A Woman Who Knows
Apr 09, 2019 11:15PM
● By Nora Mounce
American families are finally talking about marijuana at the dinner table, but it’s hardly what Richard Nixon had in mind. As a country with the worst healthcare among high-income nations and an opioid crisis breaking hearts in every state, the potential for improvement is vast. Doubling down on systemic woes, even the average “healthy” American is increasingly overworked and exhausted, often turning to screens and pills for a moment’s relief.
This is the melancholic landscape painted by lawyer, former bookstore owner, and cannabis advocate Nikki Furrer in her 2018 release from Workman Publishing, A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis. Amid this grim snapshot, Furrer, a Midwesterner who now calls Colorado home, writes that cannabis offers untapped potential for the radical act of feeling well and good. Not discriminating between pain from chronic diseases and everyday stress, Furrer wants to help everyone feel good with the support of cannabis (formerly known as “medical marijuana”).
A bookworm turned independent book store owner, Furrer’s mental and physical health was suffering as she struggled to make ends meet. After sadly closing shop, Furrer found herself drawn west by big mountains and open minds, starting over behind the counter at a dispensary in Denver. Daily, she met with a colorful cast of characters including the oft-played tropes of soccer moms and grandmas asking the how and what of weed. Furrer quickly realized she was missing her go-to move, a solid recommendation for the right book. So voila, Furrer’s own comprehensive cannabis guide, customized for the everyday Jane. A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis covers everything a woman or man or non-binary individual might wonder about weed. “Men are more than welcome to read this book, too,” she writes. “Cannabis is for everyone.”
As a NorCal native living in Humboldt County who has written about cannabis from every angle, I was skeptical about what Furrer’s guide could offer me; the endocannabinoid system, entourage effect, and terpenes are rooted in my daily lexicon. But beginning with the pained portrait of a typical American, Furrer stresses that whatever your troubles, cannabis will probably help. “A plant that makes us happier and healthier isn’t wrong,” she writes.
Admittedly, this is her target audience: Women living in red states whose value systems dictate that cannabis is still cause for shame and skepticism. Reading through heartfelt and info-packed chapters on edibles, inhalants, shopping, and health and more importantly, why these topics matter I quickly started thinking of friends to whom I should gift A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis. Deep diving into anxiety, menstruation, and weight loss, Furrer innately understands that the path of womanhood is paved with rocks and hard places. From start to finish, women’s bodies mold, bleed, birth, and hurt, leaving our minds to make sense of all. It’s no walk in the park.
“Now that I’m in my 40s, cannabis makes me feel prettier and more relaxed than I ever was in my 20s or 30s,” writes Furrer. While many women are curious about how cannabis might help them “feel better, look better, and sleep better,” the barriers to safe and clean cannabis products are many. In her guidebook, Furrer breaks down the loopholes to obtaining doctors recommendations, going out of state (don’t come back with your weed, please!), and talking to your therapist/children/partner about cannabis. As she explains, you’re not the only one who might be feeling unsure and overwhelmed. “Medical schools do not teach cannabis medicine, so this is a new subject for doctors, too,” writes Furrer.
Though giving serious attention to legality, adolescent brain development, and dependence, Furrer is conscientious rather than conservative in her approach. “And dose just for fun? Well, that works too!” she writes. The cannabis plant is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and promotes healthy cell regeneration. If we consider mental, physical, and emotional health as one, it makes sense that treating arthritis or menstrual cramps comes with the fringe benefits of feeling better in every sense of the word.
Though A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis is meticulously detailed, Furrer encourages women to do their own research, using her book as point of departure. THC or CBD? There’s no one size fits-all answer, she writes, dedicating an entire chapter to synergistic effects of the two cannabinoids. She calls THC the Queen Bee and CBD the Valedictorian, “But when they work together, they bring out the best in each other.” Illustrated charts on cannabis strains, terpenes, and minor cannabinoids you’ve never heard of (THCV?) are helpful, even whimsical, guides to keep you motivated during your cannabis education.
Whether a gift for Gram, that certain friend, or yourself, A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis provides insight and a pragmatism from a woman who knows. If you’re considering adding cannabis to your life or changing up your relationship to the plant, Furrer is the unabashed friend you want to bring along on your journey.