June should be an interesting month for Foria. As they begin the PR cycle that comes with a major product launch, they are also gearing up for an appearance at SF Pride. I’m curious to see what the reaction to FORIA Explore will be, not just as a cannabis product, but as a conversation starter.
Foria has officially announced their third product, FORIA Explore, a cannabis suppository to enhance anal intercourse. Similar to FORIA Relief, a cannabis-infused vaginal suppository to address menstrual discomfort, FORIA Explore combines 60mg of THC and 10mg of CBD (cannabinoids) into a suppository that, when applied, releases the compounds throughout the pelvic region, relaxing the muscles and relieving pain. With just four ingredients, Jojoba extract, purified THC, CBD isolate from organically-grown hemp, and sunflower lecithin, the suppository promises to “calm and relax” without the psychoactive head high other cannabis products provide. FORIA Explore’s reported benefits include: “heightened pleasure,” “deeper penetration,” “pelvic relaxation,” and “diminished discomfort.” FORIA Explore will be available for purchase June 9th at SPARC, a nonprofit medical cannabis collective in San Francisco. SPARC will be acting as their premiere dispensary through June 26th and play host of Foria’s in-store “Explore PRIDE” celebration Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 from 4 to 7 p.m. at 1256 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94114.
So, is it official? With FORIA Explore, has Foria made history by launching the first cannabis product specifically for the LGBT community? Well, as Foria tells Marijuana.com, it’s the first cannabis suppository to aid in anal play. While anal sex has enjoyed a rise in popularity amongst adventurous heterosexual couples over the years, let’s be honest, FORIA Explore was very much made with the LGBT community in mind. Playful Instagram posts and their use of #MARYjANAL suggested as much, but their press release makes no bones about the launch starting June 1st in “honor of LGBT PRIDE month.” With an event called “Explore PRIDE” taking place in San Francisco the Thursday before SF Pride, one of the largest LGBT Pride Parades in the world, Foria is definitely looking to establish visibility within the LGBT community.
So, what does this mean?
The LGBT community has widely turned to alkyl nitrites, colloquially known as “poppers,” for their muscle relaxing properties to facilitate and ease anal intercourse. Inhaling the chemical dilates the blood vessels and relaxes smooth muscles, making anal penetration easier. Additionally, poppers provide a temporary high and sense of sexual excitement, with side-effects including headaches, increased heart rate, and occasional fainting. Similarly, FORIA Explore enhances anal pleasure and diminishes the discomfort that comes with anal penetration, without the dizzying side-effects associated with poppers. When copious amounts of lube, different positions, and mental preparation prove not enough to eschew pain, Cannabis Sexual Health Educator Ashley Manta says the CBD in FORIA Explore “slows down the electrical signaling to muscles causing relaxation, thereby reduc[ing]discomfort without numbing or desensitizing the anal area or surrounding tissues.” Because it’s applied topically, FORIA Explore avoids the psychoactive properties associated with smoking marijuana or eating edibles, allowing for enhanced sex for those who prefer to avoid psychoactive experience cannabis provides when used recreationally or medically.
Perhaps FORIA Explore won’t take the place of alkyl nitrites as the go-to anal sex aid of choice, but for the first time, there is a viable alternative to poppers. Poppers aren’t for everyone, some finding the chemical too intense. One friend said it made them “really want to have sex, but I also felt like I was going to blackout.” If you wanted to have anal sex with your partner, you needed to adopt a “Whatever; that’s the price you pay” attitude when it came to the resulting headache and fainting feelings. With FORIA Explore, there is no “headaches and fainting spells for sex” trade off.
We aren’t really talking about “FORIA Explore vs. Poppers, which is better?” We’re talking about options. We’re talking about choice. For a community fighting for equality, Foria is providing a step towards fairness. With the UK’s banning of poppers through a psychoactive substance bill viewed as a thinly veiled attack on gay sex, alternative options are more important than ever.
Because of Late Night lampooning, culture pieces detailing “What Happens When You Drink an Entire Bottle of Weed Lube,” and other media noise, it’s easy to view Foria as just a company that encourages people to use weed on their genitals, rather than one of the few brands promoting sexual health and wellness within the cannabis industry. Sexual health and wellness alone are significant enough, but the fact that Foria’s products address the specific needs of the marginalized feels like a small victory in of itself. When talking to a friend also working in the cannabis industry about Foria Pleasure, I made an offhand remark that I couldn’t think of many brands that made “female-centric products.” She turned to me, gave me a look, and said “Name one. Other than Foria, name one female-centric marijuana product.” I couldn’t. (In the resulting months since that conversation Whoopi Goldberg launched Maya and Whoopi, a line of cannabis edibles targeted to provide menstrual relief. Now I can name two).