As cannabis products enter the mainstream, two markets remain largely untapped: women’s health and sexuality.
While various compounds in cannabis have long been thought to alleviate symptoms associated with pain and stress from menstruation, there hasn’t been a lot of research to back it up.
Foria Wellness, a startup based in Venice Beach, California, is seeking to change that. It released a line of products – including lotions, sprays, vaporizer pens, and marijuana suppositories – designed to help women with everything from treating menstrual pain to having orgasms.
“Women have been saying it works for 10,000 years,” Foria CEO Mathew Gerson told Business Insider in a recent interview, referring to cannabis. “And I don’t think men have been listening.”
Foria’s suppositories are forming the basis of an observational study of 400 women to see how marijuana-based products affect the symptoms associated with periods.
So far, Foria has raised $2 million in a funding round led by Gotham Green Partners, a cannabis-focused venture-capital firm. The company’s THC-containing products are available in Colorado and California, where cannabis is legal for adult use, and will be available in Canada once legalization goes into effect later this month.
Though the legality of CBD is something of a gray area, products containing it are widely available in most states, as long as they don’t contain THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana responsible for a high. (Foria’s Relief product has both CBD and THC.)
According to Gerson, Foria’s products are effective because of what’s known as the “entourage effect” of the active compounds in marijuana.
“We now know that the minute you break this plant apart into its component parts, you lose some of the magic,” Gerson said. “And that sounds like hippie speak, but this is proven out again and again, in study after study, that the entourage effect as we understand it is real.”