How Customers Helped Develop Foria’s CBD Menstrual Relief Suppositories
There isn’t necessarily an obvious path toward developing a CBD suppository for relief from menstrual cramps, but if it exists, it wasn’t followed by the team at Foria. The company initially launched with a different aim—and a different cannabinoid—in mind. Their flagship product, Foria Pleasure, was THC-based and designed to enhance women’s arousal.
But as the product became more popular, it very quickly became clear that cannabis had more to offer than pleasure. Foria’s customers reported not just better sex, but better periods.
“Foria Pleasure was intended as a pleasure-enhancement topical, and we got amazing feedback about that from our customers. But we also heard from people having unexpected pain relief, which we hadn’t expected,” says Ben Odell, Foria’s content director. “Based on that feedback, we developed a cannabis-infused vaginal suppository for menstrual pain: Foria Relief.”
Foria’s education director, Kiana Reeves, who is also a sex educator and doula, is on the front lines of contact with these customers.
“We regularly hear that Relief has been helping not only with pain from menstrual cramps, but also stemming from other conditions like endometriosis and vaginismus,” says Reeves, who sees Foria’s products as a revolutionary alternative to the male-centric perspective of mainstream medicine. “There really haven’t been a lot of products developed specifically to address menstrual pain since the development of Midol, all the way back in the 1930s, so we’re really proud to be able to provide women with another option.”
Bringing CBD to the Globe
Foria’s THC-based products proved so popular that the team was driven to launch a THC-free line they could offer internationally, providing relief to consumers around the world.
First came Foria Awaken, another pleasure-enhancing topical that swapped out the THC for a blend of kava kava, CBD, cacao, and cardamom, as well as stimulating and soothing botanicals like ginger, peppermint, cinnamon, and vanilla.
“We kept receiving such wonderful feedback about how Awaken was both pleasure-enhancing and pain-relieving, and we already knew our Relief suppositories were changing people’s lives,” says Reeves. “That gave us the confidence to conduct a small community trial run to see if a CBD product could relieve menstrual cramps in the same way, and the response was excellent.”
That resulted in the latest addition to Foria’s nationally-available line: CBD Suppositories that provide a 100mg dose of broad-spectrum CBD in a cocoa butter base.
Everything Old Is New Again
Foria isn’t the first party to note the utility of cannabis in treating gynecological complaints. The herb’s applications for vaginal and uterine woes go back at least 4,000 years, to ancient Mesopotamia. But Foria’s suppositories come along at a critical time in cannabis research, as legalization spreads and scientists have more leeway to look into its potential—so while CBD is a proven anti-inflammatory, we’re learning more about just how it works.
For example: when menstrual cramps start, women commonly reach for an NSAID like ibuprofen, which neutralizes the enzyme that creates prostaglandin (which is responsible for the inflammation). Unfortunately, NSIADs also target another, similar enzyme, which can then lead to stomach upset. On the other hand, a 2008 study found that CBD is actually more selective, targeting only the first enzyme, letting it provide relief without triggering unwanted side effects.
Doing the Homework on CBD
Researchers are learning more about CBD’s therapeutic potential every day, and Foria is eager to do their part in engaging with the underlying science. They’re currently working on a study with an Ivy League-affiliated research hospital that could add some institutional weight to this pain-relief method, and hopefully lead to the development of even more effective products.
“We feel that studies like these will lead to more serious attention from the medical community, and we’re confident that will open the door to future research,” says Foria CEO Mathew Gerson. “We’re hopeful that other companies and organizations will be able to point to this study and others like it and continue to build on that research as we all learn more about the endocannabinoid system, and particularly women’s unique biology.”
This research is more than a foundation for other work. It’s also representative of the kind of curiosity that has kept Foria’s product catalog steadily expanding. Regardless of the application, Foria’s products use broad-spectrum CO2 extracts that preserve cannabinoids, terpenes, and phenolics.
“This spectrum of compounds is working together in very complex ways, whether it’s enhancing absorption into the body or the complex stimulation of multiple receptors,” explains Gerson. “The whole industry is still learning about all this, but we’re trying to be ahead of the curve.”
Customer-Driven Product Development
As their customer base grows, Foria’s team has seen their products being used for all kinds of conditions, from vaginismus to the side effects of menopause. That feedback has served as a guide for the company’s product development strategy.
“We have been gathering customer feedback for five years about how our arousal oils have helped people keep their sex lives vital long into menopause,” says Reeves.
Recently, the team is looking to expand not only beyond menopause, but beyond the vagina.
“We’ve always been focused ‘below the belt,’ but we’re looking at other delivery routes now, everything from vape pens to rectal suppositories,” says Gerson. “Explore was another first for us: a cannabis-infused rectal suppository for erotic anal play.”
As with Foria Pleasure, says Gerson, they’ve been hearing feedback that rectal cannabis suppositories are great for both pleasure and pain relief—whether that’s making anal play more enjoyable, soothing IBS, or easing low-back pain and sciatica. “We’re still learning so much.”