A company called Foria recently debuted a wacky-sounding way to alleviate your menstrual cramps: shoving weed up your vagina.
Foria Relief is a vaginal suppository containing cocoa butter, tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — the latter two being the active compounds found in cannabis.
"Together they activate certain cannabinoid receptors in the pelvic region when introduced into the body via these specially formulated suppositories," Foria's website says. "Users have reported a significant decrease in the pain and discomfort often associated with menstruation."
They work — and last a surprisingly long time, according to Broadly's Mish Way. "Midol will wear off after about half a work day, and during most periods I'll pop six a day," Mish wrote. "But one Foria suppository did its job well into my evening."
Sticking weed inside your vagina to cure menstrual cramps may seem like a novel idea, yet another surprising product of the gradual legalization of marijuana across the United States. But it turns out, this isn't the first time women have used cannabis to improve their sex lives and reproductive health.
Besides debuting cramp-relieving vagina weed, Foria is also known for its so-called "weed lube," a cannabis-infused coconut oil concoction you can spray onto your vagina to help you have better sex. Some women who used the product reported having more frequent and more intense orgasms, according to Vice.
But the history goes back years — nay, millennia — before Foria. In fact, experts believe women in Ancient Egypt were putting weed inside their vaginas to ease the pain of childbirth, according to the 2002 book Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology. This translation of the Ebers Papyrus, a record of Ancient Egyptian medicine, suggests cannabis was used to "cool the uterus and eliminate its heat," perhaps as a way to ease cramps. It was "ground into honey" and "introduced into her vagina," according to the papyrus' translation.
Women have also used weed as an aphrodisiac. Today, many modern women have discovered the benefits of cannabis as an orgasm-enhancing aid. There's even a strain of weed called Sexxpot made expressly for that purpose.
Yet the practice of using weed to make sex more pleasurable has its roots in ancient historical tradition. According to Women and Cannabis, cannabis was used in Ancient India "from the 7th century onward as an aid to sexual pleasure and enlightenment."
The people of Ancient India likely incorporated cannabis into tantric sex rituals, according to Cannabis Culture magazine. They didn't smoke it or stick it up their vaginas, but rather, mixed it into a drink called bhang:
"Sometimes the bhang was nothing more than a green ball of cannabis mixed with milk, but it could also be a delicious marijuana milkshake made from prime resin-laden cannabis flowers and leaves, mixed with milk, sugar, pepper, almonds, cardamom, poppy seeds, ginger and other herbs. These preparations were heated before serving to allow fat-soluble THC the opportunity to catalyze into a pyschoactive form effective on humans."
In Russia in the 1930s, young brides "used a mixture of lamb's fat and nasha (cannabis) to make their wedding night less uncomfortable by reducing 'the pain of defloration,'" according to Fusion. The brides also enjoyed the cannabis' aphrodisiac properties, Fusion reported.
Weed has also been used to cure STIs. Around the dawn of the 18th century, a German physician reported cannabis roots being used in Indonesia to cure gonorrhea, according to Women and Cannabis.
Women and Cannabis also points to cases of U.S. doctors following that same line of thought in the 1800s. In the 1877-1878 Ohio Medical Recorder, for instance, one doctor from Georgia touted a mixture of "sugar of milk" and Indian cannabis as a quick and easy way to cure gonorrhea. "I used the following prescription in four cases of gonorrhea, and was successful in every case, in from five to seven days," he said.
"Mix well together, and divide into 60 powders, one to be taken every three to four hours," the doctor reportedly said. "This prescription, I am persuaded, will relieve the most obstinate cases in a short time."
You might say Reddit has become the 21st-century version of the Ancient Egyptian papyrus scroll. In this 2014 post, a woman described what happened when she put cannabis-infused coconut oil on her vagina and had sex with her boyfriend.
"I've done my fair share of drugs, but before this weekend I wouldn't have said I had ever had a spiritual experience," she wrote. "I remember lying in bed in a semiconscious state, and becoming time itself. I witnessed the harmonic motion of colliding galaxies, and I had a feeling of deep understanding and purpose."
There's something mystical and mysterious about the role weed has played in women's sex lives throughout the centuries, as an all-purpose ingredient called upon to cure any manner of sexual or reproductive ailments. In some ways, women are still in the same position today — for instance, there's still a dearth of libido-enhancing medical products for women, largely due to the medical community's history of turning a blind eye to women's health needs. Even today, there's still progress to be made — but hey, at least, for now, there's weed.