Every drug, yes, every drug, from alcohol as a rudimentary anesthetic to methamphetamine as a weight loss supplement, has medicinal applications. Cannabis retains a strange space in our medical landscape: Centuries of anecdote reinforce its therapeutic worth, yet in the United States it's still federally classified as having no medical value. Because of its legal status, it has been woefully under-researched, yet 23 states have medical marijuana laws on the books.
The conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed vary from state to state. Some, like Florida and Kentucky, allow only cannabidiol (CBD) for specific conditions such as epilepsy, and others, like California, condone a toke to treat any condition "deemed appropriate ... by a physician." In the vacuum created between the general loosening of social and legal mores against cannabis and its inevitable legalization and commercialization, a plethora of companies have sprung up touting techniques to help sufferers get the most out of cannabis' unique chemical profile. Some have firm scientific evidence on their side, others seem designed to exploit the desires of the already-stoned (medicinal marijuana pizza sauce, anyone?). Which leads to the most pressing question of this brave, new age: Should we shove cannabis up our vaginas?
Foria, the same company that brought us sensual cannabis-enhanced lubricant in 2014 ("Stoned Yoni," June 26, 2014), rolled out its new line of organic suppositories aimed at relieving the pain of menstrual cramps. The suppositories, branded as "Foria Relief," are comprised of CBD, THC and organic cocoa butter. According to Foria's website, the THC and CBD are "known to relax muscles and release tension and cramping in the body. Through the use of a suppository these antispasmodic and pain relieving properties go directly to the area in need of relief. The plant medicine works with your body to gently, yet profoundly, shift your unique experience in a holistic and natural way."
The "plant medicine" is currently retailing at $44 for a four-pack and is available only in California dispensaries, but should be coming to Colorado soon. To its credit, Foria Relief was developed by a real live doctor, Beverly Hills urologist Jennifer Berman, who cited a reduction in pelvic pain as a side effect of patients using Foria Pleasure. To its potential discredit, and to nobody's surprise, the majority of people extolling its virtues are already on the canna-bandwagon, mostly writers for cannabis-related blogs and websites. One reviewer who suffered from debilitating cramps around that time of the month described the effect thusly: "warm, golden waves emanated from my vagina throughout the rest of my body." Of course that could have been heightened by the edible she ate prior to lifting her hips and inserting the relief pellet. (By the way, the makers suggest you freeze the suppositories first, as cocoa butter can be a little slippery.)
Foria is not the only company getting into the lucrative pain-relief-for-the-roughly-half-the-world-with-uteruses market. Whoopi Goldberg's new company, Whoopi & Maya, launched its own line of cannabis-based edibles and bath products last week. Goldberg has apparently treated her own menstrual cramps with weed for a long time, and reportage around this issue breathlessly cites how Queen Victoria was prescribed cannabis for her own royal cramps. Of course, mercury, bloodletting and lobotomies were still common practices in Victoria's time. Science has come a long way since then, but evidence as to the efficacy of cannabis in making Aunt Flo less of a bitch — and the best way to apply said cannabis — is not yet on the table. It should be noted that unlike Foria, which claims there are no psychoactive effects due to its route of transmission, some of Goldberg's products are intended to be taken orally, so there's a good chance that pain relief may be conflated with just being plain ol' high.
In either case, relief is relief and if you're one of the 10 to 15 percent of women who are completely debilitated by menstrual cramps, you've been evaluated for more serious conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis, and you're tired of popping Tylenol, why not try sticking a frozen wad of cocoa butter infused with an unregulated amount of herbal extract into your vagina? Plenty of things women should definitely not be inserting into their hoo-hahs, such as douches both literal and metaphorical, don't come with an FDA warning label either.