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Is Cannabis the Women’s Wellness Cure We’ve Been Waiting for? CARE2.com

  • By Jordyn Cormier
  • February 12, 2017

No matter how you feel about it, cannabis is a fast-growing facet of the wellness industry. Sixty percent of Americans support legalized marijuana—and for good reason. Cannabis has been shown to help with anxiety, chronic pain, blood sugar regulation, seizures, inflammation and so much more. But cannabis may also help in an oft unaddressed area of wellness: women’s sexual health.

Women’s sexual health is notoriously undervalued. Many women have immense difficulty orgasming or relaxing during sex, while others experience sometimes crippling symptoms of menstruation, like unrelenting cramps and heavy nausea. Not enough has been done in the wellness world to support women’s healthy sexuality. Cannabis has the power to change that.

Cannabis has been used by cultures for millennia to enhance sexuality and the sexual experience. In a profound way, it can help modern day women have both healthier sexual experiences as well as more tolerable menstrual cycles. While it may seem odd, using cannabis to support a healthy sex life makes sense. After all, cannabis promotes muscle relaxation and increased blood flow, both of which are essential for a healthy sex life.

This therapeutic value is what led Mathew Gerson to found FORIA, a line of cannabis suppositories and sprays designed specifically for people with vaginas.

Mathew Gerson, FORIA’s co-CEO/creator, is no stranger to the business of making sex safer and healthier. As creator and former CEO of Sir Richard’s condoms, he worked to make condoms cooler and more accessible to those who really need them. Now, he’s on to help women have healthier and more empowered sex lives with FORIA’s cannabis vaginal products.

FORIA is a line of vaginal suppositories and vaginal sprays that infuse cannabis with vaginal-friendly oils like liquid coconut oil and organic cocoa butter. Their popular, aptly named products include Pleasure and Relief.

Pleasure is a sexual enhancement oil that promotes relaxation, increases blood flow to reproductive organs and the current line offers a mild psychoactive effect. It contains solely THC and works as a pre-lube, applied a few minutes before things get frisky. While I haven’t tried it personally, it has received rave reviews. Women claim it has made sex more powerful, emotional and sensual. Some experience multiple powerful orgasms. Others claim it allows them to fully enjoy sex for the first time. And that is truly a beautiful thing. Pleasure seems to help women who experience pain, discomfort or anxiety during sex to finally begin relishing in their sexuality and enjoy getting it on.

Suffer from killer menstrual cramps, back pain and headaches when it’s that time of the month? Relief has been formulated to have no psychotropic effect (meaning it won’t get you high) and is designed to help ease the symptoms of menstruation. It contains both THC and CBDs. When inserted into the uterine area with a tampon applicator (but don’t be fooled; it’s not a tampon), CBDs directly affect the immune system and nerve endings within the uterus, ovaries, cervix and surrounding tissues to suppress inflammation and relax muscles to reduce cramping. THC helps to block pain signal in the nerves to reduce discomfort. Think of Relief as a natural, more effective Midol, without the serious side effects, potential drug interactions, artificial colorings or fancy pharmaceutical patent.

Currently, both Relief and Pleasure are only available in California and Colorado, but Gerson says they are working to get their products in to recently legalized states soon.*

*(For those who don’t live in cannabis-friendly states, a cool new product, Awaken, will be released in March that will be legal in all 50 states, regardless of marijuana laws. It will be a lubricant like Pleasure, but comprised of the whole plant extract of organic hemp, meaning it will have the potent therapeutic benefits of most cannabinoids without any of the psychoactive effects of THC.  I think that’s pretty exciting!)

I had the chance to chat with Gerson about the wellness industry, the benefits of cannabis, its shifting public image from dangerous drug to plant-based medicine. According to Gerson:

“We need to holistically look at our health and be citizen scientists for our own bodies. It’s been forgotten that you have a right to understand your own body. We don’t need to wait for the upper echelons of the health industry to tell us something is good. Figure it out for yourself.”

When I asked what Gerson would say to those who still cling to the negative stigma that has followed cannabis in recent decades, he said:

“We need to be really sensitive to other attitudes and beliefs and respect them. We need to allow people to have their positions and learn [about cannabis's medicinal benefits] through first and secondhand experiences.”

“Tell people, do your research. Look at the research on how cannabis has helped so many sick people. The most transformative way to share cannabis is to inspire that empathy response… We are at the vanguard here, and the diversity of benefits being discovered is almost daily, with all the studies being published, I believe in 5 to 10 years, cannabis will completely separate itself from the long shadow that’s been cast over it.”

Cannabis has the potential to be tremendously beneficial for not only women, but our health and wellness as a culture. Perhaps cannabis has a future in your medicine cabinet, having so many beneficial uses and no serious side effects. In fact, Gerson thinks cannabis is a uniquely loving plant with both medicinal and cultural value:

“It is really a very compassionate plant [cannabis], I can say that for sure. It loves us. It dulls pain and increases the good feels. We’ve co-evolved with this plant—in fact, our bodies have receptors that specifically interact with it. We’ve grown together.”

And it seems true. Cannabis must love us. It has empowered the health of so many people, from inconsolable seizure patients to women who have long suffered with sexual dysfunction. Who knew a humble plant could so powerfully revolutionize the modern wellness industry?

Read the whole article here: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/is-cannabis-the-womens-wellness-cure-weve-been-waiting-for.html 

FAST COMPANY'S TOP 10 INNOVATIONS MAKING WOMEN'S LIVES BETTER IN 2016

FORIA, cannabis lube, women's health, FORIA pleasure, FORIA Relief, FORIA explore, sexual health

Our picks of the companies that have carefully designed products to improve the quality of women's lives.

FORIA Pleasure, Sexual Health, Fast Company, Women's Innovation, Cannabis Lube, Cannabis pain relief

Technology designed for women exploded in 2016, with new products hitting the market ranging from wearable trackers for expectant mothers to networking apps to help female professionals get ahead. "The online consumer market of women is a new phenomenon" in part because investors are waking up to the opportunity, says Anu Duggal, founding partner of the Female Founders Fund, a firm that invests in women-led startups. "The purchasing power of women is massive and becoming clearer."

Many of the female founders that made our list struggled for years to raise capital, but were able to convince investors in their vision through persistence and creativity (and of course, a solid business pitch). Miki Agrawal from Thinx, a period underwear maker, tells us she requested that one of her male investors wear a maxi pad during an entire meeting to get him to empathize with what women experience. Others like Morena Simatic, cofounder of wearables startup Bellabeat, had little trouble raising financing for a product designed specifically for women rather than a pink version of an existing product.

 Five years ago, Harvard Business Review conducted a landmark survey of professional women and found that most felt vastly underserved in the marketplace compared to men. That's starting to change. "Women were a neglected category, until recently," says Simatic.

To compile this list, we asked a range of investors and entrepreneurs and solicited feedback from dozens of women. Here are their picks, in no particular order.8. SEX AND SEXUAL HEALTH: FORIA

Two words: Vaginal cannabis. Many of the women we spoke to raved about Foria Relief, a cocoa butter-based cannabis for the vagina that is designed to help with menstrual cramps and other sexual health issues. That accompanies Foria Pleasure, a product that aims to increase sexual pleasure through a lubricant spray. As one happy customer described the experience: "(It was) like my vagina was kicking back on the beach in Mexico, without a care in the world." Sex and sexual health is a notoriously underfunded space, but Foria has garnered rave reviews from users and continues to sell well in Colorado and California.

Read the whole article HERE

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I Tried Anal Weed Lube / Broadly for Vice.com
JUL 8 2016 5:16 PM
I Tried Anal Weed Lube so You Don’t Have To

PHOTO BY NEMANJA GLUMAC VIA STOCKSY

"It got me stoned, relaxed, and warm.

I'm willing to do it again."

"We are changing the world, one asshole at a time," Mathew Gerson, creator of the infamous cannabis-infused pleasure line Foria, tells me over the phone. He's at Pride in San Francisco, manning his popular Foria truck in the middle of the festivities. "The van has been swarmed every day," he says, "and we are so excited to finally have a product geared at men and the LGBT community."

He's talking about Foria's latest offering, Explore: an anal suppository that contains 60 milligrams of THC and 10 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD). It's designed to induce relaxation and enhance pleasure without the psychoactive effects that usually come with cannabis. This business model has been successful for women's products, but he wanted to open the (back) door to men as well.

Read more: What Happens When You Drink an Entire Bottle of Weed Lube

"I have been in the sex product industry for a long time now, and I wanted to extend the pleasure line with something that could include men," Gerson says. "The male body does not absorb as well through the genitals just by the reality of them being external instead of internal—in terms of sexual enhancement, a topical [cream] on a male just won't do it."

Foria launched in 2014 with Pleasure, a lubricating THC spray meant to enhance sex for women. The California company spread all over international news, even drawing the attention of Los Angeles urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman, who then helped them develop a vaginal suppository, Foria Relief, to help ease menstrual and pelvic pain. (The difference between the vaginal and anal suppositories is the amount of specific cannabinoids, as well as the medium that holds them. Foria's vaginal suppositories are made of coconut oil, while Explore uses jojoba because it is latex compatible.)

"I saw [Explore] as an opportunity to present a product to a community of men whose needs have not been addressed when it comes to using cannabis for intimacy and pleasure," Gerson says. "Explore can also lead to more blood flow and stimulation around the prostate, which facilitates a male orgasm."

 "I want all men to think of this as their Flintstones vitamins." 

Read More: The role of cannabinoids in prostate cancer

Although Foria's main goal was always pleasure, the conversation shifted to health and wellness with its Relief product, probably because the entire line contains large amounts of THC and CBD, which can seem surprising.

When the weed suppositories are inserted anally, your body absorbs 70 percent locally and the rest goes into the bloodstream—only 10 percent of users reported slight psychoactive effects. "If you smoked that much you would want to go in the woods and be alone," laughs Gerson. "However, when inserted anally, there is a different effect—more in the body, not your head."

Explore is made from purified THC, CBD, organic sunflower lecithin, and jojoba extract. The THC increases blood flow and sensitivity, while the CBD reduces inflammation and relaxes your muscles, but the other ingredients are important, too. "I really wanted to put something on the market that was latex compatible," says Gerson. Jojoba oil is key here; it's also in popular, FDA-approved lubricants designed for anal play like Pjur Backdoor and Simply slick. "Both those products have what you call the 510(K) FDA clearance for latex compatibility. Because we are in the cannabis industry, we can't work with the FDA in the same way."

Photo by Cameron Zegers via Stocksy

Because Foria uses an ingredient that isn't legal everywhere, Gerson and the company rely on the help of open-minded physicians, researchers, scientists, and chemists who believe that cannabis can be a source of pleasure and pain relief to promote their product. Gerson himself swears by the healing capabilities of Explore. Not only do users report less discomfort during anal sex and the ability to handle deeper penetration, Gerson says, but Explore can be used to treat all kinds of pain around the anus. Gerson himself uses it three times a week to manage his sciatic pain. "Mother Nature cooked up major anti-inflammatory properties with cannabis, and we should use this in the best way we can," he says. "I am Trojan horsing cannabinoids into the ass, but this is a wellness protocol. I want all men to think of this as their Flintstones vitamins. To be able to separate the mental psychoactive components from the physical ones will open up so many doors for people getting the full benefits of this plant."

Read more: Sticking Weed in Your Vagina Can Help Period Cramps

Still, this product is not just for men, but anyone who wants to engage in anal play. "People are becoming much more open to it," Gerson says. "We have had a lot of feedback from heterosexual women who said they never enjoyed anal before because it was uncomfortable—the tension, they would not relax. When they used Explore, the relaxation in the pelvis allowed them to open up and enjoy the experience for the first time."

 

When my Explore samples arrived, my husband was pumped; he was going to get to fuck me in the ass in the name of journalism. I use Foria Relief for my period cramps, and once I inserted the Explore suppository, I thought I would have to follow the same protocol, but in reverse: With Relief, you lie down with your legs in the air like you've just been artificially inseminated and are trying to make the sperm swim the right way.

I was wrong. Unless you've been receiving double anal penetration on the regular since the mid-90s, your asshole is pretty tight. After about 20 minutes, I felt some warm relief in my pelvic region, but not a startling amount. It was subtle. Even when lying in bed, my lower body felt stoned, relaxed, and warm.

But during sex, I was so focused on fucking for a testimonial that the whole event became a joke. (You know what prevents a penis from penetrating your asshole? Laughing as it's going in.) That was my fault, not Foria's. As someone who has enjoyed anal sex many times (usually with the help of alcohol), I am determined to try again. In Gerson's words, we are a "tight-ass culture"; I want to fully support his mission of helping people feel more comfortable sticking things up there.