Stiletto Stoners: Why More Women Are Choosing Cannabis Over Alcohol

Via: Sadzak | Shutterstock


by Dragonfly de la Luz

on October 21, 2015

This piece first appeared in Cannabis Now.

With cannabis legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C., rolling a joint or pulling on a bong has become increasingly more socially acceptable as a recreational lifestyle choice. No wonder, then, that more and more women are putting down the booze and picking up the pipe. In just the past four years, Marie Claire magazine has featured an article on the “Stiletto Stoners” phenomenon, television networks from NBC to CNN have dedicated air-time to “marijuana moms,” and a woman touting herself as the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana” has capitalized on her Beverly Hills status to glamorize the notion of fancy ladies who fancy a toke.

Of course, female consumption of marijuana is not a new phenomenon — women from multiple communities have been proudly extolling the virtues of the cannabis plant for generations. What is particularly interesting is that today, mainstream, successful career women are specifically acknowledging that they’re choosing cannabis instead of alcohol. And the reasons for their pot preference are as varied as the strains themselves.

Via: Darrin Harris Frisby | Drug Policy Alliance.

Via: Darrin Harris Frisby | Drug Policy Alliance.

Some women point to the cost-effectiveness of cannabis compared with alcohol as the impetus for their decision. But for many, choosing to light buds over Bud Light comes down to the risk/reward ratio surrounding their respective side effects. The drawbacks of pot are well documented and not inherently dangerous (hunger and sleepiness). Alcohol, on the other hand, comes with a host of negative consequences that, for a “recreational” substance, can be quite the buzzkill.

“The side effects of alcohol are just too negative compared with cannabis,” Simona, a 35-year-old office manager, has concluded. “Going out [drinking] with the girls or my partner is supposed to be fun; it’s supposed to make me feel good. But I can so easily end up feeling terrible the next day. For the relatively short time that I enjoy the buzz from alcohol, I suffer for hours after. A full day of recovery for a couple hours of fun is just not worth it. My time is precious — being hungover is a lot to risk when I only get two days off.”

Another reason women choose cannabis is because it feels safer in their bodies than alcohol, especially when it comes to the question of overdoing it.

“When I would drink too much, the hangovers were terrible — throbbing headaches, nausea, vomiting,” revealed Lisa, a boutique owner who no longer drinks. “I felt out of it, like I was no longer in control of my faculties. I’d embarrass myself in front of people I wanted to impress. And I couldn’t drive. I’m a woman who is fiercely independent, but when I had a certain amount of alcohol in my system, I was forced to depend on other people for my safety. Honestly, I was afraid for myself. I felt like I could hurt myself and not even notice.”

Or worse, she adds quietly, she would occasionally black out and wake up with no recollection of the night before — a very scary and dangerous prospect for any woman.

But the side effects of consuming cannabis, by comparison, are far more benign.

“If I smoke too much pot, the worst thing that’ll happen is I’ll fall asleep — a calm, peaceful sleep,” she said.

Via: Darrin Harris Frisby | Drug Policy Alliance.

Via: Darrin Harris Frisby | Drug Policy Alliance.

The British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs states that this is because cannabis “differs from alcohol… in one major respect. It does not seem to increase risk-taking behavior. This means that cannabis rarely contributes to violence either to others or to oneself, whereas alcohol use is a major factor in deliberate self-harm, domestic accidents and violence.”

But it’s not just the risk of injury or hangover that’s causing women to think twice about choosing alcohol as their drug of choice. The damage that alcohol can do to the body from a health standpoint — from cardiovascular disease, anemia, cirrhosis and cancer, to nerve damage, depression and even death — is a significant drawback. Still, even beyond the substantial health risks, the more superficial consequences of alcohol consumption constitute another salient reason some women have traded the bottle for the bong.

“As someone who enjoys having a nice physique, I pay a very high price to drink alcohol,” Adrienne, a health-conscious spa owner and yoga instructor, said. “Alcohol can wreak havoc on one’s physical appearance. People who put in any sort of effort to maintain a certain physique have to work twice as hard to maintain it if they drink regularly. [Alcohol is] all carbs.”

With a global trend toward consuming natural and organic products, perhaps it’s not surprising that women choose cannabis because it’s a plant, and in many social circles, it’s not even considered a drug.

“I take issue with the common conflation of cannabis with alcohol and other drugs,” Adrienne said, “because cannabis is not toxic — and as such, is not an intoxicant.”

Indeed, no study has ever shown cannabis to be toxic (or poisonous) in any consumable amount. She only wishes she’d known this sooner.

“I honestly didn’t realize I had a choice before,” Adrienne confided. “But now it’s not uncommon for people to smoke pot. Now I can choose something that feels better in my body, something that has no negative side effects at all. Only benefits.”

For all the health and safety reasons women are choosing cannabis, Chloe, a successful writer, says she smokes cannabis because, frankly, she’s happy.

“I’m happy with my life, I have a rewarding career, a fulfilling relationship — there’s nothing I’m trying to avoid or escape. Alcohol makes you depressed. I’d much rather get high than get low.

“[Alcohol] numbs you to your feelings, which I guess might be what a lot of people are going for when they drink. But cannabis has the opposite effect. As Bob Marley said, ‘It puts you in touch with yourself.’”

It bonds her to her partner, as well.

Via: Darrin Harris Frisby | Drug Policy Alliance.

Via: Darrin Harris Frisby | Drug Policy Alliance.

“If I’m feeling distance between my beloved and me, I suggest we smoke a joint together. It brings us closer every single time. Cannabis helps us avoid arguments by facilitating clear communication. I once thought we needed counseling. But then I realized we only needed a joint.”

On those rare occasions that Chloe and her boyfriend have a few drinks on a night out, the two often end up in serious miscommunication territory. “[O]ur wires just get completely crossed and alcohol stands as some sort of barrier hindering our ability to understand one another. It happens all the time in bars — there’s a misunderstanding, someone gets offended and attacks.”

With cannabis, she said, “The only thing that’s gonna get attacked is a bag of Doritos.”

As marijuana becomes more socially acceptable and lady stoners come out of the cannabis closet in increasing numbers, it seems easier for people to casually brush it off with comments like, “Everyone has their vice.” But, Chloe observes, “There’s a reason they call it ‘kind bud.’ It creates euphoria, promotes relaxation and makes me patient, compassionate, kind, and not sweat the small stuff — attributes that are priceless, as a mother.”

To these stiletto stoners who eschew alcohol and stereotypes for the enjoyment of a plant that’s gaining new status as a harmless and even beneficial recreational choice, cannabis is not a vice. It’s a virtue.


Dragonfly de la Luz is a ganja journalist and self-styled chronnoisseur. Although she studied English Literature and Women’s Studies before pursuing her graduate degree in Feminism and Social Justice, she currently spends her time traveling to exotic countries with relaxed marijuana laws and writing about the myriad cannabis counter-cultures she encounters.

  • Krines

    Cannabis is still an intoxicant, atleast described as such in the Indian system of medicine. Infact to purify they had to give another herb if the medicinal use was considered absolutely imperative. While people are obviously capable of understanding the risks themselves, and surely the relative risks compared to alcohol seem insignificant, getting dependent on any crutch to get a high is probably going to backfire.

  • Val Prism

    Why do they all look so unnatural in the pictures? Those models are not smokers.

  • lemony1421

    Yeahhhhh maaaan. Like…. Hey? mmmmmm haaaah.

  • Franklin

    Humans have been consuming cannabis for about 3000 years according to the experts at Not a single cause of harm or warning in three thousand years. The plant is not intoxicating to most people. Some people can be intoxicated by the mere mention of a trigger. Fried bacon. Mouth watering?

    On the other hand if someone wants to have a genuine discussion about substance abuse, we should start with the mountain that we know about. Obesity. America has the highest rates of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease in the world. The number on factor is obesity caused by addiction to food substances. See The China Study. What sort of message are we sending to children with gluttonous obese lawmakers, teachers, and other profession that can make an impression on children. A person who is obese is sick. They aren’t jolly. They are suffering from an untreated and often denied addiction. We should no doubt set up body fat testing in the workplace. Can’t stop eating? Don’t come to work. Over-eating releases dopamine type chemicals in the brain that gets the eater high.

    Two out of three adults in America is dangerously overweight of obese. Half our school children are obese like their parents. Dangerous eating habits cause America to have the highest health care cost in the world. We have 12 years old kids developing Type 2 diabetes. Due to an inability of some people to stop eating when they are full. Gluttony cost America more resources and does more damage that all illegal substances combines. Did you really want to talk about abuse? Nine out of 10 prohibitionist are as obese as Governor Christie. Had to have lap band surgery because he just did not have the moral turpitude to push the pork pies away. Americans are without a doubt addicted to junk food. But you don’t want to talk about that. Because as long as the finger is pointed somewhere else, anywhere else, Americans continue to be distract from this preventable addiction to eating junk food, and enough of it to feed a horse. But you don’t want to talk about that? Sad.

  • MikeParent

    FACT Marijuana is less addictive and less harmful than Caffeine, let alone Alcohol and Tobacco; (3 Scientific Studies)
    BTW, Dr Henningfield is a former NIDA Staffer;.
    Addictiveness of Marijuana – ProCon.Org

  • MikeParent

    We’d all be better off if the police would focus is on crimes that have actual victims.
    Does anyone, other than those who pad their pockets from prohibition, honestly believe that wasting $20 Billion and arresting 3/4 Million Americans annually for choosing a substance scientifically proven to be safer than what the govt allows, is a sound policy?

  • 3xaparent

    This article completely misses the point that professionals (not just women professionals) are choosing cannabis over alcohol. It read very sexist and dismissive of the male cannabis experience.

  • Krines

    All the strawman arguments in your comment were your own creations. All I implied was cannabis needs regulation, getting addicted on any substance is bad, you can go on typing mountains of text about ‘relativity’ of toxicity of other substances, when I havent endorsed any other substances in my comment.
    WebMd link side effects due to *repeated* chronic use
    Heart disease: Marijuana might cause rapid heartbeat, short-term high blood pressure. It might also increase the risk of a having heart attack.

    A weakened immune system: Cannabinoids in marijuana can weaken the immune system, which might make it more difficult for the body to fight infections.

    Lung diseases: Long-term use of marijuana can make lung problems worse. Regular, long-term marijuana use has been associated with lung cancer and also with several cases of an unusual type of emphysema, a lung disease.

    Seizure disorders: Marijuana might make seizure disorders worse in some people; in other people it might help to control seizures.

    There are documented side effects of marijuana in chinese as well as Indian system who have been aware of its possible uses for the longest time

    “In Chinese medicine, there are the Three Treasures that constitute our life. These are known as Jing, Qiand Shen. The goal of practitioners of the healing arts is to harmonize the Three Treasures. They are generally translated as essence (Jing), vitality (Qi) and spirit (Shen).

    Let’s take a look at how cannabis affects the elements of the body. Using cannabis takes Jing and rapidly turns it into Qi and Shen, thus you lose a lot of essence over time, since you’re body is releasing Jingfaster than the body can assimilate it. This would be similar to going to college with a large trust fund only to overspend it and find yourself pennyless after a mere two years into your four-year degree. Over spending your allotted Jing makes one understand why people who consume a lot of drugs might look like they are aging faster than is normal.”

    I will leave it at that for those with a brain to comprehend. Your comment did nothing to contribute to the evaluation of chronic use of marijuana as an ‘escapist tool’. If you assume everyone either drinks or smokes already you are wrong. I am in favour of it being made legal surely, but for those who are romanticising the drug without proper understanding of it, they will continue jeopardising their health. Making relative comparisons is wrong. Each of the issues you raised has its own context. As for myself I dont smoke, drink, have caffeine, or have any weight issues, I dont eat non-vegetarian food either, I do drink ‘chai’ twice a day if that a vice, Yoga and meditation are much better ways of grounding yourself, than resorting to any of such crutches. I see the very good uses of medical cannabis, but when we speak of recreation, it depends on the individual, and if they are not responsible enough, with any drug that interferes perception, they may jeopardise other people along with themselves. I cannot apologise for having a cautionary approach to this. Most doctors do. Its not the over-hyped, miracle, but one of the herbs, in a long list of herbs which Indian and Chinese systems recognise. West is still catching up. Kindly read the sources provided before hurling any more tangential strawmans. You assessment of it being relatively safe is only relevant to the demographic that actively indulges in some or the other substances. Generalisations are usually always inaccurate. Citing the ‘eastern medicine’ as an inspiration for the ‘wonders of cannabis’ but discounting the validity when seeing the potential side-effects listed by the same, is disingenuous. I have provided links for both Indian and Chinese understanding of its effects. All intoxicants are bad for health. Like everything the hype is created by people who stand to profit from the marketability of it once its completely legal everywhere.

  • Krines

    FACT: None of the doctors endorse chronic use of any of those substances. No one contested the ‘relative’ effects. It has to be seen for what it is. Your enthusiasm to exaggerate Cannabis’ value for health is noted, it does not prove any of the potential side-effects wrong though. So please take time to inform yourself on both uses and harm of any substance.

  • Franklin

    So you have no interest at all in substance abuse in a genuine discussion, you have made that clear.

    Terrible research. The article published by WebMD is written by SAM. it wasn’t written by WebMD and it’s 9 months old. Already debunked. Same exact article that was presented to a CDC affiliate website then sent as a news release from Kevin Sabet as if it were true. He apologized for that one on the SAM website You are a year behind on your propaganda studies at least.

    The NIH health report you cite commissioned the team of Dr. Donald Tashkin at UCLA. You are right about it being a gold standard study. The project goal was to determine the effect of smoking tobacco to marijuana. Dr. Taskin said at the end of the study of marijuana smoking. “We expected to find some connection, and that would increase with heavy usage, and what we discovered suggests the opposite.” If you don’t like to read the report, he has videos on Youtube. Dr. Tashkin isn’t a cannabis advocate. But he ha done more real research on the subject than anyone alive.

    We know of course from that humans have been consuming cannabis for at least 3000 years. And there is still no documented case of harm. No reasonable person believe there is.

    Good luck with the diet.

  • Franklin

    People who live off of the Prohibition industry tend to tell big lies and repeat them regardless of the evidence. What part of “we can’t afford your socialism” don’t you understand?

    The majority of Americans want an end to Prohibition of the non toxic cannabis plant. We aren’t going back to the Reefer Madness argument for those in the back of the class. Accept the reality.

  • MikeParent

    No ones endorsing “chronic use” of anything. What aspect of prohibition pads your pockets?
    Cannabis More Than 100 Times Safer Than Alcohol, Study Finds › cannabis-more-…
    Mobile-friendly – Feb 24, 2015 – Cannabis More Than 100 Times Safer Than Alcohol, Study Finds … towards cannabis and other illicit drugs due to the perception that they are more harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

  • MikeParent

    Krines is immune to facts that go against his/her beliefs

  • Krines

    LOL I see you are completely incapable of comprehension. You missed the part where I said I do support legalisation, you completely overlooked the balance of caution, and thats precisely the issue, people are romanticising a drug because they just wanna escape their lives. I have lived in the east and know that even the Ayurveda system which is one of the earliest systems using this herb, prescribes caution and suggests how a person having it often is likely to mess with their bodies. I dont think this discussion is fruitful when you selectively read and comment with your own projections, as you seem incapable of comprehending any other point of view. The balance doesnt not call for prohibition, nor excessive ‘support’, but unforutantely, as you demonstrate in your many comments, people are incapable of being responsible enough to recognise it. Either way medical cannabis will be a boon, under supervision, I havent denied that.You have to keep making obtuse judgements because other wise your own point doesnt stand up. Sad, I think you have had one too many.

  • Louie Broz

    Did you not read the title at all? Like what did you expect to read?

  • MikeParent

    Nice, non sequtar diatribe, but I wasn’t talking to you I just made a statement of fact to another poster

  • DREZ

    I’ve been smoking off and on for almost 40 years. I quit for 3 pregnancies and a couple of times cuz life had me down and it was on the bottom of the list for things I could afford. My family are drinkers. My parents were alcohol abusers. I feared one of my parents would kill themselves or even worse a perfect stranger from drinking and driving. My parents and now even my siblings and extended family will get into vocal and physical brawls when intoxicated. Once poisoned by “liquid courage” my family and friends can and will say very inappropriate things. I have advocated legalizing weed my entire life. I don’t understand people who say it’s addictive. I never wake up thinking omg, I have to smoke a joint. Some days, I don’t want to at all. Today for example. Being a toker all these years while it’s been illegal has never bothered me. I consider these days the same as the days of prohibition. I had my physical a couple of weeks ago. In my 50’s, I am healthy as a horse but could stand to lose some weight. I’ve had friends tell me I should choose pills instead of weed to help keep my weight down. I have never been tempted and I do not believe weed is a gateway drug. I will admit that I only tried weed in high school cuz my boyfriend introduced it to me. I tried so many times but never got high. I told my bf this is a waste of money. He sat me down and told me we would smoke until I felt the effects. He was right. It was one of the most freeing experiences I’d ever felt. We did experiment with other drugs in those days but weed is the only one we stuck with. He is now a successful engineer with a beautiful wife and children. He was a weed smoking honor student. I became a successful sales woman. Why doesn’t someone do a study on long term pot smokers to see if we are any less smart or successful than the drinkers of this world? I’m certain the toker’s will be overall more successful since we don’t destroy our relationships or lose our minds or our senses while under the influence.

  • James Dulong

    It really didn’t read any more sexist than any article ever written about men; if it were intended to pertain primarily to professionals and then focused on women it might come off as dismissive, but the entire article pertains primarily to women, professionalism being a secondary focus.

  • Franklin

    No one missed your claim of being reasonable at first, then moving on into to full blown Reefer Madness. The prohibition trolls added that tactic about 2 years ago. If indeed you do support legalization. It would be better if you just remained silent. You aren’t helping if there is even a remote chance that you are trying to help.

    An aside, the words “obtuse” fell out of the vocabulary of the pseudo intellectual about a year after Shawshank Redemption came out. And no one wants to visit some website based in Mumbai or whatever the heck you’re trying to promote. “Look it’s on a website in India, it must be true”. Are you selling beet juice? Medscape? Although cannabis is still banned in India you can buy it in the store in any neighborhood if you ask for bang. We know you’ve been there, you’ve been everywhere and done everything. We are mere mortals compared to your ominous aura. This is the Internet. nothing new. Look everyone she’s smart and she wants to have some argument that her ex walked out on because it just wasn’t worth listening to again.


  • Franklin

    Typical Prohibitionist. Ignore all evidence, make the lie bigger, rinse and repeat. It’s a good thing that we are the Marijuana Majority now. The opposition seems to be getting more desperate by the day.

  • DREZ

    ok, so let’s put an alcohol study, apples for apples with weed and see where we stand on physical, emotional, mental and biological outcomes. Me thinks the plant will win!

  • droppin knowledge

    As much as I appreciate different cultures and their views most if not all of these myths about marijuana have or are being debunked. As for getting dependant on things to get high, yes everything except sex and marijuana are bad for you. Alcohol is insane as this kills ur brain and body and cud end up killing you without doubt
    as ur liver and ur life will be ended. There is nothing safer on earth that can advance ur brain with neurogenesis and creativity as well as pain relief and relaxation than weed.

  • Matthew Nefstead

    An article about women is not sexist because it doesn’t talk about men. Not everything has to be about us.

  • politically incorrect

    are you liberal, by chance?