Women from all walks of life gathered on June 7 for the Denver launch of Ellementa, a women-centric cannabis discussion group. The organization aims to help pot-curious females navigate a growing, changing marijuana market through monthly meetings, and has plans to expand around the country after starting in Alaska and moving on to Colorado.
“Women are so hungry for this type of experience,” said Aliza Sherman, leader of the Anchorage chapter, who came to Denver for the inaugural meeting. “NORML is more about activism and government reform, and Women Grow is for women starting in business. I thought they were awesome, and I'm an entrepreneur, but it didn't help me understand the basics. I felt like a fish out of water as a consumer.”
But not at Ellementa, which Sherman and her co-founders designed as a welcoming space, one that wasn't open to men.
“While some men are supportive, women share different stories with women as opposed to a mixed audience,” explained Melissa Pierce, who's opening Chicago’s Ellementa chapter next month. It can be difficult to be real about health issues and ask the hard questions if you’re feeling uncomfortable, she noted, adding that Ellementa will definitely host co-ed events, too.
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This first Denver discussion was very informal, as women were encouraged to share experiences and ask questions about cannabis. One doctor, who said she was delighted to be able to discuss sensitive topics, talked about struggles with cannabis education, and how male counterparts expressed their discomfort when she used the word "vagina" in a clinical context.
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The organization prides itself on giving females helpful information about their bodies, and how cannabis may be an option to help manage everything from menopause and menstruation to endometriosis and chronic pain. Pain was all too familiar to Jenessa Lea before she found cannabis; the medical marijuana patient and founder of the Denver-based Fit Cannabis Girl is managing her Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome. “I am breaking the cannabis stigma by modeling how cannabis can positively impact your quality of life when it’s incorporated with a daily regimen of fitness and clean food,” Lea told the gathering.
The name Ellementa incorporates "elle," the French female pronoun, and "menta," Latin for "the mind." When the founders chose the name, they also saw that it could represent finding your element with other like-minded women, or it could simply mean finding your cannabis strain.
“Women are pioneers in this industry, and Ellementa is providing a platform to educate and connect women globally to break the cannabis stigma," added Lea. "It is imperative to reach women with this message, as women are the ones who manage the daily health and wellness within our families. It starts with the women and ends with the world.”