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Objects of Desire: Decoupling Women and Weed

Californians Like Legal Marijuana
Photo by Gracie Malley

Joint Opinions

Objects of Desire: Decoupling Women and Weed

In the tradition of James Dean suggestively puffing a cigarette, the juxtaposition of slender white joints alongside feminine fingertips is rapidly becoming the latest sexualized American smoking. But within the burgeoning establishment of a supposedly medicinal industry, the pairing of sexualized female images with the cannabis plant has taken the industry down a path laced with wrongheaded sexism. This approach is as irresponsible as the overwhelming stereotype that most card carriers are freewheeling pleasure seekers.

Sex is used as a sales technique for many products, but it should be noted that the medical marijuana industry is different than other commercial enterprises; marketing of medical marijuana should focus on the attributes of health instead of profit. Portrayals of scantily clad women may be appropriate for Viagra, but not for life-saving drugs. Cannabis is legally viewed as a recreational substance in some states and in that situation, utilizing a female to encourage sales can seem both humorous and harmless. But, suggesting a complementary pairing of women and weed is, when considering the medical and scientific uses of the cannabis plant, actually unsavory in its irrelevance.

I can appreciate how the re-emergence of cannabis into the mainstream and the growing media interest that has generated has brought the truth of cannabis’ beauty into the limelight. Whether the revelation comes to a newfound user or a seasoned aficionado, this reality is as exciting as discovering the beauty of the female figure. I, too, find myself admiring high-resolution photos of trichome glands and images of both sex and weed can produce feelings of euphoria. But, although the legalization of marijuana is proof that times are “a changing,” we all need to gingerly sidestep historical attitudes when we portray an esoteric plant in the kaleidoscope of social consciousness. This is particularly the case when this wildly stigmatized and misunderstood “drug” is combined with the demeaning portrayals of women already rife in our media.

Therefore, my problem is this: like cigarettes in bed and the use of alcohol to soften first dates, relating sex to cannabis draws the wrong image of decadent behavior. While sensuous temptations are attractive and alluring, they suggest an inevitable downward trajectory, one that collides with the healing and wellness bestowed upon those who enjoy cannabis’ holistic qualities. Healthy cannabis use is not a dangerously indulgent sensation, but is actually as common as taking an aspirin to reduce inflammation. Such a straightforward, homely image is the most accurate way to depict cannabis – lest anyone forget that medical marijuana is an industry promoting wellness.

When responding to customers, I realize that I don’t work in a bar, I don’t receive tips and I don’t have any need to use my feminine charms when it comes to selling medical cannabis. Instead, I find myself discussing childhood epilepsy, witnessing the enthusiasm of a son while his newly diagnosed mother purchases a tincture and explaining to an elderly gentleman that topicals will not produce a psycho-active effect. These are the brief moments that I am able to step off of the overly-sexed pedestal that all female card carrying patients have been placed on. With the limited attention that cannabis receives in today’s media, there is not enough room for both concepts of wellness and sexiness to co-exist. In the medical marijuana industry, women and weed are not a pairing I want to see proliferated.

By Maggie Kerr

Originally published in issue 9 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE.

What do you think? Is medical marijuana overly sexualized? Tell us in the comments below.



  1. Jocelyn

    January 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    This article reads like an incoherent Facebook rant. The author clearly hasn’t done any research on how medical marijuana helps women heal sexual wounds and can increase desire, relaxation and sensation. Marijuana can act to soften a person and open them up to their own vulnerable intimacy.
    This author also needs to understand that a medicinal plant like marijuana is holistic- meaning it will treat you in many different areas. You might be using it for one reason and have unexpected and pleasent symptoms. Weed has been used for centuries for sexual health.
    Please do your research. This is a weird, angry and Under researched article, readers beware.

    • CleverTitania

      January 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      What ARE you talking about? I have studied human sexuality, and specifically female sexual dysfunction for decades. There have only been a handful of studies done on the effects of marijuana on female sexual function, and they have only barely touched on the claims you’re making. And one of those the studies demonstrated that only low-THC strains of cannabis have a positive effect on a female sensation – and only topical application was tested.

      “openn them up to their own vulnerable intimacy”? You sound like your about to endorse 50 Shades of Gray. Treating female sexual dysfunction requires addressing a myriad of psychological and physiological issues. And while MJ might be useful tool to treat some of those issues, it is in no way the cure for “sexual wounds.”

      And before you try to claim I’m strictly speaking from a position of clinical observation, I have experience issues of severe female sexual function my entire adult life – including having NEVER had an orgasm with a partner in more than 20 years of being sexually active. And never did the use of marijuana even improve my issues during sex, much less “heal” them.

      Marijuana can cause relaxation and lowered inhibitions. It can also cause paranoia and panic responses. It all depends on what kind you’re using, how you are using it, how much you use and the individual who is using it. People who enjoy sex, often enjoy it more when they are high – but they also often enjoy it more when they are drunk, or are ecstacy. Women who experiences sexual dysfunction are not going to have the same reactions to anything, and using a mind-altering substance can have as many negative impacts on the latter group, as it can positive.

      Not that most of that is relevant to your comment, since you clearly didn’t read one word the author said, or grasp any of the article. She is discussing using female sexuality to SELL medical marijuana, in the same cheap and pandering way they use female sexuality to sell sports cars, which has absolutely NOTHING to do with using it to combat sexual dysfunction or it’s relation to female arousal.

      The author isn’t the one who needs to do her research, you need to stop reading new age fairy tales and practice some reading comprehension.

    • Jim Stimpfle

      January 16, 2016 at 7:56 am

      Jocelyn nailed it well said.

  2. Malcolm Kyle

    January 13, 2016 at 5:10 am

    “What of the cripple who hates dancers? What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer of the forest stray and vagrant things? What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all others naked and shameless? And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all feasters lawbreakers?”
    —Khalil Gibran

    • CleverTitania

      January 15, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      And what does this esoteric quote about conservatives who act as hypocrites – indulging in whims one moment and vilifying them the next – have to do with this article about not using “demeaning portrayals of women” to sell medicine?

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