Each series and episode of her podcast delves into the female experience of consuming cannabis, from normalizing and sharing information about the ways to use the plant in ways that are specific to women, to dismantling the intimidation many women (and others) have felt going into the
High There chatted with Lee Scanlon about her mission, vision and strategy for “How to Do the Pot”. We also connected over her personal cannabis consumption, motherhood and the future of her creative content.
Interview with Ellen Lee Scanlon, Host of ‘How to Do the Pot’
High There: Tell me about the mission and vision of your podcast, “How to Do the Pot”.
Lee Scanlon: As you know, cannabis is such a huge topic. And what I found was it can be hard to find practical tips about it, especially for needs that are specific to women like period pain, sleep,
I know that everyone’s time is precious. Not everybody thinks about weed all the time, like you and I probably do. So all of our episodes are under 30 minutes, because I really want this to be time well spent. And if you’re going to think about weed for 30 minutes, I want you to come out feeling like you learned something really practical — so practical tips, finding common ground through stories and helping people develop a more nuanced view of cannabis. Weed has always been sold through word of mouth. So through the podcast I just want to make it easy for people to learn about weed.
HT: I love that the episodes are attainable and a unique tool, especially for moms and other women who want to consume that type of content quickly.
I was gonna say, you know, they say create the content that you want that you don’t see out there. And so I think that’s been sort of the driving force — what questions do I get? How can we answer them? And how can we do it in a succinct way?
I worked on Wall Street for a long time. And one of my jobs was to work on a trading floor. And this was sort of pre-Twitter, pre-social media, everything. And so three times a day, I would walk out and talk to every position trader who was trading the specific different industries and ask them what was going on that day and the stocks that they were trading. And then this would go out to hedge funds, who at the time, were sort of the most active traders.
And I think what I learned from that is that it is fun for me to take in a lot of information and then really distill it down so that the people who are receiving it get the most important point. And that kind of informs so much of the content that we put out, and it’s a good fit, because with cannabis, there’s just so much to learn. For all people who love the plant for many years, you know, the legal industry is completely, completely different. Things change so fast.
Lee Scanlon’s Relationship with Pot
HT: When were you first introduced to cannabis? What methods of consumption do you prefer?
Lee Scanlon: I am most grateful to cannabis for helping with monthly pain related to endometriosis. One in 10 women have endometriosis. The symptoms are often very painful. It’s been equated to going into labor. I was in labor with my son for 13 hours. And the first 10 were not unlike, you know, a tough month for me.
So, CBD is just incredible. And it’s been shown to inhibit the enzyme that creates prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that moderate inflammation. And so taking CBD in a variety of forms, whether it’s an oil tincture, a suppository, a vape pen; if I want really quick relief, it reduces the pain at its root cause, and I used to get relief from my pain with over the counter medicine, prescription medicine, but I had a lot of side effects. And I don’t have any of those side effects using cannabis. And it really worked on the pain. So that is what I’m most grateful to cannabis for.
CBD is a cannabinoid that just works really well for me. So I also take it daily for sort of balance, to help with anxiety. And I think the thing that I just always want to tell people about CBD is you just have to try it for at least two weeks, maybe more consistently before it’s gonna do anything for you. So like, I really think of it as a vitamin.
And then on the intoxicating side, you know, I’ve loved weed, I just have always liked weed. I think I was first introduced to it when I was in high school, and I didn’t consume it a lot. You know, it was a definitely scarier time to be consuming cannabis. And I tend to be a rule follower, which is another “Oh my God, I’m happy that cannabis is becoming legal.”
And, you know, I always got it through a guy. You know, that’s sort of the story that I hear from a lot of women as well. It’s like, if there was a guy in my life who had access, then I had access, and if there wasn’t, then I kind of didn’t have access, and it’s just such a joy now for me to walk into a dispensary or look online and get delivery and be like, “I’m gonna buy what I want. And I don’t have to go through another gatekeeper.”
And I also love the aspect of just knowing what I’m getting. I can check on percentages of THC and CBD and like really, really dial in the experience that I’m looking for. We just released a new series that started two weeks ago called “What is Good Weed?” and it’s, what is good weed for women, really. And we have a couple episodes about the best relaxing weed, the best balanced weed, the best energizing weed. And I think that for me good weed is when it really matches the situation that you’re stepping into.
So the weed that I want to use for a party with friends on Saturday night when I have a babysitter until 12 is definitely different than the cannabis that I consume for endometriosis, so that I can get up and take care of the responsibilities that I have. But both of them are incredibly valuable.
The Weed Mom Stigma
HT: So do you feel like there’s a stigma against you for consuming cannabis as a mom?
Lee Scanlon: Of all the questions that you sent, this is the one I’ve been thinking about the most, because I think it is really complicated. And the short answer for me is, you know, I live in San Francisco, I’ve lived here for 13 years; cannabis has just been such a big part of the culture. And it’s been legal in some form here since way before I got here. And since 2016, for adult use. So the environment that I’m in is not one where I often encounter what feels like, judgment or stigma. I get a lot more questions.
You know, I grew up on the East Coast. And when I go to the East Coast, it feels different. And depending on the kind of the setting that I’m in, I think that there’s lots of room for judgment for women who consume and especially for mothers who consume, and I wish there wasn’t. I think there’s a lot of judgment around women and mothers for a lot of things.
What I’ve been thinking about as I’ve really been kind of reflecting on this question is one of the things about being a mom that is so hard to integrate is your life before you were a mom and then your life while you’re a mom and you know, what matters? Should you be looking back wistfully or just looking to the future? And for me, and for a lot of the moms that I talked to, I think cannabis helps to make you feel more present.
With “momming,” just multitasking all the time from the smallest thing like, “I have to remember to take this fork that my son has like put into the couch and wash it before I put it back in the drawer” to, “Oh, my son’s trying to climb out the window because he wants to fly today.” And that happened in the same two-minute period. So anything that can help to make you feel more present, I think is going to support moms.
And ultimately, I think that the pandemic has changed the conversation around mental health, and I’m very hopeful that that continues. I saw earlier in the news this week that the government is now recommending that everyone under 65 be screened for anxiety. Mental health is just something that has been really kept more quiet for a lot of different reasons for many years, and I think it’s also becoming something that we just talk about more, and for a lot of moms cannabis is a mental health help.
And so I think opening up that conversation around mental health, around the idea that we’re all just trying to get through the day and take care of our responsibilities and love our friends and family. And so whatever gets you there in a healthy way, I think we all just need to try to open up to a little bit more.
‘How to Do the Pot’: Present and Future
HT: So, I’m going to circle back to your podcast, “How to Do the Pot”. Is there any guest or episode, in particular, that really resonates with you?
Lee Scanlon: Yeah. So there was a Harris poll that came out this year and said the number one reason that adults consume cannabis is for relaxation. And the number two reason is for sleep. And I have to say sleep is what I get the most questions about, especially when I’m on the East Coast. I think in markets that aren’t as mature, people are sort of starting to explore all that cannabis can do for them from a health and wellbeing perspective.
So we did a series on sleep. It was a long time in the making. It’s four episodes. We talked to doctors, we talked to nurses, we talked to people that have traditional medical training, as well those who really understand cannabis. And I think that match has been so challenging for so many people to make where you’ve got what your doctor says, and they’ve got the pharmaceutical option, or you have sort of, you know, holistic medicine, for lack of a better word.
And we really tried to provide a roadmap and practical tips, and here’s what you should try. And here’s how to talk to your doctor. So I’m really excited that this series is out in the world. And I want anyone who has any sleep challenges to listen to it.
HT: What are your future goals and dreams for your podcast?
Lee Scanlon: I view it as an audio-first education platform. And I think that women are listening to audio, a lot of it. It’s a very fast growing industry. And it’s a fast growing demographic. And, you know, sort of concurrently podcasts are getting more professionalized. And I just saw some data this week that said, the average podcast has come down in length from over an hour to now then more like 42 minutes.
I think that speaks to what I sort of have instinctually wanted from the beginning, which is like, I want this to be useful for you. So continuing to just give practical tips, be a trusted source for people who are looking for information and want somewhere where they can go to get not only sort of the high level of what’s happening, but also like really how to bring this into your life. So that’s my dream.
The future we have a series coming up in the New Year that I’m getting really excited about. We just started to pull it all together. Going back to sex and weed. You know, our sex and weed episodes are really popular, and consuming cannabis before or during sex can improve the connection with your partner, again, going back to feeling more present.
I think every woman should have a weed lube in her bedside table. So, you know, getting the word out about that. And even if it’s a CBD lube, you know, it doesn’t have to be THC, you don’t have to live in a legal state in order to have access to it and, and just improve pleasurable experiences. So really excited to dig back into that topic.
I want to focus on working in cannabis as well. I think almost 460,000 people in the U.S. work in the legal cannabis industry. That’s three times more dentists than are working in the country. And so it’s just really been one of the fastest growing job creating industries for five years running now. And so I think that as people are considering quiet quitting, whatever they’re looking at for the future of their career, I think cannabis is a really, really exciting place. So I’d love to tell some of those stories.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety, depression, sleep issues, chronic pain, autoimmune disorders… that alone… you kind of have to let that sink in. And then I feel like my goal is to help women understand cannabis when they’re making informed choices about their health and wellbeing.
To keep up with “How to Do the Pot”, check out the podcast’s