Oftentimes, women from all walks of life find themselves at the “epicenter of care”, says Ellementa founder Aliza Sherman.
In other words, they tend to be the caregivers of their families, their ageing parents, and their friends – but not always themselves.
This, according to Sherman, is precisely why cannabis education by and for women is so essential. It’s also why she started Ellementa in the first place.
Ellementa brings women together in communities across the United States to talk about cannabis for health and wellness – particularly for self-care and caregiving.
Targeted at women over the age of 35, educational evenings organized by Ellementa are led by local women and often attended by cannabis experts and female-focused brands.
The idea, says Sherman, is to give women with varying cannabis experience a platform to talk about how the plant has impacted their lives, and/or learn about how they may introduce it to their loved ones or themselves.
“By [providing] better information about cannabis, we’re putting into the hands of women tools they could use to help improve not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them,” Sherman tells Civilized.
“That’s really the premise of Ellementa: if you empower a woman with better information, she’s going to put it to really good use ... and if she prospers, her [community] prospers.”
Sherman actually came up with the idea for Ellementa while struggling to find information about cannabis that was relevant to her life as a middle-aged woman.
“Many women – particularly those in their 30s, 40s, and 50s – are thinking ‘I want to be able to function at work but I want less stress and anxiety’ or ‘I want to be able to function as a mom but I don’t want to have such tension due to hormonal changes I’m going through’ or ‘I want to take care of my ageing parents who have dementia and are agitated and have little quality of life’,” says Sherman.
For Sherman, it was a desire to soothe the symptoms of menopause that had her seeking out information about cannabis – and more-or-less hitting a wall over and over again.
“I went to a couple Women Grow meetings, and they’re great if you want to start a business or you want a job in the industry, but they’re not necessarily geared toward a newbie like I was at the time.”
Sherman says she found herself looking for something like Ellementa – and when she couldn’t find it, she decided to create that space herself.
Ellementa meetings now take place in 13 cities across the U.S., with plans to expand into Canada. Depending on the cannabis experts and/or brands in attendance – whom Sherman says are hand picked based on their ethos of empowering women first and foremost – meetings can include panel discussions on a range of relevant topics.
Every gathering, however, offers ample opportunity for open discussion. Sherman says the comfort level among the women during this portion of the evening “evolves rapidly.”
“As soon as one woman opens up, the floodgates open and women just clamour to tell their stories ... It’s pretty phenomenal,” she says.
“Ellementa and brands like Ellementa and the brands that work with us are trying so hard to just make cannabis a normal part of our lives... We’re all wanting to normalize the conversation around cannabis, and I think women are instrumental in this.”
Banner image by Suzanne Sutcliffe Photography