plant. “My own journey with my bipolar disorder has led me not only to develop the Kush Queen product line, but also an intentional approach to cannabis use,” she tells EMBER. This ultimately led to her latest endeavor, a new book called The Essential Guide to Cannabis for Women. “With so many new women coming to cannabis and legalization spreading nationwide, I wanted to create an easily digestible guide to help them understand the history, the science, dispensaries, and how to use cannabis for wellness,” she explains.
The book covers it all, from explaining just how cannabis works in your body to choosing the right weed strain. It also includes easy, DIY recipes for skincare and homemade edibles. Below, Alexander shares what to expect in her new book, why she finds cannabis particularly beneficial for women, tips for cannabis newbies, and more.
EMBER: What are some of the ways that cannabis can help women in particular?
OLIVIA ALEXANDER: Women have been using this plant for thousands of years. So many women benefit from cannabis because of menstruation, stress, and the myriad conditions that affect women’s health (menopause, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis). You would be surprised how little research is funded for women's health outside of fertility, so there's a lack of innovation, and many women have chosen to turn to alternative medicine like cannabis. Beauty, preventative wellness, sexual wellness, mental health, fitness, and sleep are all places that cannabis can help women. In my book, I break down each way cannabis can help women and how to approach cannabis for their desired outcome.
Are there any women-focused benefits that are particularly surprising?
I think the most surprising benefit for women and cannabis is in the bedroom. The statistics of women experiencing sleep and sex issues is staggering. We have not had the same amount of funding poured into our issues like men. Cannabis can transform a woman's life in the bedroom if approached correctly. A good night's sleep and a good orgasm is really priceless; I say that as a person who struggled at one time with both. Seeing how cannabis can help you sleep the best sleep of your life, while also helping you relax and experience pleasure is not only surprising, but beautiful.
What are some common misconceptions that women have with cannabis?
I think the biggest misconceptions around women and cannabis are not ones women have with themselves, but society's stigma. The data shows Gen Z and millennial women are the fastest growing demographic of cannabis consumers, yet the legal industry is still not catering enough to them. We are also disappearing from the legal cannabis industry as stakeholders as well. Women, especially mothers, are still very stigmatized for their cannabis use.
Women have blazed a trail for this plant and continue to drive it forward, yet they are left out of the narrative so often. All of the cannabis we consume is from a female plant; it is my wish that women don’t just start to be a part of the conversation, but lead it. I wish society would understand all the cannabis we consume is from a female plant and women's connection with it is deep.
What are some easy ways women can incorporate cannabis into their lives if they are new to it?
The biggest way a new user can and should incorporate cannabis is an oral or topical delivery method. I advocate in the book for the daily use of oral cannabinoids like a full-spectrum tincture. I suggest a high ratio of CBD to THC. I believe getting a baseline of cannabinoids in your system daily to fight inflammation and feed your endocannabinoid system to help create homeostasis in the body is key. A new user won’t feel high from this—they will just feel better.
Then topicals of course. Soaking in cannabis is so approachable, but extremely effective because your skin is your biggest organ. I have converted so many women to cannabis by encouraging a cannabis bath. Once they feel like they have had a full-body massage without the price tag or the massage, they wonder, “What else could cannabis do for me?”
What was something that you've learned from all your years working in cannabis that you knew you had to put in the book?
The biggest thing I have learned all my years working in cannabis is how personalized the endocannabinoid system really is. Ultimately, your endocannabinoid system is as unique as you. What works for one person may work completely opposite for someone else. Using alternative medicine like cannabis allows us to engage in a unique process of listening to our bodies that isn't really taught in western culture, but can benefit us all tremendously.
I also encourage journaling and tracking your doses and progress. It's really taking your own wellness into your own hands, listening to your body, and adjusting your routine from there. In our culture, medicine is often a one-size-fits-all approach, but not with cannabis. I think not only putting this in the book, but also expanding on this conversation can really help women achieve better results with cannabis.
Marie Lodi is an LA-based writer, editor, and podcaster. Her bylines have appeared in The Cut, PAPER, Buzzfeed News, Bustle, Fashionista, Allure, and more.