Women and Cannabis – Breaking Stereotypes and Dispelling Myths

An expressive oil painting of three black women smoking cannabis together outside.


Female stoners have long been subject to various stereotypes, some of which have changed over time and others persisting despite changing societal attitudes toward cannabis. Though all women smoking cannabis face stigma, the consequences of these stereotypes are disproportionately distributed. 


BIWOC Most Impacted by Cannabis Stereotypes

Black people, indigenous people and people of color (BIPOC) have borne the brunt of the War on Drugs and the negative consequences of consuming cannabis as non-white women. From having children removed from their custody to employment discrimination, the consequences of being a BIPOC woman (BIWOC) cannabis consumer are disproportionately harsh. Yet, BIWOC are consistently kept out of the legal industry, primarily dominated by white, wealthy men. Therefore, we must identify and dispel these harmful myths.


Myth 1 — Girls Who Smoke Weed Are Aimless, Lazy, or Troublemakers

This stereotype can be applied to people of all genders and has persisted throughout the decades. Girls who smoke cannabis are often branded as unintelligent, aimless, or not going anywhere in life. Marijuana use is not associated with doing well in school in the public imagination. Therefore, women or girls who use cannabis are seen as “bad” girls. 

Despite these stereotypes, no concrete evidence exists that women who consume cannabis are less likely to be successful or driven in education or their fields of expertise. Socio-economic status, experience with trauma, and mental health disorders have a more significant impact on success. 


Myth 2 — Women Smoking Weed are Bad or Irresponsible Parents

Women who smoke weed, even legally, risk social and legal repercussions. The stereotype is that mothers that consume cannabis are “bad” or irresponsible parents. Despite the relative normalization of alcohol use among parents, legal cannabis can still result in women having their children taken away. As stated, this consequence is not distributed evenly among women of all racial groups and socio-economic statuses. 

One example of this dangerous myth and the tragic, real-life outcomes it can have for women and their families occurred in New York in August 2021 when a New York mother had her child removed from her custody when she tested positive for cannabis. While this harmful myth paints mothers who smoke weed as irresponsible and neglectful of their children, a growing trend of proud “Canna Moms” argue that their cannabis use allows them to be more present, compassionate parents. 


Myth 3 — Female Stoners are More Promiscuous

In the 1920s, cannabis use was heavily associated with jazz musicians. Women using cannabis at this time were viewed as “loose” or promiscuous. This narrative was part of the racist propaganda pushed on the general public, claiming that smoking marijuana made white women sleep with Black jazz musicians. 

Substantial research supports cannabis’ ability to increase pleasure during sexual relations of people of all genders by inducing a heightened sense of relaxation. However, no evidence supports the myth that women who smoke weed are more promiscuous. This rhetoric is undoubtedly tied up in the desire to control women’s sexuality.


Ditch Myths About Women’s Cannabis Consumption and Promote Connection, Instead

As we continue to combat these harmful stereotypes by talking about and dispelling the common myths and misconceptions around women’s cannabis use, it’s essential to acknowledge the disproportionate consequences BIWOC face when they use cannabis. Talking about these myths with people who use cannabis and keeping the dialogue going will uplift all of us and continue to remove the stigma around cannabis, a plant with tremendous potential to heal and connect people.