BlogWomen in cannabis: celebrating inspirational voices at Product Earth

Women in cannabis: celebrating inspirational voices at Product Earth

7 min read

Lucy MacKinnon

women in cannabis
Two weeks ago, the cannabis community shone a special spotlight on some of the industry’s most influential and inspirational women at Product Earth - the UK’s largest natural medicine experience.


The Women in Cannabis seminar was hosted for the second consecutive year, earlier this month, and highlighted the pivotal roles that women have played in shaping cannabis climates around the world.

On the 19th of August, seven powerful women, who are all both patients and professionals in the plant industries, sat down to speak about the significant issues in the natural medicine industry, disseminate invaluable information, and celebrate their extraordinary achievements. 

The seminar’s stage was set by an incredibly empowering and articulate speech from Mara, also known affectionately as ‘The Bag Lady’, who then introduced New York City’s finest, The Dank Duchess, as the host and panel moderator.

Before handing over the microphone, Mara summarised the occasion beautifully, saying:

“In 2017, Giuliana Roldan organised an intimate dinner in Spain for a group of female cultivators, hash makers and connoisseurs to celebrate their love and passion for cannabis.

Little did she know how the seed she sowed would grow.

In 2023, Women in Cannabis has blossomed onto international stages. Now, much anticipated at events, Canna ladies from around the globe are united and uplifted while sharing their unique Canna knowledge, experience, and perspectives….Cannabis has certainly come a long way, yet there is still much ground to cover, research to dig into, and bureaucracy to wade through, so that we can achieve what I hope is our collective dream and common goal: that anyone who wishes to consume, heal, or rejoice with cannabis has safe access.”

An empowering line-up: Women in cannabis.

The panel itself was a dynamic representation of the women driving change in the cannabis landscape, offering a range of perspectives and insights. With voices from medical and clinical circles, as well as grassroot activists and advocates, these women used their expertise and knowledge to further cannabis conversations.

The panel was made up of:

  • Alkyoni Athanasiou – Fragkouli, who manages Drug Science's Project Twenty21, the UK's largest medical cannabis registry and observational study.
  • Carly Barton, founder of CanCard, and director of Grow Lab Organics, the first community-owned, licensed, medicinal cannabis farm in the British Isles.
  • Rebecca Allen – Trap, a cancer survivor and cannabis advocate who specialises in post-extraction equipment outfitting for extraction facilities.
  • Shanna Marrinan, co-chair of the Cannabis Industry Council Research Group and director of clinical studies at 4C Labs. 
  • Lindsey Bartlett, a cannabis journalist who works in both B2B capacities, such as for the Hall of Flowers, and for mainstream media outlets such as Forbes and Insider.
  • Jade, a grassroots activist who crafts organic, vegan CBD-infused edibles and provides a natural approach to health wellness.
  • Justine, co-director of Hempen, a UK-based organisation dedicated to cultivating organic hemp.

Women in cannabis: discussing the details.

Although the panel discussion spanned just over thirty minutes, a number of key themes were explored. Significant emphasis was placed on community and patient education and awareness. On this subject, Rebecca passionately highlighted the essence of self-advocacy in one's health journey and the importance of staying in touch with your own body.

Building upon this foundation, the panel shed light on the necessity for patients to truly understand what they're consuming, stressing that even with natural and organic options, understanding their production methods is paramount when making an informed decision. 

Rebecca said:

“If you’re taking some oil or tincture, and you don’t know how it is made, that’s a problem. You should understand what kind of extraction methods are being used, because this can speak a lot about the actual product…. We’re sold a lot of hopes and dreams of what the product’s going to do to us based on what’s in it.”

As the profound sense of community support within the cannabis realm could be felt throughout the room and was extended into the audience, the panel discussed the relevance of hiring from the legacy market, reaching a consensus that this approach is the most fitting.

Lindsey, the cannabis journalist, expanded on the media's role in this movement, advocating for the recognition of trailblazers, grassroots organisations, advocates, and family-run businesses. 

Her message extended to both the media and the public, urging critical engagement with content and a careful consideration of the motivations behind it, given the complex history between cannabis and media.

During the discussion, Lindsey said:

“I don’t think it’s responsible for journalists to take press releases from the largest corporations and just run with their narrative. I really go out of my way to talk to the owners, and talk to the family-owned craft growers who are thriving…

As a conscious consumer, as a conscious business owner, looking at those studies really critically, looking at who is paying for them, is really, really important.”

The panel also delved into ongoing research exploring the benefits of medical cannabis and other natural and herbal remedies. The panel touched on research that is currently underway at London South Bank University and at The New King’s College, and paid special attention to Project Twenty21, a large-scale observational study that is being run by Drug Science.

Here, Alkoynoi went into more detail about how the UK’s medical cannabis registry helps to give a truer representation of the effects cannabis can have on our diverse society in the UK. She said:

“The people who are [taking part] in this study are more generalisable to the population than that is typically used in clinical trials….

Observational studies, in general, are more accurately depicting real world evidence, of real people that are actually taking medical cannabis – not just the ‘pure’ population that is commonly used in clinical trials.”

Elevating education: Product Earth Seminars. 

Over the course of the weekend, Product Earth hosted an impressive 17 seminars with a diverse range of subjects to cater to its 5,000 attendees, fostering dialogues that truly matter. The Women in Cannabis panel was held on Saturday afternoon, whilst a special focus on cannabis cultivation was reserved for Sunday.

All in all, the seminars were as diverse as the cannabis community itself, and its line up encompassed the following topics:

  • Is cannabis a human right?

  • Where Canada went wrong: an essential guide for cannabis consumers and regulators in Europe.

  • The endocannabinoid system and health.

  • Psychedelic policy and regulation.
  • The social impact of cannabis.
  • Bioburder: to irradiate or not irradiate is not the question.
  • The Kanavape CAE. The legal foundations for CBD in Europe.
  • Psychedelic therapeutics and clinical applications.
  • Women in cannabis.
  • Innovation in medical cannabis.
  • Cannabis policy in the UK: What’s next?
  • Landrace warden - the need for preservation and the potential for new discovery
  • Building a career in cannabis

  • GROW SUNDAY: Marvellous mycelium
  • Working with soil (the seasons and balance) workshop
  • Growing indoors - organic, nutrients, irrigation & environment
  • Grow Sunday Chat

Closing considerations.

This seminar was on-brand with Product Earth’s entire event, and fostered a community and inclusive atmosphere that celebrates and uplifts those who are often overlooked in wider society.

Throughout the entire weekend, and particularly during the Women in Cannabis discussion, feelings of empowerment, motivation, and upliftment radiated through the NAEC Stoneleigh in Kenilworth. 

The achievements of women in the cannabis industry, like the industry itself, continue to evolve, and it is through events like these that their invaluable contributions are rightfully celebrated.

Now, as the cannabis landscape matures, one thing remains clear: the power of community, innovation, and shared vision is what propels the industry toward a brighter future.

 At Releaf, we believe that everyone should have access to the treatment they need, without fear of stigma or legal consequences. With the right guidance and support in place, medical cannabis can help you get back to living a pain-free life. To learn more about our services, or to book an appointment with one of our doctors, contact us today.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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With five years of journalism and healthcare content creation under her belt, Lucy strives to improve medical cannabis awareness and access in the UK by producing high quality, credible content.

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