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Marijuana Use Growing Among Bay Area Women

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Ever since Californians voted to legalize marijuana, more people are embracing it - especially women.

According to a recently released cannabis report by the San Francisco-based, on-demand medical marijuana delivery app Eaze, women are the fastest growing group of new users. Of its nearly 100,000 patients in the Bay Area, one-third - or just over 31,000 - are women. That's up from about 25,000 just one year ago.

Megan Dooley Fisher is a frequent Eaze user. "Two years ago I got my medical card and I began to see immediate results," she said.

Dooley Fisher uses cannabis products to treat her chronic pain and insomnia. "Even in those two years I've seen a change in how people view it," she said. "I think it's important that people treat it like the plant that it is, and the medicine that it is. It shouldn't be stigmatized."

At dispensaries across the Bay Area, including The Guild in San Jose, that stoner stigma appears to be slowly fading.

"These days it's no longer that high school kid that's kind of smoking a joint behind school," said Marketing Manager of The Guild, Nancy-Lee Carpenter. "It's more of that executive, she's a mom, she's anyone, and she doesn't feel that people look at her as basically a pothead."

The new California recreational marijuana industry is projected to be worth $7 billion.

"This has typically been an industry that has been more male-dominated especially when it was more on the illicit market, but as it's more opening up especially with services like Eaze, that offer home delivery, discreet, much more safe, a lot more women are open to trying it," said Eaze CEO Jim Patterson

Patterson says since the passage of Proposition 64 more people are embracing marijuana. Eaze has reacted to the growth in it's marketing - using more women and bright colors in its ads.

It's no accident that new lines of products have been created with women in mind.

Oakland-based Alchemy by Dark Heart specializes in vaporizer pens. Cartridges are filled with aromatic blends of cannabis oil and botanical extracts. Unlike many edibles, the potency and exact dosage are labeled on the products.

"I call it the fear of the unknown high, and a lot of that can happen with different kinds of consumption, not really knowing if that strain's going to be a really high potency or if that edible's really going to work with your body chemistry that's going to make you comfortable," said Brandy Petricka, Director of Marketing at Alchemy by Dark Heart.

Petricka says with an alchemy pen users can regulate how much they're going to get and know fairly quickly what the effect is going to be.

Dark Heart's pens have become one of the industry's top selling products among women. And there are entire lines dedicated to treating women.

Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg has also launched a medical marijuana startup. The "Whoopi and Maya" signature line includes bath soaks - designed specifically for menstrual cramps and discomfort.

In addition, an explosion of thoughtfully packaged artisanal edibles including mints and fine chocolates have become big hits.

"You're looking at packaging now of products that would look right at home on a shelf at whole foods or Ulta," said Dooley Fisher.

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