Whether you call it weed, marijuana, pot, or something else, it's clear that the business of cannabis is shifting. Its long-awaited legalization in pockets across the country has created an above-ground market for a product that served its users well even when it was shrouded in illegality and stigma.
Advocates who know the business well fast-forward through the usual talking points—comparisons to alcohol, distinctions from tobacco, vague medical benefits—and get down to the science of how cannabis affects the human body.
Adrian Sedlin, CEO of luxury cannabis company Canndescent, gave Brides an overview: "Cannabis has a much broader range [than alcohol]. The endocannabinoid system controls how your cells communicate with each other. Your head has CB1 receptors, and your body has CB2 receptors. Your body produces cannabinoids naturally. The only plants that produce cannabinoids are hemp and cannabis." Hence weed's reputation for being a natural remedy for your body's ailments.
Sedlin's company has isolated the precise profiles that will create certain body and brain reactions. For example, one of the profile combinations (encompassing a range of strains) is what Canndescent calls "body up, head neutral" and can be used for increased intimacy—but we'll get into that more later. Canndescent asks its customers one question—How do you want to feel?—and offers five modes: Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect, and Charge.
With a similar ethos, April Pride's company Van der Pop "curates and creates cannabis experiences for the modern woman." In particular, she and the Van der Pop team focus on teaching women about the benefits of cannabis in an effort to get rid of the stigma around women consuming weed. To make it more accessible (and its effects more predictable), Van der Pop streamlined the many obscurely named strains into a line of targeted products.
"We launched with nine powers," Pride tells Brides. "They’re called flower powers, and they’re the effects of strains: Clean, Forget, Sex, Laugh, Relax, Party, Focus, Sleep, Trip." So, there really is something for every mood.
The concept of buying certain strains specifically for their intended effects is nothing new; dispensary customers know this well. But Canndescent, Van der Pop, and similar brands seek to elevate cannabis from a recreational drug to a luxury item akin to high-end self-care products, focusing on the overall experience with the flower rather than just the flower itself.
Offering everything from sulfur-free matches and rolling papers with famous quotes to pocket-sized grinder cards and brass-plated stash tools, these companies want to make cannabis use as pretty as the rest of your life. So if you're looking for a new, photo-ready way to get closer to your partner, here are seven reasons you and your partner should consider sparking up (if it's legal in your home state, that is!).
No, we're not talking sex. Certain strains of cannabis can be used to increase your capacity for intimacy in small groups or with your partner. "It’s perfect for being a bit more vulnerable with your partner and your friends," Sedlin says of Canndescent’s Connect range. "You can be exploratory and increase connection, whether that’s in physical intimacy or table-top conversation with friends at a dinner party."
This might be the best approach for cannabis newbies (or those with horror stories of that one night in college that ended badly); when you're among friends, and with your partner, you’re likely to feel safer anyway. That will help you give in to the experience and share memorable moments with the people you love.
Okay, now we’re talking about sex—but not just because cannabis can help you relax. As more women in recreational use states ease into cannabis, Pride says, the ways they use it to promote overall health gives the cannabis special powers in the bedroom.
"I feel like sex was always one of the things that women at least knew was related to cannabis," she says. "It’s not just about connecting with your partner. It’s about your whole sexual, reproductive system. That part of a woman’s body has more [cannabinoid] receptors other than her brain."
If you’re worried about the psychological effects of cannabis (nobody wants to feel even more paranoid in the bedroom), consider cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabis compound that still offers all the physical benefits. Products like Foria’s suppositories and intimate spray aim to increase lubrication, relax muscles, and—for some—result in longer, more intense climaxes, all without "feeling stoned."
Treatment for medical conditions
Cannabis-infused suppositories—which can be inserted directly into the body—aren’t just for more enjoyable sex. These products can also relieve pain associated with menstrual cramps, chronic conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, and the aftermath of childbirth or surgery in that area. These conditions can often affect sex and cause women to withdraw from intercourse.
But with cannabis-infused products (especially those with CBD), Pride says, women can begin to understand their reproductive area as pleasureful instead of painful. "Women have a super-complicated relationship with that part of their body, and sometimes they need to be able to figure out how to relax with their partner," she says.
Some of the same strains that can increase intimacy between you and your partner can also help with otherwise stressful social situations. Think that dinner party you offered to host that’s giving you all sorts of anxiety. Instead of being the hostess who runs around like a chicken with her head cut off, share a joint with friends, Sedlin recommends.
As it turns out, most women who are new to cannabis use have picked it up as a way to better handle stress; it was the third most popular reason women gave in a Van der Pop study conducted in Canada and U.S. recreational-use states last year. It also found that 64 percent of these women used it to target anxiety.
Show your partner these numbers and he or she might be more inclined to have a calm night in with cannabis. After all, external stressors can create a great deal of strain and pressure on a relationship.
As the names of Canndescent’s Charge and Van der Pop’s Party ranges might suggest, cannabis can also be used to get you ready for a night out on the town. The appropriate strains could be considered "body up, head up" and enhance feelings of euphoria. You'll have energy (because not all weed makes you lethargic) and be in a generally good mood.
When you’re in the middle of wedding planning and you’ve just spent hours arguing with your partner about the size of your wedding party (remember, it doesn't have to be even!), the last thing you’ll want to do is go anywhere but your bed. That’s precisely the moment when you need a boost to get you out of the house and to your favorite bar or club to dance it out. Even if you just go see a cheesy rom-com, you’ll be able to look back on that as a time when you and your fiancé turned a stressful moment into a fun memory.
With cannabis, "you wake up the next day feeling right as rain, not hungover," Sedlin points out. As someone with an active family and professional life, he (understandably) wants to have fun without the consequences of a long night of drinking. For him, weed fits the bill.
"Cannabis doesn’t destroy your liver," Sedlin adds. "It has a lower addiction profile than caffeine." If you're burning the midnight oil trying to finish up handwritten invitations the night before you're set to send them out, strains used in Canndescent’s Create and Van der Pop’s Focus can calm your body and boost your brain to help you get it done. Share some with your partner and you can tag-team the project—another opportunity for bonding.
The perfect party
While we talk a lot about all the most important things to know about serving alcohol at your wedding, you might consider hopping on the weed wedding train. There are lots of ways to include cannabis in your wedding day. The best part? "You never get to that place where you’re sloppy," Sedlin says.
Nobody likes a couple that’s had too much to drink at their own wedding. If you choose to spark up instead—or infuse the desserts with THC—you’re more likely to stay in control of your actions and be able to wake up for that early-morning honeymoon flight. Plus, you’ll both have clear memories of one of the best nights of your life together.
Editor’s note: Every person and every couple is unique. If marijuana use makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it! Simple as that. And remember, always be safe in your recreational pot use and only participate in states where it is legal.