As it’s legalized throughout the United States, cannabis only becomes more popular, with people turning to it for everything from recreational fun to pain relief. But the market often sees men as its target demographic, leaving female cannabis users *not* high and dry. Enter the new company Blissiva, which makes cannabis products just for women. It’s the new frontier.
Blissiva isn’t the only cannabis company targeting women. Kiskanu specializes in CBD beauty products; Foria makes cannabis-infused lube and other sex-oriented products; and House of Saka makes alcohol-free Rosé infused with THC and CBD. Blissiva founders Dr. Leslie Apgar and Gina Dubbé decided to enter the market after cannabis was legalized in their home state of Maryland. “We noticed that the cannabis industry was so geared towards men, with these ridiculous sounding strain names, and it was just sort of off-putting,” Dr. Apgar tells Romper on the phone. Her medical background oriented them towards the health benefits cannabis products could have for women in particular, specifically fulfilling women’s “desire to feel better but not feel impaired,” as Apgar puts it.
Their first product is the Blissiva Balance Pen, designed with those suffer with anxiety and insomnia in mind. It contains a “balance between CBD-THC with the perfect mix of terpenes that were mindfully, intelligently designed to address anxiety and sleep,” Dr. Apgar says. It’s a milder impact than other weed products, so using it won’t make you feel foggy like a bong or joint might.
Blissiva’s methodical approach to what they put into the product is also unique, as many cannabis companies aren’t as transparent about what strains are in their products. Kerin Law, Ph.D., one of the cofounders of LeafWorks, a female-founded plant genetics company, tells Romper via phone that cannabis verification is “an area that has traditionally been served by chemical testing. However, chemical testing can be fooled,” allowing growers to falsify what’s in their products and preventing consumers from getting what they’re paying for. Fraud is going to be an ongoing issue as the cannabis supply chain becomes more regulated. “The biggest paying point in natural products is buying the plants you think you’re buying, because fraud is so ubiquitous across the supply chain,” Eleanor Kuntz, Ph.D., CEO of LeafWorks adds. Cannabis “produces so many different chemicals, and all of those unique chemicals — cannabinoids, terpenes, flavanoids — all that chemistry and combination is gonna have a unique concert effect.” Law and Kuntz actually developed a Supply Chain Certification process to give cannabis companies more legitimacy, using DNA testing rather than chemical testing.
The impact of the combination of chemicals in cannabis is why Apgar and Dubbé developed a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio for the Blissiva Balance Pen. “There’s not as much psychoactive effect at all,” says Dubbé. “It’s more like an exhale or a glass of wine with no calories. It’s just that little deep breath for the middle of the day.” Apgar uses it when her kids or husband are frustrating her, and Dubbé favors it as a sleep aid. It won’t impair you like drinking does, or give you a hangover. The pen comes in two flavors, Vanilla Chilla and Cool As A Cucumber, which is intentional; it won’t have that weed smell most are familiar with from house parties, allowing consumers to use it without fearing the judgement of others. “We want it to be discreet, so you can keep it in your makeup bag and it looks just like lip pencil,” says Apgar. “We [also] wanted it to be warm and welcoming and whimsical” to appeal to the female demographic, which you can see in the cute purple appearance.
To be clear, men can use Blissiva products; there isn’t anything in the Balance Pen that will hurt them. They just might not get the same results as female Blissiva users because the product was made with women in mind and because, as Dr. Apgar explains, women’s bodies are made to respond well to cannabis. “Our reproductive systems are densely wired with CB 1 and 2 receptors all throughout it,” says Apgar, though there is limited research on how cannabis may impact fertility, as a study in the Journal of Ovarian Research points out. The lack of research is why the Blissiva team warns against using their product or any other cannabis products if you’re trying to conceive, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding. But Blissiva is made to be mild enough for use without feeling impaired, so moms of small kids should feel free to give it a try.
The Blissiva Balance Pen retails for $49, and you can find a dispensary that sells it on the company’s website. (Psst: keep an eye on their site to see what other products they’ll have rolling out in the coming months.) Blissiva isn’t the only cannabis company on the market moms can benefit from, but there is something special about knowing it’s made with women like you in mind, every step of the way. As Apgar says, “We had to develop Blissiva so we could find something that we liked.”