Foria hits below the belt with their cannabis intimates. Find out why customers are so curious about this budding new market category of the cannabis industry.
Jon Brandon is the Co-founder of Foria, listen in as we discuss a wide range of topics.
– Defining a category
– Using Customer Feedback to Iterate
– Sexual wellness and invigoration with Foria
– Can cannabis help menstrual health?
Limited Time Offer:
Jon and the team at Foria Wellness have generously offered a coupon code for a limited time for 10% off their products.
Use Coupon Code: insider
What is the one company that comes to mind when I say Topical Vapor Rub for your chest and nose when you have a cold? If you said Vicks VapoRub, you're correct. I mention this because it's increasingly important to be the first in your prospect's mind providing a certain benefit. Our guest today, Jon Brandon, CEO of Foria has accomplished what Vicks VapoRub has done and captured a market category I call intimate cannabis. Jon is going to tell us about intimate cannabis products as well as some other exciting developments in the space that you'll definitely wanna hear about. Jon, welcome back to "CannaInsider."
Jon: Thanks, Matt. It's great to be back.
Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?
Jon: I am speaking to you from Boulder, Colorado.
Matthew: Great. And I'm in Edinburgh, Scotland. For people that have never heard of Foria before, Jon, can you just give us a little high-level overview of what Foria is?
Jon: Yeah, absolutely. So Foria is a five-year-old company, we're a wellness products focused company, in particular, sexual health and wellness. And our mission is really to create plant-based products that help people feel both more pleasure and less pain in their lives, with, you know, an eye towards them feeling more connected and in touch with themselves, as well as the people in their lives. So we take cannabinoids and we use them for primarily non-psychoactive purposes.
Matthew: Okay. And for people that are not familiar with your background, you were on the show two and a half, three years ago. Can you just give us an overview of your professional background and how you got into the cannabis space?
Jon: Yeah, happy to. So professionally, most of my focus, prior to Foria, was in some combination of real estate, finance, and law. I did graduate work in both law and business schools. And, you know, what kind of got me into this opportunity was going through some pretty intense things in my life about eight years ago, including getting divorced. And, you know, really starting to ask myself a different series of questions, largely centered around what mattered to me, what did I really wanna put my time and energy into.
And I used to hold it that doing good for other people or doing good in the world, was something that was...you know, that was called charity or philanthropy. And, you know, maybe you write a check or you volunteer some time or something. And then there's business, and that was all focused on profit and building something that could make money. Living here in Boulder, I got challenged on that way of thinking, and you know, meeting a lot of people who are doing things in the world, both with a profit orientation as well as doing good in the world, and sort of bringing those two things into alignment with something that became a really important thing in my life. And so, I was looking for opportunities that had both of those elements present.
At the same time, my co-founder, Matthew Gerson, was himself kind of looking for partners to step into this opportunity. He had a notion of using cannabinoids for intimacy purposes, or sexual health and wellness outcomes. And so our two paths kind of collided at that point or crossed at that point, largely through the social entrepreneur community here in Boulder. So that's kind of how I got going on this path.
Matthew: It's funny, you mention that kind of, you know, multiple bottom lines, not just the Milton Friedman approach of, you know, shareholder value only, there's also this new bottom line. It's like how can I benefit my environments and my ecosystem. You know, like you had mentioned before, you know, writing a check to a charity is kind of like a one-time transactional thing. But if you can create this ecosystem with reinforcing virtuous cycles, it can have a much more sustaining and powerful impact for society. So it's nice to hear this way.
And I am definitely the first to say like I don't always...you know, it's not always the first thing that comes to mind, but when it can happen, it's an amazing thing. And you're seeing more companies particularly in Boulder that have... I forget what kind of corporation that is when there's like another layer of responsibility. What's that called, you know?
Jon: Yeah, B Corps.
Matthew: B Corps. Yeah, so that B Corp is kind of becoming this new thing that is gaining popularity and awareness. So I really hope that takes off. But back to Foria here, I mentioned in the intro, we're talking about Vicks VapoRub and capturing a category. I really watch what you do closely, and I think the way you come to market with intriguing products that define a new category or subdivide an already existing category and make it something where you can be the primary player to provide benefit, is very interesting. Related to that, let's talk about what you're doing with suppositories and how you're kind of going into that category to create maximum benefit for your customers.
Jon: Yeah, and you know, just the outcomes...you know, we're trying to measure wellness outcomes, right, not just profit outcomes. And I think that that's an interesting challenge, frankly, is to orient yourself too. Hard to define, hard to quantify, but you know, something that we're tracking, really amongst the community of people that have engaged with Foria over our first five years now. So we're trying to develop a currency, maybe, you know, call it trust, as the currency, so that we can introduce products that are used in very intimate fashions.
And so, you know, our initial product is called Foria Pleasure, and that's a topical oil that is used to enhance pleasure, primarily when applied vaginally. And so for women, the opportunity to use Pleasure kind of led us to the suppositories in the sense that we were focused initially on pleasure enhancement, and the way that pleasure activates increased blood flow, can create an enhanced sense of sensation, or sense of presence, which typically, leads to very pleasurable outcomes.
What people started sharing with us as people were using our first topical was that they were also finding benefit not just from a pleasure enhancing context, but also from a pain relief context. And so that was really interesting to us. And it was both from people who would just experiment and share how they were using the topical oil, as well as from the medical community. People came to us with their own perspective, their own anecdotal information in terms of how patients that they were seeing were able to use our pleasure topical for pain-relieving purposes.
And so that's kind of the ideation, and kind of the creative inputs that led us to develop the suppository formulation. And, you know, it's really just a delivery system to get the cannabinoids into more direct contact with smooth muscle tissue, in this case, intravaginally in the uterine walls, for example. And the benefits that people were experiencing were either kind of an antispasmodic or reducing cramps, was one of the primary benefits, as well as reducing inflammation. And, you know, there's a lot that's being looked at now across the board for cannabis in terms of its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic benefits.
But the suppository for us, kind of was an interesting breakthrough mentally, just in terms of how we could position and utilize and harness the power of both cannabis and other synergistic botanicals for these types of wellness outcomes. So yeah, and we focus we like to say below the belt so far in our first few years. And so whether it was the topical oil or the suppositories, you know, that was the initial focus, and there are really profound benefits to be harnessed there, again, non-psychoactive benefits of cannabis.
Matthew: Okay, so you started with Foria Pleasure, which is an adult wellness product for the bedroom. And there was kind of this feedback saying, "Hey, this has really helped with pain as well as kind of being a titillating experience for the bedroom." And so is that where the spark was like, "Hey, we're getting this feedback a lot. Let's look at this a little closer. Like, what other applications are there for discomfort?"
Jon: Yeah. I mean, there's no roadmap, obviously, that we're following here, in terms of...
Matthew: If you are, I was gonna say, I wanna see this, I wanna see where we're going.
Jon: Yeah, I think, you know, at the end of, you know, the Foria story there may be a good tale to be told. You know, in terms of just the different pivots and how our both product creation and scale expansion of the company has evolved, really has been a co-created experience with our community. And that's been... You know, part of the importance here is holding what can otherwise be a very taboo subject, right, when you're talking about sex. And, you know, certainly, in the U.S. culture, you know, not always easy to discuss sex, or cannabis, or drugs. Let alone combining those two together and kind of having the double whammy of, you know, potentially taboo or difficult to discuss topics.
So, you know, for us, we've really oriented from a place of empathy and compassion to this opportunity. And, you know, Matthew and I hold ourselves as stewards of something that's really bigger than us. This isn't about us, this is about helping people. So when people share with us how they're finding benefit, that's something that we can both learn from, look at more closely, push, pull, and poke on. And then ultimately come back in a way that lets us broadcast more widely what some people have already found, we can then share that information out to the community of people that are paying attention, and really interested in what types of benefits our products in particular, or you know, cannabinoids, in general, can have for them. Specifically outside of getting high, right.
I mean, I think that the cannabis industry gets a ton of attention, you know, related to that. But increasingly, the opportunity set certainly from our perspective is around how do people use these products in their lives in a very practical and real way that's profound and impactful, and not strictly a, you know, recreational or pleasure seeking in and of itself activity in the normal sense.
Matthew: Yeah, gosh, you're right. You know, having the sexual component plus cannabis is like...perfectly said, like, it's a double whammy. I feel like the church lady from, "Saturday Night Live" skit is about to appear and just say, "Who inspired this, could it be Satan?"
Jon: Satan. Dana Carvey, yeah, well said. It feels like that sometimes. I mean, for the most part, things are embraced really well. It's just that we have to hold things with a degree of integrity and sacredness, right, because it's easy to screw it up. You know, when you're talking about those things, you can trip over all kinds of whether it's taboos, or just, you know, being kind of inarticulate about what you're trying to convey. You know, we hold a higher standard, I think than a lot of products do in terms of providing information.
I mean, one of our primary functions, one of the most important things we do is really to educate and create awareness. Because for a lot of people, the first notion of, "Wait, that's a thing? What?" Like, you know, you get this kind of, you know, incredulous responses. And that was my initial response when Matthew kind of pitched me on the idea that became Pleasure. It was like, "Wait, what? Are you serious?" And then, you know, you kind of tease into it and once you get past that initial kind of head scratch, and you look at the science behind it, and the reality behind it, you know, there's very substantive benefits here that I think we're just at the cusp, frankly, of harnessing.
The products and the areas that we might get into in the coming years probably will surpass the things that we've already done, just because our knowledge base will grow. And I think as the federal position changes, and just culturally we were sort of past, or at this tipping point of consciousness around embracing the medical or, you know, the wellness benefits of cannabinoids. So as that's embraced as research becomes more open, as everything kind of increases here, the opportunity to create even more effective products will increase.
Matthew: Now, you've a few other products I wanna go into, but I think it would be helpful for people to understand like, what's a dispensary only product, and what's a product that's available, let's say online on your website. Can you just kind of just divide those for us real quick so we can understand?
Jon: Absolutely, and it's a great distinction, it's probably the most important distinction in the history of our company. Because we started out, you know, with this focus where the products, Pleasure and then our relief and explore suppositories do contain THC, and therefore, have to be introduced, you know, via the regulated THC markets. And so we started in California, I'm based in Colorado, so we expanded to Colorado. We subsequently licensed our THC product, the Pleasure Topical to our partners up in Canada Canopy Growth.
And so the expansion of the THC path for us was California, Colorado, and ultimately Canada. And then we kind of paused, because what we saw was that the THC world, you know, as it's evolved over these past several years, is an incredibly difficult animal from a just scale perspective. How do you reach people? How do you make sure that the information that's getting to consumers via the dispensary channel is what we want it to be? And it kind of ties back to what we were just talking about in terms of having this challenge around education, information, and awareness.
And so the retail environment, the dispensary environment for our brand and our products, is not the easiest. When people go into a dispensary, they're not typically thinking about the things that our products are used for. And so for us, we wound up engaging directly with consumers who were writing into us via our website or calling us, and really not just across the country, but from around the world.
And that got us thinking about, okay, people are curious about the benefits of our products on a global basis. We know we can't distribute THC products on a global basis. But we also got curious around what were the real efficacy, what were the things that were driving these outcomes within the products? And what we were able to do is to start to create analogs for our products that do not contain THC. And that we can distribute across the country and around the world. And so, that really was a giant pivot for us in a business sense.
Which is not to say that we're not gonna continue to develop THC products. We have a new one coming out later in December. And, that we want to have our products be available in more THC products. So that's an active business development path for us. But the opportunity to serve a global e-commerce world was so exciting and the development of products for that channel became so interesting to us because what we're able to do is synergize botanicals, not just, you know, from cannabis, or from hemp.
And so we started to introduce, and this was with the assistance of some incredibly talented professionals that are master herbalists and naturopathic MDs. And so we got some new inputs into our product development which enabled us to launch an analog to our first product, the Pleasure topical called Foria Awaken. Which is an organic coconut oil infused with seven botanicals, not just cannabis or cannabinoid botanicals, but that product includes things like vanilla, and cacao and cardamom, ginger, mint, cinnamon.
So what we've done is basically take other plants, other botanicals, synergize and harmonize them with the cannabinoids. So there is hemp derived CBD in the Awaken product. And basically create a product that we could get to people that has similar if not better efficacy, because it's got aphrodisiacs beyond just the vasodilation or the blood flow enhancing components. So it operates as an aphrodisiac, both from a smell perspective, from a taste perspective. It's really just in my mind the most delicious product that we've ever created.
And so that blend of other plant botanicals is something that we've then used as a basis for other products. And so at the moment, we've got two products available in our e-commerce and sort of non-THC channels, the Awaken Topical. And then we just launched what we're calling Basics Tonic, which is kind of a straightforward CBD product, organic coconut oil. And CBD for people who are looking for the general applications of CBD, not just the ones, you know, in kind of a below the belt or specific to sexual wellness or intimacy enhancement.
So that's been an interesting breakthrough for us is to expand the product offering, expand the marketplace opportunity. And I can tell you that from just a quantitative perspective, you know, at this point about half of all the products that are sold...you know, Foria products that are being sold, have quickly become the non-THC products. And that's just we have a much bigger audience, a much bigger marketplace. And so it's now accounting for call it two-thirds to 70% of our revenue is actually coming outside of the THC channel, which is a really interesting thing for a brand that was kind of born in the, "Cannabis industry" and started with THC products, you know, we've really crossed over to more of a mainstream lifestyle wellness focus. And I think our mandate is, therefore, broader in terms of what types of products we can deliver.
People usually find out about us because of the sexual and intimacy products, or the pain relieving products, but we're excited to see what else can fit under the Foria brand. And once...you know, we kind of talked about trust earlier, once you establish that trust in the consumer mindset, that, you know, we're gonna go through the process of making sure that our sourcing is done as responsibly as possible. We're gonna provide as much education, awareness around CBD, and all of the other botanicals that we're sourcing and be as organic as possible. And why does that matter?
You know, so that's now the mandate, right? We have a bigger opportunity. And I can just quickly touch on the fact that this past Black Friday, the Cyber Monday timeframe, was our most exciting or most successful from reaching more and more people than we ever have. We've got thousands of people coming to the website. Lots of people are curious about what our products can be in their lives. And so, things are growing in a really exciting and interesting way, faster on the non-THC side than the THC side.
Matthew: Yeah, I don't think there's enough awareness around what's possible with using cannabinoids other than THC and combining with terpenes or other compounds and creating incredible effects. I mean, the same cannabis consumed with a different terpene profile, can be just a totally different experience. So I think that really hasn't settled on the marketplace. I mean, certain manufacturers and brands like yourself are understanding that difference, but I don't think that's totally dawned on consumers yet, what's possible there.
Jon: I would agree with that. I mean we're in an age or an era of expanding awareness, and you know, being a thought leader, putting information out there not strictly for our... You know, this isn't come buy a Foria product. This is get yourself educated about what you're putting in your body and why. And making health and wellness, you know, decisions, purchase decisions is such a...is, you know, arguably one of the most critical decisions that anyone makes in their life.
And so, you know, with all of the kind of fervor around CBD and the kind of lack of understanding even of what, you know, not all CBD is equal, right? And so we're following it all the way from the plant level. You know, how it's cared for, how we work with the plant, how the different cannabinoids or different elements of the plant are extracted, and then combined. These things all matter in terms of, you know, the outcomes that people experience, what they experience in their bodies when they use these products.
And so I think that there's an explosion of like high-level awareness, and then there's gonna be a responsibility, frankly, on the behalf of companies such as ourselves to continue to provide deeper understanding to people so they can make well-informed intelligent choices. And you know, if they choose our products, great, but if they choose some of our peers' products like that's fine too. We just want people to be really knowledgeable about what they're doing. You know, it seems kind of weird to us to eat a gummy bear for example, that's made with artificial sweeteners and call that like a wellness, you know, thing, right? It's like really, you have to combine your wellness things with things that are decidedly unhealthy, like how does that work?
So the responsibility to deliver products that are, throughout, well considered, very intentionally designed, carefully handled from design through creation, over time that will matter. You know, I think there's a lot at the moment where you can...you know, there's a lot of people who are basically selling anything just because there's like this, "Oh my god, CBD, I'll buy it." You know, so there's just some of that going on, but that'll settle down. And ultimately, that's not who we are. You know, we're...and as you can see, if you look at any of our front facing materials, you know, we're gonna push information as the most important currency here and establishing trust.
Matthew: Now, I know that picking the milligram dosages for your CBD products, I mean you kind of just go with kind of industry standards of what people are purchasing in terms of what they want in milligrams, or how do you pick that out? Because I talk to a lot of different people, and there's just...it's a difficult thing because people's body react differently. I mean, how do you arrive at that?
Jon: Yeah, I mean it's interesting. I mean, there's a few different lenses that we try to put on that question. One is the... So the consumer experience, I mean, just strictly from a price point perspective, there's kind of a strategy which is to say, you know, at what dollar point are people priced out of even, you know, getting access to meds. So, in other words, putting more volume into a product and therefore it necessarily being a higher price point might have someone not even able or willing to try something, right.
So there's a pricing strategy and we haven't perfected this by any means, but we're asking the questions and we're looking at it, which is, you know, if the goal here is to get someone to experience the wellness outcomes, you wanna make it an initial step that they can take. And so whether that's an aggregate amount of the product, or like a smaller...you know, a one pack or a two pack, a single serve, you know, if you will, of different things, we're experimenting all the time with that just for people to try.
In terms of the question of efficacy and potency, you know, for us, industry standards, there really isn't a notion of industry standard, because 10 milligrams in a suppository consumed rectally or vaginally, doesn't perform the same way as 10 milligrams that you might eat. And so to normalize things across, you know, edibles, for example, is not doing anyone... It's a disservice frankly, to people.
And so what we try to do is educate people as best we can around this is an experiment. Your body as you come to any of these experiences, who you are on any given day is different and would, therefore, vary as to what your, you know, kind of desired dose might be. And so the variables as you correctly point out are almost too many to control for. And so what we've tried to do with our products is make them reasonably titratable in the sense that, you know, you can take a small increment.
So for example, the Pleasure Topical can be put on in very small amounts, it can be increased as desired, and as people are finding, you know, good use themselves. The suppositories don't really have an upper limit, it's not like you've consumed too much, right. So that's not typically a problem, but it's more of a price point thing and just making sure that people, you know, are willing to spend $8, $9, $10 for a single use product at that point. You know, one of the more interesting things that we're about to launch into which again gets into this notion of how much can you as a consumer control your experience, is vape pens. And so, we're about to launch the first Foria vape pens.
Matthew: Let's talk about that. Is this the Flow?
Jon: Yeah. So the first one is gonna be called Flow, and that one will not have any THC in it. So it will be available to everyone everywhere. And what we've done with Flow is harness the terpene profile of the Awaken Topical that we talked about earlier. So it's got vanilla and cacao, so it tastes great, it smells great. It's a very pleasant experience to ingest. It's not cut with anything at all. We don't put in any of the fillers, or PGs, and even MCT oil. We're not using anything other than the botanicals themselves, and so it's got a lot of CBD in it.
But again, it can be controlled at the user level in very small increments. And so for people who are looking for a vape experience...and the reason that we're making it is not because the world needs another vape pen. I think we can all agree that there's plenty of vape pens in the world. But our vape pen has a decidedly different focus, you know, well, starting from the hardware. We certainly don't wanna have people ingesting plastics, and glues, and any of the things that some of the, you know, kind of more rudimentary and entry-level hardware that, you know, is in the vape universe.
So, we've sourced...you know, it's glass and ceramic and metal. So, you know, just from what's actually going into your body perspective, we try to keep it as pure and healthy as possible. And then, you know, the opportunity to kind of harness our unique flavor profile and botanical profile, if you will, into something that people can consume. And probably we'll pair with our Pleasure Topical, or our pain-relieving suppositories, for example. It's the most requested item that, you know, over the years, people have said, "When are you gonna make a vape pen? You know, I would really love to have a Foria vape pen."
And so we've taken that feedback to heart. And so we're, you know, as we've said before, we're extending not just below the belt, we're now expanding to things that are being inhaled and consumed orally, mostly because our consumer base and our community has requested it. And because we think we can add some value there in terms of... So for example, the analog for our Flow pen is going to be called Empower, and that is a four to one CBD to THC ratio. So it's a micro-dose of THC.
Again, we're not out there putting products, you know, with the intent of having people get really disassociated or out of their minds in a psychoactive or high way. What we're trying to do is introduce people to the notion that you can consume things, even in the vape context, that are facilitating tuning in a greater level of embodiment. And so that's the opportunity for us, as Foria, as a brand, is to stay consistent with... The reason that people look to our products, is to feel better in their bodies, feel more present, more aware, more tuned into themselves, and then, the ways that they connect with their partner, so from a more relaxed and available place. The way that people connect, you know, in a partner context, is benefited from that sense of embodiment and relaxation. And so the Foria pens both Flow and Empower are designed to promote relaxation, and to promote a sense of inward focus. And that's kind of our different take really on the vape pens.
Matthew: That's kind of helpful too, because, you know, everybody reacts differently to cannabis. And if you have a much higher...you said it was four to one CBD to THC?
Jon: Yeah, correct.
Matthew: Okay. Because there's some people, you know, when I've been around them especially if they don't consume cannabis very much and they get a vape pen, and they take a few hits, or maybe it's a flower vaporizer, and they blast off, they might feel a little bit paranoid or overwhelmed. This is much more of an easier glide path to just, you know, get your sea legs and be at a much more comfortable level, where, you know, when you drink a beer, you kind of know what a beer will do for you. Sometimes the same can't be said for, you know, consuming dry flower, or even a very potent vape pen. So this is kind of... It's nice to see kind of this filling this gap in.
Jon: Absolutely, yeah. And that's just staying true to who we are, right. You know, the products that we'll put out there under the Foria name are designed to help people stay in an embodied state, or you know, really shut out the distractions not to increase the mental chatter and noise. And again, these are not the heavy duty psychoactive products that cannabis industry typically sees.
Matthew: Now, I feel like, "Rain Man" sometimes because I focus in on what seems like maybe tiny details. But I wanna circle back to the glass cartridge. There's always a trade-off for everything, so glass cartridge, ceramic parts, all those things, higher quality components more cost, and that leaves some people behind. Because there's some people where...you know, obviously price is a factor for everybody you couldn't sell $1,000 vape pen. Actually, you could, maybe to somebody to see and take these over to the Middle East or something, and some princes might be buying that.
So there's a trade-off here with price point. So when you say, okay, price is important, but maybe it's not the most important thing. When you look at that, like, how do you look at the trade-offs? Like, I want to get this to a affordable price, so as many people that would wanna participate in this can. But you know, I don't want there to be any health detriment as small as that may be, or maybe it's not small, by having plastic components. I mean, tell us a little bit about how you think about the profile of your customers, and how they look at those variables and why you made that decision?
Jon: Yeah, it's a really fair question. I don't know that there's a perfect answer to that, other than to say that we are extremely cognizant of wanting to create products that are available to as many people as possible. I think that the...what we are committed to doing is not trading off on health-related decisions on account of making something, you know, less expensive or, you know, "More available" at a certain price point.
At the same time, we're trying to produce products... I mean, if you look at, you know, kind of our pricing relative to some others pricing, especially with CBD, we think that there's a lot of... You know, people are taking advantage frankly of the frenzy and fervor around CBD. And we think that the pricing in general, can and will come down. And we wanna be at the front end of that, in terms of just responsible pricing, if you will. And so, you know, it's very difficult to do anything at the moment, whether it's with hemp or cannabis.
And so there are a lot of things that you drive costs from the compliance and regulatory perspective. And, you know, certainly, the availability of hardware is becoming better and better. But, you know, we've had a difficult time in terms of sourcing any of our packaging components over these first five years of our existence. And ultimately, you know, for us to be sustainable, and to do a better job of creating products and making them available, this isn't being done, you know, at a loss, right? We do need to be sustainable from a corporate perspective.
But as you mentioned earlier, there's a virtuous circle there that the more successful we are, the more we can invest into the products, and also, you know, create products at a more attractive price point. And so we think that we're at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of price. That's certainly our goal. And we think that over time, as the markets mature, there will be some price compression, and people will be, you know, providing products at, you know, attractive pricing.
The consumer profile for us is a really tricky one. I mean, we have people really across all ages, certainly both sexes that the brand does speak more directly I think to the feminine and to females. And at the same time, there's plenty of men that are both using the products and/or, you know, connecting with the brand because they have females in their lives that they want, you know, them to receive the benefits for.
So it's tough for us to strictly archetype or stereotype, our typical consumer, other than to say that they have a high degree of consciousness around intimacy, around wellness, a curiosity around botanicals, not just cannabis and cannabinoids. And so, you know, we try to appeal as broadly as we can, we try to be very fair and responsible with our pricing. We will not sacrifice, you know, quality essentially. And so, you know, what people can expect from us is that we are putting, you know, our attention on how to create things that, you know, at each phase in the game are as healthy or designed to achieve the purposes that they're being used for as we can.
Matthew: So we've talked about suppositories, we talked about pleasure, vape pens, is there anything we missed? Oh, the Tonics?
Jon: Yeah, the Tonics, you know, for sort of general CBD consumption. So, you know, our Awaken Topical is specific to, you know, kind of sexual use. So, for people who are looking for the general wellness benefits of CBD, I think the CBD suppositories, the Basics suppositories, or the CBD tonic the Basics Tonic, are our first step towards that. There are a couple of really exciting...you know, so both the vapes and the tonics, and the suppositories, are kind of in that general use CBD category.
We do have a couple of... I'm gonna just leave it as a teaser in this conversation, but what you can look for from us, in 2019, will be at least one very innovative, unique application of cannabinoids for wellness purposes that is certainly not on the marketplace currently. And I think will be for us a really exciting product extension. I gotta keep it under wraps.
Matthew: Oh, my gosh. It sounds like... So it's safe to say it's another kind of new category?
Jon: It is. It's one that people are gonna say, "What?"
Matthew: You guys love this, you love this. This is great.
Jon: Yeah, that one's gonna... And, you know, I mean, what's really fun for us right now, in addition to the fact that more and more people are paying attention and curious and, you know, trying products, and then sharing the impact. I mean, I can't overstate to you and your audience, like how meaningful it is when people share with us what using our products has been for them in their lives. The depths of people sharing that you've literally saved my life, you've saved my marriage. Like, thank you, thank you. I mean, the gratitude that people express to us, from the benefits of the products that they've been using, is so moving. It's so meaningful. It's really inspiring. And it's what gets us up and excited about doing what we're doing.
I mean, we feel like we're stewarding something that's far bigger than ourselves, and it's working. And so the opportunity to embrace our eye level in terms of, you know, if we're impacting thousands or tens of thousands of people currently, the opportunity for us to look at, you know, hundred thousand, millions, you know, that's getting more and more real for us. And so as an entrepreneur who has a very, you know, mission-based focus, things are getting really exciting for us now. And the opportunity seems to get bigger and bigger.
So we're gonna... What you can look for from us is continued innovation from a product standpoint, but really just a focus on earning the trust and respect, and providing that education and awareness to people. Because I think that that's gonna be the key for people who are experimenting with any of these types of products. And that's all that this really is, this is a giant social experiment and I think that, you know, what you're seeing on a legislative level, you know, kind of at the ballot initiatives and as well as the legislature's around the U.S., and you know, soon to be hopefully some movement at the federal level with respect to the Farm Bill and hemp coming off of the Controlled Substances Act.
And you know, all of these things are trending towards a more expansive mindset, a bigger opportunity, and as a consequence, more responsibility to hold this with integrity. And so hopefully, you know, that's where things continue to evolve.
Matthew: Tell us a little bit about the research for menstrual pain relief, and the connection with cannabis there?
Jon: Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up. So you know, over time...and we talked about this a little bit before, is like the medical community has reached out to us with some degree of curiosity or some perspective to share, and that's really been fantastic. Because it helps advance the knowledge base, it advances our internal thinking, it helps for people externally to at some level ground or validate what's actually happening. A lot of people, you know, really need that stamp of approval.
And so the participation of the medical community has been great. I think it's only going to increase, certainly as the federal position evolves. And in particular, we were approached recently by a Harvard Medical School researcher in conjunction with the McLean Hospital to do an observational study around our menstrual cramp relief product. So this is the suppository that has both THC and CBD in it.
And we're at the early phases of the...essentially, the protocol has been established and what the study is designed to do is just to look, you know, from a medical lens, look at the impacts that the use of our relief suppository is having on people around their menstrual cycle. In particular around, you know, painful cramping type conditions and other inflammatory conditions. And so that's something that is underway, sorry. And will be, you know, ultimately published in the medical journal. And that's a first of its kind opportunity.
And so when this was, you know, brought to us, and we were requested to, you know, participate in that. We said, "Absolutely, you know, this is exactly where we want things to be evolving towards." So that study is, you know, kind of, at its early phases, about to kick off, there'll be between 2 to 400 women. I think we're focusing in Northern California just to make it more manageable. So the N group, the data set will be, you know, pretty significant.
And we're just excited because what folks have shared with us, is worth looking at, from, you know, a more rigorous perspective, you know, more of a clinical perspective. And then having that, you know, essentially broadcast externally to the world. We think there's real value to people in hearing it from that type of a source.
Matthew: Jon, I like to ask guests a personal development question or two, to help listeners get a better sense of who you are personally. With that, is there a book that has had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share?
Jon: Yeah, thanks for that one. That's definitely a thought-provoking question on my side. And I would say that in the last couple of years, there's a book called, "Stealing Fire." Are you familiar with that?
Matthew: I've heard of it, but I don't think I know what it's about.
Jon: So the audience should kind of, you know, look it up, find it on Amazon or Audible, wherever. But "Stealing Fire," the essence of it...and if you think of the analogy to Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and bringing it down to mankind, essentially, you know, what was happening there was sharing a technology, in that case, it was fire. And sharing it at scale and therefore changing, you know, the world for having done so.
And what the book does is it kind of looks at...you know, that's sort of the larger frame. And the book goes into some interesting examples, including military as well as just all of the different modalities that people have been seeking non-ordinary states. I'm being a little bit vague and probably not doing the book justice in terms of pitching it. But what it means for me, and how I think it's relevant to the question, is that I kind of view what we're doing as stealing fire from the gods and bringing it to mankind. In the sense that, you know, we now know something, we don't know it...you know, we know it because of what people have shared with us.
And so when I was talking before about how powerful the sharing is, when someone expresses what using our products has been for them, we hear that, we feel it, we have tremendous compassion, empathy, and excitement around that. Our job now as stewards of that information is to broadcast it widely, it's to scale the availability of our products. So that more people have the potential to benefit from it, and have access to unlocking, you know, greater pleasure, or diminishing pain.
And so that book has really inspired me, you know, from that perspective of taking something and bringing it and making it much more widely available, and therefore, the potential to impact millions of people's lives. And, when I say impact people's lives, when people respond that they, you know, go from a debilitated, painful place whether it's cramps or inflammatory conditions, and then, you know, feel the absence of that, feel, you know, more present, more healthy and vibrant in their lives.
What they then go do in the world is... The vibrational, you know, aspect of that is increased. And so they show up as better parents, better partners, better colleagues, you know, they show up differently in their lives for the absence of that pain, or for the enhanced excitement, and enthusiasm, and pleasure. You know, when people are experiencing more pleasure, they tend to be more creative, more patient, more kind, right? So, the reverberations from people experiencing those two dynamics in their lives then has even more of an amplifying effect to their communities, and to, you know, basically to society at large.
And so I kind of hold it that we are modern day Prometheans trying to take the technology of the plants in this case, and broadcast it at scale to people all over the world. Say, "Hey, there's these things that can really help you." And you know, that's the path that we're on. "Stealing Fire" does a great job in my mind of kind of framing up that paradigm. And so it's had a big influence on me over the last couple years in terms of how I'm approaching what we're doing, frankly.
Matthew: Cool. I'll put that one in the show notes, the "Stealing Fire" book for anybody that's interested. Jon, is there a tool that you or your team use that you consider vital to your productivity?
Jon: There are a couple. You know, my co-founder is based in California, I'm here in Colorado. So we don't often...yeah, we get together in person as often as we can. But we wanna be in direct communication more often than that. And so we use video conferencing, and in particular, we use Zoom for video conferencing. Not just with each other, but with all of our key partners that are in various markets in different states. That's become an essential tool for us to be face to face with people, rather than just relying on email, text, voice type communications.
So I would say that video conferencing can really bridge a gap and create that more human and personal connection, both internally and externally. That's been pretty vital to our productivity. And I would also add that we use project management tool called Asana or Asana, I don't know how they pronounce it, probably Asana. And that has been probably the single most up-leveling of our productivity just from a tracking of all the different, you know, project management type things that we're trying to do concurrently with different team members that are located in different physical places. With external partners that are all over the place. So that's been a hugely important aspect of helping us be efficient and increasing our productivity.
Matthew: You know, since you mentioned Zoom. There's one app that people who like Zoom a lot I hear are using, it's Marco Polo. Which is like a...it's a video app where you record a message like a walkie-talkie, and then the other person listens to it whenever they want, but they reply back with a video message too. So it's kind of like, this asynchronous communication mode with video, but adds more color and context than just an audio could. I don't know if that's of interest but for anybody who's into the video chats, and so forth.
Jon: Yeah, it is. And it's a good extension. So there's another tool I really like called Voxer, you know, V-O-X-E-R, which is exactly what you just articulated, not with the video component, but the asynchronous, especially across different time zones and stuff, the ability to leave voice but in a really user-friendly way. So it feels like, you know, click like a walkie-talkie. And they've really figured out the user interface there, and the ability to time shift your voice recorder...you know, maintain a conversation essentially over a long period of time, but when it's convenient for people. That's become an important productivity tool for me as well. So I'll definitely look at the video version of that Marco Polo.
Matthew: So final question. What is the one thought that you have that most people would disagree with you on?
Jon: Oh man, that is a tough one. What is it? Well, I don't know if they would disagree with me. But I think that we've been called by the plants. This is something that Matthew my co-founder, he and I have connected on since the beginning, is that we have been called to serve by the plants. The plants have an innate wisdom that they want to communicate and impact in people's lives. And so we are here in service of the mission that is actually the plants' mission for us. Not our mission for the plants.
Matthew: Oh, God, interesting, it sounds a little bit Ayahuasca, like Mother Ayahuasca is calling me.
Jon: Kind of, you know, I think that if you look at the history of cannabis, right, and especially cannabis as an aphrodisiac, you know, there's thousands of year old history there. We've been living in an era where, you know, kind of a prohibition mentality has prevailed locally for the last little bit. But if you zoom out even a little, you can kind of see that the plants have really been there, and been doing their thing for a while. They've been through a tough patch in the U.S. for the last 70 or 80 years.
But I think that we're kind of at the dawning of what I think will be regarded as the golden age of plant medicines. And so whether that includes the Ayahuasca's of the world, you know, I tend to agree with that, frankly, that it's not just cannabis. But I think the plants are having a reemergence, and embracing opportunity...you know, culturally, there's an opportunity to embrace plants in a way that, you know, existed previously and will exist and maybe be enhanced by modern technologies as well.
Matthew: Yeah, I really hope the next chapter here is psilocybin being legalized too, because it seems like there's so much momentum with cannabis now that politicians can only lose by trying to keep it illegal at this point. It's finally crossed that line. I'm really hoping, you know, psilocybin, maybe the micro-dosing psilocybin becomes legal in different outlets, because that has huge potential as well, so [crosstalk [00:54:39].
Jon: Totally agree with that. Yeah, the mycelia they're calling us. They've always, you know, done their thing. And so the relationship between humans and plants is, I think, gonna kind of hit a new...in a good way, a new level of interactiveness and mutual benefit. So I would agree with that.
Matthew: Well, Jon, we covered a lot of ground here. You gave us a teaser that you have another product coming out. We're gonna have to get you back on to talk about that, maybe we can talk some more about micro-dose dosing and the plants calling you, because I want to hear more about that. But before we close, can you tell listeners how they can find Foria, and connect with you online?
Jon: Yeah, sure. So, for most people, the best connection point would be our wellness site, which is foriawellness.com. That is our kind of non-THC portal. And on the THC side or just kind of a general brand side, our original website is foriapleasure.com, F-O-R-I-A P-L-E-A-S-U-R-E. So those are probably the two best places. There's also kind of an email link in there, firstname.lastname@example.org, if people have a direct question they wanna communicate to us, we're happy to engage with people that way as well.
Matthew: Well, Jon, thanks so much for coming on the show and educating us. Have a very, very happy holiday season. And we look forward to seeing all the cool things you come up with in 2019.
Jon: I appreciate the opportunity, wishing everyone a good holiday season as well. And I look forward to the next conversation. Thanks.
Matthew: After we recorded this interview, Jon and the team over at Foria Wellness were kind enough to extend a coupon code Insider for 10% off your order at Foria Wellness. So you can use that Insider, I-N-S-I-D-E-R as a coupon code at foriawellness.com.
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