'Women have been saying it works for 10,000 years': 400 women will use marijuana-infused inserts in a groundbreaking study from a Harvard Medical School professor

Foria, a company that makes marijuana products for women, including suppositories designed to target menstrual cramps that are known as "weed tampons," is about to see how they work in treating the symptoms associated with periods.

  • marijuana

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.

While Foria's Relief product has been nicknamed a "weed tampon," it's not exactly that. Rather than a cotton device, it's a suppository pill that when inserted into the body quickly gets absorbed.

"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.

Foria's CBD products, like its new Flow vaporizer pen, are available online and can be shipped worldwide. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis that has been linked to a range of health benefits but cannot get you high.

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."

Staci Gruber, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core and the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery program at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, is using Foria's marijuana suppository as part of the observational study.

The study will be funded by Foria and Flow Kana, a marijuana grower and distributor that will provide the Foria products to participants.

"What we're looking to do is take anecdotal information and turn it into data," Gruber told Business Insider.

The observational study will survey participating women over a few months, asking them to record what their symptoms are like while using the suppository.

Gruber said she viewed the study as a first step, with the "holy grail" being a clinical trial that determines how a product like Foria's compares with a placebo group in relieving menstrual symptoms.

Running a clinical trial, however, can be an expensive and difficult endeavor, especially because marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug.

First, researchers must go through a lengthy application process — which can take years — to obtain a permit to conduct a study. And all cannabis used for research must be purchased through the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Many researchers have said the institute's supply is of poor quality, with low concentrations of THC.

Gerson said he hoped the observational study would ultimately help the people who purchase Foria's products.

"What actually made this market was empathy," Gerson said. "We serve the plant, we serve our clients, and as a result, our investment community and the people that support our brand benefit from that."

He added that the therapeutic potential of cannabis is "so profound."

"If we lose sight of that," he said, "it's just a race to the lab to break this plant apart into its component parts so we can synthesize and patent it and put it in a bottle."

  • The DEA's surprising shift on marijuana could keep a booming $1 billion industry in check, experts say
  • The CEO behind the first prescription marijuana drug explains what cannabis-based drug he wants to get approved next
  • Hedge fund legend Leon Cooperman is investing in the marijuana industry — and it's another sign the sector is heating up
  • Famous short seller Andrew Left is creating a cannabis fund. He explains why the market's not in a bubble, but does need to "chill out."
  • One of the world's largest beer makers is about to start producing marijuana-infused drinks

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Beatrice and Boma face off in new BBNaija Reunion teaser

Beatrice and Boma face off in new BBNaija Reunion teaser

IPOB kills woman, 4 kids, 6 other northerners in Anambra

IPOB kills woman, 4 kids, 6 other northerners in Anambra

Why is the dollar shortage crisis in Africa getting worse by the day?

Why is the dollar shortage crisis in Africa getting worse by the day?

Top 10 happiest countries in Africa in 2022

Top 10 happiest countries in Africa in 2022

Bolton's new 'Jay-Jay Okocha' wants to represent Nigeria ahead of England

Bolton's new 'Jay-Jay Okocha' wants to represent Nigeria ahead of England

Arsenal suffer a blow as Osimhen makes his transfer decision

Arsenal suffer a blow as Osimhen makes his transfer decision

Rubber producers present life crocodile to Obasanjo, say they can’t give him money

Rubber producers present life crocodile to Obasanjo, say they can’t give him money

10 African countries with the largest foreign exchange reserves

10 African countries with the largest foreign exchange reserves

Here are the 5 worst cities to live in Africa, according to Economist Intelligence Unit report

Here are the 5 worst cities to live in Africa, according to Economist Intelligence Unit report