Don’t know about you, but we’re not super into asking bro-y budtenders what kind of weed they think will work best for period pain. Or sex. Or laying on the floor journaling after taking a Sunday afternoon bath. So when we find a dispensary that’s women-founded and owned, we definitely fangirl a little. Which is exactly what we’re doing over Sava, Northern California’s only women-, LGBTQ-, and Latinx-founded and owned dispensary. They only carry products that they really love, so they’re definitely not recommending anything for cramps or makeouts (or anything else) that they haven’t actually tried themselves. In fact, 50% of Sava’s product assortment comes from women-owned brands and 20% from BIPOC-owned.
Which is why we’re also super excited that Miss Grass Minis and Flower are now available at Sava for delivery all over the Bay Area. We caught up with Sava founder and owner Andrea Brooks to learn more about why she started a women-centered cannabis company and to get her tips for bettering your own high. Because when it comes to women and weed, women definitely know best.
MG: You started Sava for very personal reasons. How did it all happen?
I started Sava out of a personal need. In 2010 I experienced a workplace injury that left me with debilitating nerve damage in my spine and arms. As a young, healthy person, I figured I’d recover in a matter of weeks. But weeks turned into months, and instead of improving, I got worse. Before I knew it, I was on a cocktail of prescription medications that left me with no energy to function. That's when a friend suggested I try cannabis. Within weeks of starting a regimen of tinctures, topicals, edibles, and flower I was able to wean off the pain medications and begin to take back my life. Managing my pain with cannabis left me with energy to exercise, appetite to eat healthy, and an elevated mood to support my wellbeing. I was left with the questions: ‘who else is out there that could benefit from cannabis?’ and ‘how can I be a part of the solution?’ That's where the idea for Sava was born, and since launch in 2015, we've become an ecommerce marketplace dedicated to bringing the best cannabis California has to offer to our customers. We strive to provide not only the highest quality selection of product, but also the support and education people need to have the cannabis experience that meets their needs—whether that be pain management, a good night's sleep, or good 'ol fashioned fun and relaxation.
"As women, it’s important to be outspoken about sex, and I often use cannabis for pleasure which includes sexual intimacy."
What’s your current consumption ritual?
I still use cannabis to manage chronic pain, so I often start the day with a high-CBD edible or tincture, and slowly increase the amount of THC as I consume throughout the day. Most nights, I use a sleep tincture for deep and replenishing sleep, and use topicals and bath salts to reduce pain and inflammation. As women, it’s important to be outspoken about sex, and I often use cannabis for pleasure which includes sexual intimacy. My go-tos for socializing are smoking and infused drinks.
The amazing thing about cannabis today is the range of products available tailored to specific needs. For example, I’ll use one topical to treat my shoulder and arm pain, and another topical for intimacy. There are so many ways to integrate cannabis into your day without being super high and to achieve the specific results you want—a calm euphoric feeling, an energizing buzz...
What’s been the most surprising part about opening and running a delivery service? Biggest challenge?
Always expect surprises! The unexpected never ends in this industry. While we’ve always focused on community-building, we’re still delighted to learn of the personal connections forged through our service. We love hearing stories of drivers connecting with customers. One driver, Carol, sometimes stops in for tea with her regulars. Another, Gary, makes his deliveries in Santa suits in December, much to everyone’s delight. It’s wonderful to see that alchemy at work.
"I wish more people realized that it can take a few tries to find what works for you and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution."
What do you wish more people knew about cannabis?
I wish more people realized that it can take a few tries to find what works for you and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to have patience when going into it since the thing that ends up working might not be the first thing you try, but finding the right cannabis experience can be a true catalyst for transformation. It’s a missed opportunity when someone gets too high off an edible and writes cannabis off forever when something a notch to the right or left would have been a better fit. I recommend starting with a low dose, and adjusting as needed. When you find something that works really well, it’s very delightful.
What are some of the most common questions you get at the dispensary? What do you have to educate about the most?
We get a lot of questions asking for recommendations for specific use cases. What can I try for sleep or for unwinding? Where do I even start exploring or trying cannabis for the first time? I had a too-high experience, what can I try that would be better for me?
It takes some experimentation to find your perfect products. As you embark on your cannabis journey, keep a journal where you record what you took, how much THC or CBD, what strain, and how it made you feel. The beauty of products today is that you really can experiment in a fine-tuned way. It's very easy to titrate and be intentional about what you take nowadays. Taking notes helps you really dial it in.
What are your tIps for managing a too-high high?
Even with the most seasoned people, this can still happen! I have three primary things in my tool kit: First, I’ll use a high-CBD vape, since CBD is known to reduce the effects of THC. Second, I’ll get outside and take a walk. Third, I’ll listen to a familiar guided meditation or try a breathing exercise. I have a spreadsheet with my top 10 meditations, so they’re easy to access even when I’m overwhelmed.
While that feeling can seem never-ending, remind yourself that it’ll pass with time. My co-founder Amanda once took a sleep chocolate that melted and caused her to misgauge the dose, and she got the most uncomfortably high she remembers being—see, it even happens to us! Her tactic was to surrender and observe. She reminded herself it would pass, probably within an hour, and then she watched her mind race with curiosity. Detaching from the experience and watching her thoughts made the experience less intense.
What book changed your perspective most?
Radical Candor by Kim Scott is an incredibly impactful read. Not only does it help you become a stronger and more confident leader, it also helps you become more present in all relationships in life. It’s a wonderful tool to express emotion more honestly and encourage the people in your life to reciprocate.
"We want to encourage people to experiment with cannabis to find the products that work for their needs."
If you had a billboard, what would you want it to say?
We had a billboard campaign a few years ago with the slogan “Rethink Cannabis.” The world of cannabis is so nuanced now, and there’s something there for most people, even those who thought cannabis wasn’t for them or had a bad experience in the past. We want to encourage people to experiment with cannabis to find the products that work for their needs.
What’s your ritual for re-centering yourself or quickly shifting your vibe? Do you have a go-to mantra or meditation? Something else?
I use Buddhify, a meditation app designed to fit into a busy lifestyle. I love their five minute morning meditations, which are easy to fold into my routine as I start my day. The app is very cleanly laid out so it’s easy to find exactly what I’m looking for. And all the meditations are 15 minutes or less—great for fitting into a busy day.
I also love jumping jacks to shift my energy, preferably set to dance music. I’ll put on my favorite upbeat song and groove out.
Secret (or not so secret) favorite Bay Area treasure?
I love all the hidden pockets of nature within San Francisco. One minute, I feel like I'm in this totally urban cityscape, and five minutes later I'm surrounded by the smell of eucalyptus trees and beautiful foliage. I also love discovering the hidden swings tucked around the city; they are in unexpected places, and they move around!