Is Cannabis the Women’s Wellness Cure We’ve Been Waiting for?
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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. Related: This Cannabis Compound Eases Pain and Anxiety (And Won’t Get You High) 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 women and their 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 suppository like Relief, 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?