NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Foria, maker of the first marijuana-infused personal lubricant (marketed mostly towards women), has begun to establish a footprint in two states - its home base in California and now in Colorado.
The topically applied product was described to MainStreet by Foria's communication director Anne Walters "a natural sensual enhancement product for women made with cannabis and liquid coconut oil."
"Women who have used Foria report experiences that include more intense orgasms, easier access to orgasm, heightened sensitivity, relief from pain and deep relaxation," Walters added.
Research on sexual arousal and cannabinoids is limited, due to the federal designation of cannabinoids as Schedule I drugs. That said, Walters is bullish on the prospect that this product offering will attract further curiosity.
"We hope that Foria will help catalyze more interest and research into this topic," Walters said. "We do know that the cannabinoid system is involved in heightened tactile sensations and general euphoria and that cannabis contributes to reduced inflammation and improved blood flow."
The company has also started receiving inquiries globally from both men and women as well as researchers and sex therapists.
In addition to being an interesting new addition to a market that so far does not seem to have many regulations in terms of consumption, it crosses into new waters in terms of product diversification. It is not an "edible," for example, even though the THC is absorbed in this case via the mucous membrane. That said, it is more regulated anyway because of its origin. In California, consumers are also required to obtain a doctor's prescription to buy the product. In Colorado, it is now available to both "medical" as well as "recreational" consumers.
Foria is also exhibiting smart business practices in terms of its market expansion. In entering the Colorado market, the company can still build on their "medical" reputation while entering the vibrant recreational vertical in state. Presumably Foria will thus gain more of an audience with straight and gay male customers as a result. This in turn will be a boon to sales in the company's home base of California after recreational use becomes legal (widely expected in 2016).
However it is the appeal to the distinctively "pink" part of the cannabis market that is also attracting attention. According to Matt Karnes of cannabis market research firm Green Wave Advisors, the women's market represents a huge and untapped demographic segment of the green rush.
"We estimate that approximately 30 to 35% of medical marijuana cardholders are female," he said. "Female recreational users are more difficult to quantify because there are no known customer statistics."
A two-state presence also means Foria can begin to build brand name and customer loyalty in emerging medical and recreational markets across the country (including Oregon, Alaska and presumably, the District of Columbia). This is one of the reasons that the business model of Washington State's current "recreational only" focus may in fact turn off established medical companies, particularly out of California.
Entering new markets and setting up entirely new cannabis acquisition or grow facilities (as companies like Foria and GFarmalabs must) in each state market they enter is expensive and increasingly so. The bifurcated legal market structure of Colorado, along with its now year-old regulatory structure for both medical and recreational marijuana may see more market entrants like Foria as a result.
--Written by Marguerite Arnold for MainStreet