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International Women’s Day: Women in cannabis #ChooseToChallenge



The #ChooseToChallenge campaign is encouraging women to call out gender bias and inequality

With the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day being #ChooseToChallenge, Cannabis Health asked members of the Women in Cannabis Leadership group what they are  challenging in this space.

Monday 8 March is International Women’s Day 2021, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year women are being called upon to call out inequalities and challenge stereotypes and gender bias to forge a more inclusive world.

There can be few industries where challenging the status quo is as fundamental as in cannabis. It might be tackling injustice as a patient or campaigner, a healthcare professional who is brave enough to go against their colleagues and embrace its medicinal properties, or an entrepreneur whose living relies on helping others overcome decades of stigma.

Women in the cannabis sector #ChooseToChallenge every day just by showing up.

Here, members of the Women in Cannabis Leadership group, which was founded last year to bring women in the sector together and improve diversity and collaboration among those in the industry, reveal what they have chosen to challenge.


Hannah Deacon

“I #ChooseToChallenge the way patients’ voices are ignored by many. Patients matter and their experiences are valuable” –  Hannah Deacon, campaigner, founder of Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society & director, Maple Tree Consultants


“I #ChoosetoChallenge the lack of education of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) at medical school”Dr Sally Ghazaleh, pain specialist and medical cannabis prescriber.


“I #ChooseToChallenge any notion that industry profits can exist without putting purpose and patients first”Nicole Kamau, independent strategic consultant & PLEA advisory board member

Dr Callie Seaman


“I #ChoosetoChallenge why cannabis is always seen as the last resort”Dr Callie Seaman, cannabis scientist & director, Aqualabs


“I #ChoosetoChallenge our specialist consultants to start prescribing medical cannabis and encourage their colleagues to follow suit, so we can increase confidence and the knowledge base within our medical community”Mags Houston, project manager, Project Twenty21



“I #ChoosetoChallenge the inclusion of patient lived-experience in the research and development of health care services and treatment options”Abby Hughes, patient and chair, PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access)

Abby Hughes (left) & Lucy Stafford


“I #ChooseToChallenge the stigma around medical cannabis. It’s not about getting high, patients just want to be well and lead fulfilling lives”Lucy Stafford, patient and advocacy lead, PLEA





“ I #ChoosetoChallenge the absence of women’s health in medical cannabisSarah Marten, clinical associate, Cellen


Sophie Hayes, Integro Medical Clinics


“I #ChoosetoChallenge the lack of understanding and acceptance of cannabis medicines” Sophie Hayes, specialist nurse, Intergo Medical Clinics



“I #ChoosetoChallenge the perception of medical cannabis patients in 2021”Beth Sweet-Escott, head of marketing & communications, Sapphire Medical Clinics


“I #ChoosetoChallenge the lack of positive cannabis representation and information in mainstream media”Ruby Deevoy, cannabis and CBD journalist

Mary Biles


“I #ChoosetoChallenge the view that cannabis cannot be an effective medicine because it’s not a pharmaceutical drug”Mary Biles, writer and author of The CBD Book


“I #ChoosetoChallenge the stereotypes of cannabis consumers”Zinmar Adkin, communications, Cannabis Patient Advocacy & Support Services (CPASS)


I #ChoosetoChallenge the lack of awareness of the availability and safety of medical cannabis as a potential treatment option”Suzy Gage, patient liaison, Project Twenty21


Dr Rebecca Moore, Medical Cannabis Clinics

“I #ChoosetoChallenge the view that cannabis is always harmful for your mental health”Dr Rebecca Moore, psychiatrist, Medical Cannabis Clinics


“I #ChoosetoChallenge cannabis as a gateway drug”TJ Horton, nurse and armed forces veteran


“I #ChoosetoChallenge that medical cannabis is not a growing market and the view that building an evidence base for safe and quality assured cannabis usage is not a priority”Janice Lam, sales manager


Join the movement and share your #ChoosetoChallenge with us on Twitter @CannabisHNews & Instagram @cannabishealthmag

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

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