Q&A with Ellen Lee Scanlon, host of How To Do The Pot
Cannabis is a huge topic and it can be hard to find practical advice about it, especially for needs specific to women like period pain, sleep, and sex. How To Do The Pot shares 30 minute (or less) episodes each week that feature both expert advice and stories from women. We were lucky enough to sit down with Ellen Lee Scanlon, the creator behind How To Do The Pot, for this Q&A.
Podcast Brunch Club members will remember that we listened to an episode of How To Do The Pot as part of our playlist on DRUG POLICY.
Tell us about yourself – what is your background?
Ellen: My experience is probably not what you would expect from a cannabis entrepreneur. I grew up on the east coast, started my career on Wall St, got my MBA, and moved to California in 2009, where I discovered my passion for startups. I founded a strategy and marketing consultancy, working with entrepreneurs and business leaders across a range of fast-growing industries. It was when I was working for a venture-backed women’s healthcare company that I saw up close the challenges preventing women from getting the care they deserve.
Cannabis is the most fascinating, dynamic and challenging industry I’ve ever been part of, and I wanted to share what I was learning with women all across the country. How to Do the Pot started in late 2019. An audio-first platform allows us to reach women all across the country and help them discover the many things to love about cannabis.
Why did you want to start your podcast? And why did you choose a podcast for the format?
Ellen: I’ve always liked weed, but healthcare challenges are really what brought me to the industry. In 2010 I was in a bad bike accident and had several injuries, including breaking sixteen of my teeth. It was a tough recovery, and I took a lot of Advil for chronic pain. The side effects of so much medicine caused even more health issues. A few years later, I was trying to have a baby and struggled with several years of infertility. I learned that I have Endometriosis, and cannabis is an incredible treatment for its painful symptoms. My perspective shifted to consider cannabis as an alternative for a myriad of health challenges.
I live in California and when adult-use cannabis became legal in 2016, it was easier and more fun to consume cannabis in ways that clearly improved my well-being. I want to make that path easier for women all across the country as we enter this new paradigm of safe, legal access to cannabis. Women make 80 percent of household purchasing decisions, yet historically the cannabis industry has catered to men. I wanted a modern way to reach women curious about cannabis and chose audio as the first platform. Weed has always been sold by word of mouth, so a podcast seemed like a great way to reach women across the country and share the amazing things I was learning about the plant.
How/why do you currently consume cannabis?
Ellen: I’m most grateful to cannabis for helping with monthly pain related to Endometriosis, a painful condition that affects me and one in ten women across the world. Menstrual cramps are caused by prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that moderate inflammation, among other things. CBD, which is not intoxicating or habit forming, can inhibit the enzyme that creates prostaglandins. Taking CBD in a variety of forms – oil tincture, suppository or even a vape pen if the pain is severe – reduces my pain by reducing the root cause, and I don’t have any of the negative side effects common with over the counter pain medicines.
I take CBD daily in a gel cap that looks like a vitamin, which is what I consider CBD to be. It improves my sense of overall well-being and helps me feel more balanced. A quick tip – you have to take CBD consistently for at least two weeks to feel the effects.
On the intoxicating side of cannabis, I’ve always liked energizing strains that increase creativity. But between the stress of the pandemic and having a 3-year-old, I’ve been enjoying strains that help me feel like a more relaxed version of myself! We have short podcast episodes that define the 12 Essential Strains for women, and two of my favorite strains are Harlequin and ACDC. They have both CBD and THC for a more balanced experience, like a glass of champagne, and are great if you’re new to weed or back after a long break.
What do you hope that people will take away from the show?
Ellen: I realize there is still a stigma surrounding cannabis, especially in states that don’t have legal access yet. While it may not be for everyone, I believe women should know that it can help with everything from menstrual cramps to anxiety. Cannabis and people who consume it haven’t always gotten the best rep throughout history, so through educating women about some of its clear benefits, our podcast is working to change the narrative. We focus on giving practical tips, finding common ground through stories, and helping women become more open to developing a more nuanced view of cannabis.
I want the stories on How to Do the Pot to be relatable to all women, whatever your relationship is with cannabis. Cannabis legalization is showing that you don’t have to be a certain kind of person to like weed or to have cannabis in your life in a positive, fun way.
Any future plans that you’d like to share?
Ellen: In the early days of adult use in California, a good friend who had experience buying cannabis brought me along on one of her shopping trips. I was too intimidated to go by myself! Now that I’ve been in the industry for a few years, I realize this is still a pain point. I don’t want anyone to feel alone or scared on their first trip, so we started a series called “The 1st Time I Bought Legal Weed”, which has been extremely popular and we’re excited to grow its reach.
Women from all over the country share how they felt – excited, nervous, overwhelmed, thrilled – the first time they bought legal weed. The community of women on the episodes is so diverse and a true reflection of the cannabis consumer today. I love that all the stories are in service of helping women feel good about that first buying experience. We would love to hear your story! Please send us a voice memo to [email protected].
If people haven’t listened yet, where should they start?
Ellen: We recently released our 130th episode, so I hope there is something for everyone! Our website, dothepot.com, has a playlist called New To Weed with our top episodes for new cannabis consumers. We have a fun series called Weed Words, where we unpack widely recognized but narrowly understood terms like “Paranoia”, “The Munchies” and “CBD.” Sex is always a popular topic, and women love our 12 Essential Strains series.
If you’re looking for health-related episodes, we share how cannabis is showing promise for Migraines or treating conditions like Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, and Endometriosis. We just released a new series about a question we get a lot, sleep and cannabis, which explains how cannabis helps you fall asleep, stay asleep, and not feel groggy in the morning.
Posted April 27, 2022.